View Full Version : Calling all Planted tank owners ... questions

10-02-2006, 04:59 PM
I bought a new tank today and I want to plant it. Thats been the plan for months and I'm finally getting it done.

My question is about the substrate ... I know sand is bad because it can compact and suffocate the roots ... but i've also been told you need sand for grassy plants.

Now although I want nice tall background plants, I really want the whole foreground to be green ... covered in grass and mosses.

What is the best substrate to kind of get the best of both worlds ... how is Eco-Complete ... and is fluorite better

Any advice is greatly appreciated

10-02-2006, 07:40 PM
I have used fine type gravel in the past and has worked pretty good for me. Never ran with any of the substrates designed for plants

10-02-2006, 08:04 PM
I used fine gravel and mixed in some laterite (available at some lfs). Plants love the stuff - it is loaded with iron, but not in a free form (chemistry folks?) so it is consumed very slowly over time and the fish don't od on it.

What are your plans for CO2? DIY or commercial system?

10-02-2006, 08:16 PM
First of all. Read up on planted tanks on a plant based forum. Check out .http://www.aquabotanic.com

Eco-Complete is a really good substrate. It has a lot of minerals your plants will need. I use laterite under my substrate. Its basically an iron rich clay (its really very small pebbles). I have used sand and never had a problem with growth. Plants grow in sand all over the world. That was a while ago, when I went through my planted tank stage. Now, I only keep a 55 gallon planted tank but just use regular aqaurium gravel.

Make sure to read up on proper lighting. Most grasses and stem plants need high lighting (3 to 5 watts per gallon). I use 2 -120 watt bulbs over the tank.If you go with high light plants you'll most likley need to supplement w/ C02 injection and fertilizers. High light plants require alot of work and maintanence. But the rewards are worth it. Anybody who visits is instantly attracted to the planted tank. Its always the favorite for non fish folk. I stopped using C02 because the plants required weekly trimmimgs and it became a pain in the butt. Although I did have plants flower when the reached the surface. Do your homework and you wont be disapointed. Sorry about the long answer. Good Luck

10-02-2006, 09:39 PM
no apologies needed ... I love long anwers as long as they are answering the questions lol.

The plan is a laterite bottom (maybe an inch deep) and the eco complete over top of that (about 2inches) and possible just covering the foreground with some sand for the fine root plants. I'll have 260 watts to start ... and will probably add more later just not immediately

It will be a commercial C02 system because the DIY style aren't recommended for anything above 50 gallons

10-03-2006, 01:46 PM
Sounds great. You wont need an inch of laterite. I know Petsmarts sells it and each box is good for a 55 Gallon Tank, I believe. Also I recommend Seachem's Flourish. Its a great fertilizer and you only need a little bit. You can also buy the macro nutrients in bulk from some online suppliers. Potasium and calcium are usually needed. Although a very small amount of crushed coral or a small shell or two will work just fine for you plants calcium need. Peat moss in the filter will also help keep the water soft . Again I bough it atpetsmart . Its in a granular form and not as messy as petmoss from homedepot or loews. It will however break down slowly in the filters. I sused amedia bag to hold and need to replace the peat moss every year or so.Good Luck

10-03-2006, 03:51 PM
Originally posted by LoJack
...the DIY style aren't recommended for anything above 50 gallons

I hadn't heard that. I presume it has something to do with the challenge of effectively delivering the CO2 into a deeper tank using the DIY approach... it can be done ok, you just have to be a bit imaginative / inventive :)

10-03-2006, 04:10 PM
Originally posted by DogWalker
I hadn't heard that. I presume it has something to do with the challenge of effectively delivering the CO2 into a deeper tank using the DIY approach... it can be done ok, you just have to be a bit imaginative / inventive :)

The reason is the amount of yeast and sugar required. If your willing to keep restocking it its fine ... but for the larger tanks it takes larger containers. They recommend at least (2) 2litre pop bottles for anything bigger than 50 gallons ... and thats a lot of sugar haha

10-03-2006, 05:12 PM
Not so bad really. I had two 2 liter bottles rigged through a single air line using a set of valves that allowed me to reload 1 at a time while keeping the flow going from the other. 2 cups of sugar and 1 teaspoon of yeast per reload (per bottle). Each reload lasted about 2 months. It would take a long long time for that to add up to the initial cash outlay and operating cost of a commercial system.

What I found trickiest about the DIY method was coming up with an effective way to create a seal around the airline where it goes through the bottlecap. In the end I came up with something leak-free and reliable using a bit of copper line, a brass bushing and some silicone.

But if you don't mind the cost of the commercial system I'm sure it will be easier to set up and use and allow more accurate dosing...