Kolkata Aquarium Club Fishkeeping SimplifiedPlanted tank Is it that tough? Proper understanding of mother nature can help you create a rainforest stream on your table-top.
Kolkata Aquarium Club Fishkeeping SimplifiedWHAT EXACTLY DO AQUATIC PLANTS NEED?same basic requirements as plants you see around.1.Most important is light2.A substrate for anchoring roots and fertile enough tosupport monster feeders if you have3.Next is CO2 (present in water but not sufficient to supportluxuriant growth as such)4.Nutrients in the water column5.Optimum temperature6.Suitable water parameters should not be ignored (hardness, pH,etc)If you have these things right, nothing can stop you fromcreating a greenery in your artificial cube.
Kolkata Aquarium Club Fishkeeping SimplifiedLIGHT- How much and what kind?This one one of the FAQs. now consider normal sunlight.lnormally the photosynthetic spectrum consists of mostly6000-7000 K. Thus we get an idea that 6500 K tubes orbulbs can do good. Some even use 8000 K ones whichare costly and hard to come by but they do great inpenetrating to the bottom.Now watts per gallon rule is almost getting obsolete butlstill with good spectrum of lighting we generally use notless than 2 wpg. in case of LEDs its way less.Photoperiod- should be 8 to 10 hrs maximum.l
Kolkata Aquarium Club Fishkeeping SimplifiedChoice of lights:PLL: this is suitable for beginners as its handy, high output and low cost.Tubes: T8- they are good no doubt but their penetration is lower than newer T5s.T5HO- these are the preffered ones mostly and they do come with integratedfixtures.they are suitable for wide variety of plants.MH- they are very costly and generate too much of heat. Thus not recommendedgenerally in our climate.LEDs- the new generation of planted tank owners around the world are being drawn intoLEDs. the main benefits are:1.long life2.low power consumption3.output maintained for a long time.4.efficiency is maximum5.dimming feature in addition to above for mimicking sunrise and sunset.Some suggestions regarding lights: in case of tubes try to replace the tubes after 6months because the output decreases considerably reducing efficiency in photosynthesis
Kolkata Aquarium Club Fishkeeping SimplifiedTHIS IS EXACTLY THE LIGHTING I USEIt provides complete spectrum.
Kolkata Aquarium Club Fishkeeping SimplifiedFiltration -why do you need?A mechanical filtration should be there at least to make the water clear sothat light rays are not lost while travelling to the bottom.On the other hand biological filtration in a planted tank is intense as thebeneficial bacts usually occupy each and every corner of the tank.However more stable conditions could be achieved by using canisters andsumps however this can be ignored if the tank is carefully maintained.The flow rate should be optimum and care to be taken to avoid dead spots inwater circulation. this involves equal distribution of nutrients.
Kolkata Aquarium Club Fishkeeping SimplifiedSUBSTRATEyou can make it by yourself but make sure you know exactly how to do it.Some DIY options include:1.Garden soil and compost mix2.Laterite and soilrite3.Laterite alone with peatAll of these are topped with 2 mm or any other kind of gravel to avoid copen contact with watercolumn. In addition vermicompost has to be processed for 6 months to a year before usingotherwise dont be surprised to see methane and H2S volcanoes in your tank.commercial grade options1. ADA aquasoil1.2. Contro soil2.3. Caribsea eco complete3.4. Seachem fluorite4.5. Fondo vivo5.6. Sera floredpot6.7. JBL florabase7.the thing with commercial grade substrates is that most of them are loaded with too muchnutrients and a lot of water changes are needed initially to remove the leached nitrates andphosphates.
Kolkata Aquarium Club Fishkeeping SimplifiedThis is the substrate I have been using in allmy tanksNote the layering
Kolkata Aquarium Club Fishkeeping SimplifiedCarbon dioxide --- how important is it?This forms the limiting factor of photosynthesis. you may order plantslonline but dont be surprised to see emersed specimens in 99.9% cases.And transformation to submerged growth could be made fast and withoutlmuch decay only when you have this carbon dioxide in ample ppm inwater column.25-30 ppm is a good level of carbon dioxide.lAnd as for us life getting faster we need faster growth of plants too. so trylto get a setup minimum.There are options regarding whether you want to DIY it or pessurize it butlmy opinion after using DIY for 3 yrs is that a pressurized setup is moreeconomical in the long run.AND 100 times more efficient and reliable too.lREMEMBER THAT NATURAL WATER BODIES HAVE HUNDRED FOLD CO2LEVEL THAT ALLOWS DEMANDING PLANTS TO THRIVE THERE LIKEWEEDS.
Kolkata Aquarium Club Fishkeeping SimplifiedDOSINGThere are two kinds of nutrients-Macros include NPKlMicros which include magnesium, iron, zinc,molybdenum,etclNow it varies from tank to tank and the plants you haveFor low tech man use pmDD. there is less demand for nutrients as light and CO2lare deficient.For a high -tech tank i personally prefer EI method. it does yield good results.lI generally use lab grade salts and micromix available commercially .Calculator is available at www.petalphile.comExamples of micro mixes:Plantex CSM BlRexoline CXK IIlMicrosol BlDoAqua Be Greenletc
Kolkata Aquarium Club Fishkeeping SimplifiedALGAE- A nuisance yet a necessitymany of us cry out about algae bloom but have we ever wondered that some ofthem could be useful in the tanks cycle.1.Diatoms are an indication that nitrogen cycle has kicked up.2.Hair algae is always present no matter how good a planted tank you have.somemanage to get it out of control by letting their tank CO2 fluctuate.3.A small amout of cyano bacts indicate that there is imbalance in the tank as farnitrogen cycle is concerned.4.Algae should be present in small amounts to keep your critters and algae-eaters alive.THERE CANNOT BE ANY PLANTED TANK WITHOUT ALGAE.THEY ARE THE FIRSTTO COLONIZE AN ECOSYSTEM.ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS KEEP IT UNDERCONTROL.water qualityit should be soft but our municipal and ground water isnt. Thus its good if wecan arrange it but for years guys in our town have produced lush greenery usinglocal water.
Kolkata Aquarium ClubFishkeeping SimplifiedAny guess why on earth is this tank so stunning?This is what I mean by balance. You haveweeds,mosses, stems, algae and all are in control. They are in adynamic equilibrium.Photo courtesy: our chief guest at the nandan meet
Kolkata Aquarium Club Fishkeeping SimplifiedHeres a chronology of events taking place while setting up a planted tankday 1- Lay the substrate. Introduce the hardscape. Try to make the substrate moist beforeplanting. Fill the tank with plants and then add water as drip to avoid disturbance of substrate. Youcan also place a plate but make sure the water moving out of the plate is slow enough not to movesubstrate. Introduce the filter and CO2 pipeline after filling with water. Setup and stabilize the flowrate.day 2 to a week- Regular 50 % water changes. The growth of diatoms indiacate the nitrogen cyclehas started. Now introduce algae-eatersweek 2- Reduce the frequency of water changes to once in 2 days or once in every 3 days. Startpotassium supplementation.1 month onwards- Now your frequency of water change should be once a week and switch overto full macro and micro dosing as per nutrient calculator. Do normal and regular maintenace for atank.This is a huge topic and varies from person to person. But i have given exactly what i do. Othersmay follow differently and will get even complicated when high profile products are used.
Kolkata Aquarium ClubFishkeeping SimplifiedThis is a pic during proceedings on day 1The tank is as ugly as hell. Don’t worry it will be heaven in a monthstime.
Kolkata Aquarium ClubFishkeeping Simplified Do you know whats the error? After filling it up photo courtesy:aquabieblogspot.in Lack of plants
Kolkata Aquarium Club Fishkeeping SimplifiedWHY SO MANY FAIL WITH PLANT GROWING?Maybe they think about fishes more rather than plants. A planted tank by defn. islone whether the main focus is on plants and not on animals. Adding superglowing fishes in an AGA competition tanks will not fetch you extra marksanyways.Maybe the concept of a plant as a living being is not clear. their requirements arelnot met.Thinking more about scape and decor rather than the real thing to produce thelgreenery.Laziness (skipping dosing,water changes)lFaulty equipment(regulators and filters )lLack of patiencelLack of knowledgel
Kolkata Aquarium Club Fishkeeping Simplifiedgood and easy plants for beginners:1.Crypts come in top of the list2.Aponogeton crispus(though ugly looking needs little to thrive)3.Rotala indica4.Pygmy chain swords5.Nymphae species(lilies)6.Ambulia7.Myriophyllum8.Java ferns , anubius and mosses are easy but cost prohibitive.and many more to add to the list.
Kolkata Aquarium Club Fishkeeping SimplifiedJust to show you some crypts –nothing specialSurprisingly I started from just one.
Kolkata Aquarium Club Fishkeeping Simplifiedsuggestion for those making their first ever planted tanks.1.Learn to grow weeds first.2.Forget about scaping. it requires thorough understanding. its not just puttingwood and rocks with ferns and anubius protruding out from here and there. in myexperience i have met only 2 or 3 persons who can really feel what a layoutactually is. Very few in India are blessed with that. Anything odd will surely showermixed response which may irritate you. And without fat plant growth its not aplanted tank anymore.3.Once you grow weeds try at demanding ones.4.Your first tank should be a collectoritis. you will have an idea of which plants suityour setup and which do not. It will let you develop experience more than that.5.Remember everything that you do should be forever. no rescape now and then.
Kolkata Aquarium Club Fishkeeping SimplifiedA special thanks to:The entire KAC team for helping me outJust a year ago I knew nothing . My knowledge was absolutelyzero. I too was deceived in galiff while buying moss and I amproud to say that.Now I can grow weeds atleast if not eriocolons and toninas. …………………..RMAnd the war with algae rages on………………………….