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Old 01-02-2013, 04:18 AM   #1
TECKSPEED
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New to Planted Tanks, Need Advice!!!


Recently signing up for the forum I have been scrolling through for countless hours I figured you guys would be the best help in answering my questions. Currently I have two Java Fern, two "banana plants", a tall background amazon sword along with mid ground ones as well. A few questions I'm hoping to get answered:

1) Will standard aquarium gravel be good enough for my plants to thrive and do well?

2)Dwarf Sag.....will it do well with Marineland LED lights and standard aquarium gravel? I'm looking to get a nice carpet going but worried about my substrate

3) How often to do water changes for a 20g tank? (Currently doing once or twice a month)

4) Fertilizers?....Good one for my plants to get nutrients to their roots? (preferably liquid)

Thanks in advance,

TECK
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Old 01-02-2013, 05:10 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TECKSPEED View Post
Recently signing up for the forum I have been scrolling through for countless hours I figured you guys would be the best help in answering my questions. Currently I have two Java Fern, two "banana plants", a tall background amazon sword along with mid ground ones as well. A few questions I'm hoping to get answered:

1) Will standard aquarium gravel be good enough for my plants to thrive and do well?

2)Dwarf Sag.....will it do well with Marineland LED lights and standard aquarium gravel? I'm looking to get a nice carpet going but worried about my substrate

3) How often to do water changes for a 20g tank? (Currently doing once or twice a month)

4) Fertilizers?....Good one for my plants to get nutrients to their roots? (preferably liquid)

Thanks in advance,

TECK
Welcome:

This is my opinion and of course I could be wrong, if so please chime in an correct.

1- not really, this is why there is special soil for planted tanks. Some people use dirt and cap with gravel. Depends on you at the end, if you wanna do it nicely or mediocre.

2- dunno, sounds impossible.

3- depends on your livestock and technique. I had a tank where I only changed water (20%) twice a year and other where I changed 20% water once a week (52 times a year). Most people do 50% a week... Won't hurt, it helps to create a wider margin for error IMO.

4- aquatic plants mostly get their nutrients from all over the plant afaik, in this cases the root system is more dedicated to fixing P... IIRC. some other plants like crypts and swords do need nutrients more at root level therefore the use of root tabs an osmocote capsules.... However, a rich substrate would take care of that.

Do you need ferts? Well, it depends of the tank metabolism (light/plant mass/co2), livestock and feeding habits too. Liquid ferts suck, they are extremely expensive in comparison with dry.

Seems like you need to do some basic reading about planted aquaria, use the stickies and the search engine.

I hope that helps a bit.
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:49 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TECKSPEED View Post
Recently signing up for the forum I have been scrolling through for countless hours I figured you guys would be the best help in answering my questions. Currently I have two Java Fern, two "banana plants", a tall background amazon sword along with mid ground ones as well. A few questions I'm hoping to get answered:

1) Will standard aquarium gravel be good enough for my plants to thrive and do well?

2)Dwarf Sag.....will it do well with Marineland LED lights and standard aquarium gravel? I'm looking to get a nice carpet going but worried about my substrate

3) How often to do water changes for a 20g tank? (Currently doing once or twice a month)

4) Fertilizers?....Good one for my plants to get nutrients to their roots? (preferably liquid)

Thanks in advance,

TECK
I'm new to the form and fairly new to planted tanks, although I've had a fish tank throughout my whole life, just with plastic plants. From what I know, gravel provides the least nutrients for your plants. Unfortunately I already set my tank up with regular gravel, so the type of plants I can have are limited, even with CO2. From personal experience, the java ferns are pretty hardy and will probably be ok in the gravel. If you don't have fish or anything yet though, you should consider changing to some other type of substrate. you can even save the water you have now to avoid having through the cycling.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:00 PM   #4
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IME gravel is fine for the above mentioned plants. however you wont be able to use root tabs as with such a coarse substrate it will leech into the water. make sure you do not bury java fern, instead tie it to something...
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:23 PM   #5
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Welcome to the Forum.

1) Will standard aquarium gravel be good enough for my plants to thrive and do well?Live YES, Thrive NO. I suggest you spend a some more countless hours on the Substrate forum.

2)Dwarf Sag.....will it do well with Marineland LED lights and standard aquarium gravel? I'm looking to get a nice carpet going but worried about my substrate
+ a few more hours on the Lighting Forum, several members have threads on this light.

3) How often to do water changes for a 20g tank? I do 20% a wk.

4) Fertilizers?....Good one for my plants to get nutrients to their roots? (preferably liquid)You find some info on the Substrate forum, look at Root Tab topics.

It's best to ask specific questions AFTER you do your own basic research.

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Old 01-02-2013, 02:08 PM   #6
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Thanks for all your reply's, I have had a fish tank for years now but just started getting into the planted tank side of things. I will do more research on the forums. Thanks again for all of your input
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:14 PM   #7
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how long has that tank been up and running? if it is well established you should be ok to try other hardy plants. i have a good friend who has 55 that has been up and running for 2 years with the basic aquarium gravel, and i have been slowly feeding him plants for his tank and other than getting ripped up by his giant fish and being limited by a t8 light they do very well.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:08 AM   #8
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I have had the tank running for about two weeks, like I said I'm a newbie to the planted aquarium. As far as the Java fern i don't have much to secure it too. What do you guys suggest?

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Old 01-03-2013, 04:26 AM   #9
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I would change the substrate and use a soil substrate capped with sand/pea gravel. I started off just like you trying to use regular gravel, but I just broke down and used dirt. IMO you will end up switching substrates anyway if you are really serious about planted tanks. Also pick up a piece of driftwood to tie your java fern to
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:50 PM   #10
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Yeah I may switch substrate, but what do i do with all of my gravel after i switch because i wont need it all to cover the dirt. That's the only question that I cant answer, granted the gravel was cheap but still there will be excess
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:59 PM   #11
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Go to the Substrate forum and research Miracle Grow potting soil. You can do a MG & Sand Cap for under $20. Rinse out the gravel you have, with 20 to 1 Water/Bleach, box it up and store for a future tank.

BTW - If you have a friend in construction, a bucket of job site sand will work. Maybe you can get that for free.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:30 PM   #12
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Cool thank you everyone for your input it has been great help to me
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:58 AM   #13
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You and I are in similar situations. I have two established tanks but with gravel. One tank is 37 gal with a bunch of fish and a 10 gal with 3 gold fish. I recently got into planet aquariums as well, I totally wish I started with substrate in my bigger tank, but now it would be a bit difficult w/o stressing out my fish. I've finally decided to redo my 10 gal tank though (hopefully this weekend).

Be sure to save the water from the tank now so that you wont have to cycle the water again. Driftwood would be good for the java fern. I actually have a few java ferns on driftwood in my larger tank and it's been growing for over a year.

Anyways, I'd definitely recommend changing to substrate now while it's still a practical option, you wont regret it.
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:12 AM   #14
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Thanks for you advice, i only have a 20 gallon tank and have been fiddling around with my tank quite a bit lately so i am already stressing my fish out
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