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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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New to Planted Aquariums

Well first My name is Nathaniel but I normally go by Nate or Nathan. I work at UPS I love fishing an aquariums.

I have been delving into the world of the reef aquarium. I have what I feel is quite a lot of knowledge on the subject and with in the next 7 or so months(Hey its not cheap) Have a 14 gallon cube reef up with a 5 gallon refugium.

On to why I am here, I saw some stunning fresh water aquariums. I googled them and here, I found my self.

Right now I do have a small 10 gallon aquarium, it is simple just guppies(My girlfriend loves them) and a Bristlenise pleco. I also have another 10 gallon tank I wanted to move them too while I converted to a planted aquarium.

This is where I ask for this communitys knowledge.

First is the livestock I had mentioned sutible for a planted aquarium? I hope at the very least my pleco is, as I have grown fond of him.

What type of substrate is there? and what benefits do they offer?

Filtration?

Water changes? How often? Should I use RO/DI water? OR just distilled water?

The big question lighting? For the tank I have now its just a cheap 2 socket hood from Wal-Mart. I also have a 18" fixture as well. In reality I would love to know what spectrum of light the plants need most, as I would rather build an LED system for my aquarium.

Easy plants to care for, In many photos I've seen moss I did some research and I think its called Java Moss. I like it. Is it easy to care for?

Co2?

Well that is all I can think of right now. I know I've probably opened a can of worms. In reefing I have noticed people have "Their way" of doing things and they neglect to realize that many ways tend to work as life adapts well.

Thankyou all for the help.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 01:28 PM
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Hi Nate!

Your fish are fine for planted tanks. My BN will rasp large leaves she can fit on but most of my plants are too small for her bulk. Just have some wood in the tank for algae and extra fiber and feed some veggies. They are a bit large for 10 gallon tanks though as they can get 4-6" long.

Loads of substrates to use. Mine is from the middle ages, Schulz Aquatic Soil and is related to Turface, Oildri as it is a very hard fractured clay with a high CEC which means they hold on to nutrients that get into the water. Many here use the ADA soil which is quite expensive or make mineralized soil which is time and space intensive but does sound very interesting. especially if you don't like to play in the tank rearranging things all the time.

Surprisingly planted tanks do better with a good amount of flow. Look for filters that provide about 10x an hour the volume of the tank. A 100 gph is about what you are looking for. You can run practically any filter - HOB, small canister, foam even a sump. Well, there are a couple of recent threads on the subject anyway, haven't SEEN such a thing yet.

Plants need the hardness in water, dechlorinated tap water works just fine unless you have liquid rock. My GH and KH are 4-6 degrees and just fine. I like to make big 40-50% weekly water changes but I have a big tank and a python. It is a pain to change water on a small tank, just starting the siphon is not fun.

If that hood is incandescent you can screw in compact fluorescent bulbs. Home Depot and probably Walmart carry daylight bulbs [5000K-6500K] which are a nice spectrum for color rendition and plant growth. There are numerous threads in the DIY forum on building LED fixtures when you are ready to tackle that project.

I had a 10 gallon with a small internal filter that clogged up all the time, 2 screw in daylight fluorescent bulbs, that SAS substrate that grew java moss, java fern, Anubias nana beautifully. Would have grown anything I put in there if I cared to. I used a pinch and less of the various dry fertilizers I used in the big tank just once a week and Seachem Flourish Excel for carbon. Except for hating that particular filter and disliking water changes the tank was just wonderful.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-10-2011, 07:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you Kathyy.

Now that its not 6 am I can think just a little more clearly.

With the filtration Would you want to use chemicals? Like activated carbon, or would the plants act as a filter.

Maybe a decent website to buy some aquarium supplys.

Oh darn, I had a few more questions but now that I am off of work I can't think of them. I will likly be back.

Edit:
I also would like to know how long it takes to cycle?
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