First planted tank (55gal)
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Old 10-13-2008, 10:56 PM   #1
workitout
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First planted tank (55gal)


Hey everyone, this is my first adventure into planted tank land, and I'm really excited but could use some guidance to get started.

Tank: 55gal (48 x 12.5 x 21 high)
Lighting: 2 48" T-8 32W bulbs @ 6500K. Plan to go 10hrs/day
Substrate: plain old black aquarium gravel
CO2: none
Ferts: none

As you can see, this is designed to be a low-light, low-maintenance tank with slow growth and no regular fert dosing and no CO2.

Planned bioload:
2-3 angels
6 zebra danios
8-10 fish schools of both harlequin rasboras & tetras (haven't quite decided which)
6 ottos...i like yoyo or clown loaches too, but I wan't the anti-algae effect of the ottos

Planned aquascaping:
I am going to try and avoid driftwood. Thinking more of a lush tropical streambed using stones as hardscape. Of course, I am limited to plants with low light requirements, won't need CO2, and won't require any fancy substrate or ferts. This is where you guys come in

Plants I'm thinking of:
crypts for taller growth in the back/sides
anubias as broad leaf midground plant
java moss to go on some of the rocks
something for the foreground - something that I would arrange in little patches of the foreground with gravel & rocks. Would this be like a sword of some type? or a grass?

that's my planning so far. I'd like to get some variation of color in the plants, but sticking to a budget and the low-maintenance requirements of the tank. Any thoughts on the plants, fish, any other aspect of the tank?
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Old 10-14-2008, 03:38 AM   #2
LiquidEric
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Default Java Fern

Some Java fern is a nice dark green low light plant.
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My last tank http://www.plantedtank.net/tankgallery/Liquid-Eric/31/
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Old 10-14-2008, 05:21 PM   #3
jerrybforl
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well the more plants you put in the more CO2 is absorbed so if you want a nice lush jungle as you said your going to need CO2 trust me my tank is 55 gal also and i learned my way through many a dollar figuring out that you need CO2 and ferts are important. but the really nice plants with color require more lite so your limited with your lite restrictions. you need the tank to have between 2 and 3watts per gallon. and you need a substrate in just gravel or rocks something for the plants to anchor into. crypts are nice but dont really grow tall. try anchoris it is hardy and well do well in anything. java moss is good too and looks great on a small piece of dw. you could glue in rock structures on the backside of the glass and mount in anubias all over that would be cool i am currently working on a project doing the same. GE Silicon 1 is the one to use if you do. but before you do anything (spending money) do your homework. you can put a lot of money in and not get satisfying results. so hope this helps and have fun use your imagination.
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Old 10-14-2008, 05:28 PM   #4
bradac56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by workitout View Post
Hey everyone, this is my first adventure into planted tank land, and I'm really excited but could use some guidance to get started.

Tank: 55gal (48 x 12.5 x 21 high)
Lighting: 2 48" T-8 32W bulbs @ 6500K. Plan to go 10hrs/day
Substrate: plain old black aquarium gravel
CO2: none
Ferts: none

As you can see, this is designed to be a low-light, low-maintenance tank with slow growth and no regular fert dosing and no CO2.

Planned bioload:
2-3 angels
6 zebra danios
8-10 fish schools of both harlequin rasboras & tetras (haven't quite decided which)
6 ottos...i like yoyo or clown loaches too, but I wan't the anti-algae effect of the ottos

Planned aquascaping:
I am going to try and avoid driftwood. Thinking more of a lush tropical streambed using stones as hardscape. Of course, I am limited to plants with low light requirements, won't need CO2, and won't require any fancy substrate or ferts. This is where you guys come in

Plants I'm thinking of:
crypts for taller growth in the back/sides
anubias as broad leaf midground plant
java moss to go on some of the rocks
something for the foreground - something that I would arrange in little patches of the foreground with gravel & rocks. Would this be like a sword of some type? or a grass?

that's my planning so far. I'd like to get some variation of color in the plants, but sticking to a budget and the low-maintenance requirements of the tank. Any thoughts on the plants, fish, any other aspect of the tank?

Dwarf sagittaria maybe as a foreground grass that grows runners instead of roots?
You could also add some long rooted plants to give a bit of localized C02 adsorption
the natural way (that only works for those plants tho). It would have to be something that breaks the water line tho.

- Brad
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Old 10-14-2008, 05:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jerrybforl View Post
well the more plants you put in the more CO2 is absorbed so if you want a nice lush jungle as you said your going to need CO2 trust me my tank is 55 gal also and i learned my way through many a dollar figuring out that you need CO2 and ferts are important. but the really nice plants with color require more lite so your limited with your lite restrictions. you need the tank to have between 2 and 3watts per gallon. and you need a substrate in just gravel or rocks something for the plants to anchor into. crypts are nice but dont really grow tall. try anchoris it is hardy and well do well in anything. java moss is good too and looks great on a small piece of dw. you could glue in rock structures on the backside of the glass and mount in anubias all over that would be cool i am currently working on a project doing the same. GE Silicon 1 is the one to use if you do. but before you do anything (spending money) do your homework. you can put a lot of money in and not get satisfying results. so hope this helps and have fun use your imagination.
You do realize that this is the "Low Tech Forum" not the "High Tech Forum" correct?

- Brad
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Old 10-14-2008, 06:03 PM   #6
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My Java fern, crypts and anubias do very well in my low tech tank. Java fern in particular grows into very lush bunches and there are a couple different varieties to choose from.

Be careful with danios and angels. Danios can be quite the fin nippers.

Clown loaches are not an option. They grow a foot long each and need to be kept in groups.
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Old 10-14-2008, 07:20 PM   #7
workitout
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone, that's exactly what I need. Keep them coming . I love the idea of the dwarf sagitaria for the foreground, and using the java fern for some lateral growth.

Is my plan of not using substrate a pipe dream or can I get away with only gravel. I thought that some plants only used roots as anchors and absorbed nutrients through their leaves.
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Old 10-14-2008, 10:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by workitout View Post
Thanks for the suggestions everyone, that's exactly what I need. Keep them coming . I love the idea of the dwarf sagitaria for the foreground, and using the java fern for some lateral growth.

Is my plan of not using substrate a pipe dream or can I get away with only gravel. I thought that some plants only used roots as anchors and absorbed nutrients through their leaves.

Don't get to hung up on substrates you only need something that's 2mm
to 3mm in size and that won't turn to mush in a year or two. I tend to like
SMS/SAS/Turface but that's just me. I also have a community tank with
Eco and a species tank with a florite/SMS mix so it just depends on the
look your going for.

Another plant you might want to look at is Vallisneria spiralis (corkscrew
vals I like to plant them along the sides of a smaller tank.

- Brad
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Old 10-15-2008, 02:14 AM   #9
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If you want to grow a thick carpet and/or foreground then I'd encourage you to use a substrate with some nutrient content.

If not, then small gravel will work just fine.

Most rooted plants do better with some nutrient content in the substrate, but you can always use root tabs to provide this.
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