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hey all i am looking for advice as to how to keep a planted tank.

i have a 3 ft tank with a layer of 1mm or 2mm or 3mm (cant remember).

i want to have it filled with plants, it is going to be an l no. growout tank.

it will have heaps of driftwood a cannistor flter and a power head filter.

it has a 2 ft light just a single bulb but is fairly bright.

now with the questions.

can plants go into a tank that is still cycling or does it have to be established first.

what else do i need for them to grow.

and what are the most hardy types as i have tried a planted tank before.

any help would be great thanks.

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hi brad mate peat moss under the gravel is a good move for planted tanks i would leave it till after cycling the tank before adding plants and some hardy plants are java moss, java fern , most of the vals ,and elodia,plus heaps of broad leaf plants some of the dewharf plants are pretty tuff as well

sorry i just cant remember all the names att he moment of the best plants but the most inmortent thing is good water , light and food of some kind and that is where peat moss come in to play

hope this is of some help


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well in my opinion you should have a veriety of sized plants small for the front of the tank and the biggest at the back and and that way you get a good landscape

as for lifespand i would think that they prob do but i am not sure about that bit but i guess everything has a lifespandof some kind

the peat moss does give them a good foot hold as well as a nurishmentbut it is not the only thing that they will get nurishment from they will also get it from uneaten food as it brakes down and fish waste and oxigen in the water plus from the light source but do some research in to what fish or Lnumbers you are going to put in the tank as some plants are like candy to different fish and there is no point in making a beautiful planted tank then a week later you have a bare tank cause the fish have had a pig out :lol::lol::twisted::roll:

there is also some liquid type plant food out there on the market as well but i have never used or tried any of them

but good luck mate

i hope it is a success

i have thought many a time that i would like to do a planted tank again and one day i just might

they always look stunning


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I am not a fan of peat moss in the gravel - doesn;t do much in terms of ferts and is messy.

I use just straight gravel - about 3 mm. Alternatives are Laterite under the gravel - good source of iron - or the you beaut plant growing susbstrates like ADA stuff, Eco - something etc - that cost a lost of dollars.

Plants need light - and you have not got enough with one tube

Food - fertilisers - can use substrate fertilisers or ones in the water column

CO2 that can come from canister, DIY or you can apparantly up the KH instead- although I do not really understadn this idea and am a bit dubious.

The skill in a planted tank is to keep all in balance.


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As above with gingerbeer, with comments about lights, gravel...

Best to start with the plants first before the fish. If you start with fish first, you have waste,excess nutrients etc. When you add the plants, they still need to establish, set out roots etc before growing. Just like normal plants in the garden. What will happen is that algae will take up the nutrients quicker than the plants at the start. Therefore you will end up with algae on the leaves of the plants. Which isn't the look you are after.

I read a really good article on setting up planted tanks. Can't remember where. Google may help give you more info.

Frenchy :D

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In nature, there are very few plants that grow well in plain gravel or sand. Some people seem to do it successfully in their aquariums but I prefer to use a substrate. You can make a substrate quite cheaply.

I use dirt from the garden (red clay seems to work best), shell grit, and peat moss in proportions of approx 8:1:1. I then add dinosaur dung tablets anywhere that I want to grow major plants such as crypts or swords. Dinosaur dung is clay tablets with blood and bone mixed in (the clay assists with cation exchange and turns the blood and bone into a slow release fertilser). They are available from Aquagreen at www.aquagreen.com.au/. In a 3 foot tank I personaly use about 20 tablets and don't worry about any other fertilisation. I plant the plants, cover the whole lot in about 2cm of gravel (to stop the substrate clouding the water) and then fill it with water. Allow it to cycle before adding fish.

I tried an experiment once where I put only dinosaur dung and gravel in a chinese takeaway container and planted an echinodorus bartii (a sword plant). Within six months it was pushing the lid off the aquarium. That stuff is great!! There is also Dinosaur Pee which is a liquid fertiliser but far cheaper than the commercial brands.

Aquagreen is also an excellent source for plants and Australian native fish (and lots of other interesting critters like native snails and shrimps)

A good rule of thumb for lighting is one watt of light per litre of water for most plants, 2 watts per litre for those that need more light. Four tubes over a 3ft tank works well.



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