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Old 10-14-2012, 09:23 PM   #1 
LizzyP
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Thinking about starting a NPT

Hi, guys :)

I'm thinking about changing my 5.5 gallon to a NPT with sand and all the works. But I've only had tanks with gravel and silk plants. I tried one plant and it died within 2 weeks. I didn't bury the roots right and it was just an ugly mess. This is going to be a super long post, and I'm going to have some very amateur questions so bear with me here XD. Anyway, let me show you a picture of what I currently have.



Decorations are a little moved around and I have a lid now, but as you can see it's very fake. I like it, and it works well for Dumbledore's needs but I wish it looked a little more natural so it goes with the kitchen better.

Right now the light I have in my tank is an 8 watt bulb. I don't know anything more about it. It's what came with the hood. If it helps I can post a link to the hood I have and all its specifications. I'm looking for a low maintenance plant anyway because I don't exactly have a green thumb . How I've kept my Marimo alive for this long, the world will never know. Filter wise I am using a Fluval U1, baffled with filter foam. If you aren't familiar with it:
http://ca-en.hagen.com/Aquatic/Filtration/Internal/A465

Which leads me to my next question, where can I get plants from? My Petsmart no longer carries them and Petco isn't in a good part of the neighborhood so if I do go I take my fiance with me and getting him to actually go to the store with me is like pulling teeth. And the last time I got one from Petsmart it didn't look very good to begin with. I'd like some rooted ones, some floating ones, maybe even a small piece of driftwood to tie some down. But doesn't driftwood affect the pH of your water?

I want sand. Sand, sand, sand, sand, sand. I have no idea how to rinse it, I know that sounds dumb. Do you just put it in a bucket and fill it up with water, dump the water out and repeat? Sounds like you'd be wasting a lot of sand. How do you know when it's clean? I know Petco has nice sand, and I can order that online. Anyone have experience with the sand that is full of BB and you just add it in? If so, please share. I love white sand, but not sure how that would look in an earthy kitchen. I like my little vase/pot that's in there so I'll probably keep that, even though Dumbledore doesn't even pay attention to it.

I've heard of people using soil to plant the plants in and capping it with sand. What kind of soil do you guys use? I heard it was 1 inch of soil and 2 inches of sand, but I could be wrong.

I'd like to get a nerite snail, too. But that's not really the point.

I think I've asked all my questions. Please feel free to add anything that I missed. I'll probably be asking more questions in the near future. Thanks! :D

Lizzy
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Old 10-15-2012, 07:10 AM   #2 
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I don't have a green thumb, either :P lol. But, I've managed to keep most of my aquatic plants alive since I started keeping them in July.

You don't want to start an NPT unless you are sure you have the right lighting - without the right lighting, the plants don't grow fast enough to use up the nutrient from the soil and the water becomes toxic. You need 6500k color temperature, and I can't remember how many wpg... I think it's in OFL's NPT sticky.

I stick with low light plants and they do well. Anubias, wisteria, java fern, amazon sword, and mosses are good. Everyone loves anachris, but I've never tried keeping it. I've also got some hygros and ludwigia in a tank that sits in front of my sliding glass door, and the sunlight that they get through the window is enough that they're growing like weeds. Keep in mind with root feeders, you will need root tabs to keep them healthy.

Plants grow just fine in plain sand, so you don't really need soil. I've got pool filter sand in several of my tanks, and it's very pretty (and cheap!). To rinse it, I just put it in a bowl and ran water over it in the sink; mixed it with my fingers to free all the dust particles, and when the sand settles, you pour it out slowly, removing the dust. You don't lose much sand when you do it.

I have drift wood in a couple tanks; I like the look of it a lot. I have heard that it lowers the pH but the fish don't seem to mind it; most people are more worried about the wood discoloring the water, but that doesn't bother me and it doesn't happen forever. I use the mopani wood from Petco, and I love it.

Make sure you post pics when you're done with your remodel :)


ETA: You can buy plants online if you can't (safely!) find any near you. People sell a lot of plants on eBay and Aquabid, or in the classified sections of fish and planted tank forums. Or, you can order from places like Live Aquaria. Just make sure you quarantine any plants you buy before adding them to your tank - when I ordered plants online, I put them straight into the tank and ended up with all kinds of strange worms, flea things, and a hundred thousand snails. I do, however, put the tube plants from Petco right into the tank and never had a problem with creepers hiding in them.

Last edited by toad; 10-15-2012 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:36 PM   #3 
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I did it! I think it looks pretty good, considering it's my very first PT. :D I was able to get plants (the ones in the tube), sand, a new bulb for my hood and ferts from Petsmart all for about $140, give or take a few dollars. I couldn't find any driftwood, but now I don't think I could fit it in there anyway, lol! I've got a lot of anubias, some floating wisteria (not a lot) some ferns, swords and some kind of moss. I was pretty pleased with the quality of plants. Didn't have to trim too many dead stems/leaves off.

Now my question is, can I add my betta tonight? He's mad as crap sitting in his cup on the counter top, but I don't want to add him in if it's going to hurt him.
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Old 10-16-2012, 06:37 AM   #4 
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Looks awesome!

Just be careful not to bury the rhizome of your anubias or they will rot.
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Old 10-16-2012, 04:11 PM   #5 
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Which one is the anubias? Lol
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Old 10-16-2012, 04:43 PM   #6 
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Oii! I have two of those plants that come in the tubes and that actually really work and I didn't have to trim much either! Where did you get your floating plant though? I would love to get one for Ghost since I've been looking around and I haven't seen any floating ones in tubes and none were in the usual water tanks.
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Old 10-16-2012, 05:59 PM   #7 
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All 3 of the Petsmarts around me stopped selling their live plants. So, no more good looking snails (lady said they all die fairly quickly now because their tanks don't suit their needs...) and no more plants. So all I had to choose from was the Top Fin ones from the tube.

The floating plants are Water Wisteria. I just took them out of the tube, rinsed off the gel stuff and plopped them in. It's only about 3 stalks (I guess that's what you'd call them?) but I'd love to get some more, Dumbledore really loves it.
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Old 10-16-2012, 06:03 PM   #8 
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Lucky. Wow.

I would've loved to get a hold of those. Thanks for telling me though, I need to keep an eye out next time I go to Petco.
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Old 10-16-2012, 06:25 PM   #9 
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The Petco around here is nice....Just in a bad area. :( I don't like going by myself. So if I do go I have to take my fiancÚ. And as far as he's concerned he thinks fish are made for catching on a hook and eaten. :\
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:19 PM   #10 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LizzyP View Post
The floating plants are Water Wisteria. I just took them out of the tube, rinsed off the gel stuff and plopped them in. It's only about 3 stalks (I guess that's what you'd call them?) but I'd love to get some more, Dumbledore really loves it.


I started out with a couple little stalks, as well, and they grew to cover the whole top of my tank - at the moment, I've got 3 of the original stalks in the tank (10g), and they cover the top; I've taken out at least 2 stalks and the random leaves the came off and grew into stalks to put in other tanks. Wisteria is the best plant ever :)
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