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Old 07-30-2014, 02:01 PM   #1
Daniel12490
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New 50 Gallon Planted Setup Ideas


Hello All!

This is my first post here on The Planted Tank and I am looking for ideas and inspiration for my new 50 gallon planted tank. I have kept live plants before, mainly amazon swords with great success but I am looking to venture out and get more creative and variation with my plants. With that said I am looking for ideas about other aquarium plants that will fill and fit my tank nicely. I have always had envisions of a nice lush foreground carpeting plant but had no luck with baby tears. Do you guys suggest any other foreground plants to get those results? Also I want to keep some red cherry shrimp in my tank, is that a good or bad idea in a 50 gallon tank along with other community fish?

Looking forward to any great ideas!

Thank you!

Daniel
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:28 PM   #2
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Congrats on your first post!

Lets do this one at a time.

I assume this is a 50 breeder tank right? Not a 55? Ironically, I am setting up a 50 gallon right now as well. Sky is the limit on this size tank really. Has great dimensions and can really be used for a number of compositions.

Lets get some particulars:
What kind of lighting do you have?
Are you planning on CO2 injection?
Substrate idea?
Have you used fertilizers before?
Do you have a hardscape in mind or planned?

RCS can be kept in a community tank with the right fish selection.
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:42 PM   #3
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Gatekeeper,

Yes it is a 50 gallon breeder, the 55 gallon was too big for the area and the 56 gallon column aquarium from Petsmart had a crack in the glass bottom and refused to order me a new one so I didn't buy anything. Instead, I went to a better locally owned store!

For lighting I am using the Marineland led double bright lighting system. I won't be using a CO2 injector since I am not too familiar with that. As far as substrate I have read on may forums that many people use the Black Diamond Sand, I have seen user images and their plants seem to flourish and gives the tank a very nice black substrate use, so I plan on going with that. With the plants I will probably use some sort of fertilizer but am not too sure what kind.

As far as a hardscaping, I want to have a nice big piece of driftwood as a focal point with some types of moss growing and also provides the cherry shrimp with some room to play and climb and will also have local rocks from a reservoir placed randomly around the tank with moss on them as well. (That is the hope!)

How does my hardscaping idea sound and do you have any suggestion on changing or adding to it as well as my substrate plan.

Thanks!
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:52 PM   #4
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Lighting is fine. Not using CO2 will limit your foreground idea since carbon is a major component to photosynthesis. There are DIY ways of at least doing some carbon supplement (there are recipes here for it). This is also limiting and not controllable, but maybe you can give it a shot.

"Lush foreground" is a project. It demands a lot of attention and understanding of what plants need to grow to a healthy lush form. I recommend reading up on this forum in some other journals to get a better handle on the fertilizers and plant needs. There is a book you can get here (look at top bar on right, "Planted Tank Guide"). This was written by one of the staff here years ago and its a pretty good intro guide to get you a general understanding of what is needed.

As far as substrates, black diamond sand is inert. There is nothing wrong with using it, but it is not providing any nutrients to the plants. You will need to supplemental dose the water column in order for the plants to get the nutrients they need. You can however add to the substrate to give it some goods. There are tons of ways to do it, root tabs, or using an organic topsoil as a base, or even mineralizing your own topsoil. You will need to do some research on all of this, its all here.

The worst thing you can do is rush and set this up and dump money at plants that will not survive. Get the basics down go from there.
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Old 07-30-2014, 03:05 PM   #5
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As far as root tabs go which ones would you recommend or use in your own aquarium? In addition, if I didn't want t go with black diamond sand as my substrate what other substrates should I use. I have always used gravel but am trying to stray away from that and use a more natural looking substrate than just plain old gravel. Finally, for a 50 gallon fish tank do the same rules of substrate apply, 2 inch minimum to cover the tank?

Sorry I have only had 20 gallons and less so this is all new, well some what!
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Old 07-30-2014, 03:24 PM   #6
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I have never used root tabs. I use mineralized topsoil and organic topsoil as my base layer, then I cap that with cosmetic gravel for the look. You could do the same with your black diamond sand. (I am personally reccomending this approach to you because it will relieve some of the work as far as worrying about dosing fertilizers and such). I will dig up some links for you and post back.

Good starting link. Has some good info right in first post.

I don't personally follow this guy but I guess its a reference start since he is a sponsor.

List of low light plants

DIY CO2
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Old 07-30-2014, 04:02 PM   #7
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Thank you, Gatekeeper for all of this useful information! A question I should have previously included before is, with a tank with organic soil and the black diamond sand, what type of filter is best suited for this type of aquarium? I usually use a HOB filter but am thinking about an Eheim canister filter and I usually use a gravel vacuum to clean the gravel how do I clean the substrate with soil sand combination?
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Old 07-30-2014, 04:29 PM   #8
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You would not clean the substrate in the traditional manner by plunging the gravel vac. You would suck up all the good stuff. I usually just do a little "wave" over the substrate and whatever comes up I will catch but even then, I do this rarely. Let the stuff decompose.... it is beneficial long term for the plants if you sustain some of this matter.

A far as filtration. I always promote water movement as the critical factor. Yes, you need to run a filter but IMO anything will do. People may get crazy and say "your off gasing CO2 with a HOB filter!". As long as your not letting it plunge in like a water fall, your fine. Canisters are great because they are self contained and maintenance is usually not that bad.
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