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Old 06-20-2012, 11:43 AM   #1 
JBosley
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Switching to live plants

Hey!
I am going to be switching to live plants in the next few months But had some questions. I need low light plants as I do not have a light for my tank:
Anacharis, Hornwort, java moss, and duckweed (Correct?)

Should I get a light? If so what would work best? I have a 15 gallon divided tank, with no hood! I use craft mesh as a "lid"

What filter would be the best? I hear sponge filters are good! 1 for each side.

How long would it take to cycle the tank with plants, and how would I go about cycling it? I will be putting my fish into smaller, unfiltered tanks while the 15 gallon is cycling!
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Old 06-20-2012, 12:26 PM   #2 
bettafishfinnatic
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well i just stick my plants in both tanks and bowls and they seem to have no problem at all (:
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:23 PM   #3 
Shadyr
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I am the voice of the brown thumb and inexperience! Perfect for giving advice, right?

If it comes in a tube, be wary! Those seem like they are by and large plants that don't mind having their roots in pure water, but are *not* neccessarily water plants. Though I did apparently get an actual java fern from one.

I love Banana plants, and they don't mind being loose in the tank, though they do put out feeler roots and try to anchor themselves down, which I think is kinda neat. I have one for each tank, and other than one that I bought which apparently had its bananas buried in the tank at the store (a no-no!) they are all thriving.

Mossballs seem low maintenance, and my fish like to rest on them.

Hope going green works out for your tank and fish!
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:24 PM   #4 
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Thanks Shadyr!
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:59 PM   #5 
Hallyx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBosley View Post
How long would it take to cycle the tank with plants, and how would I go about cycling it?
Two weeks, IF you can get seeded (with nitrifying bacteria) gravel or filter sponge from an established, cycled tank. Two months or more, if you have to wait for it to fall from the sky (literally).

Use lots of foam, lots of flow, lots or aeration (sponge filter gives you all this) temps >85*.

Use pure ammonia; it's cleanest. (Shake the bottle...if it foams, don't use it.) Dose at least 4.0ppm.

Read the sticky at the top of this section.

Read this: Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle and cycling. Methods for ammonia, nitrite removal.

Last edited by Hallyx; 06-20-2012 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 06-20-2012, 08:15 PM   #6 
thekoimaiden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBosley View Post
Hey!
I am going to be switching to live plants in the next few months But had some questions. I need low light plants as I do not have a light for my tank:
Anacharis, Hornwort, java moss, and duckweed (Correct?)

Should I get a light? If so what would work best? I have a 15 gallon divided tank, with no hood! I use craft mesh as a "lid"

What filter would be the best? I hear sponge filters are good! 1 for each side.
Well only one of those plants is technically a low-light plant. Anarcharis, hornwort, and duckweed do best under medium to high light as they are all fast-growers. Anubias and moss balls are good low-light plants. A light will certainly help in the growth of any plant, tho. Personally, I would get a light as plants are only helping to clean the water when they are growing. You're going to want a light bulb with a kelvin reading between 5000K and 7000K. Mine are 6500K and I get pretty good growth.

For a filter in a 15 gal betta tank I would go with a sponge filter. You could do one on each side, but I like just having one for the tank. Ideally you want the filters close to the heater to circulate the warm water throughout the tank.
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Old 06-20-2012, 09:00 PM   #7 
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Thanks for the help everyone! Doing a natural planted tank seems a bit scary actually haha.
Going to get a water testing kit and see if my sister's tank is truly cycled! If it is would I be able to steal water from it, or put my sponge filter in there to get the good bacteria?

Doing an ammonia cycle freaks me out! But I will if I have too... ugh months doesn't seem fun. I hope I can use my sister's tank to help me...

As for plants I am looking into getting an LED light
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Old 06-20-2012, 09:49 PM   #8 
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I always wondered about seeding from established tanks, too. How does one actually do that? I'll be stalking your thread as you progress with your new tank, as I am also switching over to a planted tank. My 30 gallon has been established for 3 years, so I'm hoping I can figure out how to seed from it.

Good luck!!
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Old 06-20-2012, 09:54 PM   #9 
JBosley
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Seems so confusing!

I might just cycle from scratch... by heavily planting. I just read something about it! Someone correct me if I CAN'T do that

Going to get a 2.5 gallon or 5 gallon tank, and heavily plant it using sand. Add heater, sponge filter and LED light. Then keep an eye on the water parameters. Can this be done to cycle?
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Old 06-20-2012, 09:58 PM   #10 
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Getting water from an established tank won't do anything. You need filter media or a handful of substrate. The good bacteria live on stuff in the aquarium not in the water. Getting some filter media is best. Recently, I instantly cycled a tank using filter media from my goldfish tank. Most seeded cycles won't be this fast, tho. It instantly cycled because goldfish produce so much waste, that my filter media was jam packed with bacteria. It was more than enough to handle the bioload in my new tank.

EDIT: Didn't see your post, JBosely. Yes. A tank can be silently cycled by heavy planting. This is because the plants use up ammonia faster than the bacteria. It's possible to have a 5 or 2.5 gal tank so packed with plants that the cycle bacteria are hardly present. In this case, you would be relying completely on the plants and their growth to clean the water of ammonia.

Last edited by thekoimaiden; 06-20-2012 at 10:00 PM.
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