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Want my first properly planted tank but just don't know where to start

Tiber

Member
Joined
23 Feb 2022
Messages
50
Location
UK
Hi folks

I have always loved seeing beautiful planted tanks online. Sadly my efforts have never stretched much further than a few swords and a moss ball.

After a long break from the hobby, I recently purchased a 190l tank. I would love to turn this into a proper planted tank. I have an idea in mind, it will not be everyone's cup of tea (and I have always used drift wood in the past) but my partner and I are both huge Star Wars fans, I recently saw this ornament and have been obsessed ever since:

Fish-Tank-with-Sunken-AT-AT-Decoration-Featured-image.jpg


I have an idea in my head of this, surrounded by a fairly heavily planted jungle scene. But to be honest? I don't really know how to make that happen or what the best plants would be. I would very much appreciate any suggestions.

I was in my LFS recently and the owner said the best option would be to put a layer of nutrients under my gravel (I forget the name, but it was in a yellow tub) and I am open to trying this! In terms of the actual plants, I find choosing them a bit stressful. My LFS sells them for £8.99 per plant, which feels a bit expensive if you need quite a few, but maybe this is just how it goes. I saw a number of competitively priced bundles of plants on ebay and etsy, but maybe this is a bad idea?

Very open to any ideas and suggestions you folk may have. This is my first planted tank, I don't really know what I am doing but I would love to get it right! I currently have the tank cleaned and ready for substrate
 

Aqua360

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15 Feb 2016
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UK
I'd say you're at a very good starting point, you have conceptualised your idea, you have a canvas (tank) to work on, and sound like you've got a good foundation of knowledge to build on.

If it was me, the next step I'd probably do is decide what plants you want, you mentioned going for a jungle theme, in which case it's more likely I'm guessing you'll go for stem plants that require a substrate, as opposed to epiphytes that are attached to rock/wood. Or both!

If going for the stems, I'd suggest you take a look at the aquarium substrates available to you, I like Fluval stratum, glasgarten, aquasoil, but honestly there are loads of ways to skin a cat. You can add nutrients underneath say a sand layer, but I tend to find soil far easier to sort in the one go.

You'd then need to think about lighting, you can either post specs of your current tank lighting for more knowledgeable members here to opine on, or share your thoughts on any led lighting or equivalent you're considering :)

These are probably the next steps anyway that I'd suggest :)
 

Tiber

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Thread starter
Joined
23 Feb 2022
Messages
50
Location
UK
I'd say you're at a very good starting point, you have conceptualised your idea, you have a canvas (tank) to work on, and sound like you've got a good foundation of knowledge to build on.

If it was me, the next step I'd probably do is decide what plants you want, you mentioned going for a jungle theme, in which case it's more likely I'm guessing you'll go for stem plants that require a substrate, as opposed to epiphytes that are attached to rock/wood. Or both!

If going for the stems, I'd suggest you take a look at the aquarium substrates available to you, I like Fluval stratum, glasgarten, aquasoil, but honestly there are loads of ways to skin a cat. You can add nutrients underneath say a sand layer, but I tend to find soil far easier to sort in the one go.

You'd then need to think about lighting, you can either post specs of your current tank lighting for more knowledgeable members here to opine on, or share your thoughts on any led lighting or equivalent you're considering :)

These are probably the next steps anyway that I'd suggest :)

I just have standard Juwel lights, it's 190l trigon. It's also in a well light living room near a window. Looking for something fairly low spec to be honest, I don’t mind a bit of plant food etc but nothing too fancy.

In terms of plants I am very flexible. I have had a look at options online and the type of thing they seem to describe as jungle does appeal - a bit wild and free growing. I also quite like the idea of the low grassy style plants you sometimes see in the front of tanks.

In terms of fish I am mostly going to be going with tetras and livebearers so nothing too exotic or large.
 
Joined
11 Apr 2013
Messages
267
Location
Republic of Ireland
Could I suggest you look through the Featured journals and Journals sections. Spend a good few days or weeks reading and learning some basic skills. I’m on my first real planted tank for the last two years (57L) and Iv spent the time managing and learning how to balance and grow plants.

I have a new 100 litre tank and I’m planning to go a bit more detailed in actual scaping and plant selection now Iv got some experience. What ever you decide you will enjoy it thoroughly even the harder periods with Algea and balancing your tank. On here, everybody is willing to help out. Good luck
 

Tiber

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Thread starter
Joined
23 Feb 2022
Messages
50
Location
UK
Could I suggest you look through the Featured journals and Journals sections. Spend a good few days or weeks reading and learning some basic skills. I’m on my first real planted tank for the last two years (57L) and Iv spent the time managing and learning how to balance and grow plants.

I have a new 100 litre tank and I’m planning to go a bit more detailed in actual scaping and plant selection now Iv got some experience. What ever you decide you will enjoy it thoroughly even the harder periods with Algea and balancing your tank. On here, everybody is willing to help out. Good luck

Thank you :)

One of my main questions is... where are you guys actually getting your plants? Does it tend to be from a LFS, or is ebay etc a viable option.


I was a bit exasperated to find even Pets at Home have changed how they sell plants. I don't tend to buy fish from them -but I used to like their big tanks of plants. I was in a few days ago and they had prepacked live plants just sitting on a shelf which seemed....less than ideal?
 

PARAGUAY

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13 Nov 2013
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Lancashire
Have a look at the tutorials and journals may help you decide Stems are suited to a jungle style which is helpful .My advice buy your plants from UKAPS sponsers as they can be guaranteed healthy and give you best start
 

hypnogogia

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6 Apr 2017
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Location
Oxfordshire
where are you guys actually getting your plants? Does it tend to be from a LFS, or is ebay etc a viable option.
One of the forum sponsors is aquarium gardens and they sell excellent plants, you can even get a ready made collection of jungle plants from them, which saves you from choosing. It certainly won’t cost you £8.99 per pot, which is frankly a rip off.
as for lighting, does the trogon come with one or two tubes of lighting, and is it T5, T8 or LED? If it’s T5 or T8 rubes make sure they are relatively new and add reflectors (sold by Juwel).
 

Tiber

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Thread starter
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23 Feb 2022
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Location
UK
One of the forum sponsors is aquarium gardens and they sell excellent plants, you can even get a ready made collection of jungle plants from them, which saves you from choosing. It certainly won’t cost you £8.99 per pot, which is frankly a rip off.
as for lighting, does the trogon come with one or two tubes of lighting, and is it T5, T8 or LED? If it’s T5 or T8 rubes make sure they are relatively new and add reflectors (sold by Juwel).

There are two lights, no idea what type I will try to find out.

The tank has a 3d background made of foamy stuff. Can I attach anything to this that will grow fairly well or is this optimistic? I'm sure algae will love it lol
 

dw1305

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7 Apr 2008
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14,585
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
I was a bit exasperated to find even Pets at Home have changed how they sell plants. I don't tend to buy fish from them -but I used to like their big tanks of plants. I was in a few days ago and they had prepacked live plants just sitting on a shelf which seemed....less than ideal?
We <"have a thread">.

cheers Darrel
 

dw1305

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UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
14,585
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
Some people seem to have had good success.
Yes, it is sort of "swings and roundabouts". Companies like Dennerle and Tropica produce their <"plants emersed"> because it offers them commercial advantages, but not all of these plants are <"particularly suitable"> for life long term in tanks.

Having said that most plants in the <"Tropica Easy"> category should grow.

The plants in my local store looked a big grim, but maybe they have just been sitting for a while
That would be my guess, you could ask when they are having a new delivery?


cheers Darrel
 

sparkyweasel

Member
Joined
30 Jun 2011
Messages
2,559
. My LFS sells them for £8.99 per plant, which feels a bit expensive
A lot of shops sell for £4.99, and that looks expensive to me. :)
Quite a few have discounts for buying in quantity. It's worth shopping around.
On-line sellers can be good especially, of course, those that sponsor this forum. :)
And if you keep contributing, after a certain number (25?) of posts you will see the 'Buy/Sell' section of the forum appear.
 

Tiber

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Thread starter
Joined
23 Feb 2022
Messages
50
Location
UK
Do I absolutely need a CO2 system for plants in a decent size tank?

Spoke to someone in LFS today who said I would need to have CO2 system to keep plants alive in a 190l tank. Bit put off to be honest, I know it would be ideal but I don't really have the budget for a Co2 system at the moment and hoped for a fairly low tech solution.

Wasn't sure if he just wanted to sell me a system or not
 

Andy Pierce

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27 Nov 2020
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Location
Cambridge, UK
One of my main questions is... where are you guys actually getting your plants? Does it tend to be from a LFS, or is ebay etc a viable option.
I buy essentially all plants online from dedicated vendors (i.e. NOT ebay). I like Aqua Essentials and Pro Shrimp; I've also had success with Riverwood Aquatics.
 

Tiber

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Thread starter
Joined
23 Feb 2022
Messages
50
Location
UK
I buy essentially all plants online from dedicated vendors (i.e. NOT ebay). I like Aqua Essentials and Pro Shrimp; I've also had success with Riverwood Aquatics.

I will check them out :) I thought some of the ebay and etsy sellers (there are some interesting bundles) might be reputable, but maybe not
 
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