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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-13-2006, 11:35 PM Thread Starter
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my guide to making a planted tank!

Well for the communications merit badge for boyscouts i have to make a 5 min speach on a topic that intrests me so i decided to make it about building a planted tank! there are some things i left out. (co2 and ferts) will add later. but its pretty good! so i decided i would post it here to help anyone who may find this usefull. this is pretty much how i set up my 10g and around the same way i set upo my 55g. hope you enjoy! willing to add to plants list and fish lists and stuff to make it even better and more helpfull... well here it is.. hopefully this is wearth posting and its nice and long 4 pages in ms word with 12 times new roman faunt... so here it is!

by fish newb!

how to start a planted tank!


You may be very familiar with “fish tanks” most people who own them have plastic plants in there and some funky gravel. The fish don’t seem to mind the sponge bob character standing there and everyone you ask likes it so the tank is great! But are those blue plants natural? If you went to a river would you see pink gravel and blue plants? In most cases no. And if you answer yes… well you have some serious problems.
What do you see when you go to a natural body of fresh water? What do you see when you go outside your door? Usually you see plants. Not plastic ones that are purple and pink but real live plants. Those plants are what you like and if for some reason you where transplanted to another universe and they had green skies and blue plastic grass with purple and blue trees you wouldn’t be too happy either. Or at least most people wouldn’t. Well fish aren’t completely mindless usually. Maybe they like the plastic plants but there is no true way to ask a fish if they like plastic or natural. My honest opinion and many other aquarium keepers world wide is this, “ if fish where supposed to live in a space with plastic plants and pink sand you would see it in nature.” And I hate to tell you but usually you don’t see plastic plants in a pond. You see real live plants! So the bug is biting people around the world what bug you may ask? “THE PLANTED TANK BUG!”
In the past people have had trouble with live plants in tanks that’s why they came out with “plastic plants, silk plants and more….” But the reality is these days. Real plants are no more work than fake ones. If not less after you get the tank set up. And to most people real plants just plain look better.

So how do I start a planted tank? Well I will tell you! Free of charge at first but for every additional time I have to tell you it will cost you minimum wage that is $4.14 in the state of RI just so u know J.

Some things to take into consideration in any tank are this: fish, substrate, light, filter, and heater.
In a planted tank there are a few more; added to the list is Co2, fertilizers, plants plant safe fish, and finally the substrate and lighting are much more important.

So lets say you are making a new tank from the ground up. The first question you need to ask is what size tank is right for you?

Some things to take into consideration=>
· The space you have available
· What tanks you like the look of
· Where you are going to be putting the tank
· What type of fish you want to keep in it.

So lets say you have decided that you want a 10gallon tank to start with. It’s small and easy to maintain. At most everything should cost you around $100.


Next thing you need to think about. What inhabitants?
What you want to put into the tank will vary on what you will need to buy.

Some things to consider:

· What fish do you like? Would you like a school of fish or a few larger ones?
· How much time are you going to want to have to put into the tank?
· What plants do you want to keep?
· And finally what is your budget?

Lets say you decided that a school of fish would look better than a few big ones. And you decide to make it a low maintenance tank so you will have low wattage over your tank around 2wpg.

Now you know what type of tank you are going to make so where do you start from there? Well you need to pick out your supplies that keep your tank running! First things first you need a filter. Why do you need a filter? Filters help to filter out lots of stuff from the aquarium’s water, which the fish wont like. Plants also help a lot because they are coated with beneficial bacteria.

What type of filter? There are a lot of filters so which one should I get?

It’s mostly a budget thing. If you want to spend a good deal of money I would get a canister filter. There are also in tank filters such as UGF (under gravel filters) and some types of filters you can sit in your tank. But my preference for my 10g is a HOB filter. What is an HOB filter you may ask? It’s a Hang On Back Filter. HOB filters are usually very affordable efficient and easy to maintain. They also have minimum pies going into the tank. Most HOB filters only have one tube going from the tank to the filter and the water just flows right out of the filter into the aquarium. There is something with filters called GPH. GPH stands for gallon per hour. People all use different amounts but the average that people use is between turnover per hour 4 and 8 turnover per hour usually on the lower end on a planted tank. So for a planted 10g tank you want a filter that has between 40 and 80 gph.

Next thing is a heater. Any heater is fine there are many out there some things to look at when buying a heater as the same as any item is.
· Price
· How it looks
· Customer satisfaction.

I’m not too sure about the wattage and stuff in them I go by what the heater is recommended for so I am willing to bet you can easily get a heater for a 10g tank for 10 dollars or les.

Now that you have your main things for a fish only tank you need to think about the things that are more specific to a planted tank. You decided that you where going to do low light which equals low maintenance so you are going to use the original lighting fixture which came with the tank. If the bulb is the wrong spectrum I would change it. In planted tanks you want anything from 4000K-10000K (degrees Kelvin)

Now for the tricky part. Substrate! There are a million different ways to do this. But since you are going to be doing a low light tank I would go with something that’s good and made for plants. Some good choices that I have used and am still using are:
· Fluorite (make sure to wash quite a bit)
· Flora base (don’t need to wash)
· One I haven’t tried is eco complete but has gotten great reviews from fellow hobbyists. This one you DO NOT WAS since it is loaded with “beneficial bacteria” and stuff.

But those are the easiest ways to go but you can always just use small gravel or something along those lines. Some people have had success with kitty litter.

One last thing you might want to consider is a background. Most people use either blue or black since it really shows off the tank. Black is the most popular one. But that’s a personal thing.

Finally the time has come to set up the tank!

First things first what goes on the bottom? Most people put the substrate in first. (Go figure)

Once you have put that in you are ready to start filling it with water. For me its trips back and forth to the bathroom. Yes it does get tiring.

Once you have it filled with water and substrate I would put my heater and filter in.
(Also put your misc. stuff in too like a thermometer on the other side of the tank so you can see how the heater is doing!

Now it has been a long day and you tank is just starting to get filled up! So what do you do? Go to get MORE stuff from your LFS (live fish store (pet store))

Now you get to go get plants and rocks and driftwood for your hardscape! This is very subjective so you get what you want some people do just plants only tanks so its entirely up to you! Also while you are there why not get some plants?








What plants?

When you first get you tank going you usually want to fill it up with fast growers so you have the least algae as possible. Some good fast growers for low wattage tanks are!

1. Cabomba
2. Elodea
3. Baby tears

Those are three common plants to use as stems there are LOTS more so it depends what your LFS has. Also while you are there get some plants that are low wattage that YOU like this is all about you remember! Some good plants for low light plants are!

1. Anubus
2. Crypts
3. Mosses
4. Java fern
5. And some swords (some get really big so watch out!)

So go home and plant these however you want usually the higher plants go in the back and the lower plants go in the foreground to mid-ground. Aqua Scaping is an art so plant them however YOU thing looks good.

Wait a day or two now make sure your tank is all settled from planting and your heater is working then go back for fish. Some things you need to remember to get are:

1. Clean up crew!
Some good fish to have in your clean up crew are!
· Cory codas
· Algae eaters such as SAE’s Plecos and Otto’s.
· Also shrimp if you are only having small animals in your tank, which wont, eat them…

2. The other fish that you wanted for this tank we decided a schooling fish so some small ones are
a. Rummy nose
b. Neon tetras
c. Cardinal tetras
d. Rasaboras
e. White cloud mountain minnows
f. All tetras
g. And some small varieties of rainbows such as threadfin.

Now you can take your fish home and your tank is done! Yay! All that and now you have a beautiful piece of nature in your very own home. Congrats on making it through this and hope you have this wonderful tank for many years to come!

-=- fish newb-=-

hope you liked it!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-14-2006, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
the reality is these days. Real plants are no more work than fake ones. If not less after you get the tank set up.
I dont really agree with that, but your artical is not too bad

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-14-2006, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shuks
I dont really agree with that, but your artical is not too bad
thank you do you wish to state what your idea is? i was refering to a LOW matnence tank. no co2 and ferts come from fish poop and fish food thats missed . i was also refering to where most ppl who have fake plants have lots of algea on their plants so they are constently taking them out to wash them... well thats the common plastic plants tank that people have.. i got the merit badge so it worked! im happy and am really thinking if i could get more imput and start changing it and editing it to make it much better! (i did this in like 20 mins) it might be a good guide! and thanks for the complament!

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
-=- fish newb-=-
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-14-2006, 10:02 PM
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Please don't take this to hard, but a maybe run your copy through a spell check program if you want to put this somewhere to read. My spelling is the pits also!

It will also help in the sense that you get to A) see what words you missed, and B) make you a better speller.

Peter

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-14-2006, 11:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wantplantsnotwork
Please don't take this to hard, but a maybe run your copy through a spell check program if you want to put this somewhere to read. My spelling is the pits also!

It will also help in the sense that you get to A) see what words you missed, and B) make you a better speller.
hehe i dont usually bother spell check on forums... im a decent speller but its combined with im talk and stuff when im typing a fast post. sorry. also i made the guide thing in ms word so thats all spelled correctly w/ proper grammer... anyways! what did you think?

-=- fish newb -=-

ps if no1 criticized me i would never get better at the things i do so i want your ideas i WANT to make this much better!
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-15-2006, 07:11 AM
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Nice Start.

Fish Newb,

I think you're speech has a lot of potential. Yes, you should run a spell check , and if possible, have an elder give it a grammar once-over. But, I think that you are doing your club a service by showing them that owning and maintaining a planted tank is within the reach of anyone serious about owning one.

I have a recommendation for you. Fight the urge to use a format that is antagonistic/protagonistic. In other words, don't assume that people need to be convinced to own a planted tank. This tone makes your speech sound like you are trying to sell something. If your presentation is clear, and your facts are easily understood, people will listen. I know that you don't want to bore your audience, but you also don't want to cross-examine them either .

Example:

"My honest opinion and many other aquarium keepers world wide is this, “ if fish where supposed to live in a space with plastic plants and pink sand you would see it in nature.” And I hate to tell you but usually you don’t see plastic plants in a pond."

"My opinion and the opinion of other experienced aquariasts is that fish should live in an aquarium inspired by their natural environment. Commonly used plastic plants and colored gravel do a poor job of this."

Now I know you are a young man, and I don't wish for you to sound like an old fart (like me), but a few subtle changes of tone could significantly improve the 'readability' of your presentation.

Regardless, I admire your committment to the hobby. It is my opinion that a growing number of young men are aloof and without passion. You, clearly, are eager to learn and share. Kudos.

Ted


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-15-2006, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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yep AND I WANT feedback like that! what can i change ect ect. i was speaking to a diffrent audience before so i was in a diffrent style? i dont know you said what it was. it kind of like a way to write. well here is my question? where are the spelling mistakes that i keep gettin refured about. i made this in microsoft word and used spell check. so im very interested in where i spelled things wrong? and very willing to change it. right now im going to change that part from being "perswasive" to just telling you something. looking for all the improvements i can get! maybe this could help someone some day...

Now I know you are a young man, and I don't wish for you to sound like an old fart (like me), but a few subtle changes of tone could significantly improve the 'readability' of your presentation.

Regardless, I admire your committment to the hobby. It is my opinion that a growing number of young men are aloof and without passion. You, clearly, are eager to learn and share. Kudos.

yes i believe i am the youngest guy on the board. and you dont sound like an "old fart" lol and im looking for improvements. it was written to a diff audince so now i need to change it.

so i want your views! dont hold them back! give them up!

-=- fish newb -=-
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-15-2006, 05:29 PM
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Fish NewB,

I enjoyed reading your post. I too was an avid aquarist at an early age (many years ago), and find it comforting that young people today remain interested in this great hobby. After a childhood occupied with aquariums and numerous other pets, I went on to attain a PhD in Vetebrate Zoology.

It is my understanding that the manuscript you provide here was acutually a speech. In a spoken presentation both humor and sarcasm can be related to the audience by tone of voice and various manerisms, and these techniques are acceptable to the extent to maintian interest in your listeners. True papers and manuscripts that are not presented "live" are best written in a formal, scientific format (which means more attention to sentence structure, grammer, and word usage). You are correct, Fish NewB, that your document contains no misspelled words, however, your spell check can not determine that you meant to write "wash" instead of "was". I think if you reread the document, you will find other examples also. Once again, in a speach, your audience will hear what you meant to write, instead of what is actually on the paper. If you are submiting an article for review, however, they only see what is on the paper.

A couple of other things you might want to reconsider is the listing of Cabomba as a low light plant. While it may survive a few weeks in low light, it will now proliferate in these conditions (it can actually be a difficult plant, and you may want to select a different species to take its place...hornwort, etc.). Also, I would not list all tetras as small schooling fish suitable for a 10 gallon...silver dollars, buenos aries tetras...etc. would not be good choices.

Overall, I and probably most people on this forum applaud your efforts. Your writing skills will improve in time. None of us "old farts" here wrote (or even thought, for that matter) as a child as we do now. Keep improving and gaining experience with your tanks. You are off to a great start!

Eheim Pimp #181

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5.5g Low-tech jungle
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-16-2006, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I will reread it see what you guys are saying...

PhD in Vertebrate Zoology. Wow that sounds like one heck of a fun PhD!

I’m surprised what you said about Cabomba though.. I had it in my 10g LOW light tank and I had ended up propagating it

And yes this was a SPEECH so now I need to change it so its more appropriate for this audience as a written paper..


Overall, I and probably most people on this forum applaud your efforts. Your writing skills will improve in time. None of us "old farts" here wrote (or even thought, for that matter) as a child as we do now. Keep improving and gaining experience with your tanks. You are off to a great start!

thanks! i got a bunch to change on it.. I’m not sure how I’m going to exactly... I think I’m the youngest on forum at 14. But I joined at 13... so i might have the record

And for tetras.. Well I really didn’t think that thru much it didn’t matter though because I wasn’t exactly giving the speech to anyone who understood all of it lol.

Thanks again everyone!

-=- Fish Newb -=-
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-16-2006, 12:43 PM
 
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Fish Newb,

I started breeding and selling angelfish to LFS's before I was old enough to drive. You have an incredible advantage over many people that are in the hobby. You have more years ahead of you to learn, experiment, and have fun trying different things. When you're old enough to have some free $$ you'll have all kinds of ideas planned out.

Good job on the merit badge. Don't give up on scouting. Too many people do. It really surprised me that when I interviewed for medical school and and for a residency in orthopedic surgery that people ALWAYS brought up the fact that I was an eagle scout. There aren't that many things that you can do as a 14 year-old that people pay attention to in the "real world". Being an eagle is one of them.

The funnest thing about this hobby to me is being able to apply all the classes I took in college to a fun use. In the past few months I've used what I learned about electricity to make a lighting canopy, chemistry to calculate many, many things, fluid dynamics to figure out a better CO2 reactor, calculus to help answer a question about water changes, etc., etc. The great thing about this forum (and others) is the chance to give and take from other's experiences too. This makes it SO much easier to actually end up with a beautiful and healthy tank.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-16-2006, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guaiac_boy
Fish Newb,

I started breeding and selling angelfish to LFS's before I was old enough to drive. You have an incredible advantage over many people that are in the hobby. You have more years ahead of you to learn, experiment, and have fun trying different things. When you're old enough to have some free $$ you'll have all kinds of ideas planned out.

Good job on the merit badge. Don't give up on scouting. Too many people do. It really surprised me that when I interviewed for medical school and and for a residency in orthopedic surgery that people ALWAYS brought up the fact that I was an eagle scout. There aren't that many things that you can do as a 14 year-old that people pay attention to in the "real world". Being an eagle is one of them.

The funnest thing about this hobby to me is being able to apply all the classes I took in college to a fun use. In the past few months I've used what I learned about electricity to make a lighting canopy, chemistry to calculate many, many things, fluid dynamics to figure out a better CO2 reactor, calculus to help answer a question about water changes, etc., etc. The great thing about this forum (and others) is the chance to give and take from other's experiences too. This makes it SO much easier to actually end up with a beautiful and healthy tank.
thanks. congrats on eagle my troop has one of the highest percentages of eagle in our state almost all kids who stay with the program get eagle. im star atm and will be life soon. if not by summer camp. i plan on getting eagle since all the great stuff ive heard about how good eagle is on ur resumey. most people i talk to who have eagle and went out for jobs all the people in the interview want to know about is their eagle. so it seems good. hopefully i will get eagle by 15/16. my dad wants me to get a double gold palm lmao... maybe a gold at most.... i have been thinking about breeding angles for a LONG time but the problem is my parrents dont want me settting up anymore tanks lol. if i got a pair i probably could pull it off tho since i have my main 55g community i could use as a grow out tank and my 10g that im in the midst of redoing so i can keep shrimp in there (had a copper problem) maybe once the basement gets finished off i can get a tank or two more and try my habd at breeding them i love angles and always wanted to breed them..

well maybe ill try ill have to see... my lfs has some nice gold viel longtail angles.. at a mere $15 each! lol those are really high but they have these ok looking baby ones for $5 maybe ill take my chances with those...

and i do have an advantage over most ppl i got many years ahead of me lol.

thanks again!

-=- fish newb -=-
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