View Full Version : help starting out with live plants

05-23-2009, 10:24 PM
We're interested in a 20-25 gallon freshwater tank.

Wanting to aquascape it, and only keep small fish like neons, and glowlights.

Just curious what all you would need to maintain live plants.

Any beginners tips, or helpful hints?

Thanks so much.

05-23-2009, 10:40 PM
Back in my freshwater days I used heating cable in the gravel and an inexpensive CO2 unit from Hagen, with 12 hours a day full spectrum flourescent lights I was growing plants quicker than the local shop could sell them.

05-23-2009, 11:27 PM
A good substrate goes a long way. I like Eco-Complete, but Flourite is good too. Flourite comes in reddish or black, so the color choice is nice. Eco-Complete is black.

Simple plants like Java Fern (there are different types for variety), Java Moss, Cryptocorynes, and Anubias are all easy plants, and don't require CO2. I use the Hagen CO2 kit on my tank, and if you don't replace the mixture every 3 days for optimal performance you may as well not use it because you will get algaes (I have a good recipe if you need it later).

Keeping the tank algae free is a balance of lighting, fertilizers, CO2, and plant growth. Too much or too little or any of them will cause algaes. So if you decide you want to go low tech and not use CO2 or just use a Hagen CO2 then don't blast your tank with light and dump a bunch of ferts in!

I say start with some simple plants, some decent lights (two T8s or one T5), and go from there. Large weekly water changes (like 50-75%) really help in a low tech tank that doesn't use ferts.

05-24-2009, 04:57 AM
Cant go wrong with the javas' the fern requires low lighting and zero suppliments if using tap water with a de-chlorinater. first and formost i would suggest iron before looking into any other supps. i only use iron and used to also use thers but find iron alone is enough to keep the javas' crypto, etc going without much hassel. groth is quite slow but they are doing quite well.

Also hornwart is a good floater. grows like a weed under almost all circumstances. its also a good source of food along with java moss. you may want to stay away from things like sword for the fist bit. i never could manage them at all. i have never tried CO2. what worked well for me was O2. i only ran it at night (after lights out).

Pics of my 45G puntias denisoni tank.