a reply to: ketsuko
I had a planted tank for quite a few years.
You have to plan well before you start as you have to get the substrate correct if you want such plants as dwarf hair grass which can spread like a
lawn if grown correctly.
The substrate should be of small sized granules so the roots can spread easily and about 2.5 inches to about 3 inches.
The tank should not be too deep as light has to infiltrate the lower regions,try and get a rectangle tank where the sides are shorter than the
I think lighting should be at 2.5 watts per gallon so for a 55 gallon I had 4 light bulbs at 54w each in one unit and I probably only needed 3.
Also the light range should be from around 5000k to around 7500k,get a range of lighting from daylight to actintic blue if you wish the tank to have a
nice colour especially on the fish like Neon Tetra's.
If you can get LED lighting as it lasts longer,some bulbs are expensive to change and do not have a long life span.
Temperature should be around 74 degrees and max around 76,the plants do not like the water to be too hot.
Do not use Oxygenated water and I mean like from one of those air pumps that puts out air bubbles into the water as it kills CO2, you should use an
external filter and/or one of those underwater powerheads,i recommend the one that looks like a fan as nothing will get sucked into it.
If your fish are seem to be gasping for air in the morning you can use an air pump at night that is on a timer that comes on when the lights are off
and goes off when they come on as a lot of CO2 is given off at night and the Oxygen will not effect the CO2 as much.
Do not have the light on longer than about 8 hours a day as you will get a lot of Algae and they may be detrimental to the plants health although I
used to have mine on about 9 hours.
Fish-----pick wisely,do not get fish that grow bigger than about 3 inches and study their online profiles to see if they eat plants or dig up
I would have Neons and or other small tetras.If you want the Neons to school do not get other tetras as some swim through the school and constantly
break them up,you could get some really nice looking pencil fish as well that float above them
Janitors you should have Ottos, Chinese Algae eaters and Siamese Algae eaters.
You can get cherry shrimp as well.
Plants...some plants in the store are not ideal for planted tanks.
I had Anubias, Java fern,dwarf hairgrass,try and not to get plants that look amazing but have loads of ferns on them as they will shed and you will
have to keep cleaning the filter and water.
You should also do a partial water change about once a week if possible,about a quarter of the water,add the dechlorinator into the water before you
pour it in,and it really sounds like you are already well versed in Aquariums so excuse me if I am already telling you stuff you know.
The first planted I did I made the mistake of using smallish pebbles and although the tank looked amazing I could not get the lawn look I was craving
There is nothing more tranquil than a planted tank.