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I just got my first tank a couple months ago. It's a 20gal I inherited (along with some Cories I would not have chosen myself) from family who got tired of the hobby. I'm super excited to get started!

I got the tank cleaned up and all but one of the Cories made it through the transition. Now I'm trying to decide the direction I will go from here. When I see all the beautiful pictures of planted tanks you guys post I really want to get new substrate (what came with it is pink plastic-y looking gravel stuff) and do a planted aquarium, but when I read all the research material on planted aquariums I get a bit overwhelmed.

So here's my question: As a total beginner will plants make the whole process more complicated or less so?

If you do think plants are a good idea... which ones do I start with and where do I get them? (I live an hour away from the nearest "Fish store"... We have a PetCo and PetSmart but that's it. Are there website I can buy my supplies?)

Thanks in advance for any help!!! :-D
 

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I just got my first tank a couple months ago. It's a 20gal I inherited (along with some Cories I would not have chosen myself) from family who got tired of the hobby. I'm super excited to get started!

I got the tank cleaned up and all but one of the Cories made it through the transition. Now I'm trying to decide the direction I will go from here. When I see all the beautiful pictures of planted tanks you guys post I really want to get new substrate (what came with it is pink plastic-y looking gravel stuff) and do a planted aquarium, but when I read all the research material on planted aquariums I get a bit overwhelmed.

So here's my question: As a total beginner will plants make the whole process more complicated or less so?

If you do think plants are a good idea... which ones do I start with and where do I get them? (I live an hour away from the nearest "Fish store"... We have a PetCo and PetSmart but that's it. Are there website I can buy my supplies?)

Thanks in advance for any help!!! :-D
go with real lifing aquatic plants. they will make the whole process much less complicated.

See link in my signature.

my .02
 

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Real plants are always a good idea but go with what you're comfortable with. I started my tanks with all artificial and then slowly mixed in some easy, low light plants and slowly replaced all the fake plants with real. I just stick to easy to grow plants such as Anubias, java fern, some low light swords, crypts and anacharis. I have no special lighting and just dose a liquid fert once a week. I have some root tabs that I put in every few months for the swords and crypt.

Anyway, there's no shame on using fake plants. You can do some real nice landscaping with them and very low maintenance, just the occasional rinsing off. But there are benefits to using real plants.
 
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go with real lifing aquatic plants. they will make the whole process much less complicated.

See link in my signature.

my .02
I meant living :lol::lol:
 

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Real plants are always a good idea but go with what you're comfortable with. I started my tanks with all artificial and then slowly mixed in some easy, low light plants and slowly replaced all the fake plants with real. I just stick to easy to grow plants such as Anubias, java fern, some low light swords, crypts and anacharis. I have no special lighting and just dose a liquid fert once a week. I have some root tabs that I put in every few months for the swords and crypt.

Anyway, there's no shame on using fake plants. You can do some real nice landscaping with them and very low maintenance, just the occasional rinsing off. But there are benefits to using real plants.
I agree. While I only have live and the benefits of live are significant I agree it's a good idea to go with that which is most comfortable.

If you are the least worried about the care of live plants then start out with silk and gradually go over to live as you gain confidence.
 

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go with real lifing aquatic plants. they will make the whole process much less complicated.

See link in my signature.

my .02
I read your post... can you explain what "pro choice select" is? The link takes me to something about baseball fields, but doesn't point to a specific product.

Also, will your method work even though I already have fish? You were pretty specific about how long to wait and how many fish to add...

Thanks for your help.
 

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I read your post... can you explain what "pro choice select" is? The link takes me to something about baseball fields, but doesn't point to a specific product.

Also, will your method work even though I already have fish? You were pretty specific about how long to wait and how many fish to add...

Thanks for your help.
they have changed their web site and product packaging.

http://proschoice1.com/products/infield-conditioners/

They are infield conditioners and are a baked clay.

It has been some time since I contacted them but when I did they emailed me back local sources. The local company ordered a pallet and I got 4 bags. they were of the order of $7 or so for a 50 pound bag.

I use it as a top layer because it looks good and had things like iron that seem to help the plants.

The peat moss keeps gh and kh constant for at least two years and neon tetras thrive with the peat but do not do well without peat. Without peat gh and kh rise to very high levels.

The sand traps the peat to prevent things from floating around.

Planting before filling the tank also helps and results in a tank that is immediately clear.

Before that I would just fill the tank and plant the plants which resulted in a very cloudy initial tank which, with no circulation cleared up, in a couple of days.

I suspect you could just use aquarium gravel on top but that is more expensive.

my .02
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the input, everyone. I think I will just start with silk and work toward adding live as I go along. Great advice.
 

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I know you decided on starting with silk, but I just wanted to let you know that PetCo carries live plants in tubes. They come in three different sizes, and are pretty inexpensive (4.99-9.99). What they label as "Tropica Fern" is actually Java Fern, and is typically not just one plant, but a bundle of smaller plants. Java Fern is fairly low-maintainance and looks great. It might be a good place to start, once you're ready. :)
 

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Another thing i have done in the past, is allow some algae buildup on the back wall. Remember that Algae is a plant, is literally 0 maintenance, and provides many of the same benefits of 'planted' plants. Of course you don't want it to build up too much, but some is okay, and depending on the type of fish you're stocking, even provides an alternate food source. Just remember, you are NOT limiting your fish by choosing not to use real plants right away. :)
 

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Thanks for all the great advice.

After I wrote last I changed my mind and decided to go with real. When I started wanting to get into the hobby it was because of the beautiful planted tanks I kept seeing so really going with artificial would be cheating myself out of what I really wanted (I know you can do some beautiful tanks with artificial but that just isn't my dream).

I watched a TON of Dustin's Fish Tanks videos on YouTube and I"m planning to use his method of dirted tanks.

I have the dirt, gravel, and tank... now I'm just waiting for the driftwood I ordered to come in :)

Super excited to get started!:lol:
 

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Thanks for all the great advice.

After I wrote last I changed my mind and decided to go with real. When I started wanting to get into the hobby it was because of the beautiful planted tanks I kept seeing so really going with artificial would be cheating myself out of what I really wanted (I know you can do some beautiful tanks with artificial but that just isn't my dream).

I watched a TON of Dustin's Fish Tanks videos on YouTube and I"m planning to use his method of dirted tanks.

I have the dirt, gravel, and tank... now I'm just waiting for the driftwood I ordered to come in :)

Super excited to get started!:lol:
good idea. Keep us posted and best tank ever
 

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go with real lifing aquatic plants. they will make the whole process much less complicated.

See link in my signature.

my .02
lifing sould be living. but hopefully you all figured that out. :lol:
 
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