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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-23-2010, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie taking the plunge

Hello…long time gazer, first time poster here. I have a lot of questions, so please be patient.

In the last 2 years, I’ve admired other people’s planted tanks, gotten myself acclimated to keeping up with an aquarium, purchased equipment for future use, and I have spent far too many hours researching. I drank the Kool-Aid, the future is here, and now I’m ready to take the plunge!

Here are my ideas;
I currently have two tanks. A 32g cube, and a 20g(h). I would like to start with the 20g for a planted tank. I think the 32g cube would be more difficult because there’s a lot less ground space to work with, plus my wife likes it the way it is, and the 20g is just sitting in the garage, empty.

My guess would be that the 20g tank would be high light. I have a 2x55w light kit, but could only run 1x if it’s too much light.
Here’s the equipment that I have so far, then I’ll tell you what I’d like to do;

Co2 regulator, tubing, bubble counter, cylinder
Inline PVC reactor
eheim 2234, fluval 305 (not sure which one I’m using yet)
AHsupply 2x55w lighting


From all the gazing I’ve done, I really like the white sand look for the floor. Would I need to use substrate below that…fluorite, eco-complete? Any recommendations on where and what kind of sand to use?

I would like some ideas on plants for the beginner to start with, and for the 20g(h) size tank. I really like the anubias, and would like a nana stuck in a piece of driftwood for a center piece. I like the looks of some type of ground cover, but I don't really want to cover up that beautiful look of the white sand...so, perhaps a bit of short grass here and there, but nothing that would overtake as ground cover. I'd also like a bit of color, and like the looks of Ludwigia.

I think my lighting may be a bit high. Am I correct to say that I’d be at 2.7w per gallon if I’m using 1x55w light? I have a couple of 6700k bulbs.

As for fish...I'm thinking a school of rummy nose tetras, two angel fish, and a couple of gouramis. Or perhaps I'll just stick with some small schooling fish. My focus isn't really on the fish for this tank, but rather the planted part of it.

Any other tips for the beginner would be appreciated!
Thanks alot!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-23-2010, 04:57 PM
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My first experience in planted tanks was with a 20H. I started with black tahitian moon sand, and almost anything I put in there would grow. Rotala Rotundifolia, various anubias, red tiger lotus, java ferns, amazon sword and some others. I had a coralife 24" 24w fixture, so just over 1 wpg. I had no issues growing anything in that tank. No ferts, no co2, not even a consistent lighting period every day. I added a bag of activ-flora planted substrate that I found at petco, and that did seem to help some, although I didn't have the tank up long enough after that to notice a big difference.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-23-2010, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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I suppose I could do without the Co2 for the 20g. I am going to be adopting a 55g within the year. I thought I'd try my hand at Co2 on the 20 until I get the 55.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-23-2010, 05:19 PM
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You'll need CO2 even with just one bulb. 2 bulbs would be overkill IMO.

If you're set on sand, check out pool filter sand. I'd personally recommend mixing rather than layering if you add something else along with it, as the layers will just get mixed up over time anyways and whatever has the smallest grains will end up on the bottom... but that's just an aesthetic choice, so do whatever you like best.

Blyxa might be a good choice for your "grass plant."

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a school of rummy nose tetras, two angel fish, and a couple of gouramis

Would be fine for the 55gal but definitely too much for either of the 2 smaller tanks.





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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-23-2010, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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Ok...perhaps just a small school of tetras. I'm seeing some beautiful 'scapes with white sand, and I'm thinking that I want that, but I'm also a realist....and I'm sure that what I've been seeing is from people who have been doing this for a long time. I should probably just start out with something easy, and work my way up from there.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-23-2010, 09:10 PM
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Pool Filter Sand seems to work pretty well for people, as lauraleellbp said. It comes in all kinds of colors too, including a nice white. The only thing I would be worried about with it, though, is that white shows all kinds of detritus, algae, and what-have-you.

Also, with high light, CO2, and an inert substrate, you're going to want to dose some fertilizers to keep everything balanced and algae away. The Seachem line would work and are easy, but dry ferts are cheaper. Read up on EI.

Lastly, I again agree with Laura that blyxa would be a good choice if you want something grassy, It looks nice, and doesn't spread by runners like most ground cover plants. All the plants you mentioned seem good to me, and beginner friendly.

Good luck, and welcome to TPT!

Feeling adventurous? Maybe check out my current
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-24-2010, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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The more I learn...the less I know! I've taken several turns in my mind these past few days in picturing what it is that I want for my planted tank. What bugs me the most is that I haven't even started!

The white sand dream I believe is shot. I love the pictures that I see, but to be more realistic, I do believe that it would be a disaster waiting to happen. I certainly don't want to have my first tank go up in flames like that.

I'm leaning more toward some black flourite as my subtrate.

How about this; Dwarf Hairgrass as a foreground, (2) Telanthera Rosefolia as a background on right and left side, and a Ludwigia repens in the middle back?

Am I thinking this too much?
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-24-2010, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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The fish/pet stores around here doesn't have that great of a selection of plants, and what they do have, don't look so great.

What's a good source for plants, and is mail order a ok?

About the dwarf hairgrass... for a 20g, how many should I start out with, is this a fast grower?
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-24-2010, 02:07 PM
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Check out the Swap & Shop forum here for good deals on plants.





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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-24-2010, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianS View Post
I'm leaning more toward some black flourite as my subtrate.

How about this; Dwarf Hairgrass as a foreground, (2) Telanthera Rosefolia as a background on right and left side, and a Ludwigia repens in the middle back?

Am I thinking this too much?
A fine choice for substrate. I prefer Eco-Complete myself, since it doesn't have to be rinsed, but you'll be fine either way.

The plants seem fine to me though. The only thing I would suggest is that you have a foreground and a background planned out, but no midground. A 'scape usually benifits from a less jarring jump from front to back. Of course, I don't know your plans for a hardscape.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brianS View Post
The fish/pet stores around here doesn't have that great of a selection of plants, and what they do have, don't look so great.

What's a good source for plants, and is mail order a ok?

About the dwarf hairgrass... for a 20g, how many should I start out with, is this a fast grower?
I get all my plants from the Swap 'n' Shop. But there are a number of websites that sell dwarf hairgrass. How much time and effort you want to spend splitting it up and planting it will determine how much you'll need. It's a fairly inexpensive plant, and depending on how much of the tank you want to plant with it, I'd say maybe three pots. Four if you want to be safe.

And if you're going to use hairgrass, I recommend putting down some kind of divider surrounding where you want it to grow in. The stuff tries to invade everything once it gets hold. In my experience it's a fairly fast grower.

Feeling adventurous? Maybe check out my current
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-24-2010, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. How would I go about putting down a divider surrounding where I want the grass to grow? What kind of material would I use?

I have been looking through the Swap 'n Shop, but not finding the plants that I mentioned. I'll just keep looking. My guess would be that I'd have to be quick about it, since it all seems to go so fast
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-24-2010, 03:53 PM
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You can always post a WTB thread (want to buy).

I used cheap landscaping border (got a lifetime supply from Ace Hardware for $4 lol) and trimmed it to size to make a "corral" for my Vals that's working really well.







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