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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
this is my first post and im a beginner. Im trying to setup a low ligth no co2 tank. The tank is been cycled and running for 2 months with some fishes. I have regular gravel, 20 pounds for 20 g tank. My question is the normal gravel is good enough with gravel for basic plants ( I orderd couple of stem from the forum) and depth of the gravel seems to be low, do i need to add more gravel and if yes can i just add it to the top if the existing gravel, will it trigger another cycle?
 

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stem plants will be alright in plain gravel. it will also mature a little bit, as detritus builds up. some sand mixed in instead of more gravel would be better. all the sand will sink to the bottom. depending on how much you bury or blow around, it may or may not trigger a mini-cycle. do filter maintenance a couple days before hand to make sure it can physically clear up the water as you're working.

ludwigia repens "broad leaf" is probably the easiest and fastest growing stem i have. water sprite is more of a fern, but often called a stem, and it wont care much about poor gravel either and makes a great live-in bio filter.
 

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If you have some driftwood or rocks in the tank, you could always attach some java fern or anubias to them, they just cling to rocks and stuff (I don't know what the term is for the aquatic version of an epiphyte...), so they don't really have any substrate requirements.

it's a bit more effort, but you could also try keeping a bundle of substrate near the roots. I can't remember specifically what I used, but it involved filling one of those little pressed-peat pots with some mix of sand, vermiculite, and clay around the root-ball of the plants. Then just bury that bundle in the gravel.

In a low-tech tank, that should (hopefully) provide enough nutrients until the mulm/detritus builds up in the gravel.

Oh, and stop vacuuming the gravel, if you are doing that now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thx...can you elaborate on bundle, sounds good but cant figure it out. Like what to get, where to get. I planted few of the stems i got, including repens. For now just stuck it to the gravel they seems to be holding on to it. More question...i have the penguin bio filter, it looks like its the suction is pulling the plants towards it....i lowered the flow but still noticing it...any suggestion
 

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something like these in the pic. They are just made out of compressed and dried peat fibre. Most gardens/nurseries/hardware stores carry them. pretty much anywhere you can buy plant/garden stuff. just put the plant in it as if you were potting a houseplant, with whatever substrate you think is appropriate.

Then sink the whole plant/peatpot combo in the gravel. The peat pot just serves as something to help contain the substrate and hold it together while you put it in the gravel. roots can (and will eventually) grow through it.

Your water will get muddied up a little bit in the process, but nothing a typical filter won't be able to handle that day.
 

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