Need some help starting out - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2013, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Need some help starting out


I am very interested in crossing over to the world of planted tanks, but I'd really like some advice before taking the plunge.

I have kept non planted tanks in the past and am pretty well versed in how to take care of fish. I know about the nitrogen cycle, and have cycled tanks many different ways (fishless, with fish, seeding from other media). I know about checking water parameters and general aquarium up keep. However, as far as getting aquatic plants to grow (or anything for that matter), I am a complete novice. If there is one thing I've learned from keeping aquariums, its that being prepared and doing things right the first time is always the way to go...which is what brings me knocking at the door of this fine forum.

I don't think anyone would argue that there is a TON of information to sift through, some of it conflicting, about how best to grow aquatic plants. I have read many beginner articles stickied on this forum
(including and have been following threads for a few days now.

Here is what I've decided so far:

I'm thinking I want to start off just learning to grow a few easy species of plants, though I don't necessarily want to just limit myself to low light. My eventual goal will be a heavily planted tank (40 gallons +) that is nicely aquascaped, but for now I think I will start smaller.

I have a 10 gallon + stand in my basement that I would like to set up + use just for growing plants. I want to really load it up with plants and I am not interested in aquascaping, or fish selections at all. I just want to get really good at growing some basic, tried and true species. I could then later use some of these plants for other aquarium projects.

My dilemma is, would it be best to start out low tech or high tech, there truly an in-between? Depending on which, what do you recommend for possible lighting setups for a 10 gallon? What about CO2...if I decided on a high light setup I feel that buying a whole co2 rig might be a little premature as I'm just getting into the hobby. What are your experiences with DIY co2? Do you regret not just making the initial purchase from the start?

I think I'm planning on using eco complete for substrate because of its availabiity, though I am certainly open to other suggestions. Is there anything else I need to layer underneath the eco complete?

Also some plant suggestions would be super helpful.

The first thing I plan on doing is buying the necessary test kits to check my tap water parameters to see what I'm working with. I have moved recently so I have no idea what my water is like, and I'm sure all my test kits have expired. I'll post water parameters as soon as I can.

I apologize if this comes off as long winded or scattered...there is just so much info!

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2013, 08:04 PM
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10 gallon no, scape, heavy planting is your goal.
I would start with low and then upgrade one by one.
1) lights - the more, the better later without buying another one. for 10 gallon dual - quad t5HO with your tank size, also light bulb with variety of spectrums
2) gravels - start with eco-complete- no hassel for the beginners
3) filters - recommend canister (external) filter
4) CO2- DIY for a while - save some bucks for later CO2 upgrade.
5) test kits... in my opinion, it is not the first thing to do.. since you are not putting any livestock there yet.
hope this helped.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2013, 09:00 PM
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I would also suggest low light plants in eco-complete as a starter. You can always upgrade later. Low light plants don't need added ferts or CO2 as long as you have a larger fish bioload to feed the plants, so you can save a few bucks here (you can always add CO2 and ferts if you like, just saying its not a necessity).

Easy to care for plants that are low light:

Rotala indica
Green hygro
Java fern
Most mosses

Keep in mind that Rotala indica, wisteria and green hygro grow like WEEDS, so if you want bushy plants they're the way to go. Java ferns and Anubias' need to be placed on rocks or driftwood, not planted in the substrate.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2013, 09:08 PM
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Another CTer, nice. Where abouts are you in the state?

As stated, start with some Eco, which Petco is having a sale online right now. Get a decent light now and you won't have to dish out the dough later, wishing you bought a better light from the get go.

Good luck and have fun.

temporary tanks for the time being...
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2013, 09:11 PM
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I'm a novice and can't really give much advice but here's my two cents from my recent exp. 10gal is a pretty good size to start a heavily planted tank. Plants and everything else gets to darn expensive on bigger tanks LOL.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-23-2013, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback.

Can I have some more info on T5HO's. Wouldn't they be too long for a 10 gallon?

Originally Posted by alipper View Post
Another CTer, nice. Where abouts are you in the state?
Hello...I'm in Torrington right now. From the Canton area. You?
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