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Only One Haze 10-24-2011 09:59 AM

My planted journey begins with questions
This is my first planted tank so I wanted to start a thread for my questions, of which I'm sure will be many.

The tank is 30 gallons (36 1/4 x 12 5/8 x 16 3/4). The hood/light fixture doesnt work so I gutted it and will be putting in light sockets with 4 CFLs, much like the rain gutter lights only with the actual hood light chamber. I am using playsand.

I will probably just be going with some of the more basic stuff to start out with. Java ferns/moss, some crypts, duckweed/frogbit and I want to have some vals in the back. Is playsand okay for these plants? My main concern is the vals because if I remember correctly, they are the only ones listed that are actually rooted, maybe the crypts too?

I want to have some corys (pymaeus more than likely) so should I stay away from plants like micro sword/dwarf hair grass/pygmy chain sword and just leave the substrate open?

Thanks for the help! If I come up with any more questions (probably will) I will add them here.

Byron 10-24-2011 10:13 AM

On the light, sounds good. CF bulbs that will work best are the "daylight" with a 6500K rating. I use GE but I suspect Sylvania and Phillips make similar. I have had excellent plant growth under these. The 10w size will be sufficient with 4 of them.

Playsand is good for plants; and a good substrate especially with any of the dwarf species of cory. You can leave some open area, but corys browse plant leaves and most surfaces for food, and the dwarf species tend to spend more time off the substrate than on it. Pygmy chain sword is an excellent substrate plant. Crypts are good but can be very fussy. I would also get 1 common sword, Echinodorus bleherae, very easy to grow and a nice specimen plant in tanks around 30g.

For some background on natural planted tanks, have a read of the 4-part sticky "A Basic Approach..." at the head of this section.


Only One Haze 10-24-2011 10:51 AM

Thanks Byron! I have already read the 4 Background posts and probably will a few more times. Your help is invaluable!

Only One Haze 10-26-2011 09:10 AM

Ok, so now that my stocking is decided. I need to figure out what plants and how many of each as I have no idea on grouping/spacing.
10 Harlequin Rasbora
10 Black Neons
10 Dwarf Cory
5 Panda Cory

Elite double sponge filter with Elite 801 (has been replaced with the Marina 100)
Playsand, driftwood, slate ledges/caves
4 10-13watt CFLs (Daylight)

Plant Suggestions:
Pygmy Chain Sword
Amazon Sword
Java Fern?
Java Moss?

Byron 10-26-2011 11:21 AM

Pygmy chain sword once established (varies from a couple weeks to a couple months usually) will then quickly start sending out runners and spread. One plant can easily cover the substrate with plants. I would only get a couple of these to start. I am not kidding when I say that this plant will spread so fast you will not even notice it doing so until one day you just realize that you can no longer see the substrate.

The common sword, likely Echinodorus bleherae, can be used as a single specimen or planted in groups. If the latter, 3 is best, not clumped together spread out unevenly, for a natural look.

Java Fern and Java Moss need to be attached to wood or rock. Moss can be very slow to get started, then it will spread. Fern is a nice plant in front of filters as it can be attached to a rock or wood piece and place there to hide the filter, and it does not mind water movement.

Vallisneria also will spread like a weed once established. Corkscrew Vallisneria is smaller and quite attractive in group plantings, always in a group. But it will thicken as it clumps, so not many are needed initially.


Only One Haze 10-26-2011 12:40 PM

Thank you Byron! I would be lost without you haha.

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