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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I am wanting to start a planted tank and want to start really really simple (confidence booster) and move forward from there. I have a few questions that I need help with in order to judge if I should even attempt to get into planted tanks.

I have a simple ten gallon tank I want to convert. I am envisioning white sand (really want to stick with white sand if possible) with just one simple log or a few semi-large rocks sitting on the sand in the background. In the foreground I want a lush carpet like look of plants.

The picture might look something like this I found in the gallery here:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/pGallery/pg_1831e.jpg

^ Rocks arranged somewhat like that or a simple driftwood with white sand like so.

And for the carpet like plants maybe something like these:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pGallery.php?do=view&rdo=homepage&id=1804&cat=2&order=None&page=1

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pGallery.php?do=view&rdo=homepage&id=1821&cat=0&order=None&page=6

Unless there is something even easier to use. Basically really simple like this and then I would add plants in individually much later on when I get the hang of things.

What do you guys think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your replies. Not sure if I should have created one thread to cover all this ground, or create these multiple threads to be specific to each particular subject I wanted to ask questions about... But anyway....any thoughts on using white sand as a base? Is it possible? Hard? Effective? Even possible to grow plants on just sand?
 

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Thanks for your replies. Not sure if I should have created one thread to cover all this ground, or create these multiple threads to be specific to each particular subject I wanted to ask questions about... But anyway....any thoughts on using white sand as a base? Is it possible? Hard? Effective? Even possible to grow plants on just sand?
I think it's fine to start multiple threads, as long as each has its own, distinct topic.

Inevitably, there will be some overlap, but oh well.

For white sand as base, I think there shouldn't be any problem. The only thing to watch out for is that it is essentially inert, and does not have any nutrients for plants (so if you decide to go medium/high light, you will need to dose the water column and perhaps use root tabs if you have heavy root feeders).

It is very possible to grow plants in sand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Pefect,that is just what I needed to know. So do I need substrates underneath the sand if i am going with low-light plants? Or should just sand be enough for those low light plants?
 

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Pefect,that is just what I needed to know. So do I need substrates underneath the sand if i am going with low-light plants? Or should just sand be enough for those low light plants?
Sand itself should be fine.

You can always supplement with root tabs if you feel the need to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sand itself should be fine.

You can always supplement with root tabs if you feel the need to.
Perfect. I've got the right idea going on then. Sand, maybe a piece of driftwood or a few large rocks, and a few low light plants.

Question--Can plants be prevalent during the cycling process, or does the tank need to be cycled without plants?
 

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Perfect. I've got the right idea going on then. Sand, maybe a piece of driftwood or a few large rocks, and a few low light plants.

Question--Can plants be prevalent during the cycling process, or does the tank need to be cycled without plants?
You can cycle the aquarium with plants in it.

In fact, plants will absorb some of the ammonia too.
 

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if your not looking to rescape often, you could look into the walstad method.
essentially, use dirt at the bottom then cover with sand. the most common dirt being used is miracle grow organic choice potting soil MGOCPS (i found some at walmart)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Awesome, thanks for the heads up.

Walstad method. Using organic soil so it become somewhat of a self-sustainable little ecosystem right? The soil breaking down mulch etc and then releasing CO2 while also being very good substrate for the plants?

Is it recommended for beginners? I'd hate to try and not get it right; demoralizing.
 

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Many suggest the MGOPM for this method. This method provides the fert's your rooted plants need. Plants can also absorb nutrients from the water column, but then again so can algae. A dirt tank is not that hard to pull off if you plan it right, just make sure you have the right depth of sand to cover the dirt, and wetting the dirt a bit, and filling the tank slowly will be crucial to success. You don't really need high light or CO2 with the method. Opinions probably vary as to when to add plants with it, probably best to wait for the tank to cycle to add any fish though.
 

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I like the rockscape in the inspiration photo you shared. I think that adding driftwood my distract from the simplicity of the rocks. If you do add wood, maybe something branchy instead of thick/solid.

Easy plant, low-tech plants to start with: java moss, java fern, anubias. I'm told that attaching plants to smooth rocks can be difficult since the roots don't have much to grab on to.

Carpeting will be challenging in a low-light setting. Someone previously recommended dwarf sag (Sagittaria subulata) for my low-tech tank, but I haven't tried it.

Best of luck. Be sure to share some photos as you develop the tank :)
 
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