i do not have a green thumb....need help
i tried the plant thing with my 30 gallon, and made many, many mistakes...(the biggest one being that my tiger barbs like to to carry them off and break them / play in them)- i didn't have enough light, i just really didn't know what i was doing. i am now getting another tank (20-30 gallon, long) and would like to take a serious crack at aquatic gardening. what i really need is someone who could reccomend a good book that might answer all my questions. i have many books on fish- but the plant sections are minimal. i need to know about lighting / hoods / co2 / maintenance / types of plants, basically, EVERYTHING! i plan on moving my small school of rasboras (and increasing them) into this tank, once it is up and running. this is a very loaded question, i don't expect anyone to write a novel here in response, just drop some good ideas or book titles my way, and i'll do the rest of the research! THANKS everyone! :)
Well if you can afford the setup, here is what to do that should allow you to grow any plant in the trade almost.
Get Eco-Complete for substrate 3 inches in front and 4 inches in back.
Lighting will need to be 3-3.5 w/g of compact flourescents.
Plants can be any you want pretty much.
CO2 should be pressurized wsith a good regulator, bubble counter and diffusor.
Last but not least, go to Greg Watsons dry fertlizier site and get all the ferts you need as well as get a good supply of root tabs. We can help you with what you need to order if you decide to go all out.
As for a book, I can't say because I have ever heard of a really good one that covers all the topics with any completeness. A lot come close but they always seem to neglect some aspect that is vital. The best places to go that I know of to get a lot of basic and complete information is either
HERE or HERE
The amount of substrate is important. If you don't have enough, the fish will take off with the plants. As fish_4_all says, 3" is a good starting level. I've added plants in to my tiger barb tank and have only had issues with them eating wholes in it. How much substrate do you currently have? Also, when you plant, make sure you use your fingers to gently push aside the substrate to not damage the roots, otherwise it will make the plant easier to pull out.
lighting is very important of course but alot of people kind of think of CO2 as an after thought. If you don't have enough CO2 then algae will take over. Algae is very good at using any nutrients that the plants aren't. It may take a bit of trial and error to get the algae under control but I've found that using Flourish excel really helps. I wouldn't use NPK fertilizer either. To much phosphorus. What we do is add potassium nitrate and potassium sulfate to our tank as well as flourish excel and flourish (we have a schedule). Anyway, I don't want to ramble on to much and scare you away from plants. Another tip is that if your plants are red, they don't need as much of the red light spectrum because they're reflecting it. We have a T5 set up with a power glow bulb (18000K) and a life glow bulb(6700K) that works good for us.
some plants that i have not been able to kill yet are r. rotundifolia, java moss, and vallisneria. they are very cheap and easy. get yourself a good light, good substrate, some flourish excel and these plants will take over your tank. every few months i thin them out and send a gallon size ziploc bag full of plants and cuttings to an unfortunate-- i mean, lucky friend or relative. good luck :)
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