Planting In An Existing Aquarium?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Aquarium Builds' started by Duardo, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. DuardoValued MemberMember

    So first and foremost I'm new to the hobby so I apologize for any ignorance!
    Now to my question, how should I go about planting in my existing aquarium? I bought a couple of plants after doing a decent couple of days of research and bought anubis nana, windelov java fern and Cardinal plant. Now this is why my research was only decent. I am not sure on how to take care of these plants because I only have gravel in my tank currently and I do not have anything for CO2 injections or plant food.
    • I wanted to fill half my tank with sand because I have a couple of albino corys and one of them lost it's barbels and hurt his fin so I wanted soft substrate so they can be more comfortable but now I see I might need to get plant substrate and not just sand.
    • Apart from this I do not have any driftwood or rocks but plan on buying some eventually and I do not have a light on my tank nor a hood since my tank didnt come with this originally.
    My plan with the plants was to carpet the bottom, which from what I have gathered is planting a lot of little plants and letting them spread across the bottom, and to do this I need a bright light. I also wanted to use the plants to lower my nitrate and nitrite levels since my tank is at full capacity (I have 5 neon tetras, 2 albino corys & 1 betta- yes they all get along very well-) But to deal with this I have a Whisper 20i to compensate and do weekly water changes. ​
    So I was wondering how would a beginner go about planting in an exsiting tank, what are some good not to expensive substrates, are CO2 injections imperative to plant growth, and did I choose a good carpeting plant? As well as any tips or advice would be welcomed.
    I can answer a lot of my other questions, like about algae, in other posts but I wanted to post my whole situation and story here in case I am doing something wrong.
    Thank you in advance for any and all help, I know this is a long post and I went off topic a lot but I had a lot of other variables I wanted to consider before planting.
  2. DutchAquariumWell Known MemberMember

    If you keep the system you have, you won't ever have a carpet. The cardnial plant will have a very hard time as it is without fertilizer, lighting, and co2. All carpet plants out their arent the fastest growers and require some work. for the anubis and the java fern, for now, just float them in your aquarium until you get some rock or drift wood to tie them to. you should also have more corydoras in your aquarium if it allows for it. corydoras are a schooling species of catfish and two is not adequate.
  3. endlercollectorFishlore VIPMember

    The anubias and windelov just need to be lightly anchored--don't bury them as that will kill them. You can use some pebbles, driftwood, and random tank decorations to anchor them. Rubber bands or fishing line can also help.They're lowlight plants that require no CO2 or ferts. The cardinal plant will be your more difficult one as it will need bright light and CO2 to do better. I wouldn't bother with it myself. A much easier carpeting plant is microsword. But I've only gotten it to work by using organic potting soil on the bottom.
  4. DuardoValued MemberMember

    I see, and I had a little hut decoration that I tied the anubis and Java to, hope that is sufficient. And how many more? I would like to be able to lower my nitrates and nitrites first before I add more fish, its not high, but its not ideal. The fish are ok by the looks of everything but sometimes it can spike really high especially when my water evaporates.

    Ah ok thank you for clarifying! So any carpetting plant would require a substrate, correct?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2018
  5. CraniumRexWell Known MemberMember

    You can grow carpeting plants in an inert substrate like sand if you use root tabs. I have only sand in mine, no carpeting plants, but root feeders are growing and thriving.

    Column feeders like anubias and java fern you can dose the water with an all in one fertilizer. Usually fish waste will do the trick but the plants will tell you what they need, if anything. If you are high lighting for carpet I would expect you would need additional ferts since the light will make most of the plants grow more and thus need more food.

    You don't need a special substrate to grow plants. It's nice, but not required.
  6. DuardoValued MemberMember

    Ah ok Ill try root tabs, and I bought plant food, not sure if thats just food or fertilizer? but its Aqueon brand plant food just to let you know. If you have any recommendations for fertilizer let me know! I would like to try to carpet, but I guess Ill be sufficiently happy with a small little patch of grass or something lol.
  7. Hunter1Well Known MemberMember

    Chain swords do great with dirt covered with sand.

    I’m a huge SeaChem fan. Excel will add CO2 for the plants but not nearly as much as CO2 injection.
    SeaChem Flourish provides nutrients to your plants. There is an entire SeaChem line of liquid fertilizers. When you have a few hours, google each of them.

    I hear there are better ferts out there but Flourish and Excel work for me although I just started adding SeaChem Trace as well.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2018
  8. danhutchinsWell Known MemberMember

    So far the best fertilizer I have used is Thrive, it's an all in one and it works better than anything else I have tried.

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