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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will finally start my community tank in about a month so I'm trying to plan it out as best I can. My Tank is a 46 gallon bow front ( there are lots of gold fish and shrimp in the tank right now) and I would like to use real plants. My local store told me I had to remove my substraight and get a type designed for plants. Cuttently I have a mix of 1/4" stone and some really small stuff. There is a solid 3" layer at minimum. It was also suggested that I not keep plants too close to the intake or outlet of my pump because it may hurt the plants. My plan was to have one side of the tank will rocks and the other filled with plants. This would leave some good open space in the center of the tank. Lastly, it was also suggested that I add C02 to the tank to help the plants out. I already have a paintball C02 canister, what else would I need to control the flow of C02? Or can I get away with out C02?


Thanks,
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The gold fish are going back to the store. I just bought them because I wanted somthing in the tank while I figured out what I wanted.
 

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\. Lastly, it was also suggested that I add C02 to the tank to help the plants out. I already have a paintball C02 canister, what else would I need to control the flow of C02? Or can I get away with out C02?


Thanks,
whether or not you need co2 really depends on what plants you want to grow, and how much light you want to use.

With a paintball canister you'd need the following (at least): regulator with solenoid, timer, bubble counter, diffuser, airline tubing and PH, KH (and probably GH) test kits.
 

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If you'd like to try CO2 with the paintball canister, RedSea makes a kit designed for the paintball canisters. I think the whole setup is just over $100.

You don't necessarily have to change out your substrate either. As long as the conditions are right, plants will grow in just about any substrate. However, some substrates like SMS, eco complete are easier to work with than say regular gravel. Stem plants can get a little difficult to get to stay in gravel.

Some plants like Bolbitis don't mind the current while others won't. You're tank may be high enough that the current won't be all that bad to begin with.
 

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I would decide on what type of plants you want and then choose the substrate, lighting, CO2 etc. Many types of plants don't get planted in the substrate, they need to be tied to a decoration or rock with their roots exposed. If you are looking at those type plants you can keep what you have. Many of them (java fern, anubias to name a few) are also more of a low tech plant and can be kept with lower wattage and no kneed for CO2. Generally the more wattage you have the more need you will have for the CO2.
 

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As far as plant info, I not only got lots of ideas from this forum, but also plantgeek.net.
They had every low light to high light plant in sections and great articles about starting up planted tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm not totally sure what plants I'm getting. I would like a good beginner plat that will have good cover for the tetras and other fish. I do what to keep the roots of the plant in the gravel. What plats are good for a newbie like myself?

Anacharis?
 

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I started my first planted tank with mineralized substate and plants like Amazon sword, water sprite, water wisteria, java moss, hornwart, pennywort, a few anubis, and just got some crypts that are growing out quickly! I bought a corallife light with 6500/10000 compact bulb. Everything was growing good. Added a small DIY CO2 and WOW stuff exploded with growth. The tetras and betta seem to be very happy with the plants

Word of advice - Make sure you research plants before buy them from places like Petco or Petsmart. I bought some there that were "aquarium" plants only to have them turn brown and found out on the internet that they are not aquarium plants. So my mom gots some new house plants and they are all doing good now. Just like fish, research before you buy.
 

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I am new to plants as well I and just purchased two java ferns. When I got home I was able to pull 7 starts from those two plants and replant them tied to some rocks. If you are buying Java ferns the new starts will be growing off of the leaves of the plants. If you see some red fuzzing stringy stuff coming from the leaves those are baby plants that you can remove and re plant. They are a low light plant and seem to be thriving in my very low light set up. I have two small anubias and a sword that are doing well also. (I only have a single 32 watt light for a 75g tank.)
 

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For a substrate I use peat moss ($10 for a large bale), play sand ($3/50 pound sack), and pro choice select ( a clay used in infields and gold courses, $8/50 pound bag). 1" peat moss, 1" sand,1" pc select in that order. Add one layer, fill the layer with water, level and clean then add the next layer.

For plants I use (10g tank) 4-6 bunches of anacharis, 4-6 "vals", 4 small potted plants (cyrpts, small swords) and a single amazon sword. Tall plants in back, potted right/left of center, amazon sword as a centerpiece.

I put the plants in after adding and wetting the last layer. Then filling the tank to the top.

The let it set 1 week

add a singe fish ( male platy)

Wait 1 week with no food being added.

the add 2 females and start feeding 1 flake per day.

in six months you have a tankfull of platies.

I use no filters, no circualtion (like an air stone), and no water changes. Just replace the water that evaporates.

I also use straight untreated tap water.

Just what works for me.

and worth about .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Lighting is my next big question.

Are there lights that will highlight my fish and keep the plants happy. I've seen lots of online chatter about LED lights. Are they worth the trouble?

Could I use a DIY LED system and fluresent light.

I want the best of both worlds, but I'm not sure if I'm being realistic?
 

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The only LED lights I have seen have been "moonlights" or "lunar lights" and I'm pretty sure those are just for your enjoyment. But maybe there are LED lights I don't know about.
 

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LED lights for daytime display are not ready yet. They do well them for reef tanks but the are extremely expensive in the order of $400+.

For a smaller bow front you may wand to consider spiral incandescent replacement tubes. 3 29w should do nicely for a planted tank and you can use the round spot type reflectors. Hopefully in a hood if you situation is anything like me and the wife's.

Another option is the $10 utility fixtures from home depot. But if the tank is not 4' wide that may not be the best. I did cut a foot off one on those once for a 36" tank and that did work. But again you may not want a shop light in the living room.


my .02
 

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You sound really confused...in all your threads.

First off you need to decide if you want a low tech tank or a high tech tank. This will determine how much you are willing to spend, if you need CO2, how much nutrients you need, what type of plants you can get, how much lighting you need, and how much daily/weekly maintance you are willing to put in.

Once you decide that, you will need to test your water for GH, kH, and pH because if you go with a CO2 unit, it will use the kH and lower your pH. I can fill in more once you answer the above.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
^^^
I agree, I'm all over the place. But I'm sure you can understand. I'm new to the hobby and am probably trying to learn too much too fast.

I bought a water testing kit (Quick Dip Strips). The results of my tap water are as follows.

Nitrate = 20
Nitrite = 0
Hardness = 0
Chlorine = 0
Alkalinity = 0
pH = 8.4

I tested my tap water becuase it's what I have to work with. My tank only has gold fish for now, so I'm sure that water needs improvement. Over the next few weeks, I will be giving away the gold fish and I will start to buy my fish and plants.
 
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