First ever planted tank (55L). Will definitely need help.lol - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 07:26 AM Thread Starter
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First ever planted tank (55L). Will definitely need help.lol

Howdy all!

I'm having a crack at my first ever planted tank.

I've been keeping fish for nearly a year but have only had basic plants and they usually die or get eaten..

Recently I ended up with a spare 55L tank and thought I'd try and have a dabble into a planted tank..

So this is where I'm at with it (already a couple of days into buying crap, and a couple of weeks into researching what everything is)

I've got some Scotts Organic Potting Mix and soaked it for a couple of days and then placed it in the bottom with just a couple of osmocote water root tabs for good measure.

Next I've used some Fluval Volcanic Plant substrate to give it about an extra inch or two on top.

I've also placed a few pieces of rocks strategically around the substrate, as well as a bonsai style tree I made from a couple of different bits of driftwood.

I've ordered some hairtail grass and some mini Taiwan moss for the tree. Hoping the grass will completely cover the bottom and the moss will completely cover the tree.

It'll be filtered with a small HOB filter and has a Fluval 80G CO2 kit ready to go.

Lighting is some LED's I knocked up. Fish will be a few neon and silvertip tetras. Although I was contemplating a few shrimp for cleanup duties.

I've read about the dry start method, and think that it will suit what i'm trying to achieve. If I understand this correctly, i simply mist the plants to keep them wet a couple of times a day, and keep the tank covered with glad wrap... I'm guessing pump up the lights? should I leave them on 24/7 or just for like 12 hours a day? how long should I do this until filling with water?

Currently the tank is sitting dry with all substrate,rock and bonsai in it. Hopefully the plants will arrive either tomorrow or early next week.

Any pointers for a newbie would be fantastic. While I know making mistakes is a great way to learn, I also enjoy hearing other peoples experience. So feel free to tell me what i'm doing right or wrong.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 10:43 AM
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Try and learn is a commendable approach. As long as you do not get impatient and frustrated and give it up too soon.

Instead of answers I have questions.

Why potting soil + tabs + volcanic substrate? Mix that with water and you will have a chemical cocktail whose chemical properties will be changing over time. Doable? Sure. Frustrating? Big time. Some cheap playsand, filter sand, or such might have been an easier way to start.

Fluval 80g on a 15g tank will cost about $40+ a month in refill cylinders. Controlling the co2 rate with it is yet another frustrating experience.

When you set up a new tank, your first goal is to reach stability as soon as possible. Your two choices above will take you on a wild ride instead.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-23-2018, 03:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help!

I read that the dirt bottom was a better method than just a plain substrate. Hence my decision to give it a crack. and the volcanic substate was the only type my LFS had (small country town. not a lot of choice), and I admit, I purchased this with little research on it. Which parameters will be fluctuating? I dont mind having no fish in this tank for as long as it takes, or are you referring to some parameters that will affect the plant health? Should I buy a special test kit? I only have the standard testers atm (Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, PH, TDS and a CO2 drop checker)

The fluval I bought because it was a cheap way for me to have a crack at CO2.. I was hoping to get 3-4 months out of a bottle (only guessing from what I read on other peoples experiences).

If this works, I'm open to possibly investing in a proper CO2 setup.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-07-2018, 01:27 AM Thread Starter
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Okay finally the Dwarf Hairgrass arrived!

All in and lets start this thing up!

Doing a dry start untill its all up and running.

Excuse the leaning Bonsai... I bumped it while planting and only fixed it after the photo

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-01-2018, 08:20 AM Thread Starter
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Alright.. Ended up fine tuning a few things, thanks to some great advice from members. Now got a much bigger CO2 setup.

Just finished an 8 week dry start and flooded the tank yesterday.

First ever dry start, so not sure what I should do, but I cranked my CO2 as I'm assuming the plants would now be used to high amounts.

I have noticed however that I've got like a green looking sludge/algae across a lot of my substrate.

anyone know what this is? And mainly, what to do to fix it?

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-01-2018, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamandSara View Post
Alright.. Ended up fine tuning a few things, thanks to some great advice from members. Now got a much bigger CO2 setup.

Just finished an 8 week dry start and flooded the tank yesterday.

First ever dry start, so not sure what I should do, but I cranked my CO2 as I'm assuming the plants would now be used to high amounts.

I have noticed however that I've got like a green looking sludge/algae across a lot of my substrate.

anyone know what this is? And mainly, what to do to fix it?

Likely cyanobacteria. It's common in newly set up tanks. You can use an antibiotic like erythromycin or simply suck it up and do lots of water changes until the tank balances. The first 6 months for me are tedious. I would keep lights at 6 hours a day to minimize algae issues. You don't have much plant mass yet so algae will have lots of available nutrients with that dirt substrate.
Should grow a killer carpet though
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