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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am currently running a 75 gallon tank with plastic plants. Contemplating switching over to live plants, which I have previously attempted and looked good for the first couple months before I started and lost an algae battle. My previous substrate was peat moss and soil master select. My current substrate is pool filter sand. I have 3 olive nerite snails in my tank currently along with an 8" Black Diamond Rhom. I can't really have any shrimp or catfish or anything to clean the plants b/c the piranha will eat them. I don't think nerite snails are known to eat plants, but it wouldn't surprise me if there are a few species they would make a meal out of. I'd like to keep the aquascape similar to something I have now with some moss, maybe some dwarf sag., amazon sword (although I am worried about them b/c of their root feeding in my non-fertile substrate) and maybe some Vals or something tall to cover my heater/filters/powerhead.

Now, for my questions. I currently have a coralife T5, one bulb says actinic on it and the other say 10,000K on it. It came with my tank. I also have a coralife 2x65w straight pin that I loaned to a friend and am getting back (the light I originally used on my first planted tank setup, however both bulbs are burnt out). Are one of these lights better than the other? I will probably get some MTS too to move the sand around, good idea or bad idea? What sort of plants will work with a piranha and the snails (I am more worried about the snails eating the plants than the fish)? I'd like to have as minimal maintenance with the plants as possible (ie, ferts to make them grow, definitely don't want C02, however I wouldn't mind trimming the tank if they grow too fast). Sorry for the super long post, and feel free to shoot me down if this isn't possible, but I am trying to figure out the whole planted tank thing and am definitely a newbie.

Here is a full tank shot, although I have added some of those meshes of fake grass on both sides and a strip across the back that is not in this image, but u can see it in the second.


And a shot of the fish from the side of the tank:
 

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Go with anubias, mosses and maybe crypts. They are all low maintenance plants...hopefully they wont get eaten.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, I like the looks of a lot of the Anubias species, although it will take a lot to fill out the 75g. I am nervous about the crypts and crypt melt. What about some jungle vals for the background plant or anything tall? Any idea on which set of lights I should use? I think I read here about the actinic bulb being removed for plants, but I don't know what it's supposed to do. I could get 2 new bulbs for the T5 I have or use the coralife with the compact flourescents (which I also need new bulbs for). I think 6700k are the type of bulbs I had last time.
 

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My recommendation would be to change the bulbs in the t5 for 6700k, the lights in there now are meant for saltwater. Nerite snails do great in a planted tank.
You hear about crypts melting, but that mostly comes from them getting used to new conditions, but once they get going in a new tank, they do pretty well. And you can use root tabs to beef up the substrate.

I must say also, that you did a good job with the fake plants. Most tanks with fake plants look so cheesy, but you tank actually looks pretty good.

MTS are interesting for the first few weeks, but they will get old if you ever get to a more advanced level of planting and are working against them to keep plants in the substrate. I don't think MTS really go much deeper than just covering their bodies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, I think I will order the T5 6700k. I heard MTS are good for sand substrates because they keep everything turned around, but if they are uprooting plants, I'd rather not have them. I'll probably get some more Nerites since I like the way they look and they have cleaned up the little bit of algae I had on my rocks in the tank. Algae is my biggest concern in the tank. Thanks for the compliment on the tank. Hopefully it will look ten times better once planted.
 
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