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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 29 with java moss and a anubia that has 3 leaves on it. I want to turn it to a planted (heavenly planted) and I want some kind of soil for my tank that is cheap and worth it. Will any do or what, what are the differences and advantages of certain soil? Tank has sand as substrate, can I still keep it? and will it cover the soil well? I only have a desk lamp to light my tank for now. I want to and I want to get a glass top and buy these lights I saw at a store with like 5 LED bulbs each for like $5 and I want to get several to stick them onto the glass and light the tank (lights have a sticky back with rechargeable batterys). What do you guys think about them. Thanks for looking and I will have some pictures of the tank right now. The tank is in its first 2 weeks running.
 

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i would buy a small bag of mircle grow organic choice.
i bake mine in the oven at 380 for 25 mins then mix it 50/50 with sand substrate.
you could also go to somewhere like hobby lobby and buy some red clay and break it in to small pieces and mix it in.
you gunna need some small round rocks or aquarium gravel to keemp dirt from floating
 

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If you are going to buy soil use Mirage grow organic choice potting mix. You don't have to bake it either. As far as topping it off with sand that will work. I have the same setup but have black sand over my soil.
Also I not to sure about the LED lights working for plants. I know I have seen where ppl use them just not so sure about the ones you are talking about so will let someone else sit in there.

On the anubias its best to tie them to a rock or driftwood. If you bury the rhizome(The part the leaves come out of from the top and the roots come out from the bottom. If you didn't know.) it can rot.
 

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i bake mine because i dont want to sift through the soil some bags have branches and stuff in them that will release stuff into your water. but i guess if you sift through all of it you should be ok.
 

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i bake mine because i dont want to sift through the soil some bags have branches and stuff in them that will release stuff into your water. but i guess if you sift through all of it you should be ok.
I did sift a little out but that was just big sticks. Its done fine with me never leeched ammonia or nitrites/nitrates for that matter. Know others that have the same outcome. Though I have a fairly well planted tank from the get go also. Op if you go this route it would be best to monitor your water parameters for a few weeks to be sure the soil doesn't leech anything before adding fish. I did the same btw
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks good to know I dont need to use gravel. And thanks for the tip I will tie it in the morning, too tired from today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have like 40 pounds of sand in the tank and there is a good 2 inches of sand covering the tank.
 

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I have like 40 pounds of sand in the tank and there is a good 2 inches of sand covering the tank.
Btw is there a reason you are wanting to switch to soil? You can achieve the same outcome with the sand you have now. You will just have to add root tablets for root feeders
 

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Have you considered something like eco-complete or another, similar substrate? Its 20lbs/$20. Not too bad.
I second the Organic miracle grow suggestion as well as the notion your tanks will be happy with the sand you have, try getting some root tabs in there if you plan for plants like swords,etc. A good comprehensive fertilizer (liquid) will help the water column feeders.
 

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"Root Tabs" are solid chunks of fertilizer that you place under the substrate near rooted plants to provide them with the nutrients they need.

"Eco Complete" is a nutrient enhanced gravel, but you had said you do not like the look of gravel (you can do the same thing of putting it under the sand to hide it though).

Only substrate rooted plants mainly rely on nutrients in the substrate. Stem plants, floating plants, and non-substrate rooted plants (like what you have now) mainly get their nutrients from the water itself. For those plants you need to use a liquid fertilizer (most here recommend flourish comprehensive).

I'm not sure what you mean by "green"? If you mean not having to add any fertilizer, I'm afraid that won't be possible/practical. You can use soil with rooted plants, but the nutrients will not last forever, you'll have to replace the soil every so often to replenish. You would only be able to have substrate rooted plants (example swords and crypts).

For the LED lights ... are they marketed for plants? Or give a Kelvin temperature rating (for example 5500K)? Most LED light fixtures for aquariums, particularly for plants, cost a whole lot more than $5... I just want to make sure you get the right thing. Any old light isn't good enough unfortunately, plants need specific wavelengths, most people have the best luck using daylight bulbs around the ~6700K area (plus or minus 1000K). In addition the lights need to have a high enough intensity (people often have enough light in their aquarium to light an entire room).
 

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Geomancer has exampled it pretty well just one thing I would advice against and that's putting sand over eco-complete. Eco-complete is pretty much enriched gravel. If you put sand over that the smaller particles of the sand will eventually make its way down through the gravel and then you will see the eco-complete. I wouldn't advice doing this as it will be a mess and impossible to keep it the way you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Awesome, I think I am going to get the tabs. What I meant by making it green is that I want to make it like "forest" so to speak> I want to keep swords and other plants that are rooted. I wont get the eco complete but Will the tabs be good enough? and how many?

And as for the lighting I am just going to get a normal florecent top for the aquarium. What kind of bulb should I get?
 

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Yes the root tabs will be good for rooted plants. As far as how many well you can put one next to each plant about a couple inches from the base of the plant. Just push the tab into the sand as far as you can. You can also add a liquid fertilizer once a week and between to the two you will be good as the the heavy root feeders will benefit from the root tabs and stem plants will benefit from the liquid fertilizer.
On the lights did your tank come with a hood/light?
I am trying to remember the size of your tank(I had one that size not to long ago) am thinking a 30" fixture will fit in top. Do you have a glass top for the tank? You want something between the light and water. Now if you have a hood/light for the tank already this wont matter. Now in the bulb you can get one that is a daylight bulb some where between 5000k - 7000k. K is Kelvin and every bulb has this rating and it should be in the package or the bulb itself. Go to any hardware store and look for one. They are much cheaper then buying bulbs at a fish store.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The tank I have only came with the tank and the stand for $15 off craigslis. Then I had to buy the filter and heater for $10 used from a saltwater aquarium store. Filter did not come with the cartridge and for now I am using some java moss in the filter as a cartridge. I am good when it comes to finding deals but the light is like 50 new so I am going to have to wait a while. There is maybe about 45-50 invested in this tank. So no it did not come with a hood. The only thing lighting the tank right now is a 100watt incondecent bulb from an old table lamp.
 

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The tank I have only came with the tank and the stand for $15 off craigslis. Then I had to buy the filter and heater for $10 used from a saltwater aquarium store. Filter did not come with the cartridge and for now I am using some java moss in the filter as a cartridge. I am good when it comes to finding deals but the light is like 50 new so I am going to have to wait a while. There is maybe about 45-50 invested in this tank. So no it did not come with a hood. The only thing lighting the tank right now is a 100watt incondecent bulb from an old table lamp.
I understand being cheap and cutting corners but there are just something you can't on filter media is on. If it was me I would pull the Java moss out and plant it in the tank. Then I would get some course filter pads and some filter floss and put in the filter. That's about the cheapest way to do it and will work much better then Java moss. Now on the lights and glass too. First you could get some Plexiglas cut and put that on the too of the tank. This can be done at Lowe's I did that for awhile on my 55 gallon. Now on the lights you can get some clamp lamps from the same place aid then get some daylight CFL bulbs. I have two of these sitting on my 10 gallon tank now
2012-01-11 13.12.24.jpg
Doesn't look the greatest but it works. Now the wattage will be different from what I have but will still work.
 

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I do not recommend soil. I'll explain why; but first, let me say that soil can work and work well. But it does carry issues, and I do not consider that the minimal benefit of soil is sufficient to off-set what can often occur. It is possible to have a lush "forest" planted tank without soil. The attached photo of one of my tanks, the 70g flooded Amazon forest setup, illustrates this.

Soil is the most involved method of setting up a planted tank, and if done properly it can take months to become "established." During this period, most sources do not recommend adding fish to the tank. And from all my research to date, the only benefit to soil that I have been able to discern is additional CO2 from the outset. There is no nutrient benefit. All aquatic plants obtain their nutrients from the water column. Nutrients contained in the "soil" have to enter the water column before the plant roots can assimilate them, same as terrestrial plants. This is why you can use plain sand or fine gravel and add nutrients into that substrate and the plants will benefit just as much. The CO2 initially is greater because there will be more bacteria in the soil to break down organics; but organics and nutrients in the soil get used up and have to be added from then on. And this also occurs with sand or fine gravel, it just takes a bit longer initially to establish the biological system.

Your two inches of sand will be a very suitable substrate. As someone mentioned, the only plants benefiting from nutrients in the substrate are substrate-rooted plants. Nutrients can be added via tablets for heavy feeding plants like swords, but liquid nutrient fertilizing via the water column will suffice all aquarium plants.

The most important equipment in a planted tank is the light. Without good light plants will not thrive, and might die off. Good light means sufficient intensity for the type of plants you want--and there are differences--and a good spectrum. We can go into this more later, but you might find useful information in the 4-part series "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" stickied at the head of this section of the forum.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks all. Well right now money is tight and I mean tight, sucks haha. Well I will be doing this in the near future like in 3-5 month when situations get better. Having a tank is what makes life bearable right now to keep my mind of things. I am going to some glass and cut it out to the mesurements persicely to the tank and leave just emough room for the filter and heater and some for air to travel through easiely. As for the light I have to wait a for a while and I will get a good one for the tank.

For the filter thing, the java moss is both in the tank and in the filter. In the filter the light I have right now reaches the java in the filter to give it light to grow and since it is not a high light requireing plant it can do for now. There is a good amount of java in the filter so it blocks the heavy stuff and the light stuff, the java is good for taking away the ammonia and nitrates, I was going to do the same thing as getting some filter pads but the tank only has 2 fish in there soo yeah. The Anubia also is not demanding for the light, Yes the will both do better in higher light. The plant has been there for about a week and no rotting or yellow, java has been there 3 days and doing grate.

Thanks to every one helping!
 
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