Hi - New Member here

Discussion in 'General Planted Tank Discussions' started by Guest, 3 Oct 2008.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Hello there people.
    I have been reading the site for a week now and would like to say how brilliant it is! I've only recently become a "plant geek" after having my tank for 7 years and the site is full of information.

    If you dont mind i'd like to ask a few (or maybe more :lol: ) questions. Before i do i'll introduce my tank...

    Ive got a Juwel Vision 180 which ive had for 7 years approx.
    Ive only ever really had about £10 worth of plants in the tank at any one time (and these last a month at most). I'll be honest, over the years I havent put as much time into my tank as maybe i should have. My dad had tanks and seemed to have them running smoothly without too much maintenance.
    I have only yesterday bought my first ever test kit! This may be unheard of but to be honest ive never had any major problems with my tank.

    Anyway, I want to turn my tank into a fully planted tank.
    After reading through this site I'm a bit worried about achieving this!
    I have seen a lot of you mention:
    the lighting (i only have the standard juwel lighting that came with my tank).
    CO2 and Gas Canisters - i hadn't even heard of these being used before!

    All i really do is a water change every week/fortnight. thats it!

    Heres a pic of my tank:
    I hope one day to have my tank planted enough to remove the background!!! :)

    After looking through the site, these are 2 of my favourite tanks of yours:

    Im caught in 2 minds as to whether to swap my gravel for the sand in the first picture or whether to go for the "grass bed" look.

    The main questions I have (and I apologise in advance if i start to annoy you with many questions! BUt you have to learn somewhere)

    How many plant roughly are in the bottom tank? £10, £20, £30?
    i usually but the standard bunches of plant (£6 for 5 bunches in most places)

    For the "grass" effect, do you just plant a bunch here,a bunch there etc and let them spread? or do you have to keep replanting bunches?
    I think the grass effect is what im going to go with.

    I recently bought some small pot plants (about 2 inches high). I have kept these in the pot. Is this normal? They look like they'd just float about if they werent held in place by the pot.

    When you are pruning plants, can you prune the tops (obviously not on leafy plants but on things like wisteria)?
    My main reason for asking this question is that if you constantly have to de-root your plants, doesn't it mess up the tank when you then replant them?

    Other than the pruning, does a planted aquarium take up much more of your time i.e maintaining the correct water conditions?
    I dont want to get back in the routine of leaving my tank!

    I have noticed a lot of you "use" cherry shrimps. Do these keep the algae from your plants? I have had an algae problem now and then but as my plants often dont last that long, the algae goes with them.

    Lighting and CO2????????? I dont need to add anything to this question :lol:

    I appreciate that this is a long and inquisitive debut post so thank you if you are still reading this!!!

    Any help and advice would be very much appreciated.


  2. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    30 Jun 2007
    Hi winston and welcome to UKAPS! And thanks for the kind words about our society.

    I am glad to hear you want a 'fully planted tank'.

    I'm sure some of our members will be pleased to help you out and answer your questions soon.

    Good luck!
  3. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    11 Jul 2007
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Steven,
    The best thing to do is to check the Tutorial section and read all the threads there. You will find just about all of your questions answered there in great detail. It is difficult to assess how many £ worth of plants are in the images you list because you are seeing the tanks with plants already grown in. One can start with 25p worth of plants and in time completely fill the tank so it's better to think about your scape, what it is that you want to achieve and base your purchase on your plan.

    If you check the Aquascaping section George has produce a three part article entitled Aquascaping Basics. Definitely study those articles as it will give you a better idea of how to plan and manage the scape.

  4. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

    3 Jul 2007
    N. Wales
    Hi Winston/Steven,

    Great to have you on UKAPS.

    Make sure you read all the articles Clive has pointed you to.

    Anyway, down to the nitty gritty. You have an awful lot of non aquatic plants in there. No doubt, these were sold to you by your LFS as aquatic plants. They will die after a period and bring you a lot of problems.

    The variegated plant that is dotted all over is a Dracaena and will have to come out. Some of the taller grass like plants looks suspect too. I have heard it called Mondo grass. It really annoys me when these plants are sold to people trying to get in to the hobby, because all it will do is bring failure, and turn off potential aquascapers.

    My advice is to take these non aquatics back to whence they came and ask for your money back. If they want to argue the toss with you, send them over to this site for a little education. It is the duty of UKAPS to help people such as yourself, trying to get in to this wonderful hobby, and make sure you get off to the best possible start. If you are on a tight budget, check out the for sale section for some real bargains plantwise.

    Make sure you get your money back, if these plants were sold to you as being aquatic.

  5. Egmel

    Egmel Member

    28 Mar 2008
    Guildford, Surrey, UK
    Hi Steve, I'm not sure I have all the answers to your questions but I can definitely help by pointing you to where you can find them :)

    Don't Panic (in big friendly letters)

    There are 2 main routes to healthy plants, what's known as high tech and low tech (or au naturelle). The former requires more kit and more maintenance but produces more growth, the latter requires less kit but growth rates are slower. If you don't want to change your lighting, add CO2 or generally make many changes to your current set up then the low tech route is probably best. However you will probably find that you can't get the grass effect (more on this later).
    Personal choice, but read through a couple of the 'sand as a substrate' threads in the substrate section to see what people like and dislike about it.
    As has already been said, you can't really put a value on a tank because you don't know how many plants were in there to start with or where they got them from. You can start out with a few relatively cheap plants and cuttings from members here and grow them on yourself or you can buy enough expensive plants to give the tank an 'instantly full' feel. Have a look in the where to buy section to find out what fish shops local to you have good plant sections or look at the online retailers.
    The grass effect is either carpeting plants like glosso, or ricca which is attached to a sheet, you can search the forum for these names/terms and see what gets turned up. Most of them require high tech though, another option would be some form of moss on slate/wood.
    You can usually take them out and put them in the substrate, often after splitting them up. Have a search for George Farmer's video on how to set up a planted tank. It's on PFK somewhere and there are links to it on this site aswell. He uses tweezers to plant and it makes the job a lot easier!
    Have a look at the pruning thread in the tutorials section. Again look in the substrate section to see what people say about the ways different substrates respond to re-scaping of the tank.
    Again this depends on how you set it up, if you go low tech then it's no more maintenance than any normal fishtank, weekly water changes and daily feeding/fertilisers. If you go high tech then the water changes are often larger and you need to prune more regularly (often weekly) but that's about the main difference. There are things you need to 'keep an eye on' but once it's running smoothly you shouldn't need to adjust them.
    Cherry shrimps are partly there to keep the algae at bay but also because they're cool critters who contrast well with the green plants!
    As I say, this depends on high or low tech, have a read through the tutorial on setting up a high tech tank and decide if this is the route to go down.

    Use the search function lots, read lots, if you can't find an answer then give us a shout and we'll see if we can help out :)
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    absolutely fantastic everyone, especially egmel.

    Just one more question *yeah right)...

    Which of my plants are not aquatic? and how would i know if they were when i was in the LFS
    Obviously they either
    a) think they are and therefore wont tell me otherwise
    b) want to sell them to me so wont tell me otherwise

    either way, without having the knowledge, its difficult.
  7. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    30 Jun 2007

    The plants circled are definitely non-aquatic, Dracaena sp., as Dave points out.

    The grass-like plants in the background appears to be Ophiopogon sp. (Mondo grass) that are also non-aquatic.

    As Dave says, take them back if they advertised them as aquatic plants.

    They may argue if they labelled them as aquarium plants.

    It's likely they won't know the difference, but point out that you were intending to keep the plants long-term and these aren't suitable. You may have to settle with an exchange for other plants, so make sure you choose carefully. Basically any variegated plants or plants with stiff, waxy leaves will likely be non-aquatic (except Anubias, that is waxy ). Also look out for Hemigraphis sp. that has a purple underside to their broad leaves.
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Thanks for that.
    To be honest im not that bothered about an exchange. will just bin them.

    The grass-type plant in the background...
    Now don't ban me from the forum for this but... ITS PLASTIC! (my girlfriend bought it!) :lol:

    i might actually change my LFS for plants. It used to be fantastic but the guy who run it got ill and sold up. Some young lads have taken over but i dont think they know too much to be honest.

    Im going to do a bit more reading on here and then order some online i think.

    Have any of you ever ordered from eBay?
    I was looking at this guys plants
  9. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    19 Feb 2008
    worksop, nottinghamshire
    Dont buy package deals, you always end up with non-aquatics, or plants that are unsuitable for your setup (e.g lighting levels).

    You also get about 5 stems of each specie of plant which means you end up with far to amny different plants and it looks stupid!

    Better off to pick what you want.

    Our sponsors Aqua essentials & the green machine do tropica pllants which are of the highest quality but they are pricey, worth the money. Most maidenhead stores stock aquafleur plants which are also decent quality. If you dont buy from any of them, then i use plants alive.
  10. sari

    sari Member

    24 Sep 2008
    Basingstoke, U.K.
    There has been a lot of discussion generally about the ebay sellers. In my mind the problem is that you can't choose the plants you want. But then other hand, you get a lot of plants for the price. So it is completely up to you really. I use aquatic magic on ebay and aqua essentials was good too. Many people use the green machine and they come highly recommended too. Much depends on your budget and wht you want. I would recommend that you check the list of plants and find out their requirements before you order. With a standard tank lighting you can grow low light plants and also have some success with medium light plants especially if you have reflectors. But I would strongly recommend you avoid high light plants since they are much more demanding regarding the light, co2 and nutrients too. ;)
  11. Guest

    Guest Guest

    wow, its a minefield isnt it!
    so much more to think about than i first thought.

    I have just read an article in which someone says they are sorry if "i" have bought a branded tank from a high street store.

    i dont even know where to start with my lighting!

    more reading i suppose
  12. misscaretaker

    misscaretaker Member

    21 Aug 2008
    Re lighting:
    All I can say is what someone else told me when I first came on here: Do nothing with your lighting until you've got the ferts & co2 sorted first, otherwise it'll be algae central!
    Hope this helps you as much as it helped me!
  13. Guest

    Guest Guest

    ok ill bear that in mind
    still looking through threads on fertilizers etc

    im wondering whether im out of my depth keeping on top of a fully planted tank
  14. Egmel

    Egmel Member

    28 Mar 2008
    Guildford, Surrey, UK
    I doubt it, the important thing is to go slowly, make sure you understand what you're doing before you make any big changes and not panic if it doesn't all work out straight away.

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