I want to start slowly - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-10-2005, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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I want to start slowly

I've been reading a lot on planted tanks and I still can't figure out what is right for me. I am going to be setting up a 90 gallon community fw tank I would like to have live plants but want to move slowly as I am too excited about the fish I want to get I am not sure how much into aquascaping I will be getting into since I've never done it before. What you experts have in terms of equipment really scare me. In any event, I want to be conservative in case I find out it is not for me.

1. Substrate: I purchased gravel but am confused if I should do a 50/50 mixture of flourite and gravel. How important is that?

2. Lighting: I'm considering purchasing CF http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...1&N=2004&Nty=1

However, I initially do not want high light at this point and it was suggested to me that I replace two of the bulbs with 50/50 lighting to get medium light.

3. Test Kits: Do I need them (specific to planting)

4. Fertilizers: do I need them?

5. CO2: Don't really want to get into this for awhile. What should I do to avoid having to use C02?

Thanks for your help
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-10-2005, 02:15 PM
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Let's start out by stating there is a difference between a tank with a few plants in it and a planted tank. You have to decide where to go.

Then take a few minutes and read my Guide.

The light you are looking at will work. But the idea of putting in some 50/50 bulbs is a disaster waiting to happen. I myself prefer to work with AH Supply kits. That way you can start with lower light and move up just by adding more kits. If you want lower light and want a commercial fixture then get one that allows you to switch off some of the bulbs.

If you want a planted tank then the addition of 50% Flourite is a good idea. Note that the 50% mixture is based on depth rather than weight. Also if you mix it with gravel the gravel/coarse sand must be the same general grain size or the larger grains will end up on top.

It never hurts to have test kits to know what is going on. You should have pH, kH, gH, Nitrate, to start. Also since you are just starting the tank Ammonia and Nitrite test kits are a must. Make sure you read the section of my Guide about Cycling a Planted Tank.

If you want a Planted tank as opposed to a tank with a few plants in it then yes you will need to feed the plants. Fertilizers feed plants.

Why avoid CO2? It's not all that expensive and really helps the plant growth which also helps the fish. If you want to avoid CO2 then either go with a non-planted tank or keep your 90 gallon tank under 150 watts of light.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-10-2005, 04:19 PM
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It is doable to have a low to moderate light tank without co2. You'll have to use a little care in selecting your species, but you can still have a very attractive tank.

1. Use fine gravel. Plants will grow in just gravel (root tabs or other ferts will help). I do feel my plants (personal opinion) do better with a mix of fluorite and gravel.

2. 50/50 bulbs are for salt water. If you want to reduce the amount of light, leave a switch off or a bulb out (not sure if that's an option with the lights you've chosen).

3. You'll want ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate to keep tabs on cycling your tank. Phosphate is useful (but not necessary in low/mod light) for plants. You can also live without gh and kh test kits (but again sometimes it's nice to know)

4. Your fertilizer needs will depend on the fish load, how much you feed, and your quantity and varieties of plants. Root tabs for things like swords (after you're sure you're done moving them around) and a few capfuls of liquid once a week would really give the plants a boost.

5. Not using co2 will limit your plant choices, but you will still have a large variety of plants to choose from. Consider these to start: swords, crypts, and anubias all do will with moderate light and will grow nicely without co2. Bacopa carolina and hyrophila difformis will both grow well in moderate light without co2. Water sprite is another plant that will work in those conditions. From there it's a case of testing plants that are listed as easy or moderate and finding out which ones will grow in the conditions you are willing to provide.
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