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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Building my first planted tank...

125g (currently empty)

I am going to use Black Diamond Black Blasting Sand, hoping to leave it simple and just use that if possible.

After my wife cools off from my build, I will eventually host cichlids (Mbuna mostly).

After lots of reading, here is my list of possible plants. I would appreciate some insight to what might or might not work with the black blast sand. I am assuming I will tab or spike and also thread to some river stone where needed. I don't plan on using all of the plants listed below, I hope to build up to a medium plant load.

Lighting: With the plants below, can I get by with medium light? Also, if I have four bulb slots, what would be the recommendations (currently empty) What wattage would achieve medium light?

Apologizing for any misspellings

Bercupa caroliniana
Riccia Fluitans
Red Hygrrophilia
Water Sprite
Wisteria
A. coffeefolia
A. lanceolata
African Tiger Lotus
Limnophila hippuridoides
Blyxa japonica
Cryptocoryne wendtii Bronze
Crinum "onion" thaianum large
Sword Vesuvius
Aponogeton Madagascar Lace

Even though I am using all black sand, I will find a way to use some of the following mosses, floaters, and carpets.

Java Moss
Willow Moss
Marselia Minuta
Baby Tears
Pearl Moss (as a weeper)
Marselia Hirsuta (four leaf)

I plan on a moss wall against the entire back on plastic mesh, any suggestions besides the standard Java moss?

Sorry if the list is all over the place, but hope to get some help to wittle it down.
 

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A "low tech" tank is necessarily a low light tank. Once you get into medium light you can't do without CO2 and regular and complete fertilizing. I don't know the dimensions of your tank, so I can't suggest what lighting will work best. For more help see
 

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Here is my list of possible plants:
Bacopa caroliniana
Riccia Fluitans
Red Hygrrophilia
Water Sprite
Wisteria
A. coffeefolia
A. lanceolata
African Tiger Lotus
Limnophila hippuridoides
Blyxa japonica
Cryptocoryne wendtii Bronze
Crinum "onion" thaianum large
Sword Vesuvius
Aponogeton Madagascar Lace

Java Moss
Willow Moss
Marselia Minuta
Baby Tears
Pearl Moss (as a weeper)
Marselia Hirsuta (four leaf)

I plan on a moss wall against the entire back on plastic mesh, any suggestions besides the standard Java moss?
I prefer Taiwan moss, for it grows fast.

LOW LIGHT
Aponogeton Madagascar Lace needs Seachem excel
Bacopa caroliniana needs Seachem excel
Water Sprite
Wisteria
A. coffeefolia
A. lanceolata
Cryptocoryne wendtii Bronze
Crinum "onion" thaianum large
Sword Vesuvius sensitive to Seachem excel
Java Moss
Willow Moss
Pearl Moss

MEDIUM LIGHT
Hygrrophilia polysperma needs excel

HIGH LIGHT
Riccia Fluitans
Limnophila hippuridoides
Blyxa japonica
Marselia Minuta
Baby Tears
Marselia Hirsuta
 

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LOW LIGHT
Bacopa caroliniana needs Seachem excel
Perhaps it needs Excel for most people, but it grows quite well for me under CFLs in Flourite black sand capped with Tahitian Moon Sand. I feed API Leaf Zone, but no Carbon as it's a Shrimp tank. YMMV of course. I have MTS (snails) which may help also.

I am planning on adding Osmacote capsules for my stems.

Forgive the crappy overgrown pic, Bacopa on the far left.
 

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Well, I'd spend some time researching. 1) mbuna come from rocky areas with little to no plants. 2) they'll eat the crap out of plants. 3) it can be done, but there is a lot going against you.
 

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Agreed, most of what I have read about Cichlids tells me the plants are going to be destroyed, uprooted.. just a hot mess. Looks like you want a pretty thick concentration of plants in there too which may be a bad thing.
 

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"After my wife cools off from my build, I will eventually host cichlids (Mbuna mostly)."
Haha, I love it how the significant others are always depicted as suffering through our hobby. My wife rolls her eyes all the time at me when I get excited over plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the info so far!

I am planning on just a few plants, hoping to have good luck.

Light fixtures are (2) 36" Fluorescent Twin-Tube Reflector 120 volt 63 watt 60hz

The current bulbs need to be replaced and are 25W each

I really appreciate y'all's time and info...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Cichlid vandalism toward plants: I had picked plants from cichlid tank builds and some I threw in. Will read more. Had read several times that they are not generally interested in mosses or carpets if plenty of open spaces and flat rocks were available...
 

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Oh that reminds me of MedRed tank. He put a lot of rocks around his plants to keep the cichlids from eating the plants. Similar to this one also by MedRed


You could also do a 3D back ground and put a few plants in it as done here. Just use white rocks instead.http://www.youtube.com/user/bcharlett?feature=mhee I have seen on cichlid forums that some do DIY backgrounds using Styrofoam. Would be easier in the long run I think. For the tank is 23 in high and I have a hard enough time putting plants in a 29 gallon that is 18in high.

Where do you plan on putting the tank?
 

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I am going to use Black Diamond Black Blasting Sand, hoping to leave it simple and just use that if possible.

After my wife cools off from my build, I will eventually host cichlids (Mbuna mostly).

After lots of reading, here is my list of possible plants. I would appreciate some insight to what might or might not work with the black blast sand.
I figured what the heck and picked up a 50lb bag of Black Diamond blasting sand for $4.99 from Tractor Supply a while ago when I set up my 20g high grow out tank in my basement. It was the larger of the two grain sizes they had in stock.

I had to really rinse it about 5 times each bucket full. For the first week I had some more black dust on the surface so I skimmed that off. Many months later it is just fine, no complaints at all. I like how black it is :) and price is great...

Shrimp berried all the time and being a grow out tank, I've been putting my pregnant live bearers in there to give birth.

I read all that bad stuff too all over the web about coal slag sand. I said whatever and just tried it myself.... good luck!
 

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+1 Black Beauty blasting media and 3 months of testing, no issues and little clouding.
Rinsed 2-3 times in a bucket and the tank cleared overnight.
 

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+1 Black Beauty blasting media and 3 months of testing, no issues and little clouding.
Rinsed 2-3 times in a bucket and the tank cleared overnight.
Do you think you'll use it again? I may or may not. Sand is really abrasive and when this tank was going through it's algae ups and downs, I was scraping the glass quite a bit and I had to be really careful when scraping an inch or so from the substrate.

Don't mean to thread highjack....
 

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Yes! I'll use it again.
Next to the sub I use old credit cards or safety razors to remove algae.
Flourite, EcoComp, or any sand they all will scratch the glass if it gets trapped in a pad. Cory have been unhurt over the BB (added two at startup) so I like it. Adding root tabs plants grow well too.
 

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I really think all that Cory nonsense is just not properly quarantined or a sick fish. You see that pop up from time to time that a certain substrate ruins their digging ability. I've used very coarse PFS / Eco / riverbed gravel with Cory's and digging Loaches, no problems ever...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks guys! I am going to plant lightly, I was planning on the Black Diamond. How deep should I go? Two 50lb bags would give me 1.5" in my 125g. Three bags 2.25", four bags 3".
 

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My favorite scape is where the substrate is higher on the sides and low at the middle.

In thread for NPT max hight is 3in. Some go up to 6in. I think blasting sand is lighter than pool filter sand so think 6in wouldn't compact.

Was convinced too that Cory would hurt themselves with that substrate until I read here that some had Cory's with it. Reminds me of when I was making a cage for my birds. I was worried that the birds would hurt their feet on the edges not filed. Seems animals are smart enough to avoid things that will hurt themselves.
 

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I really think all that Cory nonsense is just not properly quarantined or a sick fish. You see that pop up from time to time that a certain substrate ruins their digging ability. I've used very coarse PFS / Eco / riverbed gravel with Cory's and digging Loaches, no problems ever...
I personally won't use BB. I've actually seen some pictures of autopsied fish that showed the sharp bits in their intestines. Plus there's a serious risk of contaminants in it that may affect water quality and parameters, since it's just leftover slag and therefore not subject to much if any quality control in terms of exact composition.

Though I do NOT take issue with PFS/Flourite/Eco like many others do.
 
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