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Old 07-06-2004, 10:22 PM   #1
Mori
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Going from fish to planted


I'm starting the process of turning my fish tank into a low-tech planted tank (the fish have said that they're OK with this). The tank is established and doesn't have algae problems or anything unpleasant, but I guess it will start to once the "conversion" begins. What's the proper procedure here? I'd like to move slowly as to not grow anything I don't want to grow. I intend to add decent lighting and plants. I'm guessing fertilizers also.

Do I add plants when I add the lights? Should I add them before? I know this is basic stuff, but I'm sort of blanking out when I try to think of the proper order to do things. I'd just rather avoid a huge algae bloom if at all possible.

Now, as long as you're reading this already, what would be a good easy plant to set off yellow fish? Should I go for some reds or purples? My tank has gotten kinda boring since all the non-yellow fish passed on or got sent away.

Many thanks!
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Old 07-06-2004, 10:29 PM   #2
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How about you start but telling us what you have now.. this would let us give you some idea's as to what you need to change first.

This is an exciting process..! So lets see what you have to work with :-)
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Old 07-06-2004, 10:31 PM   #3
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What size is your tank? I will guarantee you most people will recommend compact flourescent lighting, and I'm among them (even though I'm fairly new at planted tanks).

Anyway, it's best to get at least 2 wpg of good daylight spectrum flourescent lighting in your tank when you add plants as this will be enough healthy light to keep them growing and remaining fairly healthy.

Let us know your tank specifics and we can go from there.
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Old 07-06-2004, 10:38 PM   #4
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I have never done that, all my tanks contained plants from the beginning, but...

I would add lights together with the plants, that is, have the lights ready to go when the plants arrive.

Depending on how much light you are planning to use, you will need to think about food for them plants. Let's say you will use a "medium" wattage of about 2-2.5W/gal, you should plan for some CO2 (from the beginning) and macro/micro-nutrients (once plants start to show deficiencies).

Color-wise, I imagine darker greens, like Bolbitis, Javamoss, Crypts, and a few reds, like Alternanthera, Ludwigia, Rotalas, would accent yellow fishies better than light green plants like Vallisnerias, Wisterias or Water Sprites.
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Old 07-06-2004, 10:54 PM   #5
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I've actually brought this up before and gotten some good ideas from this fine forum. http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=8175

The basic setup is this:

  • Fish: 2 angel fish, 1 Chinese algae eater, 6 zebra danios, 1 clown pleco, 3 baby Pakistani loaches that are getting on my nerves and might need to go.
  • Tank: 29 gallon approximately 20"w x 20"h x 18"d "cube"
  • Filter: Eheim 2224 professionel
  • Temp around 83 degrees F
  • The substrate is poor--small aquarium gravel.
  • Heater: ? something cheap and functional.
  • Two nice rocks from Brazos Co. TX, about football sized. I'd prefer to keep these as the pleco lives in one and the CAE lives in under the other.

It took me a while to find lights that fit my stupidly-shaped tank. I'll need to replace the bulbs, but I didn't want to make my own fixture so I ordered a 20" Current USA unit that sort of matches. Looks like this: http://www.marineandreef.com/shoppro/power_Orbit.html
Bulb recommendations always welcome. I'm pretty sure I don't have a reef tank.

There are varying suggestions on improving the substrate. My first inclination is not to because I'm sort of lazy, but I guess that will depend on the plants I select. If I'm tying somethng to a rock it isn't going to be all that picky about the substrate...

Anyway, it's a tall, deep, small tank, so I think it'll be interesting to try to make it look spiffy. There are really two viewing sides instead of just mainly a front view. Of course I'm not there yet.
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Old 07-06-2004, 11:00 PM   #6
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Thats an awesome sized tank.. I love that!

Personally.. I would have gone with a MH Pendant.. but thats just me.. The CF bulbs will do nicely.
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Old 07-06-2004, 11:05 PM   #7
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This tank has to be pretty low-key. Nothing noisy and nothing industrial. No dangly lights allowed! There is a spouse to deal with here!
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Old 07-06-2004, 11:06 PM   #8
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Some of those pendants can be awfully pretty tho
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Old 07-07-2004, 12:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mori
This tank has to be pretty low-key. Nothing noisy and nothing industrial. No dangly lights allowed! There is a spouse to deal with here!
Just so you know, the Orbit lights you linked to come with actinic bulbs -- you do NOT want these for a freshwater planted tank as they're basically useless with freshwater (and thus you'd be wasting money) and I've heard that they promote algea growth.

The coralife power-compact lights are very nice -- a metal fixture and you can even buy a pair of cheap mounting legs. Really, they look nice in my opinion. Just a thought. Keep the "no actinic" in mind, whatever you decide.
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Old 07-07-2004, 01:47 PM   #10
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Thanks for the input...but show me a MH pendant that's pretty! And I mean girl pretty, not some macho interpretation of what's pretty! (Still trying to come up with a decent lighting solution for my other tank--a 2-ft deep stock tank sitting on the floor. It's pretty. Trust me.)
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Old 07-07-2004, 02:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Temp around 83 degrees F
I would suggest lowering your temperature a tad. Most plants don't like it too much above 80 degrees F.
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Old 07-07-2004, 04:16 PM   #12
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OK GMpool. That'll cut down on the spawning behavior as well.
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Old 07-07-2004, 04:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mori
Thanks for the input...but show me a MH pendant that's pretty! And I mean girl pretty, not some macho interpretation of what's pretty!
The pic that "IUnknown" posts in many his replies shows a cube with a fairly pretty MH pendant. I mean, you could probably paint it to fit the sofa cover or library shelf color to make it even girl-prettier...

What happened to your Giant Pink Gouramies? Dinner table?
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Old 07-07-2004, 04:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mori
Thanks for the input...but show me a MH pendant that's pretty! And I mean girl pretty, not some macho interpretation of what's pretty!
Hey, I'm a girl! I know girl pretty too!

Don't know if it's IUnknown's pic, but someone around here posted a pic of a tank with three pendants over it -- very nice. Yeah, ok, a little industrial looking, but in a slick upscale design sort of way.
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Old 07-07-2004, 04:43 PM   #15
eds
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I'd suggest the necessary first step is pretty darned complicated. Namely, get yourself a plant and stick it in the gravel.

I'm only partly kidding. You can grow anubias in almost any light, and in an established tank, your gravel will be well-enriched. We've discussed in the past the relative merits of going to planted step-by-step as opposed to all at once. I think many people shy away from going planted thinking it is a huge process with several decisions that need to be made all at once.

OTOH, you can grow anubias, java ferns, and crypts in just about any tank. Tho you won't see much growth, they will certainly survive. You can even start out with a mix of live and plastic plants. Then, when you want to see more growth, up the lighting, start adding and tweaking your ferts, mix some flourite or laterite into your gravel, and toss on a DIY CO2. The plastic plants will disappear as you are able to grow more interesting live plants. Similarly, you may find yourself losing the rocks in order to free up more planting space. And the fish can hide in the new foliage.

Enjoy. And keep us posted.
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