My Very First Planted Tank

mattgirl

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For years I had plastic and silk plants in my tanks. Last year I decided I wanted to expand my knowledge and learn how to care for live water plants. I have always had a green thumb when it comes to house and garden plants so thought this wouldn't be that difficult.

I was wrong. I killed a lot of plants until I found some that thrive in my water. This is my first attempt at an aqua-scaped tank with rocks and live plants in 5.5 gallon tank. The dual sponge is kinda an eye sore but eventually the plants should disguise it some.

5-5-gallon-tank-jpg.jpg
 

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StarGirl15

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mattgirl said:
Well shoot. I don't really know why it isn't showing up for you

5.5 gallon tank.JPG


Can you see this one? I loaded it straight from my computer whereas I just did a copy and paste for the first one.
Yes! Very nice I wish my plants would grow faster!
 
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mattgirl

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The water wisteria over on the right is growing very well. Iis already twice as tall as it was in that photo. The anacharis I have planted on each side of the filter are filling out and have already grown a few inches too.

The java fern up front isn't dying but isn't growing much yet. The dwarf sag on the left is growing well. Once everything gets well settled I am hoping this tank will be well filled in with its big variety of plants.

One day I want my 55 gallon tank to look like this one. It is going to take a lot of plants to accomplish that though. I have started by planting an amazon sword, some water wisteria and jungle val in there so far. It isn't picture worthy yet
 

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mattgirl said:
The water wisteria over on the right is growing very well. Iis already twice as tall as it was in that photo. The anacharis I have planted on each side of the filter are filling out and have already grown a few inches too.

The java fern up front isn't dying but isn't growing much yet. The dwarf sag on the left is growing well. Once everything gets well settled I am hoping this tank will be well filled in with its big variety of plants.

One day I want my 55 gallon tank to look like this one. It is going to take a lot of plants to accomplish that though. I have started by planting an amazon sword, some water wisteria and jungle val in there so far. It isn't picture worthy yet
Mine isn't very worthy yet either....
20190830_194734.jpg
 
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mattgirl

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Yours is beautiful and will be even more so once your plants start filling it up.

What are you feeding them? I started out with Flourish and Flourish Excel but wasn't having much luck. I switched to Thrive and Thrive root capsules. Once I did my plants started doing much better.

I found that the TDS of my tap water was very low and it was determined that too could be the reason for the lack of luck with plants. I now use Equilibrium to keep the TDS up close to 100. Once I did that I started having some success.
 

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mattgirl said:
Yours is beautiful and will be even more so once your plants start filling it up.

What are you feeding them? I started out with Flourish and Flourish Excel but wasn't having much luck. I switched to Thrive and Thrive root capsules. Once I did my plants started doing much better.

I found that the TDS of my tap water was very low and it was determined that too could be the reason for the lack of luck with plants. I now use Equilibrium to keep the TDS up close to 100. Once I did that I started having some success.
I use Thrive C and Flourish root tabs. I only have Anubias, crypts and Vals. I just started them in May so I'm a newbie too.
 
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mattgirl

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StarGirl15 said:
I use Thrive C and Flourish root tabs. I only have Anubias, crypts and Vals. I just started them in May so I'm a newbie too.
Getting into plants is a lot like going through the cycling process. It takes a boat load of patience but pays off in the end.

I have a couple of anabias along with a tiny buce plant in the 5 gallon. They don't seem to be growing yet but if I understand correctly they are very slow growing plants.

I am glad I got the water wisteria. It is a fast growing plant so gives me something to watch actually growing. Most everything else seem to just be sitting there looking pretty but very slow growing.
 

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mattgirl said:
Getting into plants is a lot like going through the cycling process. It takes a boat load of patience but pays off in the end.

I have a couple of anabias along with a tiny buce plant in the 5 gallon. They don't seem to be growing yet but if I understand correctly they are very slow growing plants.

I am glad I got the water wisteria. It is a fast growing plant so gives me something to watch actually growing. Most everything else seem to just be sitting there looking pretty but very slow growing.
Vals are supposed to be faster growing plants. Mine haven't even grown 1 shoot yet...
 
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mattgirl

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StarGirl15 said:
Vals are supposed to be faster growing plants. Mine haven't even grown 1 shoot yet...
I am not having very good luck with jungle val. It was actually the very first plant I ever bought. I got a huge handful of beautiful 1 1/2 to 2 foot long plants at least 2 years ago. I managed to kill them off pretty quick. I still have some of them and I am just now finally starting to see some of them growing more than just a couple of inches tall.

I can't seem to get them to grow in my 55 gallon tank but they are doing better in both the 5.5 gallon and in my plant only 2.5 gallon bowl.

The dwarf sag looks much like the jungle vals but isn't supposed to grow as tall. I am starting to have a tiny bit of success with them in the 55.

Do you have root tabs under your vals? I am thinking they are mostly root feeders.
 

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mattgirl said:
Getting into plants is a lot like going through the cycling process. It takes a boat load of patience but pays off in the end.

I have a couple of anabias along with a tiny buce plant in the 5 gallon. They don't seem to be growing yet but if I understand correctly they are very slow growing plants.

I am glad I got the water wisteria. It is a fast growing plant so gives me something to watch actually growing. Most everything else seem to just be sitting there looking pretty but very slow growing.
Congrats for finally making the leap into live plants, they look so much better then the plastic plants. The one thing I like is that they are constantly changing the look of your tank as they grown and you trI'm them.
 

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You can buff your water right up to 200 TDS to see what your water is missing !
100 is low enough for my rams to breed and way lower then my tap .
With all the 'common comparisons' between pH /GH/KH few find out about their TDS...
I'll bet your water is lot like many others who have a much higher TDS then 100??
My tap is 7.6 /2-3 KH / 9 GH with 350 TDS while I know others with same Ph/GH/KH and a TDS of 110 ...
 
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max h said:
Congrats for finally making the leap into live plants, they look so much better then the plastic plants. The one thing I like is that they are constantly changing the look of your tank as they grown and you trI'm them.
Thank you, I agree. I see all these beautiful planted tanks and finally decided it was time for me to at least try. I have had a LOT of failures along the learning curve but am finally, with persistence, having some success.

It is amazing how quickly some of the plants in this tank are growing.
 

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mattgirl said:
Thank you, I agree. I see all these beautiful planted tanks and finally decided it was time for me to at least try. I have had a LOT of failures along the learning curve but am finally, with persistence, having some success.

It is amazing how quickly some of the plants in this tank are growing.
It is amazing how quickly they grow. I did some serious trimming the other week and removed a 5 gallon bucket full from my 150. I was able to give some away, I do have to work on the 55 today. I need to plant some of the Amazon Sword babies in it.
 
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coralbandit said:
You can buff your water right up to 200 TDS to see what your water is missing !
100 is low enough for my rams to breed and way lower then my tap .
With all the 'common comparisons' between pH /GH/KH few find out about their TDS...
I'll bet your water is lot like many others who have a much higher TDS then 100??
My tap is 7.6 /2-3 KH / 9 GH with 350 TDS while I know others with same Ph/GH/KH and a TDS of 110 ...
The water straight from my tap has a PH of 7.2 and a TDS of 21. I thought my gh/kh testing solution had gone bad because I never got any of the colors one is suppose to get when using it. I think that is the main reason I have to use crushed coral and seashells in my tanks to keep the ph stable. I don't think my water has any buffering ability. It is very soft.

Do you think the Equilibrium will do the same thing as the crushed coral? I actually ask about how high my TDS should be but never got an answer so just guessed at somewhere around 100. My molly tank often gets up to 125 right before a water change.

If you think 200 would be better I can easily do that. I have black skirt, neon and red/blue columbian tetras, corys and Elbert in my 55. Would 200 be the right number for them?
 

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Raise it and test to see if GH/KH are raising also ..
With wondershells and baking soda I have had my red picta and swordtails at 1,100 TDS ..
The baking soda was to stabilize the pH as long term the wonder shells lower your pH despite adding minerals !
I never saw the TDS question this forum is so busy !
Your tetras will like between 100-200 IMO. The livebearers want 300+++ IMO..
Most add salt to live bearers not knowing there are other better ways to raise hardness.. Stay away from salt..:shifty:
I will send you a nice link on wonder shells ..You should look into them .
My super reds breed in my tap 350TDS [when it is new and clean !] ...
21 TDS is the same as my RO system gets my tap without DI resin !
I have only used that water [straight ] for my rarest apisto the irinidae they say need the very softest of waters..
21 is very ,very ,very low ..IMO 50 is borderline too low for most fish ...
 
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coralbandit said:
Raise it and test to see if GH/KH are raising also ..
I will run the gh/kh tests on the 55 today and see where they are at.

With wondershells and baking soda I have had my red picta and swordtails at 1,100 TDS ..
The baking soda was to stabilize the pH as long term the wonder shells lower your pH despite adding minerals !
Wow!! Since I don't totally understand the effect of high or low TDS if I saw something like that it would have me reaching for the water changing equipment

I never saw the TDS question this forum is so busy !
Not a problem. I am learning now
Your tetras will like between 100-200 IMO. The livebearers want 300+++ IMO..
Most add salt to live bearers not knowing there are other better ways to raise hardness.. Stay away from salt..:shifty:
Sounds like the level I have in the 55 is pretty good then. I do need to raise the level in the molly tank though.
I will send you a nice link on wonder shells ..You should look into them .
I have actually done a bit of reading about them at one point in time but didn't know if they would be helpful to me. That was back when I decided to go with the crushed coral.
My super reds breed in my tap 350TDS [when it is new and clean !] ...
If that is the case should I gradually raise the TDS in the container I have my pleco fry in. I actually filled it with my 21 TDS water not knowing any better.
21 TDS is the same as my RO system gets my tap without DI resin !
I have only used that water [straight ] for my rarest apisto the irinidae they say need the very softest of waters..
21 is very ,very ,very low ..IMO 50 is borderline to low for most fish ...
That is what I was told when I posted the readings on my tap water shortly after getting my TDS meter. Others were wishing they had my water.

It seems my fish have mostly thrived in my very soft basically empty water. It wasn't until I wanted to try growing plants that I got more into what they need. I have found they need a lot more than what my water gives them.

They really started getting healthy once I started giving them ferts and some of the minerals missing from my tap water. Ferts alone wasn't doing it.
 

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coralbandit said:
You can buff your water right up to 200 TDS to see what your water is missing !
100 is low enough for my rams to breed and way lower then my tap .
With all the 'common comparisons' between pH /GH/KH few find out about their TDS...
I'll bet your water is lot like many others who have a much higher TDS then 100??
My tap is 7.6 /2-3 KH / 9 GH with 350 TDS while I know others with same Ph/GH/KH and a TDS of 110 ...
My tap water 6 KH 10 GH
My Tank is 7 KH 13 GH

Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 20
PH 8.0
Temp 78* Bumping that up as we speak... Starting to cool off at night now.

StarGirl15 said:
My tap water 6 KH 10 GH
My Tank is 7 KH 13 GH

Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 20
PH 8.0
Temp 78* Bumping that up as we speak... Starting to cool off at night now.
What is TDS?
 

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mattgirl said:
It stands for Total Dissolved Solids. I am not 100% sure what exactly those solids are but think it has a lot to do the the amount of minerals in the water.
How do you check that?
 

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