redoing my semi planted tank.
I would like your opinion on my thoughts.
I have a 55g (standard) with stock lighting, 405 Fluval canister, Air stones, Gravel (large), Heater.
I would like to redo my tank. It currently has about 8 plants in it now. They are alive but not thriving. I would like to make this a fully planted tank. .I don't think that the substrate that I am using is the best for this set up. I would like to switch to sand or a super small gravel. Keep the heater, and keep the filtration if it is good enough for a planted tank.
I notice that you don't use CO2 on any of the tanks in your profile (at least I didn't notice any) I would like to be able to NOT use it either. I probably should not have the air stones but I'm worried about the fish not getting enough oxygen. I have a 48" power compact that I can use for better lighting or I can upgrade the stock bulbs fir this.
Is the 55 to deep for this? (lighting)
Sorry for all the questions but I need to know where to start.
Also how often (or do you) vaccuum the substrate in your planted tanks?
Any help would be appreciated
There are some members here who have CO2 diffusion in some tanks, but the majority of those of us with planted tanks seem to be natural (low-tech) inclined.
I would agree on changing your substrate; large-sized gravel, such as pea gravel, can work, but in my experience plants didn't do as well. And there are other issues biologically that will be better in a fine grain. Gravel 1-2 mm grain size or sand (coarse) works best.
Filter sounds fine. I would remove the airstones. CO2 is usually the nutrient in least supply and you don't want to be driving off any of it. On this point (CO2), I do not touch the substrate. The majority of CO2 produced naturally in a balanced tank occurs in the substrate from the breaking down of organics. Provided the tank is not overstocked, this will not cause problems. And similarly, there will not be a shortage of oxygen unless there are way too many fish.
Light is the most critical aspect of planted tanks. If by "stock" you means a single T8 tube full length (48-inch), this is workable with a good tube, full spectrum or daylight. I can suggest brands if asked. Or comment further if the light is something else.
My 4-part series "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" stickied at the head of this section of the forum may provide some background.
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