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Old 01-15-2012, 12:51 AM   #1
Iron&Salt
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Help! New to planted tanks.


Hello! I'm new to this forum and to the world of planted aquariums. It's been several years since I had fish and I'm only on day three of cycling my 10 gallon. It came with a hood, light, and 15W full spectrum daylight bulb.

My problems with wanting to grow plants start with the substrate. I decided yesterday that a tropical aquarium with live plants sounded fantastic. Of course, I'd already bought medium-sized gravel and filled the tank with water. Not ideal! So I will list my questions below.

-Is there a way to get plant-friendly substrate under the larger gravel without draining the tank? I'm sure this is just wishful thinking.

-Is a Coralife T-8 25W good for plant growth 10 gallon?

-How, exactly, do I anchor moss to the aquarium floor? I've read about using fishing line to anchor it, but to what exactly? I understand the concept when it comes to driftwood or decorations, and I've seen the mesh frames that are used to create moss walls, but I'm not sure how to get moss to stay where you plant it without floating away.

-Do I need to add an extra air line and bubbler with plants or will the filter provide enough oxygen for both fish and plants?

-What water conditions are needed to start planting? I don't have a pH test kit yet, but it's on the shopping list.

-How long should I let plants have the tank to themselves before adding fish? Should I wait until after the first pruning?

I know this is long and it's a lot of questions. I have been researching but I feel like I might be more confident going into this if I posted myself. I am on a budget, so taking my time is NO problem. Researching is all I can do until next pay day.

Thank you if you read this far! Hopefully I'll get some good advice here. I'm going to patrol the threads now.
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:50 AM   #2
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If you haven't read this, http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/PlantedTankGuide.html it is a good place to start. Then many of your questions may be answered, and we can focus on the few remaining ones.
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Old 01-15-2012, 02:33 AM   #3
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I read the algae sample section. I will definitely look into this book when the next paycheck rolls around! Thanks for the link.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:18 PM   #4
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Welcome to TPT!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iron&Salt View Post
Hello! I'm new to this forum and to the world of planted aquariums. It's been several years since I had fish and I'm only on day three of cycling my 10 gallon. It came with a hood, light, and 15W full spectrum daylight bulb.

My problems with wanting to grow plants start with the substrate. I decided yesterday that a tropical aquarium with live plants sounded fantastic. Of course, I'd already bought medium-sized gravel and filled the tank with water. Not ideal! So I will list my questions below.

-Is there a way to get plant-friendly substrate under the larger gravel without draining the tank? I'm sure this is just wishful thinking.
It would be easier to go with a different substrate, unless you want to stick with plants that don't need substrate at all, like mosses and ferns.

Quote:
-Is a Coralife T-8 25W good for plant growth 10 gallon?
Could you post a link of the fixture you're referring to?

Quote:
-How, exactly, do I anchor moss to the aquarium floor? I've read about using fishing line to anchor it, but to what exactly? I understand the concept when it comes to driftwood or decorations, and I've seen the mesh frames that are used to create moss walls, but I'm not sure how to get moss to stay where you plant it without floating away.
Cotton thread to tie onto rocks/wood or sandwich it between stainless steel mesh are what I'd recommend.

Quote:
-Do I need to add an extra air line and bubbler with plants or will the filter provide enough oxygen for both fish and plants
Bubblers shouldn't be necessary with a sufficient filter.

Quote:
-What water conditions are needed to start planting? I don't have a pH test kit yet, but it's on the shopping list.
The vast majority of plants aren't picky in regards to water parameters. Livestock can sometimes be another story.

Quote:
-How long should I let plants have the tank to themselves before adding fish? Should I wait until after the first pruning?
At least a week or to for the plants, to give them time to put down roots and be less likely to be knocked around by the plants. However- you may need to properly cycle your tank before it's safe to add fish. Do you understand how to establish the nitrogen cycle in a tank?
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Old 03-02-2012, 10:35 PM   #5
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Wow, okay, I dropped the ball on this thread. Thank you guys for the links and infromation, they helped me get a good start on my tank. I swapped probably 95% of my gravel for Eco-Complete and then layered some of the gravel back on top. Partially because I paid good money for it and partially for the color contrast. The lighting is still the same but I plan on replacing it with this whenever my budget lets me. The Coralife light I mentioned is no longer in production, so I won't bother with attaching a link or image.

I purchased quite a few plants off of aquariumplants.com and so far I haven't killed any. Here are the tank specifics. The link is broken for me but hopefully that's just my computer.

If all goes well I'm looking forward to squirreling away money and starting a 55 or 75 gallon community tank early 2013.

So, is there anything else I can improve on? That I'm doing wrong? Thanks all!
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Old 03-02-2012, 10:50 PM   #6
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Alternatively, I could just post this:



That was taken a week after planting and stocking. No plants have died, the cardinal tetras I purchased did die of something unknown (maybe neon tetra disease but I couldn't tell). I have three neons in there now doing well so far.

Plants:
* 2 Four leaf clovers (Marsilea quadrifolia) - pruned and sprouting well
* 4 Bacopa australis
* 1 Blyxa auberti
* 2 Red Tiger Lotus (Nymphaea zenkeri) bulbs, planted but not spouted
* 1 Lace Java Fern (Microsorium pteropus v. "Windelov")
* 1 Red Melon Sword (Echinodorus Barthii v. "red melon")

* 1 male Betta (lovingly named Captain Trips BEFORE the cardinal deaths)
* 3 neon tetras
* 1 oto catfish
* 1 common pleco

Notes for the pleco and lotuses: I know these suckers outgrow a 10 gallon. If the pleco grows too quickly my LFS will take him but I'm hoping to transfer him and the bigger plants when I get that second larger tank early next year. Honestly the only reason I'm considering a 75 gallon instead of settling on a 55 is for plenty of space for a two foot long fish. Having healthy space is not the same to me as having comfortable space for swimming, especially if the fish in question isn't exactly graceful.

I would like to add two more neons but I'm at capacity as is (the pleco is 1 1/2" at the moment). Can I safely add these last two fish or should I wait?
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