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Essential supplies for the new planted aquarium owner?

1271 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  eyebeatbadgers
What things would you consider to be essential to the "tool kit" of a planted tank owner? Which test kits? Fertilizers? Gadgets?
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I think the only test kits you need to start out are ammonia and nitrite. As for ferts, get the starter pack from rex grigg. I dont really have many gadgets, but I guess a magnetic algae scraper is nice to have.
I would recommend to get a CO2 system too (pressurized, DIY etc) so you will be able to plant more species of plants.

Good lightings is highly recommended too.
what kind of planted tank owner? Hi or low tech? Some things are more essential to some than others depending on how "involved" you are :)
Hmmm, good point. :) I guess I would be considered high tech? I want to know exactly what's going on in my tank and make my plants grow the best that they can. What prompted this question was that I started a new 20 gallon tank about 2 months ago and got way more into the plants than I thought I would. I have good lighting now (65w) and a Hagen CO2 system, but I'm wondering what little things I need. For example, I just found out a couple days ago that you could test your CO2 levels...I didn't actually know that. So now I want to know what other things I might have missed.
What things would you consider to be essential to the "tool kit" of a planted tank owner?
Personally, these are the things I see as important.

Good lighting ~ you have
Ferts ~ I use Seachem's flourish and dry ferts from here:
CO2 ~ I messed around with DIY for a while and I really think pressurized is the way to go. Well worth the money and once you have it, it only cost about $15 every few months to refill.
Tools ~ I think everyone has their own take on this but I only use scissors.
Test kits ~ I have them on hand but really don't use them that often.
Substrate ~ Something that is designed to grow plants seems to help but I would not consider it essential.

Now you have my two cents.
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Coralife Digital Thermometer.

It's the best.


Good Mechanical Filtration

if you want plants Flourite substrate is expensive but looks great, the plants love it, and it has essential Iron in it for the plants to munch on.

Air pumps

Cycle/BIO-Spira, some will argue whether this is essential, I think its essential for a new tank to establish biological filtration.

a Master fresh water test kit, red sea is good IMO. Specially when its a new tank, ammonia and nitrite spikes can destroy a new tank, as well as a nitrate tester.

Methylene Blue or Malachite Green is a must ICH aka ICK is a very common disease among freshwater fish. Also a good net dip.

Pima/Mela Fix- great anti fungal/anti bacteria/preventative to have, I recommend buying the Pond versions, a bit expensive at first but well worth buy the Pond grade as you get more and its more concentrated.

Aquarium Salt- I buy the Pond grade, it is cheaper when you buy in bulk.

Dechlor- I buy the pond grade. More expensive but its more concentrated.

Syphon- I bought one that attaches to the kitchen sink.

Good starter plants: Java Fern, Amazon Swords (get rather large though), mirco swords... errg my brain is dead today, I will post more if I think of it.

I second the Seachems Flourish tabs, just watch and make sure you dont suck them up during vaccuming.
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In contrast to above, here's my .02

1. Good Mechanical Filtration. Hang on back filters can work, but canisters are popular for a reason. You can never go wrong with a good brand like Eheim, Rena, Fluval, etc.

2. Substrate. I like sand. Fertilized substrates are great in their own respect, but if you're dosing the water column, the plants will simply take nutrients via their leaves. Sand is cheap. ADA is expensive. Your wallet can make the decision there.

3. Air pumps. Wha ???? For a planted tank, you probably won't need them. Some people use them to outgas CO2 at night if they run the gas all night long. Just extra junk if you ask me.

4. Cycle/BIO-Spira. May be useful for a fish only tank, but useless in a planted tank. Plants come with beneficial bacteria on them. Package deal. Stuff your tank with lots of fast growers, and you're set.

5. test kit. I have pH, ammonia, nitrite. Nitrate is optional. If you're doing water changes, they'll be under control. Shrimp are sensitive to high levels of nitrate (like 50 ppm and up).

6.Methylene Blue or Malachite Green. I've never used any ich treatment. Lots of those medicines will kill your plants. I've done it before. Your best bet is to keep a hospital tank for new fish.

7. Also a good net dip..... Just stay away from sick fish...

8.Pima/Mela Fix- see 7

9.Aquarium Salt- don't use salt in a planted tank. Salt is for salt water and french fries.

10.Dechlorinator. lots of people swear by Prime. Some swear at it. I use the cheapy walmart stuff.

11.Siphon- I made a python style siphon. It cost 15 bucks. The best 15 bucks I ever spent. Do yourself a favor and build one if you dont have one already.

12. Good starter plants: Java Fern, Java moss, wisteria, rotala rotundifolia, some people like anacharis and cambomba, but i killed em both.

13. Root tabs? Just dose the water column. Plants will use it just the same.

14. You said you wanted to measure your CO2. Go for a drop checker if you haven't already.

15. Algae removal. I like the scrubbers on a stick. I have a magnetic one too, but I like my pad on a stick better.
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