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Old 06-07-2011, 09:23 PM   #1 
rhiannon5015
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Arrow NPT's - - How to get started?

I would love any and all info on getting started with a NPT. I've seen a few people on this forum that have them OFL, lol, and would love to hear from you guys. I'm sure there are others that would love the input too. Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:49 PM   #2 
PewPewPew
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Are you looking to use soil in your tanks?
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Old 06-07-2011, 11:07 PM   #3 
Oldfishlady
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What size tank are you starting with, do you plan any filtration, if so what kind, what kind of soil...sand or gravel cap....what kind of plants...are you going to order plants or do you have a good pet shop that can provide them or better yet an aquarium club......what kind of lights do you have...kelvin, age...etc.....

Natural planted tanks are awesome to keep.......happy to help you out as are other members......
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Old 06-07-2011, 11:38 PM   #4 
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Im gonna be stalking this thread a bit, heehee :) <3 Learning something new is always great! <3
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:22 AM   #5 
sayurasem
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i was like.... wth is npt....? lol. now i know its natural planted tank.
can i post pic of my just-started npt? i think it would help as what your tank would be like in the first few weeks.
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:52 AM   #6 
rhiannon5015
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I have a ten gallon tank with smooth, pebble gravel. It is filtered at this time. Plants:

I'm hoping that you could give a basic start-up run down. It doesn't have to be for this tank.
Thanks for any help!
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Old 06-08-2011, 01:05 AM   #7 
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Well, your swords are gonna be happy with all that gravel! They have large, expansive root systems. Actually, with the right fertilization and light, they get to be HUGE, tank-busters, really!

I suggest getting a few more root plants. I really like crypts and swords for this. Place them (if small) around the sides of the tank and (if larger) in the back. They need root tabs, since that's how they absorb nutrients.

I like moss in NPTs, so try getting a nice piece of (true) hardwood drift wood like mopani and tie some java moss to it. The moss makes the tank look earthy and lovely.

Large, more mature Java ferns also provide good weight for a tank. Their rhizome cant be buried, same for anubias.

Consider getting some species of grass in your tank, too... Hairgrass and dwarf hairgrass plants add a nice carpet to sections of the tank once they send out runners. My fish like hiding in it, like ninjas. Dwarf baby tears are also nice in this way, too, but theyre not grass-like.

Stemmed plants like anacharis (which is a little hard to incorporate into a tank sometimes because it grows like mad), pennywort, water sprite, bacopa, ludwigia, wisteria, vals, etc. are good, too- and I actually think you need them when using soil (Right, OFL?), and you need LOTS, though Im not 100% sure on the reason.

Floating plants, like duckweed, frogbit, water lettuce (ooh, love this) are really good looking, too. Water sprite likes to chill at the top of the tank, too, and creates an eerie, natural look when its roots hang.

If youre doing a planted tank, get a good fertilizer! Root tabs, too, for the swords. I use Aqueon Plant food with good results (all thats around :c), but I know that Seachem Flourish and Excel are faaannntassttiicc!!!

Try creating a look that is based with a center focus... For example, get a nice piece of wood and place it in an interesting way and have the plants fill out around it. Rocks are great, too- just be sure the ones you choose dont mess with your pH.
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:20 PM   #8 
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Getting a NPT started...10gal is a great size..but any size will work...even a 1gal.....you don't have to have a filter....but I do like to start mine with a filter for the first 60 days and then I usually remove it.

You have to have the right lights to start.....if you don't get active growth right away...it will crash.....daylight 6500k bulb...new....10h/day photoperiod to start then increase to 12h as needed

Plants-lots of stem plants...75% of the floor needs stem..usually sold as bunching plants....rosette are great and you can add then as well....but you have to have the right plants for start up...or it will crash.....floating plants 20-25%...Pew Pew listed some good choices for stem and floating...if you start off with a few stem plants the tank will crash......a few plants will not work......

Dirt-any dirt, potting soil-organic is best...no added fert or anything...sifted to get the big chunks of stuff out- you need about 2 inches and either sand or small diameter gravel to cover the dirt to hold it down...use half to 1 inch...all this is to hold the dirt in place...don't rinse any of this...you add it dry......

Add your dirt-add water to cover slightly-add sand/gravel-add hard scape and plant.....add water-drain 80% of the water-refill...repeat this until the water is clear...make sure last re-fill has dechlorinator and close to the temp you want...you have to be really careful refill so not to disrupt the soil bed.......

You either need trumpet snails or you will need to poke the soil bed for the first month or so...until the stem plants grow- sending oxygen into the soil with their roots to prevent anaerobic area...trumpet snail are great for this

If you are going to use a HOB type filter-be sure and place it in the tank before planting to check location...I recommend that you place hard scape items like rock/wood..etc....under the overflow to prevent the overflow from disturbing the soil bed kicking dirt up making a mess....

Its important that the water be clear....if not-the poor light penetration to the plants-slow or poor plant growth-the tank can crash......

Look at the hood-plastic or glass between the light and water....remove this if you can or the hood all together and just use the strip light for best light penetration and plant growth....or at least make sure this partition is clean and free of debris at all times....I use two strip light over my NPT-open top...no hoods used....

Ferts-you don't need ferts with soil based tanks

Livestock-if setup properly you can safely add fish the day you set it up...I do....I add-snails, shrimp, Bettas...the first day....

Water changes -partial 25-50% water only are needed daily to every-other day-twice weekly-monthly...for the first 3 months....once the tank is mature, settled and balanced....water changes 3-4 times a year...depending on tank size, stocking, plants and plant growth....

I am trying to think if I forgot anything......I am sure I did...lol....look in my album...that 5gal is the newest NPT I set up....and I successfully spawned in that tank and raised fry 2 months after setup when I took the filter out....

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 06-08-2011 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:27 PM   #9 
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@_@ Holy wow.
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Old 06-08-2011, 02:56 PM   #10 
rhiannon5015
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Awesome information! This should totally get stickied! I may message you as time goes by. I don't think I'll be able to get started right away. Thank you so much!
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