Need ideas and help setting up a 40 gallon planted tank

JamesVader

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Okay so I have been getting into growing real plants in my aquariums. So I set up a 5 gallon tank with plants and it did pretty good so I set up a ten gallon with plants and now that one is doing really good. So I have one more 40 gallon tank that I am going to redo and put plants in.

I want to know if you guys think it would be okay to put just regular gravel and put root tabs in it. Or if I should buy gravel that is specifically designed for a planted tank?

if you have any ideas on what gravel specifically (brand and name) that would help.

I also wanted to know if a ZooMed aqua sun t5 light would work? I’m not going to have Co2

any other tips you can give I would appreciate
 

dwc13

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Many aquarium plants can be grown with aquarium gravel as a substrate. You mentioned you already have had success doing so on a smaller scale. For your planned 40G setup, use a substrate that isn't too light (weight) or too small/big -- this will allow you to more easily add/move plants. With your 5G & 10G tanks, you don't have much room to add plants and/or move them around. You'll have much greater flexibility to do so with a 40G aquarium. Make sure you have enough substrate (@3") covering the areas you intend to plant. Substrate color is a matter of preference, although you probably won't see fluorescent gravel in nature. I prefer dark, single color substrate that provides a sharp contrast with the plants (and fish). YMMV.

I added plants to existing 10G and 20G aquariums, both of which already had "riverbed" aquarium gravel. When I started up my 45G planted tank, I used CaribSea Eco-Complete from the beginning, primarily for aesthetics (single, dark color) and because it is inert.

FWIW, you could ask 100 people on this forum about lighting & substrates and probably get 50 (okay, 200) different answers. Part of what makes this hobby so rewarding -- and occasionally frustrating -- is figuring out what "works" for your situation (and budget) through trial and error. My $0.02 on lighting -- since you're not planning on CO2 dosing, lighting probably won't be the plant growth limiting factor. A 40G/40L tank's height is just under 17", which isn't too deep. If lighting is insufficient, you can temporarily reduce the water level in the new tank while you make plans to address the issue. Of course, it's best to know the light requirements of aquatic plants in advance and then choose the ones that are suitable for your aquarium.

Good luck with your new planted tank.
 

JettsPapa

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You said the small tanks are going well. What substrate do you have in them? I'm a big believer in the old phrase "If it ain't broke don't fix it."
 
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JamesVader

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Thx for your advice everyone here is a pic of my ten gallon right now.
image.jpg
 

COHiker

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Your plants are lookin really healthy, so seems like you could give it a shot. I've used plants in an inert sand before and they did great. In slightly larger gravel my plants haven't done as well but I haven't narrowed down the cause. Not sure if some of my success was some natural light that the new location doesn't have.

As a third option, one of my favorite youtubers, aquapros, suggest some non-conventional solutions. He suggested putting worm castings on the bottom and then topping with an inch of sand. I tried this on my planted shrimpy tank and even before adding ammonia or fish the nitrates were through the roof. 10 water changes later the nitrates are under control. Positive side though, the plants are doing well, and the sand topper keeps the water pretty clean.
 

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