Low-tech potted plant questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-07-2006, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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Low-tech potted plant questions

I just emptied out my tanks and moved cross country, so I'm working with an almost blank slate. Literally, actually; I have slate tiles that I used for the bottom of my goldfish tank and I'll be reusing those because they work well for goldfish. Anyway, this will still be a goldfish tank because I still have the fish. I was able to rehome my other, more herbivorous critters, though, so I think I can finally plant some stuff. The tank is too deep for me to work in much, though, so I'm thinking of just a few potted plants. Yeah, I know, not very natural looking, but neither are these fish.

I was considering using one or two terracotta planters, about 4" x 4" x 12" towards the back of the tank and putting something tall in them. Jungle val seems like it might work. What would be the best substrate to put in those pots? Would I be able to get away with low light (no, I don't know just how low--currently it'll have default factory lighting plus some natural sunlight)?

Any tips? Can I make this work without doing a lot of work?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-07-2006, 02:04 AM
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Shouldn't be difficult. How about some safe soil (think Walstad style) capped with a fine gravel? There is relatively little soil in there, so not many substrate problems should present themselves.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-08-2006, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I'll look into that. I can't make the substrate too interesting or it'll get played with before the plants take hold, but maybe I can cage it or something.

I know it's not really a "planted tank" but it's better than a plastic castle, isn't it?
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-08-2006, 04:25 PM
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You can do a LOT with that!

Try plain garden soil, the kind with no added ferts and low organic matter. If you go to the store, it'll most likely be the cheapest stuff you can find. Top that off with fine gravel like MrBelvedere said, and I bet your Vals would just love it! It is a really good solution for goldfish too - the pots make it easy to move around the plants without disturbing the substrate, and you can easily remove the pots if you need to catch the fish.

You'll want to repot your plants in about a year or year and a half, and shoplights actually work very well for low-tech tanks. Try one cool white and one full spectrum 48" bulb if your tank is a 55 (just a guess).

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-16-2007, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions!

It sure is hard to find nice pots when you need them. If y'all don't mind me reviving an old topic in my search for free advice as I haven't gotten around to this yet , is there a pot depth I should be trying to find? I've never grown vals and don't know if they like to grow deep.

Is 70 degrees F warm enough for decent growth or will I need to heat the tank?

As far as lighting goes, my fixture has 80w (with whatever bulbs came with the tank) plus a little sunlight. I suspect that may be a wee bit low for vals in a deep tank. (The tank is about 24"x48"x30"h; around 140g.)

Can I pull this off or should I just stick with plants like Java fern? Or will I have to (eek!) buy stuff??
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