29 Gallon Tank How to grow plants?

FishWithTim

Hello everyone, I've recently dived in to the world of live plants. I've been doing so much research and watching many videos. However, it all just seems a bit confusing. As of right now I have some low light plants with a 17 watt t5 bulb. For a substrate I have sand, but not fine sand or corse, it's just right. I've been looking into how to use ferts and just simply grow plants. As I've said before it just keeps coming across me as confusing. Was hoping maybe someone could help dumb it down for me. I have started using flourish excel and currently looking into seachem's comprehensive mix as I've heard it's good and provides things like Iron, potassium, and other things plants need.

For more in-depth of what plants I have, I have some Amazon swords, Bacope, Java Fern, and dwarf sag. Looking for a possible low light carpeting plant too.
 

King o´ Angelfish

hello,

plants can be hard sometimes but they are very rewarding to have

they mainly need:
-Light
-CO2
-Substrate

how high tech or whatnot you decide to go with any of these three needs would be up to you and the needs of the specific plants. For example some plants are low-light while others are not, some are root heavy while others can float.

generally speaking the more light you have the more the plant will be stimulated to grow. Your light seems fine, but make sure your heavy rooting plants like the swords have nutrients below the sand (like some root tabs).
 
Upvote 0

FishWithTim

hello,

plants can be hard sometimes but they are very rewarding to have

they mainly need:
-Light
-CO2
-Substrate

how high tech or whatnot you decide to go with any of these three needs would be up to you and the needs of the specific plants. For example some plants are low-light while others are not, some are root heavy while others can float.

generally speaking the more light you have the more the plant will be stimulated to grow. Your light seems fine, but make sure your heavy rooting plants like the swords have nutrients below the sand (like some root tabs).
Yeah I'm going for low tech, thanks for your suggestion. I do not have CO2 though. From my understanding, I think CO2 isn't really a must have for low tech tanks? I k is it's certainly helpful and will help plants grow faster and healthier. Also for medium high tech tanks of course a much powerful light is needed. But ferts? Ferts is what gets me, just don't understand. Even though I have Excel and Flourish comprehensive. Also what gets me is substrate, say I put some miracle grow in or aqua soil, would nutrients run out? Would I have to replace it?
 
Upvote 0

King o´ Angelfish

Yeah I'm going for low tech, thanks for your suggestion. I do not have CO2 though. From my understanding, I think CO2 isn't really a must have for low tech tanks? I k is it's certainly helpful and will help plants grow faster and healthier. Also for medium high tech tanks of course a much powerful light is needed. But ferts? Ferts is what gets me, just don't understand. Even though I have Excel and Flourish comprehensive. Also what gets me is substrate, say I put some miracle grow in or aqua soil, would nutrients run out? Would I have to replace it?
You are right. CO2 injection is not a must at all, and would definitly be considered high tech! In this case going with medium to low tech, your selection of plants is good.

So plants get their nutrients through the water collumn and through their roots under the substrate. Dosing nutrients into the collumn with products like Flourish is a good way to fertilize plants. Aquasoil for the substrate is also a great way to guarantee nutrients through the roots.

Eventually, you would have to replace the aquasoil but that would not be for years, i wanna say about 5 years.

Then depending on how strong your light is, how many plants you have, how often you are doing water changes, you will get a more educated estimate on how much and how often you should dose with liquid ferts. They tend to encourage you to dose more than you need on the bottle instrucitons.

What size tank will this be? Also what is your currents fish stock?
 
Upvote 0

JamesVader

Yeah I'm going for low tech, thanks for your suggestion. I do not have CO2 though. From my understanding, I think CO2 isn't really a must have for low tech tanks? I k is it's certainly helpful and will help plants grow faster and healthier. Also for medium high tech tanks of course a much powerful light is needed. But ferts? Ferts is what gets me, just don't understand. Even though I have Excel and Flourish comprehensive. Also what gets me is substrate, say I put some miracle grow in or aqua soil, would nutrients run out? Would I have to replace it?
Low-medium light plants almost never require Co2 injection, all that Co2 does is speed up the growth.

This is how I grow plants. I try for a low-medium tech tank, and get a decent light (yours should work just fine for low light plants maybe even medium light) and I get just any old substrate as long as it isn’t very fine sand. Then I get just an all in one liquid fertilizer, and some root tabs.

By far this isn’t “The fastest” way of growing plants but it works out just fine for me. The key is to just pay attention and try to solve problems as they come up.

Good luck
 
Upvote 0

FishWithTim

My current stocking of fish:
1x Albino pleco. (Meant to put 1 not 2 lol)
6x Red serpae tetras
6x Albino corys
1x Female Betta.

Current plants:
3x Amazon swords
3x moneywort
1x dwarf sag
3x Java ferns.

Lighting: 17w T5 bulb in the 30" Aqueon deluxe hood.(have thought about getting the Finnex 30" 24/7 light.)

Tank size: 29 gallon.

Low-medium light plants almost never require Co2 injection, all that Co2 does is speed up the growth.




This is how I grow plants. I try for a low-medium tech tank, and get a decent light (yours should work just fine for low light plants maybe even medium light) and I get just any old substrate as long as it isn’t very fine sand. Then I get just an all in one liquid fertilizer, and some root tabs.

By far this isn’t “The fastest” way of growing plants but it works out just fine for me. The key is to just pay attention and try to solve problems as they come up.

what really helped me to get started is I found a YouTube channel look up some videos! Good luck
Thank you!
 
Upvote 0

King o´ Angelfish

Ok so i am assuming you have a 20 gallon long? Maybe a 29 gallon tank?

if this is the case you should not be too overstocked and should be doing anywhere from 25-50% water changes every week, depending on your nitrate readings at the end of the week and depending on how much you feed.

you can get away with dosing half of what is recommended on the bottle every week.

tap water even after being conditioned has micronutrients in it that will also benfit your plants.

a tip that i have learned from growing plants is the more plants you have the better all of them do. i think it may be because they start to outcompete any algae in the tank from stealing nutrients i could be wrong but its just something ive noticed...more plants = healthier plants
 
Upvote 0

Sauceboat

My current stocking of fish:
1x Albino pleco. (Meant to put 1 not 2 lol)
6x Red serpae tetras
6x Albino corys
1x Female Betta.

Current plants:
3x Amazon swords
3x moneywort
1x dwarf sag
3x Java ferns.

Lighting: 17w T5 bulb in the 30" Aqueon deluxe hood.(have thought about getting the Finnex 30" 24/7 light.)

Thank you!
Got root tabs? Amazon swords and dwarf sag like substrate nutrition and could benefit from them.

In my experience growing plants is ridiculously easy and people tend to over-complicate it. My personal philosophy is dirt the tank, stick in the plants and let it grow haha. Stem plants like moneywort will grow no matter what, trim and replant when they get to a decent height and you'll do great. Java fern is stupidly easy, you can basically ignore it. The other two are root feeders so as long as they have root nutrition they'll be fine.

Don't worry about the lights too much as those are all pretty low light plants. Unless you intend on getting a finer carpenter like Monte Carlo or high tech CO2 plants, most light should be fine.
 
Upvote 0

FishWithTim

Ok so i am assuming you have a 20 gallon long? Maybe a 29 gallon tank?

if this is the case you should not be too overstocked and should be doing anywhere from 25-50% water changes every week, depending on your nitrate readings at the end of the week and depending on how much you feed.

you can get away with dosing half of what is recommended on the bottle every week.

tap water even after being conditioned has micronutrients in it that will also benfit your plants.

a tip that i have learned from growing plants is the more plants you have the better all of them do. i think it may be because they start to outcompete any algae in the tank from stealing nutrients i could be wrong but its just something ive noticed...more plants = healthier plants
Yes, I have a 29 gallon tank. I do weekly water changes. I actually just got all of the plants I listed not even a day ago except for the Java ferns, which I've had for a while. Would it be ok to dose excel and comprehensive 3 times a week, every 2 days? Also would I be better off switching from my current black sand to an aqua soil? Or miracle grow as I've heard some people use it as well? Would I have to cap it?
 
Upvote 0

Sauceboat

Also would I be better off switching from my current black sand to an aqua soil? Or miracle grow as I've heard some people use it as well? Would I have to cap it?
If you are willing to do it, dirt that tank! Root tabs will save you the hassle of it all given you have fish already in there but all my current tanks are darted and it makes growing plants crazy easy, they love it. Also dirt provides some mild CO2 addition, its not a ton but excellent for jump staring the tank. Plant roots also love it and, in my experience, root in it easier than the course balls of most aquasoils, particularly shallow rooted plants. Not to mention it is crazy cheap compared to aquasoil.
 
Upvote 0

MickSG

You do not need co2 for a low energy tank. With decent flow rate / surface agitation you will have some co2 from the atmosphere dissolve into your tank. Also flourish excel is a carbon source that most plants can use.

Since you are using a sand substrate you need to put root tabs into the sand near any plant that feeds from its roots (e.g. Amazon Sword). These do run out and need to be replaced every few months.

Note that Seachem Flourish is different from Seachem Flourish Excel. The first is a source of micro ferts, the second is a source of carbon. Also flourish does not contain nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK macro ferts). You might get enough of the first two from fish waste, but I'm not sure about potassium.
 
Upvote 0

King o´ Angelfish

Yes, I have a 29 gallon tank. I do weekly water changes. I actually just got all of the plants I listed not even a day ago except for the Java ferns, which I've had for a while. Would it be ok to dose excel and comprehensive 3 times a week, every 2 days? Also would I be better off switching from my current black sand to an aqua soil? Or miracle grow as I've heard some people use it as well? Would I have to cap it?
Ok 29 gal is good for your stock.

You would not need to dose that often. Once a week, after a water change, and half the recommended dose will be plenty as far as liquid ferts go. Try that for a couple weeks and see how it works. A good way to tell if you are dosing too much is if algae starts growing faster than it normally does in your tank.

You would not HAVE to change substrate. Sand is okay as long as you have root tabs in there especially near the plants with bigger roots.

If you are looking to take on a bigger project you could change the substrate and both products you mentioned will work (miraclegro/aqua soil)

MiracleGro should be capped and Aquasoil does not need to be capped.
I would like to clarify my statement above I was merely stating the basic needs plants have to survive.

CO2 is needed for plants. CO2 injection is not needed.

That said, low tech to mid tech plants do spectacularly without any need for injection of co2 as they get plenty from the fish and surface.
 
Upvote 0

FishWithTim

I'm liking the sound of using dirt and would totally be up to doing it maybe even tomorrow. Would I have to cap it though? Would I have to use root tabs still? Does dirt lose nutrition over time? How often would I have to replace it? Is there a specific brand? I'm sssuming your not talking about the dirt in my backyard lol.

For the liquid fert dosing, your saying I would dose 1.5ml once a week of each after a water change? A full dose would be 3ml.
 
Upvote 0

King o´ Angelfish

Im glad you are liking the dirt method as this wa smy first choice of option as well starting planted tanks.

You will want to sift out all big chunks from the dirt and you will want to cap it with a substrate of your choice. Nothing too fine.

I did about an inch of soil and 1.5-2 inches for the cap.

You would no longer have to use root tabs.

Dirt will lose nutrition over time but it will take years.

I have heard of people use dirt in their back yard but id just go with MiracleGro.

As for the liquid fert dosing 1.5 mL per week after a water change will work fine.
Note that Seachem Flourish is different from Seachem Flourish Excel. The first is a source of micro ferts, the second is a source of carbon. Also flourish does not contain nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK macro ferts). You might get enough of the first two from fish waste, but I'm not sure about potassium.

good point.... this is why i opted for Nilocg Thrive all in one liquid fert....highy recommend it, great fertilizer
 
Upvote 0

FishWithTim

Alright! Few more questions and maybe a even few more after that lol. What would you cap the miracle grow with? Would some of my sand be ok or would that look weird? What's the easiest way to switch substrates as I've never done it before. I know I'll have to take all the water out, and pretty much everything else. How I think I might go about it is just remove everything. Keep the water in a few 5 gallon buckets along with the fish, plants, and of course filter and remove the sand. Then put the miracle grow in and whatever cap. Would there be an easier way?
 
Upvote 0

King o´ Angelfish

sorry for the bad quality but i hope this picture helps

1615358138254.png
that was the gravel i used for my dirted planted tank

but its really up to you i chose this color because it was a more river type gravel that went with my river theme vibe i guess lol

but as long as it is small grained gravel you will be fine.

black gravel does bring out green/red/blue colors.
 
Upvote 0

FishWithTim

sorry for the bad quality but i hope this picture helps

1615358138254.png
that was the gravel i used for my dirted planted tank

but its really up to you i chose this color because it was a more river type gravel that went with my river theme vibe i guess lol

but as long as it is small grained gravel you will be fine.

black gravel does bring out green/red/blue colors.
I also have a black background too! So would some my black sand be alright? Also how much miracle grow would I put in? An inch an a half? More? How much to cap as well?
 
Upvote 0

Nickguy5467

Alright! Few more questions and maybe a even few more after that lol. What would you cap the miracle grow with? Would some of my sand be ok or would that look weird? What's the easiest way to switch substrates as I've never done it before. I know I'll have to take all the water out, and pretty much everything else. How I think I might go about it is just remove everything. Keep the water in a few 5 gallon buckets along with the fish, plants, and of course filter and remove the sand. Then put the miracle grow in and whatever cap. Would there be an easier way?
I used regular potting soil. and i capped it with an inch of black sand

cant he just use root tabs after those years? instead of removing the substrate? of course ive never done that. my planted tank is only 2-3 years old. i would had to have to tear up my plants. mainly my sword as its probably got a huge spiderweb of roots along my entire tank
 
Upvote 0

King o´ Angelfish

Since you are adding dirt to the tank, you would have to tear everything down and build on from there. This is an important step.

Make sure you have a safe place to keep your fish, your filter, and plants.

I usually keep a spare tank already up and going to store my fish in processes like this but a bucket with their tank water and a water pump with an air stone will suffice.

Make sure all your filter media does not dry out as this will kill your bacteria. Keep your filter media under water at all times. I put them in its own bucket with tank water...never tap water.
I also have a black background too! So would some my black sand be alright? Also how much miracle grow would I put in? An inch an a half? More? How much to cap as well?
your black sand would be just fine. just make sure you have enough to cap the soild with about 1-2 inches.

as for how much soil, 1 to 1.5 inches will be plenty.
 
Upvote 0

FishWithTim

I used regular potting soil. and i capped it with an inch of black sand
How much potting soil? An inch? And then a inch of sand?
 
Upvote 0

Nickguy5467

How much potting soil? An inch? And then a inch of sand?
as much soil as you like i guess.. but i used roughly 3 inches of soil with an inch of sand on top. just depends on how tal you want your substrate to be i guess. mine is also a 29 gallon tank

Fish Tank March 2021.jpg
 
Upvote 0

FishWithTim

as much soil as you like i guess.. but i used roughly 3 inches of sand with an inch of sand on top. just depends on how tal you want your substrate to be i guess. mine is also a 29 gallon tank

Fish Tank March 2021.jpg
Beautiful tank! What's the little grass your using to carpet?
 
Upvote 0

Nickguy5467

Beautiful tank! What's the little grass your using to carpet?
thanks. thats dwarf sagittaria.
 
Upvote 0

King o´ Angelfish

as much soil as you like i guess.. but i used roughly 3 inches of soil with an inch of sand on top. just depends on how tal you want your substrate to be i guess. mine is also a 29 gallon tank

Fish Tank March 2021.jpg
im really liking this black sand......where did you get yours?
 
Upvote 0

FishWithTim

thanks. thats dwarf sagittaria.
Gotta get me some of that!

What I think ill be doing tomorrow is switching substrate from my sand to miracle grow with an inch cap of my current sand. Then I will set everything back up. I'll make sure to keep everyone updated and post pictures! Thank you all so much for your help! You've really made plants so much easier and understanding for me. I really appreciate the help from all of you.
 
Upvote 0

Nickguy5467

im really liking this black sand......where did you get yours?
gosh i dont even remember lol. hmm let me think.. . it was from Carib Sea brand. i forgot the name of it though. i dont think the individual sand i use is made any more as it was left over from my 20 gallon when i had it. but any black aquarium sand works i would assume, carib sea isnt a bad brand.

edit: i just remembered lol. it was called Tahitian Moon Sand
 
Upvote 0

King o´ Angelfish

a pleasure and i wish the best of luck in the transition that it may all go smoothly

keep us posted @ me when you are done
gosh i dont even remember lol. hmm let me think... i think it was called . it was from Carib Sea brand. i forgot the name of it though. i dont think the individual sand i use is made any more as it was left over from my 20 gallon when i had it. but any black aquarium sand works i would assume, carib sea isnt a bad brand.
thats fine was mainly curious lol as i am in the midst of setting up a 5g or a 10g whichever i make up my mind on for a betta and the black sand looked great
 
Upvote 0

Nickguy5467

a pleasure and i wish the best of luck in the transition that it may all go smoothly

keep us posted @ me when you are done

thats fine was mainly curious lol as i am in the midst of setting up a 5g or a 10g whichever i make up my mind on for a betta and the black sand looked great
lol i just now noticed it was you that asked me that and not OP even though i was replying to you . but yeah it was called tahitian moon sand by caribsea. which was aparantly recalled because people were reporting it killed their fish. i havent had any issues. though im only using a little bit. as for where? probably amazon. maybe even a fish site.
 
Upvote 0

FishWithTim

So uh, is the miracle grow soil safe? Read up on it. Seeing a lot of not so good things. Also says I would have to let my plants work through the soil for a month before adding fish. Also says it would only last 6 months?
 
Upvote 0

Nickguy5467

FishWithTim OP just incase it wasnt already said. you want as little water in your tank as possible . or none when adding soil. or you will just get mud. so finish your sand cap. put a small plate on top and pour onto the plate so that you dont mess up the substrate
 
Upvote 0

FishWithTim

OP just incase it wasnt already said. you want as little water in your tank as possible . or none when adding soil. or you will just get mud. so finish your sand cap. put a small plate on top and pour onto the plate so that you dont mess up the substrate
Yeah but is it safe for aquariums?
 
Upvote 0

Nickguy5467

Yeah but is it safe for aquariums?
is what safe for aquariums? you take the plate out once you have a decent water level that wont disturb your substrate
 
Upvote 0

FishWithTim

is what safe for aquariums? you take the plate out once you have a decent water level that wont disturb your substrate
The miracle grow? Just wanna make sure it's the organic potting mix right? Or would you suggest something else?
 
Upvote 0

Nickguy5467

as long as you get ORGANIC
oh right yes. get organic soil. thats what i have. organic potting soil. or mix . whateverit was called. i forget what non-organic soil has thats bad for your tank but yeah. dont get non-organic
 
Upvote 0

FishWithTim

Alright, so I'll be picking up the ORGANIC potting soil. Not the ones with added fertilizers that are bad. Just wanted to really make sure before a mistake could of been made. Thanks again guys.
 
Upvote 0

Nickguy5467

Alright, so I'll be picking up the ORGANIC potting soil. Not the ones with added fertilizers that are bad. Just wanted to really make sure before a mistake could of been made. Thanks again guys.
yes im glad King brought that up as i totally forgot
 
Upvote 0

King o´ Angelfish

yup and if you want it wouldnt hurt to sift the soil before adding it

just as long as you are not putting in large chunks of anything under the sand
 
Upvote 0

FishWithTim

yup and if you want it wouldnt hurt to sift the soil before adding it

just as long as you are not putting in large chunks of anything under the sand
Will the soil really last more than a year like you said earlier?
 
Upvote 0

Nickguy5467

Will the soil really last more than a year like you said earlier?
my plants have been growing for almost 3 years. same soil. i dont really know how to tell if your soil runs out of nutrients though. but you can just put root tabs in afterwords i would think . i would assume they seep into the soild and repleplenish it somehow. regardless plants use them
 
Upvote 0

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
8
Views
143
jmaldo
  • Question
Replies
2
Views
162
MasterPython
  • Question
Replies
2
Views
108
Teahaus
Replies
5
Views
131
BlackOsprey
Replies
5
Views
211
Linda1234

Random Great Thread

New Plant Threads

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom