Mistakes made, lessons learned? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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Mistakes made, lessons learned?

As a beginner, I thought that maybe this question would be enlightening for myself and others:

What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you first started keeping an aquarium?
What lessons did you learn the hard way?

I'm interested to see what people have to say!
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 03:49 PM
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I know now, that smaller aquarium's are not easier to maintain stable water parameter's.
Lesson I learned the hard way... clean water is best medicine.
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 03:50 PM
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If you give yourself a budget of $200, expect to double it.

seriously, its like a drug this aquarium thing
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 03:51 PM
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Fair goldfish do not belong in a bowl or a 10 gallon tank.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 03:55 PM
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Not cycling a tank and adding 20 fish....yea did that once. Also cutting corners and not being patient is another. Meds are also a bad thing, don't use them unless absolutely neccessary. Theres not many times that it is neccessary, clean water always helps.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 04:12 PM
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Dont skimp on filtration if the manufacturer says the filter is good for 50 to 100 gallons and u have a 75 gallon, then buy 2. Make sure u filter will handle ur load
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 04:40 PM
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That all fish cannot live together....don't buy on a whelm....researching beforehand, it can save a-lot of money and time
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 04:59 PM
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+1 on doubling the budget.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 05:12 PM
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Patience... this thing takes time....

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It's CO2. See-Oh-Two. Not C02 (see-zero-two).
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 05:22 PM
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I wish I would not have used medium as well as large river pebbles to cap my sub-substrate mix in my 135gal planted tank. It looks cool but is completely impractical. The smaller plants & stems just do not like being planted in those bigger stones. Their health seems to be affected and cannot easily plant / group plants in the stuff. So, then removing it is a pain and a good way to kick up some ammonia and trigger algae. I wished I'd used smaller particle sized substrate like stopping when I had my flourite + eco-complete mixture. Now looking back I'd gone with aqua soil or dirt capped.

I've been pulling out the larger pebbles over the past couple months now have a lot stored up...likely will dump in my garden pond this spring...
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 06:55 PM
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I made the decision in July of 2013 to transform my tank from plastic to lush green. I knew nothing about the planted tank world. The biggest suggestion I can make

RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH

also, try not to take a single persons advice as the end all be all. Listen to everyone and formulate your own solutions based on the suggestions posted. Your tank will be nothing like person a or b. Use the advice as guidance instead of truth. There is a bit of a learning curve, you have to know and understand how your tank works before you start to see success.

When something goes wrong, don't throw the book at it. Subtle=better than jumping head first and having the potential to create an even bigger mess.

Biggest mistake, cleaning the canister filter right after getting the tank up and running. I thought, like my hob it needed regular cleaning. Now I know, not to touch the filter until you are at least 6-9 months into the tank running.

Make sure you know what fish you are buying and how they will do in the tank. I started off my planted tank with convicts, had I known before buying them that they would be more destructive than a 2 year old child, I could have saved myself some serious time and head ache.

plan out your tank, sketch out your ideas before you start planting. Decide what light level you want to be at and start selecting plants from there. Don't stress if they start to die after you plant them. It's all part of the process. I've been doing this planted tank hobby for almost a year. I feel like I've grown a lot in the hobby, but there is a vast amount of information that I have barley scratched the surface on. I'm still figuring out my fert dosage, which is my biggest obstacle so far. I have different plants showing my different things and it's hard to find that happy medium for them all.


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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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This is great -- thanks to all who have responded!
I'm getting some new ideas as well as reinforcing some that I've already picked up.
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-26-2014, 02:00 AM
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Try to go first for a plant only or a fish only tank. Starting with both in the beginning is hard and recipe for disaster.

+2 on the budget, keeping in mind money is not a substitute for research.
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-26-2014, 02:36 AM
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I still consider myself a beginner, but I think I can share a few simple things:

The most important lesson I've learned by far is: If you have tap water with chlorine / chloramine, NEVER forget to add dechlorinator when changing water. Even if your tap water doesn't have those things, just remember to do it.

Other important things to note:

- Change the water. Especially with a new tank, there is no better chemical to add to the tank than H2O.

- Don't replant / rescape every week. If you don't like your scape you should still give it time and let it grow. You can redo it, just "don't be hasty" as the ents say.

- Don't let multiple tank syndrome take hold before you've learned your lessons from your first tank. I've made that mistake and paid for it.

- You're probably not going to replicate the aquascapes that you see done by the pros, at least not for a long time. Just learn to like your tank and learn to learn from it.

- Enjoy your tank. Sit and stare at it. Look at your fish and your plants. Gaze in wonder at what you've created. It's the reason you got into this hobby to begin with.

My Tanks:

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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-26-2014, 03:08 AM
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+10 on budget. Best to do it the right way with the gear you want the first time.


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