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Hello, I have an established Lido 120L with tetras, Apistos and shrimp. I鈥檇 like to have a go at growing plants but haven鈥檛 had much luck in the past due to algae problems. Is it possible to be successful with just a gravel base (Dennerle Quartz) and liquid CO2? I also have the newer Juwel Helialux smart control for lighting.
Thank you.
 

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Hello, I have an established Lido 120L with tetras, Apistos and shrimp. I鈥檇 like to have a go at growing plants but haven鈥檛 had much luck in the past due to algae problems. Is it possible to be successful with just a gravel base (Dennerle Quartz) and liquid CO2? I also have the newer Juwel Helialux smart control for lighting.
Thank you.
Short answer is yes you can be successful with plants but you will need to add a fertilizer source as well.

Longer answer is that a lot can go into planted tanks and HOW successful you are will depend on what your working with for water parameters, your attention to maintenance (which will be more involved then without plants), and also what you expect the end goal to look like.

At a very simple level you can add some very easy to keep plants like java fern, anubias, pearl weed, and/or hornwort. Put your light on a timer for 8 hours a day. Add a complete fertilizer solution of your choice and follow the recommended water change schedule (probably at least 50% once a week), and be good to go until you need to start trimming.

Things get more complicated when you see really awesome aquascapes by people with years of experience and want to replicate that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Short answer is yes you can be successful with plants but you will need to add a fertilizer source as well.

Longer answer is that a lot can go into planted tanks and HOW successful you are will depend on what your working with for water parameters, your attention to maintenance (which will be more involved then without plants), and also what you expect the end goal to look like.

At a very simple level you can add some very easy to keep plants like java fern, anubias, pearl weed, and/or hornwort. Put your light on a timer for 8 hours a day. Add a complete fertilizer solution of your choice and follow the recommended water change schedule (probably at least 50% once a week), and be good to go until you need to start trimming.

Things get more complicated when you see really awesome aquascapes by people with years of experience and want to replicate that.
Thank you for replying.

Yes, I鈥檒l be happy with a simple setup to be honest, with easy plants like the ones you suggested.
Exactly, I鈥檝e seen some incredible aquascapes but don鈥檛 have the time or money to attempt it,I just want my fishes to live in a more natural environment.

I鈥榲e tried having my lights on 8hrs a day but it always causes algae on the glass and plants, am I doing something wrong?
 

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I鈥榲e tried having my lights on 8hrs a day but it always causes algae on the glass and plants, am I doing something wrong?
There is evidence to suggest that enough plants will themselves fight algae. How they do this is a bit of an unknown. Some say they release chemicals into the water that affect algae, others say they simply out compete the algae for the same needed resources. Either way more healthy plant mass will reduce your algae load. The other issue is the brightness of your lights. I am not familiar with the stock lights on that tank but for what you are trying for I would try to figure out par/ppfd at substrate. Ideally you want somewhere between 18 and 30 par at substrate. You can guess at this by using a lux meter (or downloading lux meter app for a smart phone), taking the light off the tank and at the same distance from the light as your substrate, measure the lux and then divide by 80. That number will be a rough estimate of par/ppfd. So long as your light is not overly strong you should be fine.
 

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There are plenty of variables that trigger algae. Light and neglecting maintenance were mentioned. Others are overfeeding, stagnant water (poor circulation) and excessive co2. Algae is the natural response to an imbalance. So in addition to keeping the parameters above in check, you want to counter algae-growth by adding algae-eating inhabitants to your community and "amphibian" plants that can grow tall and out of the water. I know of duckweed and hygrophila, I'm sure there are others.
 

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Pothos works pretty good at taking care of excess nutrients and fighting algae. I have a huge one growing out of my 75 gallon and my wife's 55.
 

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Fast growing plants with soft leaves will outcompete algae. I use an active buffering substrate that sucks up excess cations so that competes with the algae as well. Its all about how you balance each individual tank.

I run my lights at 80% for more than 10 hours a day, dose every other day, water change every other week. I have some brown spot algae and some green algae that I purposely leave for my critters. I could get rid of them simply by tuning my photoperiod down, dosing less, or upping my water changes. (AKA rebalancing the system)

Some people run their lights at 50%, 6 hours a day and have full algae blooms. It's entirely dependent on the balance of your ecosystem!

Like someone suggested, start with easy low light plants. Floaters like frogbit, duckweed, dwarf water lettuce. Mosses like java or christmas. Easy plants like java fern, elodea, naja grass, water sprite, water wisteria.

Everything I listed is is undemanding and grows faster than you can toss it out. There are more but this is a general list.
 

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Start with large plant mass, read up on fertilization methods, focus on plant health and not getting rid of algae. Also the liquid co2/carbon thing is not beneficial for plants unless you use it to treat certain algae types.

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I just watched a video about your Juwel Lido 120L. I like how it has two T5 lights. That's some decent lighting. Nice tank. Cool stand. A power head could help with your circulation. Are you sure about not using the CO2 gas. Mine is super easy. I change it out every nine months. It's not so hard to go get a refill. I use food grade CO2. It takes about 10 minutes or less to put the regulator on the refill. I turn my gas on and off manually. You need something called a needle valve to fine tune the flow of the gas. Get a bubble counter to see how much gas is flowing. Also get something called a drop checker to monitor pH. Use silicone tubing because plastic tubing will not withstand the CO2. I know it sounds scarry so maybe not.
 
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