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Hey everyone,

I'm planning on converting my freshwater gravel tank with fake plants to a true planted tank. I have a few questions before I make the switch. The tank is 15 gallons and has 2 dwarf gouramis.

1. What type of substrate would work best for a planted tank? Ideally, I'd prefer a sand substrate as I plan to add a school of 6 Cories. If there aren't any plants that can grow in sand, are there any fine soils that don't require fertilizers?

2. What plants would work best for my tank? I'd prefer plants that are relatively low-maintence, can thrive in many light conditions, and don't require CO2. With regard to the sizes of plants, I would like some taller plants (12-14") to hide my filter and heater, a few medium-sized plants (6-8") to put in patches, and some moss to somewhat carpet the bottom, but to leave enough open sand/soil that the Cories can burrow in. I also might like to put a few floating plants in.

3. How much light do plants need to grow? The reason I ask is that I am unsure what wattage my current lighting system is. I know it's an LED fixture with 12 individual diodes, but it came with the starter kit I purchased, so I wouldn't be surprised if it isn't very bright. The tank is shown with the lights on in the pictures of my 15G aquarium. How bright would you estimate the lights are?

4. Does this sound like a good setup? I'm planning on trying to recreate a South American stream. I'm going to slope the sand or soil gradually with the highest end being on the right and the lowest being on the left. Then I'm going to place a few flat stones in the substrate and probably tie the moss to these rocks. Then, I'm going to place the tall and medium sized plants in patches in the substrate, so there's plenty of open sand.

I don't know the selection available at my LFS or any of my water parameters, but I'm going to post an update tomorrow containing these.

Thanks.
 

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I also really need help before I make any purchases, so even if you can't all answer all of the questions I have, please try to answer some that you do know. Update coming sometime later today.

Thanks.
 

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Hey everyone,

I'm planning on converting my freshwater gravel tank with fake plants to a true planted tank. I have a few questions before I make the switch. The tank is 15 gallons and has 2 dwarf gouramis.

1. What type of substrate would work best for a planted tank? Ideally, I'd prefer a sand substrate as I plan to add a school of 6 Cories. If there aren't any plants that can grow in sand, are there any fine soils that don't require fertilizers?
Provided with the correct lighting, plants will grow in just about anything. If you're interested in sand, you can choose to do a sand capped walstad style tank. This involves a base layer of Miracle Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix and then capping it with an inch of sand. You will need to heavily plant a walstad style tank.

Plain sand works by itself as well. Look into purchasing pool filter sand. It's the same stuff and much more economical.

2. What plants would work best for my tank? I'd prefer plants that are relatively low-maintence, can thrive in many light conditions, and don't require CO2. With regard to the sizes of plants, I would like some taller plants (12-14") to hide my filter and heater, a few medium-sized plants (6-8") to put in patches, and some moss to somewhat carpet the bottom, but to leave enough open sand/soil that the Cories can burrow in. I also might like to put a few floating plants in.
For tall easy tall plants I'd consider some larger crypts, amazon swords and vallisnera. These basically get to a certain height and remain just so tall you may need to add some root tabs.

If you're in for a bit more trimming maintenance, I'd do stem plants in the back, stem plants are generally fast growing and soak up nutrients pretty quickly.

Water wisteria, Elodea (anacharis) cabomba, hornwort, pennywort - these are all fairly easy plants.

To make your life easier, I'd pick a plant package from sites like this one and take the plunge into plants. You can always slowly switch out the ones you don't like, but the only reason you'd have to dislike an aquatic plant is if it's annoying, like duckweed :p

(I believe there's also a coupon code floating around somewhere for plantedaquariumscentral.com)

3. How much light do plants need to grow? The reason I ask is that I am unsure what wattage my current lighting system is. I know it's an LED fixture with 12 individual diodes, but it came with the starter kit I purchased, so I wouldn't be surprised if it isn't very bright. The tank is shown with the lights on in the pictures of my 15G aquarium. How bright would you estimate the lights are?
You have many options for lighting. You can go for a fancy LED from finnex, or you can do some DIY CFLs. It really depends on how much you want to invest. As for the light that came with your aquarium, likely it doesn't output the right spectrum for plant growth. Can you post a picture of it? I couldn't find it in your album :)


4. Does this sound like a good setup? I'm planning on trying to recreate a South American stream. I'm going to slope the sand or soil gradually with the highest end being on the right and the lowest being on the left. Then I'm going to place a few flat stones in the substrate and probably tie the moss to these rocks. Then, I'm going to place the tall and medium sized plants in patches in the substrate, so there's plenty of open sand.
I think slopes can be a challenge, you might want to look into ways to reinforce the slope as they tend to flatten out over time.
 

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you could click on the link in my signature to get a few ideas.

Worth at most .02
 

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planted ank crashing

I just started (well 5 months ago) my 120 gal planted tank. All was well until last week. my plants are dying now and I seem to have brown algae everywhere. the only change was the height and time setting on my lights plus took off my glass tops. could that make that much of a difference?
 

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