Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Wanted To Start A Planted Tank... (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-tropical-fish/wanted-start-planted-tank-98110/)

Sly13Cat 04-06-2012 11:36 PM

Wanted To Start A Planted Tank...
 
I was thinking about starting a planted tank after it's cycled (10 gallon) and I had some questions. On the box it says that the light bulbs are 120V Compact Fluorescent lights and I only have one installed. Since the hood can hold 2 bulbs up to a total of 30 watts, the bulbs came with the hood and I only have 1 in, I'm gonna guess that's 1 15 Watt bulb or 1.5 WPG. I could add a second one to make 3 WPG if that makes it better. (By the way in the tank already is 1 Red Ludwiga and 2 Japanese Rushes) Could you please answer the questions in your response. What I really wanted to do was make a aquarium bottom of plants (carpet):
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Before Planting:
Do I have to replace my gravel with sand or soil?
If I have to what happens to all the bacteria in my gravel?
How can I preserve the bacteria?
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Choices:
Which one seems best in terms of detritus collection, maintenance and looks (They're in order of my most favorable to least favorable):

1st - Dwarf Hairgrass
2nd - Hemianthus (Cuba)
3rd - Pygmy Chain Sword

What's the basic maintenance of the plant you chose?

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After Planting:

Would Flourish Excel work instead of CO2? (I realize that they are in no way the same thing but Excel seems to do a good job too and I'd rather buy excel than a Diffuser)
Do you have to use Flourish and Flourish Excel together? Which one is more important? (IMO it's Flourish Excel).
What is the basic maintenance of the plant you think is best out of the 3?

I could always make a DIY CO2 Maker With Yeast / Denture Cleaning Tablets (But I would rather Flourish/Excel as it's much easier to handle as in not having to change anything or having to but anything together, just adding the product)

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Thank You For Your Responses,
Sly13Cat

Sly13Cat 04-07-2012 08:20 AM

I'm going for a field look or I guess you could say a "lawn" like this:

So generally what I would do is...

Step 1: Buy some dwarf hairgrass
Step 2: Have 1.5 WPG or 3 WPG lighting depending on the needs of hairgrass.
Step 3: I'd put the fish in their own containers, the gravel in it's own container(s).
Step 4: I'd siphon the water until there's about 10% left.
Step 5: I'd plant it in the gravel or if enough, add a inch or 2 of Alltreat Farms All Purpose Potting Soil if it's safe.
Step 6: I'd plant the hairgrass.
Step 7: Put the gravel on top of it then fill the water up to about 50% and wait until the dirt and gravel settles.
Step 8: Then add the fish once everything has settled.

At that point, I'd buy Flourish Excel and Flourish if I have the money. Then I'd just dose the products as directed.
My only question is if the Hairgrass will collect detritus and if it does how to clean it out of the plants/ gravel.

Byron 04-07-2012 04:51 PM

You've crammed a lot of questions/issues into this post;-) so I'm going to break it down a bit and deal with a few of them; some will be left out this time.

Quote:

I was thinking about starting a planted tank after it's cycled (10 gallon) and I had some questions. On the box it says that the light bulbs are 120V Compact Fluorescent lights and I only have one installed. Since the hood can hold 2 bulbs up to a total of 30 watts, the bulbs came with the hood and I only have 1 in, I'm gonna guess that's 1 15 Watt bulb or 1.5 WPG. I could add a second one to make 3 WPG if that makes it better. (By the way in the tank already is 1 Red Ludwiga and 2 Japanese Rushes) Could you please answer the questions in your response.
CFL bulbs are good for planted tanks, and they come in various wattages so you can select those best suited to the light level needed for the specific plants. First a word about watts per gallon, that is basically useless with this lighting and a small tank. Watts is simply the measurement of energy used by a bulb, and CFL bulbs are more energy efficient so more light can result with fewer watts. Over a basic 10g planted I would use two 10w CFL bulbs; with higher light plants like you're considering, these can be increased. The spectrum is also important, and I like the "daylight" with a kelvin rating of 6500K. You can buy these in hardware-type stores, GE make a good one that I happen to use over my 10g and 20g tanks.

Quote:

What I really wanted to do was make a aquarium bottom of plants (carpet):
Before Planting:
Do I have to replace my gravel with sand or soil?
If I have to what happens to all the bacteria in my gravel?
How can I preserve the bacteria?
You final choice of plants will determine substrate. Fine gravel works for most plants, less well for hairgrass. I use fine gravel or playsand. Larger gravel (like pea gravel) will work for some plants, but not well for carpeting plants. So not knowing what you have as gravel, can't say much more.

You do not need soil, and if this is your first foray into planted tanks I would certainly not recommend it. It creates some issues that you will not have with sand or fine gravel.

If you decide to toss the existing substrate, the bacteria will go with it, there is no way to save it. Bacteria adheres to surfaces, and quite well, in what we term a biofilm. However, bear in mind we have two main types of bacteria, the nitrifying bacteria (which function the plants will do anyway) and the bacteria in the substrate that breaks down organics and uses nitrates and so forth. You can read more here:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...quarium-74891/

Quote:

Choices:
Which one seems best in terms of detritus collection, maintenance and looks (They're in order of my most favorable to least favorable):

1st - Dwarf Hairgrass
2nd - Hemianthus (Cuba)
3rd - Pygmy Chain Sword

What's the basic maintenance of the plant you chose?
I use the pygmy chain sword, as I do not like "lawns" in my tanks. I also like seeing some of the substrate, and I have fish that like this too.:lol: My only comment here is that the first two are more fussy, need more light, and need more nutrients [this will come up again below]. This impacts the fish, depending what they will be [the light issue].

Quote:

After Planting:
Would Flourish Excel work instead of CO2? (I realize that they are in no way the same thing but Excel seems to do a good job too and I'd rather buy excel than a Diffuser)
Do you have to use Flourish and Flourish Excel together? Which one is more important? (IMO it's Flourish Excel).
What is the basic maintenance of the plant you think is best out of the 3?

I could always make a DIY CO2 Maker With Yeast / Denture Cleaning Tablets (But I would rather Flourish/Excel as it's much easier to handle as in not having to change anything or having to but anything together, just adding the product)
I don't add any CO2 as I find sufficient occurs naturally in a healthy system, to balance my light and other nutrients. Aside from this, I myself would not bother with CO2 diffusion in such a small tank. And, i do not recommend Excel, because it will harm (and melt) some plants, and it is a chemical and if overdosed can harm fish. One member reported it burnt his skin. Enough said on this.

Last, you might find some background info in the series "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" stickied at the head of the Aquarium Plants section of the forum.

Byron.

Sly13Cat 04-07-2012 07:15 PM

Well I plan on buying Flourish instead of Flourish Excel after reading the ingredients and what it can do to you (not putting anything in my tank that is used in hospitals as a Viriceide, Fungicide and Bacteriacide:shock:. So I'm buying Dwarf Hairgrass with a 2 inch soil substrate and a 1 inch gravel sub. Then I plant, add Flourish and go.

Sly13Cat 04-07-2012 09:27 PM

I was wondering after everything is planted if I can have a Betta with a school of pygmy cories in the 10 gallon (6-8 Cories). Would that be okay?

Sly13Cat 04-08-2012 10:13 AM

By the way here are my soil choices at the moment:

Circle H Farms Natural Black Earth (Very Generic Can't Find The Brand Online):
-High in Organic Matter

Circle H Farms Top Soil:
-Screened -Compost Enriched

Alltreat Farms All Purpose Potting Soil:
-A Blend of "Rich Organic Material": Peat Sedge, Compost and Horticultural Grade Peat Moss

Bonus:
Miracle Gro Organic Choice Bone Meal

Sly13Cat 04-08-2012 02:18 PM

I need a answer right now because whichever of these is good (or the best), I'm gonna leave out to dry until tomorrow and I need to know which one of these is good to use so I can get started. So basically I plan on leaving it out to dry overnight and adding it to the aquarium tomorrow so which one(s) can I use and which is the best? Also can I add the bone meal to make it better? The reason I need the info now is because I'm buying the grass tomorrow.

Thank You,
Sly13Cat

Byron 04-08-2012 02:58 PM

I really do not recomend soil, so I cannot offer help. Sorry.

fish monger 04-08-2012 06:19 PM

The soil sounds like disaster soup to me. Maybe use it for a plant only aquarium. The look you're trying to achieve usually doesn't include fish. In any event, best of luck.

Sly13Cat 04-15-2012 06:58 PM

Aquascaping NPT
 
In the NPT tank I plan on making I want a very good aquascape as it's very hard to change the look of one. I'm using an inch of Miracle Gro Organic Potting Mix with an inch of substrate to top it off. But I want to know what substrate looks really nice to use until the Dwarf Hairgrass I plan on using can form a carpet.

I'm going to use a 10 gallon tank with 1 Betta and 7 Pygmy Cories (There'll be 4 Dalmatian mollies until I can get the cories).

The lighting is those normal orange CF light bulbs that come with the tank. I could change the lighting to a better color based on your suggestions.

The plants will be a carpet of Dwarf Hairgrass with 1 red ludwigia in the middle. You can also suggest plants that would complement those mentioned above. I'm going for a field look or I geuss you could say a Iguami set up with a NPT substrate and lighting.
I'm going to use Flourish liquid fertilizer as a fert and flourish tabs cut in quarters in the dirt. No C02. I'll change my ferts based on your recomendations.


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