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Old 08-13-2012, 11:49 AM   #1 
cataze
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Question Starting Over - 20 Gallon

Well, since my sweet Akira passed away from some undetermined illness, I am breaking down my tank to sterilize. I'm throwing out the gravel, the cave, most of the fake plants...pretty much everything that can't be properly sterilized, and starting over.

Since I'm starting over I've been contemplating going with sand (probably PFS) instead of gravel. I found that, no matter how much I vacuumed, I couldn't get all the crud out that was hiding in the gravel. Plus sand looks sooo nice. I've heard/read a lot of pros and cons for both. I think it will be easier to clean sand since it will stay on top, but I'm worried about how often I would need to stir up the sand to break up the gas pockets.

I've also been thinking it would be nice to have a couple of low light (my tank only has LED lighting, but it's near a window so it gets indirect sunlight), low maintenance plants. Is sand a good substrate for natural plants? I don't really want to have to have soil under the sand, since I'm still a beginner.

Any thoughts on plants that would do well in my aquarium? So far I've only been brave enough to have Marimos!

And lastly, I'm going to have to re-cycle my tank. Should I wait to have plants in there until after I cycle it, since they will be taking some of the ammonia?

Thanks so much for any suggestions/advice. I'm so sad about Akira...I miss him so much. I guess this is my chance to make a completely new tank for a future new friend.

Cate

Tank: 20 Gallon tall
Lighting: Marineland LED light bar (came with the tank/hood kit)
Location: Near a patio door, gets diffused/indirect sunlight in the morning
Tenants: Will have 1 Betta, with thoughts of adding a school of Cories in the future
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:18 PM   #2 
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some low low light plants: java moss, java ferns, wisteria.
you dont need dirt, if you get rooted plants you can use root tabs, and you can dose ferts into the water column easily.
To keep the sand stirred up get some malaysian trumpet snails :P
i would put plants into the tank right away, it's a lot easier and they will help.
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:27 PM   #3 
cataze
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Thanks starrlamia!

Java moss...does that need to grow on something? Are java ferns and wisteria rooted? I've heard of root tabs, but i'm not sure how they work.

BTW, I see you're a fellow Ontarian! :)
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:30 PM   #4 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cataze View Post
Thanks starrlamia!

Java moss...does that need to grow on something? Are java ferns and wisteria rooted? I've heard of root tabs, but i'm not sure how they work.

BTW, I see you're a fellow Ontarian! :)
java moss doesnt have to grow on something, mine just sort of sits where i put it lol but it depends on water flow, if you want it to cover something then i would anchor it.
Java ferns have what is called a rhizome, they have roots but they need to be tied to something like a rock or piece of driftwood, if you bury the rhizome they will die. Wisteria is a stem plant, they grow roots but dont need to be planted, they can be if you want or you can float them. Root tabs are just ferts that you put into the substrate that release the ferts for root feeding plants. Easy peasy, just replace every few months
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:42 PM   #5 
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Okay. Seems simple enough.

When you say tie the java fern to something, is this done with like cotton thread or something?

As for the MTS, I've heard that they multiply like crazy, and that scares me! LOL Do you need to have more than one, or can you just have one running around?

I'm going to Big Al's tonight...other than Pet Smart, that's all we have around here. Their plants don't look fantastic, but definitely better than Pet Smart's! Not going to buy anything yet, because I haven't started setting my tank up again yet, but just a little recon mission! LOL

Thanks for your help!
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:02 PM   #6 
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I've gotten quite a few plants from big als, they are decent but you need to quarantine or clean them, I got pond snails from mine.
You can tie java fern with cotton thread, fishing line or use super glue gel.
Mts can breed like crazy just don't overfeed your fish and they won't. They spend the day buried in the substrate so you don't really see them a lot.
I'm pretty sure there is an ottawa aquarium society which would be a good place to get plants from.
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:33 PM   #7 
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That's a great idea...I'll look into that.
I quarantined my Marimos in tap water...is it the same for other plants, or do they need to be quarantined in heated, dechlorinated water?

What about switching from sand to gravel....anyone have any thoughts?

Sorry for all the questions! I just want to get this done...I can't stand seeing Akira's tank just sitting there.

Last edited by cataze; 08-13-2012 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 08-13-2012, 05:57 PM   #8 
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I would do dechlorinated water and sit it somewhere it gets light.
If you want to switch substrate I would completely drain the tank, it's easier and less messy, though it depends on your plants, if you get rooted plants would stick with sand as they will stay down easier and you won't have to vacuum as deep which will disrupt the plants.
Questions are good its how you learn
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:21 AM   #9 
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I'm totally breaking down my tank to sterilize it (goodbye cycle!), so now is the time to change substrates!
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