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Scenes From My Planted Tank


awrieger

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Thanks everybody! :)

I'm pretty sure now that's actually Huey in the pic, not Dewey. I didn't look closely enough at it when I posted it, sorry.

It is indeed relaxing. Compared to goldfish, lol! And so much easier to look after than goldfish too. It's actually directly behind me at my desk so I just swivel my chair around to enjoy the view. The pics don't do it full justice though because they don't quite capture the feel of all the constantly active fish in motion. :)

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Thanks! Glad you like it. :)

Here it is as of yesterday. There used to be a huge Red Lotus in the foreground, which I removed last weekend because it was overcrowding the tank. You can actually see the dip in the substrate under the hairgrass at the front middle where it used to be.

tankright.jpg

tankleft.jpg

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WOW, I LOVE IT! Do you mind if I ask you some questions?

What type of plants do you have? What kind is that grassy type? What kind of substrate do you have? Is that black gravel? How big is your tank? and also What kind of lighting do you need for all those plants?

So sorry for all the questions! I just want something like that so badly for my new tropical tank. SO BEAUTIFUL!

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Thanks Tinks. Thanks Gumbo. :)

Ask away Gumbo, I'm happy to answer - so get ready for a long post, lol! (PS. I've also answered a few questions about it in this other thread).

In the back left corner is Rotala Macranda (a stem plant), the moss hedge is Willow Moss tied to a peice of driftwood, atthe back right is Limnophilia Aromatica (a stem plant), in the middle front are a couple of baby Lotus plants (a rooted plant) which will grow bigger than the tank itself eventually, and the grass is DwarfHairgrass (a rooted plant).

All these plants, except the Willow Moss, need extremely strong light (red plants usually do or they'll go green instead), so I have a compact fluorescent light fixture with 2 x 55 watt tubes. Compact fluorescents are stronger than normal fluorescent lights but take up less space because they're thinner and folded in half (so each is a sort of 'twin' tube).

When I talk about light it's difficult not to get too technical, but here goes. That's a total of 110 watts of light on this 2' tank (which is about 21.5 gallons). So that's well over 5 watts of light per gallon. In comparison to a normal everyday fluorescent light you usually get on a 2' tank which is 18 watts which is less than 1 watt per gallon.

So this tank has over 5 times (!!!) as much light as a standard tank. Basically you need that much as you need to replicate the sun! Mind you, even when it's that strong it doesn't make the tank look like a furnace burning your eyes, lol. It just looks a little bit brighter, but that's it really.

Oh, and the black gravel is actually a volcanic type rock that's porous and holds fertilizer and nutrients really well. It's called EcoComplete from a company called Caribsea and it's made especially for planted tanks. It looks almost exactly like balck dirt in your backyard, except it's hard and crumbly, not soft like dirt.

And just one last thing, it's virtually impossible to grow lush healthy plants without additional carbon dioxide gas injection. Plants need CO2 gas to thrive as much as we and fish need oxygen gas to live. You can grow plants without it, but they won't grow as fast or big or as healthy as with CO2. And also, with the help of proper fertilizer dosing, CO2 suppresses algae as well which is an excellent side benefit! But CO2's a whole separate topic all by itself!

Hope that helps! Not simple (or cheap!) to set up, but once it is actually set up (and you've run out of money) it's just as easy to maintain as any other tank.

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Thank you so much for that information. Can you get that kind of lighting at a petstore like mmm,vvvv, etc.? Or do you have to order them from a special place? What bout the CO2?

I have a 20 gallon tank with standard lighting:( And I have an Amazon sword and two other plants ( I forget the name) and lets just say they are not doing so well. This time I will do a lot more research.

Your tank is amazing. One of the best I have ever seen.

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I'm not sure about mmm or those general pet shop style places. These stronger compact fluorescent lights are usually sold for marine aquariums (which need lots of light to replicate the tropics) so any aquarium shop that sell marine tanks and fish should have them. But be sure to buy proper 'plant' tubes for the fixture, not 'marine' (ie actinic) or 'sunlight' tubes which are super bright white or blue or even green!

They're usually sold as 'Power Compact' lights and fixtures. Just another name for Compact Fluorescent though.

I've had a look around for you and Big Al's sells them online. Here's the page for the actual fixtures.

There's four pages of them, but I assume your tank is 2' in length, is it? So I would recommend the one on the top right on the first page which is a single 55 watt fixturefor $69.95 (giving you 2.75 watts per gallon), or the sixth one down in the right column which is a 2 x 36 watt fixture (giving you 3.6 watts per gallon).

If you're just starting off with planted tanks, I would leave the CO2 for later until you learn about fertilizers and all that stuff first. So I'd suggest the single 55 watt fixture for two reasons. The first is that below 3 watts/gal of light you can grow good plants without the need for CO2 (just use liquid carbon in the form of Seachem Flourish Excel). Anything above 3 watts/gal and you definitely need CO2, otherwise the plants photosynthesize like crazy but 'starve' for lack of CO2.

The second reason is that I looked at the four pages of Big Al's tubes, and yep, they're all either super whites or marine blues! Told you they sell them mostly for marine tanks! So you have to buy the tube elsewhere like I did myself. My choice is the GE 9325K plant tube available from bulb sellers like Light Bulbs etc for $14.20. And it only comes in 55 watt size, so forget about the 3 x 36 watt fixture!

And thanks again for the compliment! :)

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