First Crack at a Planted Tank (55G) - The Planted Tank Forum
 25Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 01:14 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
gridironking81's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Northern Virginia, USA
Posts: 17
First Crack at a Planted Tank (55G)

Ok, so I am not new to the fish keeping hobby but I still consider myself a noob....especially with a planted tank. They have always appealed to me and I've always thought one of those amazing tanks I've see online would be cool to have. Unfortunately, whenever I'd plant something it'd die shortly after. Soon after I realized there is much more to a planted tank then just buying a plant and plopping it in some gravel at the bottom of your tank and expecting it to grow. So here I am today armed with much more knowledge but I still feel like it's a lot to learn! Anyhow, on to it.

I purchased a 55G tank at petsmart's $1/gallon sale awhile back ago so that's what I'm working with. The following is my equipment/what I'm working with list:

Tank/Stand:

55 Gallon from Petsmart and a stand purchased from a second hand store, sanded, painted, new hardware, a little extra support in middle bottom.

Filtration: Eheim Classic 350, 2215 Canister Filter

And in the filter is:
Eheim white filter pad
Eheim blue coarse foam filter pad
Eheim Substrat Pro
Eheim Mech
Eheim Carbon Pad
Purigen Bag

Additionally, I was having issues with film/oily substance on surface of water so I bought the JBL Top Clean II and attached it to intake. Problem solved. It's a bit of a clunker but I read nothing but positive things about it.

Heater: Eheim Jager 200W

Lighting: Aquatic Life Edge 48" LED

CO2 System: CO2Art Pro-SE Regulator, Solenoid, Bubble Counter, and Inline Atomizer/Diffuser; utilizing Coldbreak 5lb Tank

Substrate: Caribsea Instant Aquarium Crystal River and Miracle Gro Nature's Care Organic & Natural Potting Mix

I think that's it for equipment. Oh, I have a Max-Spect Gyre-Generator from when I was running a saltwater tank. I initially hooked this thing up to the tank but I didn't like the amount of flow it was putting out even at the lowest power setting. And on top of that, it was just another piece of equipment I had in the tank. So, for now its back in its container in the stand waiting for use again one day (possibly).

I started the tank on 22 Feb 19 (61 days ago). I researched quite extensively different types of substrate and finally settled on using Miracle Gro instead of the more common/widely used nutrient plant substrates out there (yes, the idea was I wanted to save money ) I couldn't find definitive results as to whether or not this would work, but I saw plenty of success stories with it so I figured as long as I capped it with some sand I'd be good to go. This is all new to me so I'm willing to learn the hard way if necessary. At least next time I'll know if this doesn't work out the way I'd hoped.

For the hardscape I settled on two interesting pieces of driftwood I found at my LFS (Mopani, I believe). Played around with them a little in the store before picking them to see if they would be appealing to the eye...personally I think they are, but who knows...anyhow.

I’m new to this site as well so forgive if I mess this post up somehow, format wise. I’m not even really sure if I’m inserting the pictures the right way. I wanted to use this to document my progress as well get as many opinions and as much advice as possible. I really didn’t feel like I had a solid plan to begin with as far as a “vision”. Hopefully next time I come up with a design and go from there.

Fish/Invertebrate:

Neon Tetras – 10
Zebra Dannios – 4
Siamese Algae Eater – 1
Peppered Cory’s – 3
Cherry Shrimp – 4 or 5
Amano Shrimp – 2
Ghost Shrimp – Maybe 8 now
Nerite Snails – 4 or 5

I plan on adding more fish/invertebrate at a later time once the tank fills in more. Open to suggestions on future stocking list!

Now the fun/confusing part for me…plants. If I could get some assistance on identifying some of these that would be great. I threw away the receipt and packaging and kicked myself thinking I should’ve kept it and learned the names of the plants. And I really don’t have a HUGE variety, but….it’s a work in progress.

Plants:

The ones I’m sure of (I think)
A: Hygrophilia Corymbosa; Siamensis 53b
B: Littorella Uniflora
C: Glossostigma Elatinoides
E: Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis (This is also labeled E by accident, was supposed to be D but I messed it up. Its between the two pieces of driftwood)
E: Microsorum Pteropus ‘Narrow’

The ones I’m unsure of
F: Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Green’?
G: Cryptocoryne Crispatula?

What I’ve experienced so far is this…the hyrgophilia corymbosa and the Cryptocoryne Crispatula (if that’s what that one is) have grown the best/quickest. The cryptocoryne crispatula constantly sends out new runners. I had to pull quite a few up and snip the runner and plant it elsewhere because it was infiltrating on the space of other plants. The Glossostigma, Lilaeopsis and Microsorum are recent additions, like within the last week. None were in the greatest condition to begin with. Should I remove what appears to be dead with Glossostigma? Should I buy more? Also, I’m confused on the Microsorum. Is it supposed to planted in the substrate or attached to something? I read both are possible. The Crypt Wendtii initially withered up and died (at least it appeared that’s what it was doing) when I planted it. Then all of a sudden, about a week ago, it started popping up out of the substrate.

I’m seriously open to any and all suggestions/advice. I will continue updating this to hopefully show some progression. I’m now dealing with brown algae though. It’s for sure in the areas of the substrate where there are no plants to block/absorb the light. Should I add more plants? For whoever read all the way to this last sentence…thank you and sorry. This was a long post.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	1.jpg
Views:	29
Size:	206.8 KB
ID:	880913  

Click image for larger version

Name:	2.jpg
Views:	28
Size:	240.8 KB
ID:	880915  

Click image for larger version

Name:	Labeled Plants.jpg
Views:	29
Size:	387.2 KB
ID:	880917  

Click image for larger version

Name:	Labeled Plants 2.jpg
Views:	30
Size:	348.1 KB
ID:	880919  

Click image for larger version

Name:	Labeled Plants 3.jpg
Views:	26
Size:	402.0 KB
ID:	880921  

Quesenek, tredford and VioletAqua like this.

Last edited by gridironking81; 04-25-2019 at 03:53 PM. Reason: Edit
gridironking81 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
gridironking81's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Northern Virginia, USA
Posts: 17
Initial Stage

Just realized I didn't post any progression photos. These are from 28 Feb 19. Six days after I started the tank and one day after I put the plants in. The water was sooooooo brown from the driftwood. I boiled them for a few hours before putting them in but apparently this wood was determined to keep leaching tannins...

Bump: And here's what it looked like on 16 Mar 19. I still didn't have CO2 set up yet at this point.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	1.jpg
Views:	22
Size:	171.3 KB
ID:	880935  

Click image for larger version

Name:	2.jpg
Views:	18
Size:	91.1 KB
ID:	880937  

Click image for larger version

Name:	3.jpg
Views:	19
Size:	109.2 KB
ID:	880939  

Click image for larger version

Name:	4.jpg
Views:	17
Size:	87.7 KB
ID:	880941  

Click image for larger version

Name:	5.jpg
Views:	17
Size:	197.3 KB
ID:	880943  

Click image for larger version

Name:	6.jpg
Views:	17
Size:	170.7 KB
ID:	880945  

Click image for larger version

Name:	7.jpg
Views:	16
Size:	165.4 KB
ID:	880947  

Click image for larger version

Name:	1.jpg
Views:	17
Size:	251.2 KB
ID:	880949  

Click image for larger version

Name:	2.jpg
Views:	15
Size:	273.9 KB
ID:	880951  

Click image for larger version

Name:	3.jpg
Views:	16
Size:	281.2 KB
ID:	880953  

Click image for larger version

Name:	4.jpg
Views:	15
Size:	237.5 KB
ID:	880955  

Click image for larger version

Name:	5.jpg
Views:	15
Size:	306.0 KB
ID:	880957  

Click image for larger version

Name:	6.jpg
Views:	19
Size:	270.1 KB
ID:	880959  

sittinglynx likes this.

Last edited by gridironking81; 04-24-2019 at 02:58 PM. Reason: Spelling
gridironking81 is offline  
post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
gridironking81's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Northern Virginia, USA
Posts: 17
Update

Quick update. I added some more plants yesterday. I've been reading other threads and see frequent comments like "you need some color in there" and "it's a sea of green"...so, I thought to myself...I need some color in my tank. I added:

- Alternanthera Reineckii 'cardinalis'
- Eleocharis Parvula (dwarf hairgrass)
- Hemianthus Callitrichoides
- Anacharis

I know, some may be thinking "how many different carpeting plants are you gonna put in there!?" This is my first planted tank so I'm kind of experimenting (I want them all, lol). I'll see what works and see what doesn't and go from there. I am a little concerned about the anacharis however. This is the first plant I've bought that was from a tank and not a package or cup. I've been avoiding these because I don't want to introduce any illnesses or any unwanted snails into the tank. All the plants in the tank looked super healthy and very green so I went for it. I did, however, give it a bleach solution bath before putting it in my tank...low and behold, about 4 or 5 tiny snails came off. Hopefully I got them all. I inspected the anacharis for awhile just to make sure but we'll see soon enough though. Fingers crossed!

Today and tomorrow I'll be leaving for work before the tank lights come on and getting home after they turn off. So I'll get some pictures up here in the next few days with the new plants in it! Hopefully they're not dead before then.
gridironking81 is offline  
 
post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 01:35 PM
RCB
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 83
I could be wrong but I think you might have planted your carpeting greenery a bit to deep. I would pull each one up a bit so you don't choke off the growth.
RCB is offline  
post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 02:03 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Blacktetra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 656
Looks like you've got a great first start.
Miracle grow capped with pool filter sand did fantastic for my friends low tech tank. He eventually got a very thick carpet of dwarf sag in a matter of about a year or two.

As thorough as you've been with your first post, there are two things I might have failed to see in there.

1) Do you know how much CO2 you have in the water column? (do you know how to measure this?) and do you know if it's a steady amount? Getting CO2 to turn on at the right time and turn off at the right time, and having the injection rate dialed in can take some time and work, but if you get that done ASAP then you can avoid many problems down the road.

2) Do you dose any water column fertilizer? Many of the plants you've chosen are primarily root feeders, but most will benefit from finding some nutrients in the water column. As a new hobbyist you might prefer an all-in-one product, but if you'd like to experiment, learn about deficiencies and plant metabolism, it can be more beneficial to buy dry fertilizer salts. The salts will last far, far longer than a liquid all-in-one product, but many new hobbyists prefer the simplicity of "one pump of liquid per 10 gallons per week." (if you'd like to try an all-in-one please save yourself some trouble and do research into what product is a good pick. API leafzone is a popular first pick for many but doesn't really cover the bases as well as some other products)
tredford likes this.

Christian, husband, brother, friend, hobbyist.
Blacktetra is offline  
post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 02:16 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Blacktetra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 656
Also, your crypt looked dead because after being planted in different living conditions most crypts "melt" or lose their leaves as they pull the nutrients out of them, reconfigure their growth to match water parameters, and then grow new, better suited leaves. I'm glad you didn't pull and toss the roots. In the future you can expect this for most crypts most of the time unless they were grown locally in similar water parameters/conditions.

Your narrow leaf java fern (microsorum) will need to have it's rhizome attached to something, or otherwise just have it rest on top of the substrate. Avoid burying it, as it needs to "breath" and have access to water column minerals (fertilizer) for growth. The little brown hairs and roots can be buried if it has a lot of them, but you can also just trim them down too. I'd recommend learning the basics of plant types. You've got stem plants that have nearly no roots and feed from the water column, rhizome plants which have a central "body" from which roots and leaves come, these should not be buried, you've got rooted crown type plants like swords which need to be buried for the roots to get at food in the substrate, and you've got plants that spread from runners like your micro sword (brasiliensis) which shoots out lateral roots which then throw up a leaf and down a root before continuing laterally to repeat that process and spread. Those are the primary types and it's good to know where they feed from (water column, substrate or both) and how they grow and how to trim or propagate them.
tredford and sittinglynx like this.

Christian, husband, brother, friend, hobbyist.
Blacktetra is offline  
post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
gridironking81's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Northern Virginia, USA
Posts: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by RCB View Post
I could be wrong but I think you might have planted your carpeting greenery a bit to deep. I would pull each one up a bit so you don't choke off the growth.
The Lilaeopsis or the Glossostigma? Or both? Lol. They were both a pain in the nuts to actually get them to stay without floating up. I'll try and see if I can pull them up a little more.
gridironking81 is offline  
post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
gridironking81's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Northern Virginia, USA
Posts: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacktetra View Post
Looks like you've got a great first start.
Miracle grow capped with pool filter sand did fantastic for my friends low tech tank. He eventually got a very thick carpet of dwarf sag in a matter of about a year or two.

As thorough as you've been with your first post, there are two things I might have failed to see in there.

1) Do you know how much CO2 you have in the water column? (do you know how to measure this?) and do you know if it's a steady amount? Getting CO2 to turn on at the right time and turn off at the right time, and having the injection rate dialed in can take some time and work, but if you get that done ASAP then you can avoid many problems down the road.

2) Do you dose any water column fertilizer? Many of the plants you've chosen are primarily root feeders, but most will benefit from finding some nutrients in the water column. As a new hobbyist you might prefer an all-in-one product, but if you'd like to experiment, learn about deficiencies and plant metabolism, it can be more beneficial to buy dry fertilizer salts. The salts will last far, far longer than a liquid all-in-one product, but many new hobbyists prefer the simplicity of "one pump of liquid per 10 gallons per week." (if you'd like to try an all-in-one please save yourself some trouble and do research into what product is a good pick. API leafzone is a popular first pick for many but doesn't really cover the bases as well as some other products)
@Blacktetra,

Thanks for the reply/interest. Keep the criticism/input/improvements or whatever coming! I need it! I'm really hoping the Miracle Gro thing pans out. It can get a little messy but if anyone has questions about it I can provide input here shortly as I'm the test dummy! Don't see too many people using it.

1.) So I'm rolling with a bubble counter and drop counter to keep me in the ballpark. Other than that I'll be relying on the tank, fish, and plants to tell me if my CO2 is right or wrong. Right now it's at about 2.5 bps. My main problem (which I think may just be a flow/distribution issue) is that the drop checker doesn't turn green until a good 2-3 hrs after the lights come on. I have the CO2 coming on 1 1/2 hrs before lights on...thinking about it increasing it to 2 hours. And then I have it turning off 1 hour before lights off. I started injecting at a low bps and increased. I think 2.5 bps is sufficient at the moment until I see change in the tank. I know some people don't like just relying on a bubble counter, but, it's working for now (hopefully).

2.) Hit the nail right on the head. I'm using an all-in-one. I started with API Leaf Zone, did some research on it (should've done research first) and then I switched to Seachem Flourish. I'm dosing according to the instructions but I think I may up it just a hair here shortly (depending on how my new plants react to the current setup). If my plants start giving me problems I'm going to do more research on fertilizing but for now I'm trying to keep it simple because looking at the thread about fertilization and dosing...it's a NIGHTMARE. It's a mixed bag of God knows what. Everyone does something different and there's spreadsheets and databases and everything else....too much for me. lol

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacktetra View Post
Also, your crypt looked dead because after being planted in different living conditions most crypts "melt" or lose their leaves as they pull the nutrients out of them, reconfigure their growth to match water parameters, and then grow new, better suited leaves. I'm glad you didn't pull and toss the roots. In the future you can expect this for most crypts most of the time unless they were grown locally in similar water parameters/conditions.

Your narrow leaf java fern (microsorum) will need to have it's rhizome attached to something, or otherwise just have it rest on top of the substrate. Avoid burying it, as it needs to "breath" and have access to water column minerals (fertilizer) for growth. The little brown hairs and roots can be buried if it has a lot of them, but you can also just trim them down too. I'd recommend learning the basics of plant types. You've got stem plants that have nearly no roots and feed from the water column, rhizome plants which have a central "body" from which roots and leaves come, these should not be buried, you've got rooted crown type plants like swords which need to be buried for the roots to get at food in the substrate, and you've got plants that spread from runners like your micro sword (brasiliensis) which shoots out lateral roots which then throw up a leaf and down a root before continuing laterally to repeat that process and spread. Those are the primary types and it's good to know where they feed from (water column, substrate or both) and how they grow and how to trim or propagate them.
Yea, I actually didn't pull the roots up on it because I couldn't find it! Lol. It's a good thing I couldn't. And thank you for the tips on different plant types. I've been trying to learn and absorb as much as I possibly can. I wanted to stick with plants that feed from their roots to start with because I didn't want to have to deal with the hassle of tying things down. Aaaaaaand I ended up buying that java fern. It does look like it's forming a new leaf though. So that's good news.
Phil Edwards likes this.
gridironking81 is offline  
post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 06:21 PM
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (7/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 169
I've been doing "dirted" tanks for awhile now and definitely say it will work. I saw someone say they recommend dosing ferts but I don't think you need to do that. I definitely don't and I have around 40 species of plants that all grow great. Biggest tip I can give you to make this go well is plant heavy at the start of the tank. Get it around 70% planted or you are going to deal with tons of algae. I'll be following along on this tank. Good luck!

A few of my dirted tanks
https://imgur.com/gallery/InsxUur
sittinglynx likes this.
Starwarsfan is offline  
post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 08:44 PM
RCB
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by gridironking81 View Post
The Lilaeopsis or the Glossostigma? Or both? Lol. They were both a pain in the nuts to actually get them to stay without floating up. I'll try and see if I can pull them up a little more.

Id say just the Lilaopsis . Give them an extra couple days so their roots get jump started and then gently tug them upwards a little. If their planted to deep it chokes the crown and could cause rot. Do you have one of those extra long off set tweezers? That's a perfect tool for that job.
I get what your saying about it being a pain but raising them above the crown will promote better growth.
RCB is offline  
post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 09:04 PM
Newbie
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 1
Just an FYI for your stock list. Ghost shrimp can bully cherry shrimp pretty badly from what I've seen and will use their pincers to harass them. I typically keep those two species separate. If would suggest this, if you plan on breeding your cherry shrimp at some point. They will typically will leave amano shrimp alone, due to their size.

Just my two cents
jtaylor61488 is offline  
post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 09:44 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
gridironking81's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Northern Virginia, USA
Posts: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwarsfan View Post
I've been doing "dirted" tanks for awhile now and definitely say it will work. I saw someone say they recommend dosing ferts but I don't think you need to do that. I definitely don't and I have around 40 species of plants that all grow great. Biggest tip I can give you to make this go well is plant heavy at the start of the tank. Get it around 70% planted or you are going to deal with tons of algae. I'll be following along on this tank. Good luck!

A few of my dirted tanks
https://imgur.com/gallery/InsxUur
Thank you for the tip! I did start out a little light IMO. I'm currently dealing with diatoms at the moment and I'm hoping this phase will pass and not turn into a permanent issue. The diatoms showed up a little later than I expected so its kind of weird, but whatever. Your tanks look pretty cool btw! My favorite is the first one (your biggest one?)

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtaylor61488 View Post
Just an FYI for your stock list. Ghost shrimp can bully cherry shrimp pretty badly from what I've seen and will use their pincers to harass them. I typically keep those two species separate. If would suggest this, if you plan on breeding your cherry shrimp at some point. They will typically will leave amano shrimp alone, due to their size.

Just my two cents
Yea I saw it first hand in a tank I had years ago. I've lived and learned with different fish species and inverts though. I waited to add the RCS until the plants grew a little. Provide them with enough places to hide or shelter (if needed) and they're golden. I haven't loss one yet...probably just jinxed myself though. If anything, the ghost shrimp will the get boot if it becomes a problem. I just like them because they're like trash bins. Those guys eat anything and for .40-.50 cents/pc you can't beat it.

Last edited by gridironking81; 04-26-2019 at 09:49 AM. Reason: Edit
gridironking81 is offline  
post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
gridironking81's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Northern Virginia, USA
Posts: 17
Here's a moonlight pic for now until I'm home when the lights are on. Tomorrow? I'd turn them on just get a quick pic but the fish all freak out and I know I wouldn't want the lights flipped on in the middle of the night when I'm sleeping!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Moonlights.jpg
Views:	12
Size:	213.2 KB
ID:	881007  

sittinglynx likes this.
gridironking81 is offline  
post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 01:10 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Blacktetra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 656
Quote:
Originally Posted by gridironking81 View Post
@Blacktetra,

Thanks for the reply/interest. Keep the criticism/input/improvements or whatever coming! I need it! I'm really hoping the Miracle Gro thing pans out. It can get a little messy but if anyone has questions about it I can provide input here shortly as I'm the test dummy! Don't see too many people using it.

1.) So I'm rolling with a bubble counter and drop counter to keep me in the ballpark. My main problem (which I think may just be a flow/distribution issue) is that the drop checker doesn't turn green until a good 2-3 hrs after the lights come on. I have the CO2 coming on 1 1/2 hrs before lights on...thinking about it increasing it to 2 hours... but, it's working for now (hopefully).

2.) Hit the nail right on the head. I'm using an all-in-one. I started with API Leaf Zone, did some research on it (should've done research first) and then I switched to Seachem Flourish. I'm dosing according to the instructions but I think I may up it just a hair here shortly. [fertilizer stuff] databases and everything else....too much for me. lol

Tthank you for the tips on different plant types. I've been trying to learn and absorb as much as I possibly can. I ended up buying that java fern. It does look like it's forming a new leaf though. So that's good news.

Quite a few people use dirt and potting soils as their first tank substrate, and many stick with dirt because it's cheap and familiar. Nothing wrong there. Even some of the best tanks on this site have dirt in them.

1) Your drop checker takes time to change. Even if your CO2 level in your tank instantly jumps to where you need it (it doesn't, but even if it did) it could take quite a long while for your drop checker to read what level of CO2 is in the tank. They work slowly by dissolution and are poor tools for getting CO2 injection tuned well. They can be handy but have their draw backs. I would not suggest using your drop checker and bps to gauge your CO2 input. It's far better to measure your pH as this is instant. You can buy a pH pen on Amazon for about $50, or you can just get an API freshwater test kit that comes with pH tests, Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate tests. I would go this route if you haven't, as it's valuable for learning about your water chemistry. Once you have a tool to measure pH, check your pH when the lights first turn on (within 10 minutes of turn on is fine) then test it when your CO2 turns off (again, within 10 minutes or so is fine) this will show you if you have stable CO2 levels in the tank. What is more likely is that you will find your starting pH pretty significantly higher than your pH at gas-off-time. The actual pH reading isn't as important as the comparison between the readings. Regardless of how much CO2 you're actually putting into the water, you want these readings to be the same.


2. Doing research is the bread and butter of this hobby. Do it regularly and often, be curious, ask questions, google things, it will improve your skills and help you understand how things work. You can continue to use your API fertilizer for now, but when it's used up you might consider some other all-in-one fertilizers that have a better mixture of plant foods, I know fertilizers are confusing when you're new. Ultimately the point of fertilizing is to provide the things our plants need for healthy growth. In a tank that is so lightly planted I wouldn't use more than the bottle recommends unless you see poor plant health.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwarsfan View Post
I've been doing "dirted" tanks for awhile now and definitely say it will work. I saw someone say they recommend dosing ferts but I don't think you need to do that. I definitely don't and I have around 40 species of plants that all grow great. Biggest tip I can give you to make this go well is plant heavy at the start of the tank. Get it around 70% planted or you are going to deal with tons of algae. I'll be following along on this tank. Good luck!

A few of my dirted tanks
https://imgur.com/gallery/InsxUur

You have some beautiful tanks Starwarsfan, and some people have great success keeping plants without using any water column fertilization. However, that depends entirely on their water chemistry, and it looks like you've got some pretty good water chemistry. Many people don't have Magnesium in adequate amounts, or potassium, so adding a comprehensive water column fertilizer can be a simple, easy way to ensure your plants get everything they need, regardless of what you are already providing in your tap water or via fish waste.

While you've clearly had success, it would be unwise to assume that everyone can do exactly what you do and have similar results. Planted tanks are complex systems in general, so what works well for one person may cause problems for someone else.

Christian, husband, brother, friend, hobbyist.
Blacktetra is offline  
post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 01:40 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
GrampsGrunge's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Diatom Alley, Lakeside, OR
Posts: 1,320
One thing some new hobbyists overlook when buying potting soil, should not buy just any potting soil. If the mix contains any 'composted animal manures' I would pass on using it as it will release a bunch of ammonia and phosphates, probably more than what your plants could use.
Blacktetra and sittinglynx like this.

Starting small, keeping it simple..(?)
250 gallon stock tank, "pond"
20 gallon H CBS Shrimp tank

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
GrampsGrunge is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Guide to Starting a Freshwater Aquarium (including Planted Tanks) librarygirl General Planted Tank Discussion 13 06-06-2017 08:03 PM
My 90 Gallon Dream Tank Build Texan78 Tank Journals 107 08-15-2014 04:09 AM
Ramen Lover's 55G Planted Tank - low tech community tank ramen lover Tank Journals 18 02-04-2013 08:46 PM
Zen and the Art of the Hybrid-Energy Soil Substrate Planted Tank Troi General Planted Tank Discussion 31 10-07-2012 04:26 PM
Planted tank and Reef tank relationship green_valley General Planted Tank Discussion 18 09-24-2012 05:07 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome