Beginner looking to start planting - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Beginner looking to start planting

Hello everyone. I am new to this site and recently started getting more involved in things relating to my fish tank. I have so many questions about different things but i'll just start with some.

Just to give you guys a little bit of info, I have a 20 gallon established aquarium that I have had for about a year. I have an aquaclear 70 filter housing with an aquaclear 50 impeller which brings it down to 200gph. I do have my 70 impeller which would boost it to 300gph but not sure if that would be too much? I just wanted to have larger filter media and more gph since i have a lot of fish. I have 15 fish (which I know is a lot for my 20 gallon). The fish I have are as follows:
3 zebra danios
3 gold twin bar platys
3 cherry barbs
3 white fin rose tetras
2 mollies (one white sailfin i think its called, one regular black)
1 rainbow shark

I check my water levels weekly and change about 30-40% of my water and vacuum gravel every three weeks. I use four medias in my filter aquaclear sponge, marineland carbon, api ammo chips, and aquaclear biomax. I changed them every two months scattered. My water is always clear and levels always within specs. I don't get any algae (at least not that I can see). My thought has been that even though I have a lot of fish for a 20gal, I maintain my water regularly and they havent eaten each other. One of my questions is, should I take some out even though I keep my water clean and they have survived all this time?

Now, to the live plant issue. I recently bought a National Geographic led light for my tank and started thinking to myself that I would like to add plants to my aquarium. I have never used live plants and after looking into some beginner plants I like the amazon sword, java fern, and anubias nana. I wanted to place the amazon sword in the background and the other two in the front. Not sure if I am going in the right direction with these choices so I wanted to ask some more experienced people their opinion and some questions. (Some info on the natgeo light. It says on the box 7000-10000k for color temperature for white and 20000k for blue. It has a total of 54 white leds (18/tube) and 9 blue leds(3/tube). It says .18watts for white and .18 for blue, not sure if this is per led or the whole thing) The picture I posted is with a flourescent colormax T8 18" as I have not set up my new light.

I have regular blue color gravel. Will that be ok if I put that stuff that goes below the gravel so that the roots can grab (not sure of the name but i guess something like soil?). Would it be better to switch to sand (I do think i would like the look of black sand in my tank)? Will I need a co2 system? Will introducing plants to my tank cause me to have algae? If so, is there a fish that will keep the plants clean, or do i have to manually clean them? Also in the pictures, these plant didn't look droopy. I don't want droopy plants. Not sure if thats the word to describe what i want.

Hope i didn't bore you guys with all my questions. I am just really enjoying the hobby more since i have more time due to losing job. Thank you all in advance for your time and replies and have a great day.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 07:20 PM
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Welcome! Live plants are always a great addition to an aquarium.

First thing to note: Here is the AqAdvisor link to your tank. I put it together for you. AqAdvisor is a basic stocking calculator and isn't fool proof, but note the problems listed with your stocking.

When you say your parameters are good, what actually are those parameters?

The light seems to be very bright. You may find that with that light, you will need CO2 to control algae grows and provide enough for you plants to grow. You may need to add nutrients too, but I'm not a lighting expert so others should chime in here.

You can keep the gravel if you would like. It doesn't differ from inert sand for plants. What you can do is put root tabs into the gravel for plants that take in nutrient from their roots, especially, from what you listed, sword plants.

Introducing plants that already have algae on them may introduce algae into your tank, but normally is it your tank conditions that cause algae. Algae introduced into your aquarium will not grow if the environment prevents it.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 08:17 PM Thread Starter
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That aqadvisor calculator is really cool. thanks for the link.

Ok so according to the aqad, i need 2 more rose tetra, 2 more cherry barbs and 2 more danios, it seems i have 1 male twin bar and 2 females so i'm good there. I have 2 male mollys so i guess i'll give one away and get 2 females. It says I should get rid of my shark but he doesn't bother anyone. He mostly stays inside the decorations as they are hollow. I plan on getting a bigger tank anyway. This would bring my total fish count to 22 fish (wow). I think i will probably skip the danios get rid of my 3 and that would make it 17.

I just changed my impeller and put in my 70 impeller so i'm good with filtration now. I do have my old aquaclear 20 so maybe i should put that on as well? It says i should change 30% of water twice a week so i will start doing this.

I also just did a water test and my ph is 7.2-7.6 (my reference chart doesn't have in between colors), ammonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate 40ppm. I used an api dropper method.

Thanks for the help kcoscia
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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So I recently picked up a 75 gallon tank and decided to start planting on this tank instead. I want to use white sand though. which sand would be best for plants? I was thinking about getting eco-complete but i read somewhere that dark substrates make discus go pale which is what i want to get
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20gallon, beginner, live plants

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