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Old 06-23-2012, 01:18 PM   #1 
Sundancex
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The do's and don't's of planted tanks?

I've been wanting to get back into fish keeping for a while now. I had a few bettas over the years, went from keeping them in tiny fish bowls when I was really young (I know...my bad) to a 5 gallon hex tank with plastic and silk plants.

But its been years since my last betta died, RIP Rome, a beautiful blue/black veiltail, and I want to do things differently this time. I really want to do a beautiful aquascaped tank with all live plants, driftwood, etc.

I've checked out beginner friendly plants and would really like to get some java moss and moss balls, maybe some java fern too. I'm not sure what else yet.

But what are the major do's and dont's of a planted tank? How does it differ from your average betta tank with silk or plastic plants? I want to get the petco 6.6 gal bookshelf tank to plant. I'm an art student in college so i'm really looking forward to designing/aquascaping this tank.
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Old 06-23-2012, 01:43 PM   #2 
Aus
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I just saw a beautiful example of a bookshelf NPT in my internet wanderings. They can look amazing, this one had only a few species, but wow.

Do:

- use organic potting mix/clean top soil. no added ferts, no 'water savers'
- sift the dirt for big chunks/wood etc
- pack a little sand around the edges/corners before adding dirt, so the layers don't show
- have good plant-feeding lights (6500 kelvins)
- plant as many stem plants as you can stuff in there - 70% of ground covered is good.. you can replace some of these later when the tank is settled, but you need ammonia-eating stem plants, lots of them, hornwort and anacharis, etc, plus extra as ammonia-sink floaters
- do a weekly water change for the first few weeks until you see plant growth, then cut back to 1 a month, then one every few
(the above info is largely thanks to kfryman & Oldfishlady)
- poke the soil with a chopstick or such now and then to release anaerobic soil pockets, or get some malaysian trumpet snails

Don't:

- add layers of solid fertiliser, you don't need it and it'll only make for algae growth
- set it in full sun or a lot of daylight (algae..)
- overstock right away
- overdose liquid ferts

(I know I've forgotten stuff here..)

Last edited by Aus; 06-23-2012 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 06-23-2012, 04:13 PM   #3 
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Aus I'm not sure if Sundancex wanted a NPT, I Think just a planted tank lol.

Ferts will keep I going, Flourish Excel for carbon and API Leaf Zone or Flourish are both good.
Have a plant specific bulb around 6500k (It will say the Kelvin rating on the box somewhere)
Lights on for a maximum of 12 hours
Get a filter that doesn't use carbon or switch carbon out for a sponge or bioballs of bio media (The have holes on them for good bacteria)
Research the plants needs
Trim stem plants and replant

Any more questions just ask me :D
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Old 06-23-2012, 04:29 PM   #4 
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if you want a good aquascape, you will need CO2 to help the plants grow as fancy aquascape plants require high amounts of light.
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Old 06-23-2012, 04:49 PM   #5 
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Thanks @Aus, even if the OP didn't want a NPT, that's exactly what I was looking for. I'm planning on starting my own soon. I've been stalking all these threads.
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Old 06-23-2012, 05:30 PM   #6 
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Ahaha, kfryman - that's what I get for posting half asleep ><

Sorry, Sundance! As for plants, check out hornwort and wisteria. They're lovely stem plants that help water quality along and fish love them. Swords help with nitrates and aerating the substrate. The taller cryptocorynes make wonderful broad betta hammocks.

Glad to help, zombiegirl.
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Old 06-23-2012, 07:21 PM   #7 
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NPT is natural planted tank right? What is the difference between a natural planted tank and just a planted tank?

I'm looking to do this with plants that are fairly easy to care for, because I'm scared to death I will kill anything that isn't easy to care for and ruin the tank. Ideally I'd like to carpet the tank with moss or a short grass type plant with taller plants in the back half of the tank and possibly a few floating plants. I saw a thread on Red Root Floaters, they look super interesting.

Ok so for a plant specific bulb, can you use it with most aquarium hood set ups? Or would I have to rig up something different. I'm really interested in using Petco's 6.6 gal bookshelf aquarium. It looks like a good size for me.

Thanks for bearing with me! I'm off to research plant species.
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Old 06-24-2012, 03:29 AM   #8 
Hallyx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundancex View Post
I'm really interested in using Petco's 6.6 gal bookshelf aquarium. It looks like a good size for me.
Bear in mind that the Petco bookshelf tank, although it is nine inches wide, has a filter hanging on the back (HOB) so it won't fit on nine inch wide shelf. Imho an incredibly shortsighted design defect.
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:34 AM   #9 
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Thanks for letting me know Hallyx. I think the tank should still fit in the spot but I agree, definitely shortsighted.
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:43 AM   #10 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundancex View Post
NPT is natural planted tank right? What is the difference between a natural planted tank and just a planted tank?
Natural planted tanks have a soil substrate that feeds the plants nutrients, emulating as best as possible a natural eco system. They're a bit more complex to set up, but require less maintenance in the long term.

Planted tanks are tanks with plants in them. The plants are simply planted in inert sand or gravel. Most fishkeepers use this method, it works well, and can be maintained long term using small amounts of liquid ferts and root tabs to feed the plants (root tabs are good for only a few kinds of plants.. best to research nutritional needs..)
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