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Thread: Planted fish tank coming up!!

  1. #1
    Admin- I'm growing CPs in the Desert of Tucson, Az. adnedarn's Avatar
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    Planted fish tank coming up!!

    Hello, so I've always kinda had a fish tank... My big tank is at my parents since my apartment is so dang cramped... But i do have a little tank here to hold me over. Well, over time I got bored with it so it got in some pretty bad shape.




    So, I cleaned it up.



    Then, talking with someone they talked me into making it a planted tank. ( ) So, I removed the tree thing, and the rocks, and put in flourite. I also picked up a 2x24w T5 HO fixture. (super bright!) This picture is still a tad fuzzy from adding the media.



    After locating the plants I wanted to use (South American habitat basically) I found that they like to be planted in large river sand, so I grabbed some of the silica sand for my CPs and (cleaned it) and tossed it in and mixed it up. Should be good Added a few more fish too.



    I think I'm going to lay the heater down to hide it a bit... but this is where I stand right now.

    Suggestions/comments/criticism?

    Andrew
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  2. #2
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Andrew,
    looks good!
    I have had a planted tank up and running for 10 years now..a few basic concepts to keep in mind:

    Keeping live plants is MUCH harder than keeping the fish!
    The plants are WAY more demanding than fish..but its worth it when it works..

    It might take awhile..think a year or two..for the tank to really settle down and get balanced..meanwhile many plants will die and only one or two species will end up being happy..I have tried probably 6 different kinds of plants..only Java Fern and Red Crypts ended up being the dominant species..which is fine, because they look nice!

    NO java moss! ever!

    You need to learn to think along the lines of "I would like a few fish for my plant tank" instead of "I would like a few plants for my fish tank"

    LOTS of plants! stuff it full..
    because the plants need bright light..but algae loves bright light too..
    without a ton of "good" plants to out-compete the algae for food, (nutrients in the water)
    the algae will always win..

    algae control is all about nutrient control..nothing else will defeat algae..
    you have to starve it..
    you starve it by having lots of healthy growing plants..they suck all the food and the algae loses.

    Algae will win at first..it takes awhile.

    a few scattered plants + bright lights = algae haven.

    added Co2 is a fad..you dont need it.

    get rid of the air bubbler, because the air can drive off what Co2 you do have.

    Plecos are no good as algae eaters.
    ottos are no good as algae eaters..
    any fish sold as an "algae eater" is no good as an algae eater..EXCEPT for the
    "Siamese Algae Eater" (Siamensis crossocheilus)
    but you need the real ones..there are look-alikes.
    I have had two in my tank for many years..my leaves are spotless.

    No fish eats algae off the glass..none...snails are no good either for that.
    you will get some algae on the glass..you will need to scrape it once in awhile..
    I use a razor blade every 2 months or so.

    If you want a pleco..ONLY get a clown pleco..they stay a few inches long.
    the rest get gigantic.

    thats all I can think of for now!

    Scot

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    endparenthesis's Avatar
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    My philosophy is no stem plants. That cuts the maintenance WAY down.

    And plecos and otos aren't good algae eaters? That would be true if there was only one type of algae in the world. I had an empty 33 gallon stock tank once with glass covered in brown and green sheets of algae. I added one oto and he cleaned up 1/3rd of it overnight. They look like they aren't doing anything because all the types of algae they eat you never ever see. For the types they don't eat, you just have to find something else.

    If you're looking for something that eats the most types of algae, my vote would be for an amano shrimp. If you have a large number of them, you can even get rid of cladophora, which is pretty famous for being eaten by nothing. People who say they don't eat much just don't have enough of them.

    Bristlenose plecos only get an inch or two larger than clown plecos.

    The "out-competition" thing is also a myth, though it's spread around so much it's really hard to find an explanation of what's wrong with the theory. It has much more to do with ammonia levels triggering blooms (a lot of plants will keep the ammonia levels from spiking).

    I'd recommend doing some reading at www.plantedtank.net. That's the best internet resource I've found.

  4. #4
    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    I had a VERY hard time with plants. I couldn't get my dosing right for some reason. Always had deficiencies for some reason. On the flipside, I found taking care of coral infinitely easier for some reason. I guess keeping water nutrient-free is easier than intentionally adding nutrients, and then trying to get the right ratios and right levels and all that crap.

    I've never seen diatoms disappear overnight, until I got a couple of otos.

  5. #5
    Admin- I'm growing CPs in the Desert of Tucson, Az. adnedarn's Avatar
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    Hi guys! WOW I didn't expect any posts at all for a few days haha- thanks for the quick tips here are the plants I'm getting to try first:

    # 8 Corkscrew Val
    # 6 Jungle Val
    # 3 medium Amazon Sword
    # 1 medium Red Rubin Sword
    # 2 Anacharis
    # 3 Cabomba
    # 3 Narrow-leaf Ludwigia
    # 5 potted tennellus Chain Swords
    # 4 Fenestralis Madagascar Lace Bulb (cause it looks cool and I want to try it )

    and this is what I'm going to get for algae control to help me out (I have found otos to help alot in my years of fish keeping)

    8 nerite snails
    2 SAEs (Yes, the real ones!)
    4 Otos
    6 Red Cherry Shrimp
    8 Amano shrimp

    Also, I've already been a member of that forum for almost a year, but apparently they delete topics... cause all my topics are gone. I should prolly do more reading there...

    I can already tell these lights are better for plants because the algae is already growing back. haha I turned the timer way down until i get it planted and such.

    Oh, and the airstone is already gone, and I'm thinking about a Rena FilStar External Canister Filter to replace the waterfall thing to help cutback on the surface agitation.

    Andrew
    -Andrew
    Owner of TerraForums, FlyTrapShop.com, and cpforums.org.
    Support FlyTrapShop, support TerraForums! www.flytrapshop.com

  6. #6
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by endparenthesis View Post


    The "out-competition" thing is also a myth, though it's spread around so much it's really hard to find an explanation of what's wrong with the theory. It has much more to do with ammonia levels triggering blooms (a lot of plants will keep the ammonia levels from spiking).
    I dont think so..I dont think its a myth.

    and really, that ammonia theory is the same thing as "out competition"..
    because you are saying more good plants keeps the ammonia from spiking, which helps control the algae..

    its the same thing..the only difference is what causes the algae in the first place..nutrients or ammonia..either way more plants = less algae...so the plants are still "out competing" the algae..just in a different way depending which theory you subscribe to..
    the end result is the same..

    IMO the out competing for nutrients theory makes a lot more sense..
    people who have one or two lonely plants in a tank always have huge algae problems..
    if you stuff the tank with plants..algae is under control..

    I guess it doesnt really matter what is causing the algae as long as the solution (lots of plants) works to control it..and it does.

    another way to look at the ammonia theory..
    more plants = more surface area for the "ammonia eating bacteria"..
    so more plants = less ammonia = less algae..
    its all the same in the end..

    Scot

  7. #7
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adnedarn View Post
    H
    Oh, and the airstone is already gone, and I'm thinking about a Rena FilStar External Canister Filter to replace the waterfall thing to help cutback on the surface agitation.

    Andrew
    I tried that too..getting a canister filter because all the articles and magazines say its "better"..its not..its just more expensive and more of a pain to clean and maintain.

    I went from this:
    http://www.marineland.com/products/c...con_hotmag.asp
    the one with the canister AND the biowheel!

    to this:

    http://www.101aquariums.com/images/W...owerFilter.jpg

    there is nothing wrong with the H.O.T. Magnum or any other cannister filter..
    I just found it to be:
    1. way more expensive than necessary.
    2. way more complicated than necessary.
    3. way more of a pain to clean than necessary.

    I went back to the basic everyday "waterfall" filter and it works like a charm..
    I even leave the cover off the top..
    and eventually I stopped using the floss bag, and now ONLY use the sponge!
    nothing else..
    when I do a water change, I pull out the sponge, squeeze it out in the bucket of old tank water that is being siphoned out, put it back..
    takes about 10 seconds to clean the filter.
    the sponge provides more than enough biofiltration..and doubles as mechnical filtration too..

    I dont think the surface agitation is a problem..my plants have been fine for many years with this setup..

    Here is the early days of my aquarium:

    http://www.geocities.com/scottychaos/aquapage.htm

    im pretty embarassed by those pages!
    those were the early days of my webpages..10 years ago.
    yes, its even on geocities! oh the shame..
    I havent bothered to update those pages..they are basically an archive of the past.

    I havent updated the aquarium page in SEVEN years!
    woah..
    maybe eventually I will..
    I should at least take some new photos!

    the 28 gallon planted tank is still going strong..
    one of my three original angelfish is still alive! 8 years later!
    and my SAE's are also 8 years old now..
    and I think I have few 5 or 6 year old tetras..
    actually, I havent bought a new fish in I cant remember how long..
    probably 4 or 5 years at least..

    I no longer have the Discus tank..I loved my Discus!
    they are beautiful fish..but I dont have the patience for them right now..
    maybe someday I will set up a HUGE discus tank!
    like 90 gallons..someday..

    Scot

  8. #8
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustLikeAPill View Post
    I had a VERY hard time with plants. I couldn't get my dosing right for some reason. Always had deficiencies for some reason. On the flipside, I found taking care of coral infinitely easier for some reason. I guess keeping water nutrient-free is easier than intentionally adding nutrients, and then trying to get the right ratios and right levels and all that crap.

    I've never seen diatoms disappear overnight, until I got a couple of otos.
    I think a lot of people give up on planted freshwater tanks because they can be very frustrating to balance..at first..
    but eventually they settle down and find their own balance..
    unfortunately that "settle down and find their own balance" can take a year or two!
    and meanwhile, they can very frustrating..
    I almost gave it up after the blue-green algae..
    but if you hold on, eventually the tank should settle down..

    my tank found its own balance..it took 2 years.
    like I said, all the plants except Red crypts and java fern died off..just naturally.

    I tried adding Co2, with the fun yeast Co2 reactor made from a soda bottle..
    I got my plant leaves to bubble pure oxygen!
    but it wasnt necessary, and I gave it up.

    I used fancy liquid fertilizer, for the plants...dont need it, stopped using it ages ago..

    The plants now feed on fish waste alone..my substrate is 50% florite, but I dont know how long the nutrients in that last..so they might be feeding much on that anymore.

    now its just the fish and the plants in balance..very little algae, (you can never get rid of completely)..been stable for years.

    yes, planted tanks are a major PITA for awhile, but once they find their balance, they are beautiful.

    Currently I have one angelfish. (the last of 3)
    5 tetras (3 glolights and 2 cardinals)
    2 SAE's
    1 clown pleco
    and maybe still one ancient Otto..I see him a few times a year..im always amazed he is still there!

    The clown pleco feeds on the driftwood and I believe the dead leaves..because I never, ever see a dead or even dying leaf in the tank..so I think the pleco takes care of that for me..the pleco is also totally nocturnal..I never see him out during the day.
    the SAE's are quite large now, they max-out at about 5", they still nibble what small amounts of algae there are on the leaves, but they prefer the flakes..

    Scot

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