The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all! I am looking to begin my first planted fish tank. I've never done a planted tank before and it has been years since I last had a fish tank so I want to do things right. I am looking at getting a 55 gallon tank and want to do a combination of low-tech plants and fish. I love the look of natural tanks, as if you were looking at a cutout of nature itself. I've been doing a lot of research but I'd love to get some advice and opinions on some start-up options. Here is what I had in mind so far:

Equipment
  • 55 gallon tank w/ glass canopy
  • Fluval 407 canister filter
  • Eheim Jager 300w heater
  • Hygger Advanced Full Spectrum Light (42W 48-54")
Fish (introduced over time)
  • Tetra (neon, cardinal, green fire)
  • Dwarf Chain Loach
  • Clown Killifish
  • Rams
  • Amano Shrimp (or smaller if I don't get the Rams)
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Stiphodon Goby
I'm using AqAdvisor to get an idea of number and it looks like I could safely have around 40 fish which is awesome (heavier on the Tetras of course).

Here is where I am looking for help:
  • Is this a reasonable setup?
  • What kind of substrate would you recommend for a natural look but also good for plants and maybe some bottom-dwellers (including the Stiphodon Goby). I'm thinking fine sand with some smooth pebbles mixed in. I'm nervous about fine sand with it getting caught up in the filter or looking to much like a reef with non-reef fish (but I could certainly be wrong on both fronts there, I don't have any experience).
  • For this combo of fish and plants how "full" should I make the hardscaping?
  • What kind of stones do you like?
Here are a couple of tanks I consider to be really nice:
Plant Pet supply Terrestrial plant Organism Aquatic plant


Water Plant Green Botany Pet supply
 

·
Premium Member
Too many things to list.
Joined
·
187 Posts
Based off on my semi recent experience I strongly suggest you get a “safety valve” for the heater, like an inkbird, or several small ones…..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,382 Posts
Hello and welcome!

Both inspirational tanks you chose have large pieces of hardscape that dominate the tank. Keep that in mind when you go to buy your rocks and or wood. Additionally the tank with the stone for instance likely is not using 'aquascaping' stone. It's likely either found in the wild or at a landscaping supply. This is my preference for getting rocks.

Wood is best purchased at a local fish store if you have one that carries a good selection.

You will probably have to revise your stocking a bit. Rams need at least 82 degrees whereas the killifish is a cold water fish. Possibly other incompatible fish as well but that's the one that stood out to me.

Just some thoughts. Good luck!
 

·
Premium Member
Too many things to list.
Joined
·
187 Posts
Hello all! I am looking to begin my first planted fish tank. I've never done a planted tank before and it has been years since I last had a fish tank so I want to do things right. I am looking at getting a 55 gallon tank and want to do a combination of low-tech plants and fish. I love the look of natural tanks, as if you were looking at a cutout of nature itself. I've been doing a lot of research but I'd love to get some advice and opinions on some start-up options. Here is what I had in mind so far:

Equipment
  • 55 gallon tank w/ glass canopy
  • Fluval 407 canister filter
  • Eheim Jager 300w heater
  • Hygger Advanced Full Spectrum Light (42W 48-54")
Fish (introduced over time)
  • Tetra (neon, cardinal, green fire)
  • Dwarf Chain Loach
  • Clown Killifish
  • Rams
  • Amano Shrimp (or smaller if I don't get the Rams)
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Stiphodon Goby
I'm using AqAdvisor to get an idea of number and it looks like I could safely have around 40 fish which is awesome (heavier on the Tetras of course).

Here is where I am looking for help:
  • Is this a reasonable setup?
  • What kind of substrate would you recommend for a natural look but also good for plants and maybe some bottom-dwellers (including the Stiphodon Goby). I'm thinking fine sand with some smooth pebbles mixed in. I'm nervous about fine sand with it getting caught up in the filter or looking to much like a reef with non-reef fish (but I could certainly be wrong on both fronts there, I don't have any experience).
  • For this combo of fish and plants how "full" should I make the hardscaping?
  • What kind of stones do you like?
Here are a couple of tanks I consider to be really nice:
View attachment 1046028

View attachment 1046029
Other than the heater thing, a design exercise, if you will. For visual effect, take the the bottom photo and flip it horizontally, so that the wood and rocks are on the right side of the tank. Compare the two images. It is quite likely, that you will prefer the one with rocks on the right side more. There is a very good reason for that. If you were to analyze a photo exhibit you may find that most of the focal objects on photography are to the right and slightly up in the image and seldom on the left with open space space to the right. The reason for both cases is the same.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
358 Posts
Welcome!

I tend to lean on the side of "dirt bag" when it comes to hardscape materials. I love pool filter sand for a substrate. It is simple, inexpensive and looks great. Rocks can be had from a landscape supply, quarry or from the wild, as @minorhero mentioned, for a fraction of what you would pay at your local fish store. You need to do a little homework to ensure the stones will not alter your water parameters drastically.

For the ammount of stone you may need/want is hard to pinpoint. From the pictures you used as examples, you may not need a huge ammount and can use plants to fill in where needed. I like to create a space that is the same footprint as the tank I am aquascaping to develop a layout and go from there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
I use dark-colored sand and Samurai soil. Never had a problem with sand getting in the filter. I've read that gravel can harm the barbels (whiskers) on catfish and kulhi loaches, so I use it sparingly on little "paths" so I can imagine small travelers on those paths. Feels like I am looking at this miniature world from a distance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all of the replies! I'll be doing Bolivian Rams instead of the GBR due to the temperature.
I'll be doing play sand with some smaller pebbles mixed in as substrate. Would 1.5-2" (tapered to maybe 3" in the back) be deep enough?
For fish I'm planning on something like this (introduced over time of course):
  • 15 neon tetra
  • 10 amano shrimp
  • 3-6 Bolivian Rams
  • 5 clown killifish
  • 5-6 panda Cory or dwarf Chain Loach, tbd
  • Eventually a couple stiphodon Goby
I'll be setting the tank up soon so while it cycles I wanted to get the aquascaping done. Given the amount of fish I'm looking at, how full should I plant the tank? I know I'll need some ground cover and hiding spots for the fish I've selected but I'm really unsure of how "dense" I should do the actual plants.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top