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Thread: My planted aquarium

  1. #1

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    I decide to start a planted aquarium.I wanted one mainly to offset and complement my living room collection of houseplants that live in and around my East facing,second story picture window.

    I choose a 30 gallon tank that just fits into the space in front of and to the right-hand side of the window.

    I have kept aquari before but never really tried for a live plant type as from what I had read they could be rather difficult. Nothing coulkd be farther from the truth as I found out....or maybe I had beginner's luck.

    I started out very anxious and did all the "correct things" that I read about on the internet at sites that specialize in planted aquari...you know...water testing,chemical supplements, fertilizers,CO2 injection...the whole nine yards.

    Well,the aquarium did ok going this route but it got to be quite a bother after about 3 months. So I decided to see if all this was really necessary ...turned out it wasn't...unless it was to get the thing off to a good start.

    After 2 years and 3 months I have to "weed" the tank now on a weekly basis to keep it from being overgrown.This despite the fact that a tremendous population of pond,apple, and ramshorn snails developed and eat a huge amount of the plants.They like to cut the Val leaves off at the base and ride them in the filter current.At least that's what they do...I only speculate about them enjoying it....I know I would ,if I were they.

    I only keep the common types of plants-swords,val,Ludwigia and so forth so that may have a lot to do with the ease of it.The corkscrew val has formed a dense "jungle" (most times the fish are hidden from view among the vegatation) and looks particularly nice surrounding my huge red E. bleheri .

    I have come to believe that the two important keys to growing aquatic plants are substrate and lighting...the rest will take care of itself. For light the tank gets 4-5 hours of natural sunlight from the East window -then I supplement with two 55w double CF tubes for 8 hours a day.As for substrate I used 2-3 inches of washed river sand....I won't go into it but -be leary of the enriched commercial substrates....some swear by them...I don't.

    I never fertilize or use supplements as the small fish population provide all that is required.I have zero algae problems and the water is crystall clear. Oh,yeah...CO2 injection...that was the first thing to go...and neither I nor the plants have any regrets.

    Well,that's my story... and like I said...for what it's worth.
    [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rolleyes.gif[/img]

  2. #2
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    Seminole, very cool that you have had so much success with such a simple setup. I have a suspicion a lot of it is due to your compact flourescent lighting.

    I on the other hand, went with the enriched substrate, a professional CO2 injection system (not the yeast method, this way is much easier.) and supplimented with minerals and fertilizers.

    I found a lot more success this way, my plants would saturate the tank with oxygen, so much so you could see streamers of bubbles rising off their leaves during the middle of the day until the lights went off at night.

    Much like reef keepers are finding natural is better, I think planted tanks will go the same way. I think that a lot of it has to do with some technological breaktrhoughs, like power compact lighting... we strive to provide a few stellar conditions for our plants, for some of us, it's co2 and fertilizers, others, it's light, while in an aquarium we can't get all the necessities just right, when we get a few, it's great.

    Oh, and I did fine without all that too when I was growing val and some other plants, but when I got into the truly incredible plants, like lace leaf, all the added suppliments paid off for me!

    Congrats!
    \"Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: \"Mankind\". Basically, it\'s made up of two separate words - \"mank\" and \"ind\". What do these words mean ? It\'s a mystery, and that\'s why so is mankind.\" ~ Jack Handey

  3. #3

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    Hi Seminole,

    I do low tech plants too in all my tanks. I just use good lighting and some laterite, My tanks are all bare bottom so the plants are all in clay pots with gravel and laterite. I do fertilze with Dupla drops for the iron but since I am always raising tons of fry they provide all the rest of the nutrients. I use 14 -16 hours of light with 80% weekly water changes so algae is no problem. I do avoid almost all bunch type plants and stick to swords, criniums, crypts, anubias, java fern, java moss, najas and a couple of floating ferns. I have one bunch plant that does great -- Pomategeon (spelling?). It looks like hygrophilia but with a 6 inch thin leaf. It goes nuts. I used CO2 injection for the more difficult red plants and to grow lush bunch plants -- like ambullia or rotala -- but stopped long ago too.
    Ram, the secret with lace plants is just slightly hard alkaline water and cool temps -- they like it 65 - 68F. When kept cool they get huge!

    Bobby

  4. #4

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    I wasn't knocking the high tech route you understand.I am aware that it has a place and can be a very rewarding hobby for those that enjoy the technological aspect or need to accommodate the more demanding species.

    As I stated the purpose of my tank was a very specific one and for me the less "fuss and bother " the better so long as the end product was something I was happy with.

    I thought I would toss out my experience and maybe someone out there who might have been discouraged from giving the hobby a go, might decide be persuaded to do so.

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