Converting to planted tank

  1. Jonathan16 Member Member

    Hey everyone! I currently have a 30 gallon with 8 serpae tetras, gravel substrate, and lots of fake plants. Now that I have successfully got to this point in he hobby I would like to make it a planted tank because real plants are so much cooler. I was thinking of doing Jungle Val as the background, some Amazon Sword, an perhaps float Water Sprite? Can you give me steps on quarantining the plants? Will the plants grow in gravel or do I need sand or something? Do I plant all at once or one at a time? Are there any plants that serpae tetras would really like? Any and all advice on how I go about planting this tank is welcome. Thanks!!
  2. BamBamSorg Well Known Member Member

    Hi there! So first question is what kind of money are you willing to spend? Plants need nutrients and to give them a nice healthy life you need to get them some liquid fertilizer (seachem iron, potassium etc) You will also need a major major thing........co2 either you can get it liquid form or buy a system on a website called co2art. (You will need to buy a separate co2 tank like a paintball tank or something else that you prefer)

    I didnt quarantine any of my plants but I did rinse them well and let them sit in a separate container for a day or the night and let any hitch hikers crawl out. Then I rinse them again and add them into the tank. Its just my way I do it. If anyone else has a better way to go then listen to them not me XD lol

    Another question is what kind of lights do you have? I prefer leds because they last a lot longer and they will pay off. The plants you want all depend on how easy they need to be taken care of, lighting, nutrient requirements. Some plants like root feeding more than water column feed. Some plants get very large and need to be placed in the back and others are foreground plants. I would look at this website called and look at all the facts about their certain plants that is were I get most of my information.

    Another question about the substrate. I use eco complete black substrate (gravel) in my 50 gallon. It was 20 dollars a bag. I have 4 bags in there and it fills up to.....2 1/2 inches. You can get sand or follow what some forums and read about soil layers if you add normal garden soil. But be careful about soil some can have poisonous ingredients in it. I like gravel more but sometimes sand looks more nature if you set it up correctly.

    You can plant all of your plants all at once. It would be less stressful for your fish If you just put everything in there at once instead of everyday. Im not sure what kind of plants serpae tetras would like. I would research and see what their nature habitat plants are. Planting is always rewarding and it adds more natural feel to the aquarium.
  3. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    Great move coming on over to the planted tank! You'll never look back. :)

    Plants will do well in any substrate. You don't need a plant substrate for them. Swords and Vals would benefit from root tabs. I use Seachem root tabs and both grow very well in my tank! I don't QT any plants and have had no issues except some hitchhiker snails. You can do an alum dip before putting them in the tank.

    You can add plants at once or one at a time. Sometimes you won't like where you've placed them so you'll find yourself rearranging quite a bit at the beginning.
    I've never had serpaes so I can't say but I think most fish appreciate most any plant!

    Here's a great thread to read to get started:
  4. BamBamSorg Well Known Member Member

    When I moved to a planted tank I never regretted anything. The money was well spent on everything that I bought for my aquarium
  5. Jonathan16 Member Member

    I have an undergravel filter right now along with an HOB filter. Would it be smart to take out the UG filter?
  6. Jonathan16 Member Member

    How deep does the gravel need to be?
  7. BamBamSorg Well Known Member Member

    At least 2 inches more is better
  8. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    I don't have experience with UG filters and how they affect plants so I'll let someone else chime in on that. I do hear that they are a pain to clean though.

    My sand is 2 - 2 1/2 inches deep.
  9. Jonathan16 Member Member

    Ok I'll add more gravel. Also, how do I reduce the flow of my HOB filter cause it will likely push down plants that I put under it
  10. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    You can make a DIY baffle by using a cut up sponge or half a water bottle on the outtake. You can also put a prefilter sponge on the intake.
  11. BamBamSorg Well Known Member Member

    One thing that could help with adding the extra sponge is that there is a extra place where the beneficial bacteria can go.