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I have a bunch of plants that I want to get into my tank, but I'm super intimidated. :) My substrate is black sand, and I have a bottle of Seachem Flourish, but some of the plants actually need to be planted. I'm way too indecisive and unsure of myself, so I'm wanting to plant them in something so that I can move them around until I'm happy with the placement, as long as they live and aren't a meal!

I think I could trim these little cups down and have them not stick out of the sand too much.

3109YYHxVZL._SX355_.jpg

But what do I put in there to plant them in? Just more sand with some of these tabs?

Or does it need to be some kind of soil, like can I just dig up some dirt outside? :whistle

41VoeAkxyzL._SY355_.jpg

Sorry to be so clueless! I just realized I have all those plants from CL and have no idea how to use the ones that need planted! :)

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I think that an alternative you could look at would be these planters. They're easy to use and you can move them all over easily, and best thing is you can move them without removing the planter, and the fish have a heck of a time pulling them out if they ever can. There is also a larger size, for the plants that you want to get massive.

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I usually just stick mine right in the sand and if they need it, I'll bury a root tab underneath them or nearby. Just make sure you plant them correctly so you're not covering them up too much, or leaving too much exposed. I never use pots if I am putting them in the substrate. It's easy enough to pull them up and move them if needed. They are pretty tough if given the correct nutrients and lighting.

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I think that an alternative you could look at would be these planters. They're easy to use and you can move them all over easily, and best thing is you can move them without removing the planter, and the fish have a heck of a time pulling them out if they ever can. There is also a larger size, for the plants that you want to get massive.

Thank you - those look a lot nicer! :D

I usually just stick mine right in the sand and if they need it, I'll bury a root tab underneath them or nearby. Just make sure you plant them correctly so you're not covering them up too much, or leaving too much exposed. I never use pots if I am putting them in the substrate. It's easy enough to pull them up and move them if needed. They are pretty tough if given the correct nutrients and lighting.

Lighting! :doh11: I have whatever standard lights came with the set... fluorescent bulbs... can I just buy different bulbs without having to buy a whole new light kit? And what kind of bulbs would I need?

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I think that an alternative you could look at would be these planters. They're easy to use and you can move them all over easily, and best thing is you can move them without removing the planter, and the fish have a heck of a time pulling them out if they ever can. There is also a larger size, for the plants that you want to get massive.

Thank you - those look a lot nicer! :D

I usually just stick mine right in the sand and if they need it, I'll bury a root tab underneath them or nearby. Just make sure you plant them correctly so you're not covering them up too much, or leaving too much exposed. I never use pots if I am putting them in the substrate. It's easy enough to pull them up and move them if needed. They are pretty tough if given the correct nutrients and lighting.

Lighting! :doh11: I have whatever standard lights came with the set... fluorescent bulbs... can I just buy different bulbs without having to buy a whole new light kit? And what kind of bulbs would I need?

It depends on the plants you have. Some require low, med, or high light. What types do you have?

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Mind you - I may ultimately kill these :lol3 but here's what I have right now - tiny little samples of each.

(Please forgive any misspellings)

Bocapa Austrelis

Willow Leaf Hygrophilla

Cabomba

Amazon Sword

Cryptocoryne Wendtii

Vallisineria Spiralis

"Cardinal Plant" - this one is (was) red, but I know that I will not have the skill level to keep a red plant, so I'm not going to really try to right now...

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They are low to medium light plants. Do you know how many watts of light you have and the types of bulbs? The color temperature of the lamps can make a difference also.

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There really are a ton of variables involved with plants, so I would plant what you have and see how everything grows. You will be able to see pretty quickly what will thrive and what will struggle, and make necessary adjustments at that point if your favorite plants are the ones struggling.

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I can totally relate about being indecisive - I went back and forth between dirt and sand over and over again for well over a month before I finally decided on sand!!

You can try with the light you have, but from what I've read, the lights that come stock with tanks are rarely appropriate for plants, except perhaps the lowest-light plants. I bought the Marineland Double Bright LED and plan on keeping low- to medium-light plants, with fertilizers. I will just be burying mine in the sand; hopefully that will work but if not I have to accept the fact that so much of what we do is trial and error and not be so much of a perfectionist all the time!

Have you read about PAR? This is the real key to knowing if the light you have is sufficient. I found it very informative. There's a pinned post on it here.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

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I can totally relate about being indecisive - I went back and forth between dirt and sand over and over again for well over a month before I finally decided on sand!!

You can try with the light you have, but from what I've read, the lights that come stock with tanks are rarely appropriate for plants, except perhaps the lowest-light plants. I bought the Marineland Double Bright LED and plan on keeping low- to medium-light plants, with fertilizers. I will just be burying mine in the sand; hopefully that will work but if not I have to accept the fact that so much of what we do is trial and error and not be so much of a perfectionist all the time!

Have you read about PAR? This is the real key to knowing if the light you have is sufficient. I found it very informative. There's a pinned post on it here.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

I've never heard of PAR, I'll have to look it up I guess. :) What did you do for a light fixture/lid then, did you have to buy something completely different when you switched to LED? I was kind of hoping there would be a decent fluorescent option so I wouldn't have to switch the lid out...

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I can totally relate about being indecisive - I went back and forth between dirt and sand over and over again for well over a month before I finally decided on sand!!

You can try with the light you have, but from what I've read, the lights that come stock with tanks are rarely appropriate for plants, except perhaps the lowest-light plants. I bought the Marineland Double Bright LED and plan on keeping low- to medium-light plants, with fertilizers. I will just be burying mine in the sand; hopefully that will work but if not I have to accept the fact that so much of what we do is trial and error and not be so much of a perfectionist all the time!

Have you read about PAR? This is the real key to knowing if the light you have is sufficient. I found it very informative. There's a pinned post on it here.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

I've never heard of PAR, I'll have to look it up I guess. :) What did you do for a light fixture/lid then, did you have to buy something completely different when you switched to LED? I was kind of hoping there would be a decent fluorescent option so I wouldn't have to switch the lid out...
The LEDs come as part of a fixture, so there is no need to buy a separate fixture. I also like the shimmer effect of the Marineland Double Bright; it makes tanks look really beautiful. I bought mine for about $113 on Drs. Foster and Smith. It is recommended, though, that the LED fixture sit on top of the glass, so depending on whether your current fixture has glass pieces all the way across, you may need to buy a partial glass canopy to cover it. These are sold cheaply at That Pet Place. I also purchased a timer, because I work long hours and leaving the light on for too long or inconsistently can lead to algae growth.

The other great thing about LEDs is that the bulbs do not need to be replaced like standard bulbs do. I ultimately decided on the LED for this reason, as well as the fact that I likely would have had to buy a new fixture anyway for standard bulbs (because you often need to add more bulbs than the stock fixture has room for, just to get up to the same PAR as an LED).

The PAR charts are really helpful. It shows the PAR for different tank depths, and gives the PAR for different brands and types of bulbs, as compared to the approximate ranges for low, medium and high light. One reason why PAR is a more effective measure than WPG is that it takes into account the depth of your tank. For example, my tank is 21 inches deep, so I need more light than someone who has a 16-inch-deep tank.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

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I can totally relate about being indecisive - I went back and forth between dirt and sand over and over again for well over a month before I finally decided on sand!!

You can try with the light you have, but from what I've read, the lights that come stock with tanks are rarely appropriate for plants, except perhaps the lowest-light plants. I bought the Marineland Double Bright LED and plan on keeping low- to medium-light plants, with fertilizers. I will just be burying mine in the sand; hopefully that will work but if not I have to accept the fact that so much of what we do is trial and error and not be so much of a perfectionist all the time!

Have you read about PAR? This is the real key to knowing if the light you have is sufficient. I found it very informative. There's a pinned post on it here.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

I've never heard of PAR, I'll have to look it up I guess. :) What did you do for a light fixture/lid then, did you have to buy something completely different when you switched to LED? I was kind of hoping there would be a decent fluorescent option so I wouldn't have to switch the lid out...
The LEDs come as part of a fixture, so there is no need to buy a separate fixture. I also like the shimmer effect of the Marineland Double Bright; it makes tanks look really beautiful. I bought mine for about $113 on Drs. Foster and Smith. It is recommended, though, that the LED fixture sit on top of the glass, so depending on whether your current fixture has glass pieces all the way across, you may need to buy a partial glass canopy to cover it. These are sold cheaply at That Pet Place. I also purchased a timer, because I work long hours and leaving the light on for too long or inconsistently can lead to algae growth.

The other great thing about LEDs is that the bulbs do not need to be replaced like standard bulbs do. I ultimately decided on the LED for this reason, as well as the fact that I likely would have had to buy a new fixture anyway for standard bulbs (because you often need to add more bulbs than the stock fixture has room for, just to get up to the same PAR as an LED).

The PAR charts are really helpful. It shows the PAR for different tank depths, and gives the PAR for different brands and types of bulbs, as compared to the approximate ranges for low, medium and high light. One reason why PAR is a more effective measure than WPG is that it takes into account the depth of your tank. For example, my tank is 21 inches deep, so I need more light than someone who has a 16-inch-deep tank.

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Wow, thanks for all the info, I'm so interested to learn more! :)

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Here's an article I wrote on par http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/113173-using-par-instead-of-wpg-to-measure-light-level-in-a-planted-tank/

If you have substrate, you should plant your plants directly in the substrate, don't use containers. Containers are fine in a bare bottom tank because that's the best option, but your plants will likely do better in the substrate where the roots aren't restricted. It's also very easy to plant and move plants after you plant them. I rearrange my plants all the time ;)

In terms of lighting, the cabomba, hygro, and sword will do best with medium light. I'm assuming the 'cardinal plant' is lobelia cardinalis? http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/myPlants.php?do=view&p=75&n=Cardinal_Flower_Lobelia_cardinalis.. These really do best with high light. I have actually found them needy and difficult to keep so far. One reason for this is that they really aren't a true aquatic, they're more of a bog plant, that we have forced to be an aquatic. They can be kept submersed, but tend to be finicky. I haven't been successful with them yet, although I just bought a few this week to try my hand at them again ;)

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Here's an article I wrote on par http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/113173-using-par-instead-of-wpg-to-measure-light-level-in-a-planted-tank/

If you have substrate, you should plant your plants directly in the substrate, don't use containers. Containers are fine in a bare bottom tank because that's the best option, but your plants will likely do better in the substrate where the roots aren't restricted. It's also very easy to plant and move plants after you plant them. I rearrange my plants all the time ;)

In terms of lighting, the cabomba, hygro, and sword will do best with medium light. I'm assuming the 'cardinal plant' is lobelia cardinalis? http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/myPlants.php?do=view&p=75&n=Cardinal_Flower_Lobelia_cardinalis.. These really do best with high light. I have actually found them needy and difficult to keep so far. One reason for this is that they really aren't a true aquatic, they're more of a bog plant, that we have forced to be an aquatic. They can be kept submersed, but tend to be finicky. I haven't been successful with them yet, although I just bought a few this week to try my hand at them again ;)

Thank you, great article - reading it now! :) Here is what it looked like when I first got it. I'm afraid it may be too late for it already, hopefully not though!

IMG_6282_zps1bfb8b09.jpg

IMG_6283_zps80ab29d2.jpg

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oh that looks like Alternanthera Reineckii (scarlet temple) to me. These are much less finicky :) It will do best with medium light, but will also do okay with lower light, it will just lose red and become more green in lower light.

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oh that looks like Alternanthera Reineckii (scarlet temple) to me. These are much less finicky :) It will do best with medium light, but will also do okay with lower light, it will just lose red and become more green in lower light.

Oh! Now that you mention it, he did say it would go green if there wasn't enough light... and something about iron maybe, does that sound right?

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oh that looks like Alternanthera Reineckii (scarlet temple) to me. These are much less finicky :) It will do best with medium light, but will also do okay with lower light, it will just lose red and become more green in lower light.

Oh! Now that you mention it, he did say it would go green if there wasn't enough light... and something about iron maybe, does that sound right?

yeah, iron supposedly helps keep red plants red. Lighting though is probably the bigger factor in coloring.

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ETA: found the PAR of the Marineland Double Bright (mods can let me know if I need to credit :) )

"Marineland Double Bright
PAR Data(Source) PAR vs. Distance from source
18-24 inch fixture: 30 PAR @ 12", 17 PAR @ 24"
24-36 inch fixture: 35 PAR @ 12", 19 PAR @ 24"
36-48 inch fixture: 54 PAR @ 12", 26 PAR @ 24"
48-60 inch fixture: 73 PAR @ 12", 35 PAR @ 24"
Notes: Should provide low light for most tanks, depending on fixture size."

Which answers my question below, based on the PAR I'm looking for :)

Also not sure with a 48" tank if I should go for the 36-48" or 48"-60"

Perfecto glass top http://www.thatpetplace.com/marineland-perfecto-glass-canopy-48in-13in They've got this disclaimer: "made to fit all Perfecto Aquariums. Glass top contains 2 sections designed for use with 40E, 55 gallon, and 60 gallon Perfecto aquariums. Not guaranteed to fit other brands of aquariums" But if it's made by Marineland, it should fit a Marineland tank too, right? ETA: a reviewer says it does fit her 60 gal Marineland tank, so I should be ok there. And that seems like a really good sale price! :D

Edited by SweetMamaKaty
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Par is listed for the marineland fixtures here http://www.marineland.com/~/media/UPG/Marineland/Articles/11083%20ML%20LED%20Flip%20Book_v5.ashx

Although I don't like the way they do it because the only give you par at 12 and 24 inches

Perfecto tops will fit any standard size aquarium I believe :)

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Par is listed for the marineland fixtures here http://www.marineland.com/~/media/UPG/Marineland/Articles/11083%20ML%20LED%20Flip%20Book_v5.ashx

Although I don't like the way they do it because the only give you par at 12 and 24 inches

Perfecto tops will fit any standard size aquarium I believe :)

oops, thank you, I was editing when you posted :)

Yeah, and I think the par is a little lower than I was hoping for - I think the range I was looking for was 35-50, but do you think I could get away with just the 35? There's a 36-48" on ebay for super cheap, but then that would take it down to 26 PAR...

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