Newbie planning my first planted tank! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie planning my first planted tank!

Hello all, I'm joining you as a complete planted tank newbie. I've been keeping freshwater tanks for a number of years, but I have very little experience with plants. I have a small 5g tank right now with java ferns that seem to be thriving in low-tech conditions, but I would love to start learning about rooted plants.

I'm planning to get an Aqueon Evolve 2 or 4 gallon as a betta tank, and I'm considering plants like glosso, dwarf hairgrass, sag, dwarf swords, anubias, etc. I have no idea what kinds of plants would thrive in a nano tank, or how to properly balance nitrates, potassium, CO2, etc. If anyone has suggestions for hardy, beginner rooted plants, I'd really appreciate it!

I'm considering a simple DIY CO2 generator with a glass diffuser, but I'm worried about not being able to measure the incoming CO2, or being able to easily shut it on or off. I think a CO2 pump might be overkill for such a small tank, also I'm on a budget ;]

If anybody has any suggestions for a newbie nano planted tank, I would appreciate it a ton! Thank you!
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 05:01 PM
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go with the 4 gallon. nanos are harder than tanks over 10 gallons, and the smaller the more difficult it is. both in terms of nutrient dosing and CO2:light balance, and just the physical aspect of planting (hard to maneuver).
so you will go with high light and DIY CO2?
ok so first off you should make it easier on yourself by getting a good substrate. ADA aquasoil amazonia is the best substrate, so get some of that. otherwise you could mineralize some topsoil and cap it with fine grave or sand.
personally, i had some issue using a glass diffuser for DIY CO2, because it would only work after 3 days, and only for 5 days or so; whereas in a reactor it would work the day after setup and for 2 weeks. i believe it was a pressure issue, and that the yeast could keep the pressure high enough for most of the time to force the bubbles through.
you can shut it on and off very easily. you have several options: move the diffuser out of the tank, pull the tubing off, etc. you just have to shut it off manually.
but why shut it off? if your worried about your livestock just have the tank set up so that at night there is a lot of surface agitation (a powerhead or airpump on a timer will do nicely). but bettas are pretty CO2 tolerant.
you can never really measure CO2; not accurately anyway. the best way to tell is to observe you plants and your livestock. no pearling plants means too little, gasping fish means too much.
pressurized, is the way to go though. and its not as expensive as it seems, cuz its really just a startup cost. once you have the bottle, reg, solenoid, etc. thats it. you just have to fill it up yearly (or less often) for such a small tank, and thats not expensive at all. my advice, use DIY while you save up for pressurized.
no need to really balance nutrients. do EI dosing. read about it: http://www.barrreport.com/forumdispl...timative-Index

suggested flora:
carpets:
r. fluitans
e. belem
c. parva
HC
UG

midground:
lileopsis sp.
a. petite
HM
c. wendtii

background:
e. tenellus
r. rotundifolia
b. moneri
e. acicularis

My Tanks:

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-23-2012, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by echoskybound View Post
Hello all, I'm joining you as a complete planted tank newbie. I've been keeping freshwater tanks for a number of years, but I have very little experience with plants. I have a small 5g tank right now with java ferns that seem to be thriving in low-tech conditions, but I would love to start learning about rooted plants.

I'm planning to get an Aqueon Evolve 2 or 4 gallon as a betta tank, and I'm considering plants like glosso, dwarf hairgrass, sag, dwarf swords, anubias, etc. I have no idea what kinds of plants would thrive in a nano tank, or how to properly balance nitrates, potassium, CO2, etc. If anyone has suggestions for hardy, beginner rooted plants, I'd really appreciate it!

I'm considering a simple DIY CO2 generator with a glass diffuser, but I'm worried about not being able to measure the incoming CO2, or being able to easily shut it on or off. I think a CO2 pump might be overkill for such a small tank, also I'm on a budget ;]

If anybody has any suggestions for a newbie nano planted tank, I would appreciate it a ton! Thank you!
I would definitely get the 4 if you are looking at those 2. From what I've read they hold less water than advertised, the betta will be much happier, and the more water you have the easier it is to achieve balance. I would definitely try to start off as simple as possible. I started going the high tech way and it has been much more work than I anticipated.

If you stick with low light you shouldn't need to worry about adding CO2 as the plants won't be using as much nutrients. There are a lot of plant choices depending on what you want it to look like. Crypts are pretty easy to take care of and look good but most will rot upon planting before coming back. You could use glosso or dwarf sag for the foreground but depending on how strong the light is the glosso might get pretty tall. With rooted plants you will want to use a substrate that has fertilizer in it as well as they take their nutrients from the soil as opposed to anubias or java fern which take from the water column. You could do something like a foreground of dwarf sags or moss, crypts in the mid, and some wood or rocks with anubias nana petite tied to it. That would require nothing but the light and maybe something like flourish for the moss and anubias.


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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-24-2012, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! All wonderful suggestions, I'll be getting some of these plants! I love the idea of sag, crypts, anubias and rotala. I'll definitely go for the 4 gallon and keep it low-tech. The stock LED light that comes with the Evolve says it is "suitable for plants" but I can't find any specific specs on it, although other people have said it's sufficient for medium light plants. Thanks again! You guys are pros!
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