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Old 11-05-2014, 03:23 AM   #1
GoldieFins
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Starting my first planted tank


Hello, this is my first time on this forum. After my unfortunate reefing demise to cyanobacteria I have decided to turn my 55 gallon into a slightly easier to maintain planted tank.

I have had fancy goldfish before and would love to add a trio or maybe 4 to my tank. This will be my first planted tank and I'm excited to get those plants to a decent size so hopefully my fish won't decimate them too too much.

This time I've decided to start a forum on the process so I can highlight any mistakes I've made and make the best tank possible. I would love to do a moss tree but am unsure if this will work in a low tech tank?

Anyway, I won't be able to start till I get paid next week but I'm super excited for trying to create the most beautiful tank possible. Thanks
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Old 11-05-2014, 06:15 AM   #2
ChemGuyEthan
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Welcome to the forum! Great place to find info and get suggestions!

What light and filter will you be running? What about substrate and hardscape? Any thoughts on plants other than the moss?

Mosses will grow just about anywhere. So low tech is fine. I once had some christmas moss cuttings I left in a bag wrapped in a paper towel for two weeks that I forgot about...any other plant and it'd have been brown mush, but the moss was still green and looked fine, haha. Moss trees are fun, I'd recommend just about any moss except java. Stuff gets so stringy...

Keep in mind the goldfish may munch on the plants. So toxicity will be important to consider and overall plant mass to accommodate their snacking. I've never kept goldfish, so I can't say what they will or will not eat, I'm just aware they enjoy the veggie snacks, haha.

My advice would be to do LOTS of research before you start. When I started I just bought stuff without planning ahead and ended up spending a lot more money replacing things and swapping out plants/equipment/fish that weren't working out. It'll save you some trouble in the future to do your homework.

P.S. I'm originally from the Springs! Nice area, grown so much! Every time I'm back seems like it's expanded in every direction possible, haha.
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Old 11-05-2014, 02:49 PM   #3
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You are definitely going to want to research plant selection. Goldfish love to eat wimpy plants. I feed mine extra wisteria from my other tank
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Old 11-06-2014, 01:22 AM   #4
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I actually didn't even consider toxicity! �� I just went out and bought two bags of CaribSea floramax and need to get two more tomorrow. I'm using black volcanic rock for my hard scape though I'm having a little bit of a tough time with the structure I want. I decided I'm going to nerd out and try a Lord of the Rings aquascape that starts in the Shire and fades into Mordor. Maybe it'll be easier when I have all of my materials.

I'm thinking of a carpet of flame moss and Dwarf baby tears with some dwarf hairgrass in the background. I have no idea what type of moss I want to use on my tree though. I picked up a dead bonsai tree from a local store which I'm going to boil thoroughly and use for my tree. I will probably not get any fish for a long while as I do know that they are little piggies and I don't want them to rip up my hard work too quickly.

I haven't picked out lights yet but will probably go with full spectrum leds, just some cheap 45 watt ones I found on amazon. Still haven't decided yet, so if you have any input I'm welcome to it. And as for filtration I'm sticking with power filters as anything else has been deemed "too dangerous" for my mom's carpet. If also had a bad experience with my dogs turning off the surge protector (I ended up with 20 gallons of water on the floor). I'm thinking of going with two aqueon 55 gallon filters. I appreciate the feed back and hope to post some pictures soon.

Bump: So this is it so far. I have a lot of work to do still. I just used my old reef lights for the picture so I still don't have any yet. The right side is going to be a giant Mt Doom with the far left being the heavily planted Shire followed by some less heavily but still well planted "mountians" I need a lot more rock still and after I get it all set up I'll have to make my final plant selections and set up my aquascape.
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Old 11-06-2014, 01:36 AM   #5
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I am worried that my plans don't have enough greenery for it to be a low tech tank. Are there any guidelines of how much plant to surface area ratio or something? I'm mainly planning on have a carpet of plants with some tufts of hairgrass, moss on the rocks, my moss tree, and some other plants sprawled here and there throughout the tank to look like bushes. Does it sound ok?
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Old 11-06-2014, 06:02 AM   #6
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Hmmm, interesting idea. I assume you've seen this scape? It's the shire with a little tree outside. If you haven't, that should give you an idea to shoot for with the shire side of things. Oh, and here's a post describing the tank specs and plant list.

I would think with mordor you're going to want sparse planting, probably moss-covered smaller lava rocks to give the impression of little shrubs. I would envision some very large rock or multiple rocks glued together to give you the tallest peak for mount doom. It'll take a lot of planning to get this all worked out, perspective-wise.

So you'll have essentially a half-planted tank, or maybe a two-thirds planted tank. The moss and the grass will grow perfectly well in low tech. The HC may be a bit more of a challenge. I might recommend monte carlo instead, a little larger than HC, but is reputed to be easier to grow. I've only done HC and it's kinda a pain, haha. Even in high tech setups.

Best of luck with your ambitious plans! Looking forward to seeing how this comes together!
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Old 11-06-2014, 12:57 PM   #7
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Actually that was my inspiration, but I didn't know that there was a list of everything they used. I'm hoping to make it closer to 2/3 planted. The good news is I have practice with rocks after my saltwater attempt. I still do have to pick out some shrubby er looking plants for my mordor area so I'm open to suggestions on that one. And by HTC are you talking about the hairgrass?
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:31 PM   #8
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ChemGuyEthan, that site was actually really helpful in showing me how to build my hobbit hole. Still have to figure out how to build the door, but now I know how to make the round hill. Thanks a lot. If I use just wood for the door and no paint do I still need to seal it?
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Old 11-06-2014, 04:07 PM   #9
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HC is dwarf baby tears, and you're really going to want med/high light with that one (as I'm currently finding out), and probably co2 injection. Looking good so far, and good luck!
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Old 11-06-2014, 04:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldieFins View Post
Actually that was my inspiration, but I didn't know that there was a list of everything they used. I'm hoping to make it closer to 2/3 planted. The good news is I have practice with rocks after my saltwater attempt. I still do have to pick out some shrubby er looking plants for my mordor area so I'm open to suggestions on that one. And by HTC are you talking about the hairgrass?
As someone posted, HC is short for hemianthus callitrichoides, the latin name for dwarf baby tears. You'll see it thrown around on here a lot, apologies for not defining it first.

Most plants can look like shrubs with careful pruning. Rotala plants can look like little bushes if you trim them heavy enough. You know, maybe some of the smaller/midsized crypts would be ok for your mordor side, the ones I have in mind would be the darker, red colored ones. I don't know crypts well, so you'd have to look that one up on your own, but a clump of those by your mount doom could give it a bit more of a menacing look. They will do well in low tech. Just need root tabs as they grow an extremely extensive root system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldieFins View Post
ChemGuyEthan, that site was actually really helpful in showing me how to build my hobbit hole. Still have to figure out how to build the door, but now I know how to make the round hill. Thanks a lot. If I use just wood for the door and no paint do I still need to seal it?
Great! Glad it was helpful! Depending on the wood you wouldn't have to seal it. Can you find a little plastic door? The only thing you'd have to worry about at that point would be algae growing on it.
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Old 11-07-2014, 02:50 AM   #11
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I haven't been able to find anything except Legos which is definitely not the look I'm going for. I think my best bet is going to be to make my own hobbit door.

And those are some great suggestions! I was debating between leaving mordor completely bare or putting in orange/red/purple "shrub" looking plants and I'm leaning towards the plants. I've been looking at pictures of ireland, new zealand, and the rocky mountians trying to find some inspiration for my hard scape and I think I've gotten some decent ideas. Now my only problem is scale. I might have to just accept the fact that my tree and hobbit hole are going to be on a larger scale than the rest of the scenery

Bump: These are the lights I am considering. They are LED Pent 48"-60" inch Aquarium Day Night Light Freshwater Tetra Tropical Fish by expower as listed on amazon (sorry for the lengthy title). They are 38 watts with moonlights, full spectrum, with a separate day night cord to make for easy programming with a timer. They are only $60 which worries me a little but people were saying they are brighter than expected and do well with plants. Probably not good for high light plants, but I think they'll do well for my little low tech tank.
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Old 11-07-2014, 03:39 AM   #12
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So after some research I actually prefer the monte carlo to the HC. Also, a lot of the plants available are way bigger than what I would want them to be. How do I trim them without completely ruining them? As an example (maybe not a good one) say I wanted a little shrub made out of a Java fern or something similar is there a way to trim it so the leaves grow smaller? I've seen so many tanks with these plants that have such tiny leaves that are much smaller than any I've seen at the store and I'm just wondering how to achieve that. Also, I'm assuming with goldfish I do not need a clean up crew? They are already a crew in and of themselves and if I did get one they would have to be ok in cold water, but do I need one?

On another note I stopped by the store today and saw the most beautiful red and white ryukin goldfish and I would like to point out that I didn't buy it. In the past that has always been where I fail. I get too excited and I try and rush things. Maybe he will still be there when I do get my fish, but that was just a little victory story for me.
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Old 11-07-2014, 04:35 PM   #13
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Well in regards to the light... I'm a little skeptical. One review isn't saying much. My money would still be on the Finnex Stingray. The new addition to the finnex line specifically for low-light tanks. I looked and the 48" model on amazon is $63. To me, the extra $3 is worth it for the reputation of Finnex LEDs. Maybe look into that one. I can't argue though that the separate plugs for daylight and moonlight is nice on the one you posted. I don't think the stingray has that. It's up to you though.

I'm not sure about keeping java fern low... My thought was on low-growing stem plants, like some of rotalas. You basically let them grow a bit, root themselves, then hack them down to a few inches a few times. They'll eventually be growing primarily from side-shoots instead of thin stems and will give the bushy appearance. Another thought I had would be anubias nana 'petite'. That grows nice and low and great for low tech. I believe they'll do ok in cold water, assuming that means low 70's. I guess I've never tried. I also don't know of their compatibility with goldfish. They are really slow growers, so they may get obliterated by the fish before they can grow new leaves.

And I'm glad to hear of your will-power, haha. Tough sometimes to hold back on purchasing things.
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Old 11-08-2014, 04:46 AM   #14
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Those lights do have a lot of good reveiws, but I didn't see much on plants. I'll have to check a different site when I have more time. I do have a list of plants the I liked which I will also post tomorrow. I did like the Anubias but I feel like there might've been a reason I decided against it I just don't remember. I'll have to check again to remind myself. And my hope is to get enough of the fast growing plants that hopefully they will ignore the slower growing stuff. At least that's my theory, but who knows if it'll work. I will be out of town all next week so I can't work on the tank, but hopefully when I get back I can kick things into high gear. I was wondering if I need to cycle the tank before adding plants or if I add them first? I know to keep the lights very short at first, but I also know at least with saltwater they advise you run you tank for at least a week before adding any lights. Literally just sand rock and water. I want to try to avoid algea blooms as much as possible as that has always been why my tanks fail.
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:48 AM   #15
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Everything I've read on here suggest Golgfish and planted tanks don't mix well.
You might get someone who has done it to let you know what they learned by putting a thread in the fish section like: Goldfish/planted tanks...compatible ?
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