Aquarium Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, I'm planning on digging out my old 126 litre/27.5 UKgal, Duo Deep 800 aquarium and starting my very first planted tank. Although I have kept fish for years, this will be the first time I have attempted to keep live plants.

As a substrate, I plan on using some old pea-gravel that is in a bag up in the attic. It's what used to be in the tank and each stone is about 3-4mm in diamater. Is this suitable as a subtrate for live plants?

As far as plants go, I would like to have somthing easy to keep, without the need to go out and buy extra equipment to keep them healthy. I have read that the folowing plants;

Java moss
Java Fern
Lace Java Fern
Narrow leaf Java Fern
Most of the Cryptocoryne sp.
Most of the Anubias sp.
Guppy grass
Hornwort

- can be kept healthy without the need for CO2 injections, fertalisers, and with plain gravel. How true is this?

As ar as fish go, I've not really put much thought into it, but maybe somthing colourful like honey gourami's as my other tank (97 Gal) houses a fat sleeper goby, bala sharks and a fire eel (so not much colour there). Are gourami's compatable with the plants mentioned above?

Sorry for all the questions, but I would really like to research this as much as possible before I decide to start.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,683 Posts
You may have some difficulty with the pea gravel getting the plants to root. But it can work.

For a substrate I use 1" peatmoss, 1" play sand, 1" gravel in that order. Put in a layer, add water to the top, clean up the tank, add the next layer.

Then add the plants after the final layer and fill the tank with water.

Plants look acceptable but the crypt and anubia are probably slow growers. I use a mix of fast growers and slow growers. For a 10g tank I use 4-6 anacharis, 4-6 vals, 4 small potted (like the crypt) and a single amazon sword certerpiece.

I add the plants then let the tank set for a week. For lights I use 2 10-15w 6500k pig tails in an incandescent hood or even just round clip on reflectors. for about 12 hours per day.

After a week I add a small amount of fish like a single male live bearer (platty) or neon tetra. Then not add food for the next week. I then add more fish like a couple of female live bearers or at least 4 more neons. And start feeding a single flake per day for the next week. After a few weeks I increase the feeding to 3-5 flakes per day or so.

but all that is just my .02

But I do have one tank that has ran for 7 years with no water changes and has descendants from the original cycle trio.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Hmm, I guess the next stop then is the pet shop. I'll take a look at how much peat moss and play sand is. I really wana do this right, so I'll make sure I get all the info I can before starting.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,683 Posts
Hmm, I guess the next stop then is the pet shop. I'll take a look at how much peat moss and play sand is. I really wana do this right, so I'll make sure I get all the info I can before starting.
Here in the US peatmoss and play sand are available very inexpensively from building material supply stores like home depot. 3/4 cubic yard of peat moss is $11 and 50 pounds of play sand is $3. I also use pc select which I had to special order from a landscapping firm. It is a brown/red clay used on sports fields. I was $8 for a 50 pound bag. But other gravels can be used for the top layer just as well.


Actually a simple live bearer (platy/guppy) tank does just fine with only play sand. But the peat moss seems to keep better water parameters especially kh and gh and allow a greater variety of fish like the neons I mentioned.

Finally do not get peat moss or potting soil with added fertilizers. That can lead to algae problems and the fish provide all the ferts needed anyway.


my .02
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
thanks for the tip, I'll check out the DIY shop down the road from me. They sell building equipment etc. I think i'm going to enjoy this little project :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I've been to the garden centre this morning, and they sell 2 different types of peat moss. The first is like an actual moss, and the second is more like compost, which type am I after? They have the play sand, for a couple of £.

Also I've been reading around, and i've found different sources that say not to use peat moss as it rots making the water more acidic, but, just how acidic it doesnt say. coupled with the peat moss, im obviously going to have drift wood in the tank, which also lowers the PH of the water. Im just wondering how you counter the low PH due to the peat moss. I know adding things like sea shells or coral skeletons can help. and what about water changes? the sudden change of PH will no doubt be harmful to the fish?

Also, placing peatmoss as the bottom layer, then sand, isnt that going to trap harmful gasses?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,683 Posts
I have not used drift wood but from what I have read the effect is similiar to using organics like peat moss.

The bale of peat moss I used looked like a very course dark brown potting soil with twigs and "stuff" in it. Not the light brown dried stuff. Both are called (if I spell it right) spaghnum peat moss.

Yes it does lower ph initially but in my uncirculated tanks the plants suck out the carbon dioxide raising the pH to 8.4-8.8 with the api high range test kit. Others with circulation report pH is more around 7 or so.

There will be some bubbles over time as gas comes out of the substrate. But the fish thrive for years and years. The real danger with trapped gasses is anaerobic sulfides reducing nitrates. The plants remove the carbon dioxide, add oxygen, and consume the ammonia/nitrates. So I don't seem to have any problem with that.

You are correct each layer "traps" the one below it. Which is why I use that layering and adding the plants before filling the tank. And also saturating each layer with water before adding the next. The result is the tank is really really clear for a newly set up planted tank. When I just added the substrate, put in about 1/4 of the tank with water, planted, then filled that tank, it was extremely cloudy fo a couple of days. And there was a "crud" on the surface that took a couple of weeks settle down. The wetting and layering prevents almost all of that.

Good luck and let us know how it works.


my .02
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
thanks for your input, sorry for all the questions, but I really wanted to make sure I had things right before going ahead with it. I'm going to start first thing in the morning, and i'll take photos to let you know how things work out!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,683 Posts
thanks for your input, sorry for all the questions, but I really wanted to make sure I had things right before going ahead with it. I'm going to start first thing in the morning, and i'll take photos to let you know how things work out!


pssssssst!

wanna know a dirty little secret?













There is no one "correct" way. Just find something you are comforatable with and like.










Awaiting pictures.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top