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Discussion Starter #1
I am new to owning an aquarium and am putting my tank idea all together before I go out and buy everything. I was thinking of using eco-complete (was suggested to me) and getting a couple of plants. But the thing I am worried about is maybe a planted tank might be to difficult or very time consuming for a beginner? Any thoughts? If you don't think it is what would be some good plants for a 10 gallon tank with lets say some panda cory's and dwarf gourami's or neon tetras? (still working it out with so many fish to choose from).
 

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I think learning about keeping the fish alive is most important for a beginner, so while adding some plants that are extremely hard to kill, like java moss and what not would be good for the fish, going all out on the plants is just going to provide a whole new set of variables to have to learn to navigate. I think you would be best learning one thing at a time. Trying to do too much too fast is never good.

There are some people that seem more into the plants than they are the fish, and they will probably disagree.
 

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Honestly, if you get some plants that are hardy and right for your water it isnt difficult. I suggest java moss and java fern and you can try others that you like. If they dont do well in ur tank then u know not to get that kind again. I dont feel like adding a few plants adds to the difficulty. In fact, i think not having plants makes things harder.
 

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In the past i never had any type of live plants(even fake ones) in my tanks because i always had aggressive predator fish . I'd Never had any problem with My water because i was doing 25 percent water changes 3 times a week (75 percent all together for a week) . Clean the sand and gravel twice a week


i had one fish that lived 15 years and the other fishes average a life span to 8- 12 years that never had one plant in their tanks..
I had to give up dozens of fishes away because they were getting way to big for my tanks(even in my 150 gallon where my 3 red devils that were so aggressive too each other(when they started to grow like monsters) they also destroyed that tanks gravel and also the driftwoods were torn up by them(imagine if i plants in that tank?) my good they would've been rip apart .


Now since im older i wanted to try something different than aggressive fish .

Semi aggressive fish (tiger barbs) some plants and snails.

as for now i three types of plants (newbie in plants)in my 90 gallon

sword -- doing good
red tiger lotus that ive just pick up a couple a days ago --looking nice (my personal favorite)
9 little bushes of dwarf hair grass -- i dont wont it to carpet around the tank and spread runners around ( i like the bush look instead) so i trim it our rip out the runner that spreads (not much so)just alittle bit of runners

I'm just saying that you dont really need plants in the tank if you maintain your tank water with good weekly water changes and clean your gravel or sand base good(it also depends what size of tank you have too)
 

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Since you are spending time, doing the research on fish etc., I'd say you will enjoy the hobby and be willing to put time into keeping a nice tank. A 10 gallon won't be hard to maintain :)

Plants are not hard, but you may spend a bit extra on fertilizer, like Flourish Comprehensive. I've had my bottle for over a year, so it lasts a long time. You can get a sword or java fern at PetCo for pretty cheap.

Since I know your looking at a 6,500K light, your plants should do just fine. I think fish prefer live plants.

I have playsand in my tanks, and my plants do fine. Playsand is super cheap, and for a 10 gal a pretty fast rinsing project, to get it clean. I just did this for my newly set up 10 gal.

I'm not sure what your water ph and hardness is, but to me, that is what should determine the fish you get, unless you want to mess with adding RO water (to keep many of the tetras etc). If you do have softer water, with a lower ph, I think a nice school of 10-15 Cardinal tetras would be so nice looking in a 10 gallon. A bit nicer looking than neons, but also more expensive, typically.

Gwen
 

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I think plants are a must for the value they bring to the water quality, the value they bring to the fish in terms of cover and the value of the beauty and pride in having a tank with live plants.

Go with easy to care for plants which are usually inexpensive.

Here are a few of my favorites:

- Anubias - there are a number of different species and although they are considered easy it is still one of my favorites.

- Java Moss - looks great added to a piece of wood

- Java Fern

- Water Sprite

-Frogbit - I love the natural look of the dangling roots and great cover for the fish.

Flourish Comprehensive and lights and you are good to go.....

Make sure you update us with pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the feedback! :) I notice everyone suggesting the Java fern which is the plant I was actually looking to get. Reading some of the comments I don't think I will go "all out" anymore but will settle for 2-3 Java ferns. would it be necessary for me to have my tank bottom filled with eco complete or dirt? or could I use pebbles and them be okay? I am trying to go for something that looks natural that the fish would like and would be appealing to the eye. I can't find 6500k 10w light bulbs in my area do you guys think it would be okay to use 6500k 14w or possibly a 500k 14w for plant growth etc?
 

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You don't need Eco-complete or dirt (unless you just want it). Plant will grow just fine in gravel or sand. You have to watch the size of the gravel through anything too large and the plants might have some difficulty. Plus if the gravel us too large it is easy for decay to get into the cracks and cause water issues. If you get the basic aquarium gravel that's small you want have a problem. I personally like sand better as I think it gives it a more natural look.

You may know this already but if not you don't want to bury the rhizome on the Java ferns into the substrate no matter what it is as it can rot and kill the plant. Its best to tie the Java fern to driftwood or rocks.
 

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Thanks for all the feedback! :) I notice everyone suggesting the Java fern which is the plant I was actually looking to get. Reading some of the comments I don't think I will go "all out" anymore but will settle for 2-3 Java ferns. would it be necessary for me to have my tank bottom filled with eco complete or dirt? or could I use pebbles and them be okay? I am trying to go for something that looks natural that the fish would like and would be appealing to the eye. I can't find 6500k 10w light bulbs in my area do you guys think it would be okay to use 6500k 14w or possibly a 500k 14w for plant growth etc?
As long as the light spectrum in in the 6,500K range, you can grow plants. I just assumed your fixture only took as much as a 10watt bulb.

Java fern grows attached to something. It will attach well to a piece of malyasian drift wood. It doesn't do so well just in the substrate. I've never tried it ;-) For plants you want to get the smallest pebbles you can find, this is why good ol' playsand that you can buy at Walmart or HomeDepot for less than $3.00 is nice.
 

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You don't need Eco-complete or dirt (unless you just want it). Plant will grow just fine in gravel or sand. Y
I agree. Never have used Eco-complete or anything other then sand or gravel. Plants are in every tank in my house and the only ones that have issues is the tank with my African Cichlids(but the do like the java fern tied to wood) and the one with my blue crays who just enjoy chopping plants because they are crazy. Aquarium plant keeping is not hard at all in my experience.
 

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Plants will grow just fine in gravel. I will tell ya tho, trying to re enact a natural environment became more important to me the more i got into the hobby and now i wish jnwould have started with a sandy substrate as opposed to gravel. I am changing all my substrates to eco complete ( just because i prefer it). I feel like my tanks with gravel look like a seafood restaurant aquarium hahah. Not that gravel tanks cant look nice, i just prefer the more natural sandy/ dirt look. Get whatever you enjoy. I do suggest some nice driftwood. Its beautiful and adds a really nice touch to ur tank. IF you like it :) happy tanking
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Plants will grow just fine in gravel. I will tell ya tho, trying to re enact a natural environment became more important to me the more i got into the hobby and now i wish jnwould have started with a sandy substrate as opposed to gravel. I am changing all my substrates to eco complete ( just because i prefer it). I feel like my tanks with gravel look like a seafood restaurant aquarium hahah. Not that gravel tanks cant look nice, i just prefer the more natural sandy/ dirt look. Get whatever you enjoy. I do suggest some nice driftwood. Its beautiful and adds a really nice touch to ur tank. IF you like it :) happy tanking
I feel the same way! I like the natural look it gives. I will have to find some driftwood to go with the tank.
 

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I think some of the easier plants would be good to try as a beginner. :) Don't get anything too picky though! I have some crypts, java fern, and anubias that I neglected for over a year... hardly any light, no water changes, no filter, no fertilization... my fish tank was just sitting empty with plants, and they are still alive. The fern and anubias died back and aren't doing amazing, but it appears they are hard to kill. In fact, the crypts reproduce a bit. So, I think as a beginner you should try some of those maybe.
 

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I wasn't going to wade in as there are lots of opinions here already. In my view, it doesn't matter if you do or don't go with plants... although they are a benefit to the fish and interesting in their own right It's all a matter of what you research. You already are looking into setting up a tank and the fact that you are asking questions beforehand means that you can start out however you want and avoid all the errors that listening to some petstores and unknown sources might introduce.

The short stories:

Starting with plants allows you to ignore the need for a nitrogen cycle, add fish immediately and build up the shoals gradually... the more plants the more fish can be added at once. They act as filters to a degree and absorb ammonia and nitrates from the water (how much depends on plant selection and mix) and helps with the overall water quality. Lighting and fertilization are considerations.

Starting without plants with a fully developed cycle can allow you to add lots of fish at once, which has it's advantages, but the cycle can take a month or more to establish depending upon techniques used. More care needs to be taken with water quality as it is entirely up to you.

In the end, both methods will get you to the same endpoint at about the same time so it is really a matter of which you think you will prefer. You can always add plants after the fact... or you can remove them later if you don't like them.

Jeff.
 
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