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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am new to planted tanks but, not new to freshwater setups. I just ordered a 50 gallon aquarium 36L x 15D x 20H to try my hand with real plants. I have a few questions and I hope I can get a few very candid responses here. I really would like to approach it initially from a low tech, low investment, and low care approach if possible. I really am at a position where I want to get my feet wet and upgrade as I learn.

Is sand and Flourite a good choice for substrate? A few posts tell me I can't really go wrong here.

I have a Magnum 350 canister lying around as well as a penguin 200 bio wheel. What filter is better for plants? A little reading tells me that the magnum is because it doesn't disrupt the surface.

I need to buy bulbs and would be open to buying a T5HO setup or other lighting if necessary. I am building my own stand and canopy so I can make just about anything fit. Any suggestions on lighting?

I have also read until my head hurts about specific plants. I understand there are quite a few that do well with minimal care and a little extra light. (Dwarf Hairgrass / Willow & Java Moss / Anubias / Crypt) There are others but, you get the idea. I used this page as one reference Aquarium Plants Photos & Profiles at the Age of Aquariums - Tropical Fish
Is this really the case or am I not to believe the hype?

Thanks for any input or guidance... There is so much conflicting information out there and the more I read the more I am questioning.
 

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ok...i currently have a couple of amazon swords and bacopa's. the bacopas are very easy to grow and you can multiply them by cutting the tips and replanting.so in other words you can get a tankful with one plant. as far as the lighting goes it depends on the plants that you are planning to get. as for the filter it doesnt really matter. alot of people have had great success with just regular play sand...as long as you provide root tabs.ive never used flourite so i cant recomend it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply...

What lighting do you run on your tank? I see it is a 50 gallon so it helps me quite a bit.

Are you using any CO2?

I was really looking to start with some of the easier plants to keep. Some grass, moss, and a few medium height / taller low maintenance plants to aquascape.

Thanks!
 

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i have 2 40 watt tubes and i dont use c02

but my tank is 48 in. long

yours is 36 in

yeah just start off with those that you listed and add more plants later
 

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It appears that you have more than 2 species of plants in your tank. Can I ask what all you have in there possibly laid out for me from left to right or right to left? Just trying to get a visual idea... Also, do you use fertilizers or any specific care maintenance other than the normal water changes and cleaning? Thanks!
 

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actually unfortunately alot of them are plastic. :( but right now my 20 gallon has the bacopa and looks very nice right now

you can see the amazon in the middle as well as the right and left side

srry...there is a mod (member) called susankat that is a goddess at the plant side of aquarium keeping

srry again
 

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Here is an example of what I did with a 75 gal. 2 48in shop lights = 160watts. sand substrate.







You can see where it has grown and also where I tried new plants. One of the best ways to have a planted tank is to try different plants and keep what works the best for your situation.

I wouldn't mix the sand and flourite, even capping with sand it will end up mixed as you work on the tank. If you want to use flourite I would either use it straight or cap with gravel.

Most plants in an lfs is going to be low to medium light so you could basically use any of them. Just make sure what your buying is aquatic. There is several that they sell that isn't, but could be used in tererriums (sp) or as house plants.
 

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Yeah i have fell for that trick

Sucked...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Susan,

Hey thanks for the info...

So when you say 2 48in shop lights are you talking 2 fixtures and 4 bulbs? Can you give me a bit more specifics about the lighting? Are you using CO2?

Good to know on the sand / flourite mix. I might cap the flourite with a bit of gravel just for some variation in texture then.

I have read a lot on making sure the plants are truly aquatic. LOL We built a huge pond in the past and I know exactly how people could confuse the plants. Ponds are so much easier than a contained tank in my opinion. Most Petco employees will sell you anything because they really don't know the difference themselves anyway.

Appreciate the help...
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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There is no co2 on the tank. The shop lights is the double light with 2/40 watt daylight bulbs T12 X 2. I put fert tabs in the sand for the swords as they are heavy root feeders. The stem plants I use dry ferts 3 times a week and do a 50% water change each week.

This was my low tech, cheap setup. Lights were bought at Walmart, sand at Home Depot. I think I paid more for the plants than anything in the tank, and I bought most of those at our club auctions.
 
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