planted tank checklist for newb?

fourmations

Member
Joined
30 Aug 2008
Messages
201
hi guys and gals

i am setting up my 36 x 12 x 15, it has medium light
from 2 x 27w compact flourescents in a luminaire,
i hope to use yeast co2 if i can, i plan on an asian style
with a carpet plant and grasses with rocks

i have only ever had a low light 54l tank with a few low light plants

I am getting the majority of the kit online
and i know i will forget things or learn of things i should have got

i have done three months of research on this
but would love an essentials checklist

rgds

4
 

Dan Crawford

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Staff member
Joined
21 Jun 2007
Messages
3,266
Location
Daventry, Northants
No luck! here goes....

Substrate Fertaliser.
ADA AquaSoil is gerneally considered the best and only complete substrate but there are plenty of alternatives, Tropica Aquacare Substrate is also a great substrate although it's not complete so it needs covering with a few centimeters of gravel.

Lighting
I can't figure out whether your tank is in inches or centimeters? 54w over a little 36cm tank would be a bit excessive but then a over a three footer it should be great. You'll need plenty of CO2 and ferts if you are going to run with that lighting.

CO2
I'm not a great believer in the yeast systems but some people have good results on smaller tanks, fluctuating CO2 levels are one of the number one causes of algae. Organisation is the key.
If i'm right in saying that your tank is a three footer then pressurised CO2 is really the only way to go IMO. The higher the lighting, the higher the requirement for everything else ie. CO2 and nutrients.

Fertaliser
There are many variations on dosing techniques, each one has it's place and each tank is different. You should try and establish what you want to grow, how fast you want it to grow, what CO2 you are using and how much CO2 is in the water column, how much works you want to do on the tank ie. daily or weekly dosing, how much money you have to spend on dosing the tank. Tropica Plant Nutrition Plus is a good starter although dosing EI (Estimative Index) is a great method and very inexpensive. Read through these and they'll help you get started http://www.ukaps.org/articles.htm

Filtration
Aim for flow rate of 10x the tanks total volume, ie. if your tank is 100l aim for a filter that is rated 1000 Liters per hour. There is a lot of controversy about filter flow rates so you can look around on the forum and make an informed decision of what you think is right for you.

There are a few little bits that you can pick up along the way but i think these are the main points that need to be taken on board in order to start and maintain a successful planted tank.

HTH, Dan
 

fourmations

Member
Joined
30 Aug 2008
Messages
201
many thanks dan

the tank is a 3 footer,
I am concerned though as I have read that I will
have problems growing carpet plants at that light level

I was hoping to use yeast but will go the pressurised route if needed

thanks for the tips on the ferts, its an absolute minefield for a beginner

i read that if you are choosing x brand substrate you should use x brand ferts
as they will be designed to compliment the substrate, is this a good approach

regards

4
 

Dan Crawford

Founder
Staff member
Joined
21 Jun 2007
Messages
3,266
Location
Daventry, Northants
fourmations said:
i read that if you are choosing x brand substrate you should use x brand ferts
as they will be designed to compliment the substrate, is this a good approach
4
Sounds like propaganda to me, i use AquaSoil and dose TPN+ or EasyLife or EI and so do many others. The ADA range of ferts and substrates do work very well together so this might be where it's come from.

With regards to carpeting plants, if you have plenty of CO2, plenty of flow and plenty of ferts then you shouldn't struggle to grow them with your lighting. They will grow at relatively low lighting just very slow. The key is to get the balance right, too much lighting an not enough CO2 and ferts and algae is inevitable. To many ferts and not enough plants then algae is again inevitable. Too much CO2 and not enough light and your fish will suffer. Blimey, it all sounds very scary, sorry. All you need to do is plant heavily from the start, try to cover about 70-80% of the substrate with plants, expensive i know but it's well worth it. You can fill the tank with weeds like cabomba and Hygrophilia Polysperma for the initial set up until the tank is stable then you can slowly remove them.
 
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