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Aspiring Aquarist
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone, do I need to plant in my tank before I put fish in it? Obviously I would for decor and whatnot, but is it OK to put something else in it after fish are there? What is a good place to find out more about planting in tanks besides this site? Thanks , I appreciate any feedback.
 

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Aspiring Aquarist
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, that site looks like it can really help me out! I'm glad to hear there are good people onhere because I like a lot of feedback on things. I am really interested in this hobby and I would like to learn as much as I can. Thanks again.
 

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Queen Platy
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932 Posts
Doesnt matter if the fish or plants are in first. Be aware that some plants require high light and some require low light. Also some require nutrient rich flooring to grow well. Some cheap ways would be to buy 6500K CFL lighting at Lowes or HomeDepot and using topsoil as the first layer beneath the gravel for nutrients. To create a lighting fixture is a lot cheaper than buying a $160+ lighting fixture in stores but it requires knowing how to create one. Be sure to get light colors of 6500K-10,000K spectrum for best growth.

EDIT: Or go the easy way and get some plants like Water Sprite, Hornwort, that require only standard lighting and plain gravel.
 
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I can give a few suggestions, but it depends on how much patience you have.
I went with the "do it all at once" approach and am regretting it.


If you have the money, I Implore you to put the extra cash down for some good high quality substrate like flourite or Eco-complete. That will save you a lot of the headache involved with using topsoil that contains who knows what in addition to soil.

If you have the money but want to be patient, there is a thread on this forum about Mineralized soil substrate that is superior to anything you can buy, but unfortunately takes a couple weeks to properly prepare. The total cost for this is insanely low.. something like 10 bucks for 150 gallons worth. The additional minerals can also be a PITA to find, but worth it if you have time.

Secondly, I suggest Egeria Densa, any species of Hygrophila, some species of ludwigia, Wisteria, or watersprite as good starter plants. They grow out of control under the right conditions. Once mine got level I sew about an inch of growth or more a day.

Thirdly, I strongly suggest a fishless cycle. It may seem like more work than necessary, but if you're anything like me- your fish's lives are your responsibility- I can not STAND fish death- to me it feels like a personal failure when I see one of the little guys belly up. Was quite disconcerting when three of my cories fell sick and died for seemingly random causes.

Lastly, and this is a lesson I am still learning, be PATIENT! lol. Algae seems to go through a natural cycle in an aquarium where you'll get a bloom of each type as your water parameters age.

Do not be afraid of DIY rigs. You can do pretty much anything at less than a quarter of the cost if you have a little motivation. CO2 injection and lighting being the easiest to cut costs with, and by cut, I mean over 300 dollars potentially, as good lighting prefabs can be up to 150, and CO2 can be 150+.

I built both of those systems with help from experts here like James0816 and Nurseplaty- and many others. The hood I built was literally free plus the cost of hinges and light bulbs.. which were approximately 10 bucks total.

-As a side note- Egeria densa is known to produce a natural antibiotic that prevents blue green algae from growing in your aquarium. So I'd strongly suggest having at least a stalk or two :p

But yes, if there's any way I can assist you in avoiding the same stupid mistakes I made, I'm happy to help.
 

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Aspiring Aquarist
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys. I am in the process of fishless cycling right now, I am just waiting for the nitrite spike. It does require some patience (which I usually don't have lol) but it gives me time to research. And I agree with you jeff I hate the thought of dead fish. I want mine to be happy and healthy!
 

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Banned
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3,683 Posts
What I do is plant the tank during initial setup.

then wait 1 week.

then add 1 male platy

then wait 1 week (no food added).

then add a female

And start feeding a single flake per day.

In 6 months I have a tank full of plattys.

my .02


ps plant it now and watch the added ammonia be sucked outta the water.
 
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Aspiring Aquarist
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
so if i planted it now, that would be a good thing right? the ammonia getting sucked out of the water? will the plants survive during the cycling of the tank? Right now i am thinking of getting some java fern/moss and some watersprite.
 

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You don't want it sucked out. You want to add ammonia to the tank until you begin seeing nitrates. Then you just wait until the nitrites are low or gone and you have nitrates. Thats when you are safe to add fish. The cycle didn't seem to effect my plants, but I'm guessing thats because they can get nitrogen the entire cycle. There are people here that swear by fishless that can explain it a lot better than I can. Nitrates, the end product, are far less poisonous to fish than ammonia and nitrite.
 
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