Recommended Reading for a Newbie? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2004, 12:57 AM Thread Starter
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Hello all - I am new to this forum and also brand new to aquariums. My boyfriend has a 55 gallon cichlid tank - and I just got a 20 gallon for my birthday about a month ago.

Since we would have 2 tanks in the apartment I thought it would be fun to have some contrast - so I thought I'd get some community fish and some plants (his cichlids will eat or dig up anything in the tank - not even fake plants survive )

All are doing well so far in my tank - but I have learned a TON in a month and I think eventually what I'd like to have is a planted dwarf cichlid tank. I've been to the library and checked out every book they have on freshwater aquariums But there isn't a very big selection on planted aquariums... so I turn to you - Any reading recommendations on planted tanks or dwarf cichlids?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2004, 01:19 AM
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You are here...

This entire forum is dedicated to plants and fish and everything in between... there have been a few discussions on the dwarf cichlids recently and plants... well, if you dont find the info here that you need just ask and we will supply it. There is lots of experience here and photos are worth 1000 words.

Take a look in the photo album for ideas on looks that you like and their are lots of great how-to's listed here... welcome to the hobby and the forum starshadow
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2004, 01:33 AM
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One book that I have found incredibly informative and inspirational is Takashi Amano's Nature Aquarium World (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...s&n=507846).

Even if you learn nothing else from reading it, it will instill in you a sense of good taste.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2004, 01:38 AM
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Even if you learn nothing else from reading it, it will instill in you a sense of good taste.
...and a sense of hopelessness and inadequacy.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2004, 01:43 AM
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You too, huh?

Whew! I thought it was just me.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2004, 01:58 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Buck
You are here...
haha... yes, I'm glad I found this resource and I've learned a lot here too so far I'm sure I'll have many questions for you guys.

...and Ugly - I have seen some of amano's work... I tried to find one of his books in the library today with no success but it is beautiful. I have one of his pictures as my desktop background right now in fact
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2004, 02:42 AM
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2004, 04:09 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ^iMp^
Thanks.

I've looked at the book selection here.... are Amano's books informative or just filled with pretty pictures? If there were one book you would recommend that this site offers what would it be?

I got a couple books from the library but I am unhappy with them because neither of them even mentions adding CO2 to your tank - which I've read a lot about on here... Is this necessary to have a successful planted tank?
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2004, 11:37 AM
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Hello Starshadow,

Here is some very good instruction

Read what you can, but mostly keep your hands wet. most here are willing to help with any question you may have.

http://www.sfbaaps.com/reference/barr_02_01.shtml

hope this helps.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2004, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by starshadow
I got a couple books from the library but I am unhappy with them because neither of them even mentions adding CO2 to your tank - which I've read a lot about on here... Is this necessary to have a successful planted tank?
Older books won't mention CO2 since lighting technology wasn't advanced to the point where it was economical enough for the average hobbyist to have 2-3 watts per gallon over their tanks. Now that much light is commonplace, and those are the light intensity levels at which CO2 becomes quite necessary in order for plants to be able to utilize light that intense.

- Sam P -

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2004, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GulfCoastAquarian

Older books won't mention CO2 since lighting technology wasn't advanced to the point where it was economical enough for the average hobbyist to have 2-3 watts per gallon over their tanks. Now that much light is commonplace, and those are the light intensity levels at which CO2 becomes quite necessary in order for plants to be able to utilize light that intense.
Ah... thanks gulfcoast! I guess that makes you guys the ultimate resource then

...so here come the questions:

Eventually I'd love to have a beautifully aquascaped tank like I've seen here but for now I'd just like to keep some plants alive and healthy in my tank and work with what I have and can keep...

I've learned that my tank is not a 20gal but an 18gal - and is similar in measurements to the 18 gallon tall eclipse seen here http://www.fishtankwarehouse.com/car...&key=SC007 It is the length and width of a 10 gallon tank but it is around 20 inches tall. Does the depth of the tank pose a problem for lighting?

I just have the light that came with my hood for now - I think it's 15 watts. Plus the tank sits in the southfacing window in our apartment (which normally would be getting tons of light but we've had some hazy days lately - we had the worst pollution in the country the other day - yuck) I am - of course - willing to get new lighting.

Another problem I've run into is that I have an under gravel filter and from what I've gathered here this ain't so good for the plants. Are there plants that could survive with it? And if so what would you recommend?

This is the only filtration I have in the tank right now and if I can get away with it I'd like to keep it around...

I have 3 types of plants in my tank - the only one I've been able to identify I believe is a cabomba (sp?) another one came potted... it's doing the best of all, and the other is slowly being eaten away by my ramshorn snail :?

This is another problem... can I keep my snail around? I kinda like him Plus, I have 3 silver dollars... I've read that they'll eat any vegetation they can get - but from what I've seen they haven't touched the plants... lettuce and peas on the other hand are devoured, I think the snail prefers these also, so maybe if I keep this in their diet they won't eat the plants? Are there plants that they won't eat?

Eventually I think I'll have to take the silver dollars out anyway because they will get too big for the tank (I was entirely uniformed when I bought everything for my tank)

On to substrate... I just have regular ol' gravel in there, but I don't think there is enough - so I was going to go out and buy some more gravel but now I'm thinking maybe I should get something else to put under the gravel that would be better to keep the plants in? Would this still work with the under gravel filter?

...and finally: I was going to try the whole DIY CO2 thing with the soda bottle but I'm a little confused about diffusers and reactors and whatnot. I understand that the yeast and sugar mixture is making CO2 (please excuse this terribly ignorant question) So why can't I just stick the tube in the tank and call it good? What exactly is the diffuser doing? Will an airstone not work at all? (the article on this site doesn't recommend it but mentions it as an option)

Of all the problems I'm mostly confused about the CO2 stuff...

So there you have it folks. My issues and my beginnings in planted tanks

Sorry about the novel but you asked for it

Thanks for the info so far, and thank you - most of all - for your willingness to help.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2004, 04:13 PM
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...and finally: I was going to try the whole DIY CO2 thing with the soda bottle but I'm a little confused about diffusers and reactors and whatnot. I understand that the yeast and sugar mixture is making CO2 (please excuse this terribly ignorant question) So why can't I just stick the tube in the tank and call it good? What exactly is the diffuser doing? Will an airstone not work at all? (the article on this site doesn't recommend it but mentions it as an option)

Of all the problems I'm mostly confused about the CO2 stuff...
A lot of questions. I can help with this one.
http://www.qsl.net/w2wdx/aquaria/diyco2.html
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2004, 05:09 PM
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Hi Starshadow,

My absolutely most favorite book is "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" by Diana Walstad. It's about 25$ on Amazon. It's an easy read, and explains chemistry and other aquatic interactions nice and simply. For the money, it's a fabulous book packed with info.

My other favorite thing to do is to check books out before I buy them at the library, like you did. Most libraries have an interlibrary loan service! If you can find books that you'd like to look at (using Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.com, etc.), the library can get it for you even if they don't have it! Truly an underutilized resource. Books are expensive, and I like to look at them before buying.

Have fun! Planted tanks are a blast!

-Laura
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2004, 05:34 PM
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It is the length and width of a 10 gallon tank but it is around 20 inches tall. Does the depth of the tank pose a problem for lighting?
A tank that is very tall will be difficult to grow a foreground in, since the light has to travel so far. But you should be able to grow stem plants well. The problem is that the upper leaves will recieve much more light than the lower leaves so you may find the lower ones dying off. Just cut the healthy tops of the stem plants and replant them, discarding the bottoms.

The 15w bulb alone will definitely be inadequate. Adding a 36 watt Power Compact would bring you where you needed to be.

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Another problem I've run into is that I have an under gravel filter and from what I've gathered here this ain't so good for the plants. Are there plants that could survive with it? And if so what would you recommend?
A stem plant simply uses the gravel to anchor itself so if you only mildly planted the tank with stem plants like Cabomba, Egeria densa, hygrophila polysperma, etc. then you could get away with it - but no one would recommend it. This wouldn't be a planted tank. It is a fish tank with some plants in it.

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This is another problem... can I keep my snail around?
I think you're going to find that the snail will eat just about any plant. So will the Silver Dollars.

Quote:
On to substrate... I just have regular ol' gravel in there, but I don't think there is enough - so I was going to go out and buy some more gravel but now I'm thinking maybe I should get something else to put under the gravel that would be better to keep the plants in? Would this still work with the under gravel filter?
You should not use any type of planted substrate with an UGF. Read this thread for more info...
https://www.plantedtank.net/forum/vie...=ugf+substrate

Quote:
...and finally: I was going to try the whole DIY CO2 thing with the soda bottle but I'm a little confused about diffusers and reactors and whatnot. I understand that the yeast and sugar mixture is making CO2 (please excuse this terribly ignorant question) So why can't I just stick the tube in the tank and call it good? What exactly is the diffuser doing? Will an airstone not work at all? (the article on this site doesn't recommend it but mentions it as an option)
You really won't need CO2 until you've got more light. The plants are recieving all the CO2 they need with 15w on a tall 20g. Once you do upgrade your lights, you will want to try the Yeast method of CO2 generation. The diffusor/reactor simply dissolves the CO2 gases into the water. An airstone would give the co2 a tiny chance to dissolve before rising to the surface and being lost to the atmosphere, but it's not enough. You need an efficient reactor/diffusor to use as much of the CO2 generated by the yeast as possible.

- Sam P -

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2004, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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wow! Thanks everyone!

Gulfcoast - I think all I'm going for now is a fish tank with plants in it... keep everyone alive and healthy for a while and eventually graduate to a planted tank - remember, I'm new to this whole thing.

I'm getting a hand me down power filter from my boyfriend and I'm thinking of getting rid of the UGF. Will I be fine with just a power filter?

I wanted sand as my substrate to begin with and we didn't find any at the fish store but now I read that you can just buy regular cheap silica sand. But that sand - also - does not go well with the UGF. So... I think that will be the first change.

I was reading about putting peat or soil under the sand? But is it safe for my fish? I might just go with sand for now...

thanks everyone for your help and native - thanks for the tip on interlibrary loans - I had no idea! And I'm always looking for stuff at the library that I can't find - this is great!
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