First Planted Tank

shusband

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I want to start planting my 29 gallon tank that I want to raise cories in. I'm coming into this with no experience on keeping plants in an aquarium. I have a 30 inch Marineland F18T18 Natural Daylight bulb (18 watts). Is this enough light and if not is there a cost effective way to increase it? Also what substrate is actually needed and can I DIY substrate, since 15-20$ for a 15-20 pound back is ridiculous. Is CO2 injection necessary or worth it? Fertilizers (cheap or none if possible) Is there anything else I should know? Any plant suggestions? I have hard water (pH 8.0-8.2) and will keep the aquarium on the cooler side.
 

AquaticBrandon

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Welcome to fishlore!
That bulb should be fine to grow low light plants and a few moderate light plants. Co2 injection isn't needed, I wouldn't mess with co2 yet. You can have a beautiful aquarium with just low light plants. You can go dirt if your want, I have a dirted tank and it grows my plants very well. The only downside to it is that it tends to get messy. You can buy plant substrates or buy I think a bag of Safe T Sorb( I thinks it's called). But if you don't want to do any of that stuff or spend extra money on substrates you can just use any kind of substrate and pop in some root tabs. That's what I'm doing with my 60 gallon tank and my plants are healthy. I'm guessing you might go with sand since this is a Cory tank? Sand and root tabs will grow plants fine. Also you can get a fertilizer like Seachem Flourish. To get you started, here is an article on low light plants
https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfi...-set-up-a-low-light-low-tech-planted-tank.24/


 
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shusband

shusband

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How thick of a sand layer should I have?

And if I want to try to avoid root tabs, I could use soil right? Does it have to be strictly for aquariums or could I use lighter potting soils or something like that to lower the cost? I like the look of a natural mud/soil bottom if it is possible.
 

AquaticBrandon

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If you're gonna use dirt, use organic soil. I use miracle organic choice potting mix. You will have to have a cap of substrate over the dirt.


 

AquaticBrandon

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Any kind of gravel. You can also use sand from Home Depot. It's like 5 bucks for big bag of sand.But it's a little more messier with sand.


 
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shusband

shusband

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Yeah, I have to use sand, since I am setting up this tank primarily for cories. I've used play sand from lowes before. Can I use other kinds like leveling sand? I think it is prettier.
 

AquaticBrandon

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I don't have experience with "leveling sand" sorry. But I would look more into it, it could contain chemicals or something. I have only used Pool Filter Sand from Home Depot and it has worked great. If you have a nearby tractor supply you can get Black Diamond Blasting Sand. It looks very nice and it's cheap.


 

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shusband said:
Yeah, I have to use sand, since I am setting up this tank primarily for cories. I've used play sand from lowes before. Can I use other kinds like leveling sand? I think it is prettier.
I prefer leveling/paving sand myself. It works fine. Less dirty and messy than play sand. And the grains are much smaller. It's more like beach sand.
 

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Agreed with above post, you can get a 50 lb bag of pool filter sand at Hoke Depot for like $6-7.


 

LiterallyHydro

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Have you considered black blasting sand? I think it looks a lot nicer than pool filter sand. Can be bought for similar prices at tractor supply or other retailers.
 
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shusband

shusband

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I haven't seen blasting sand at Lowes or Home Depot and tractor supply is a 45 minute drive.
 
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shusband

shusband

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It looks a lot like the black sand I currently have in my 29. I can just use it as a cap but was hoping for something in a dark brown that wasn't uniform.
 

Bijou88

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Do you have a Northern Tool near you? They have black diamond too.

 

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