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|55 gallon planting ideas|
I'm new to the hobby and am hoping to have a 55 gallon tank tomorrow to set up. I've been skimming the forums for ideas and am thinking about a driftwood piece with live plants. I keep seeing sand is bad for beginners, but what about egg crate with not-too small gravel and sand as a mix? I'm wanting some dojo loaches, and since they like to burrow, I'm not sure what kind of bottom I should use.
As for plants, moss seems the easiest. I don't want to have to spend the extra cash for a co2 set up (unless they can be affordable for that and the controller and everything? I haven't priced that part of the tank set up yet.). What would you recommend for a beginner as far as live plants? My pH currently is around 7.5 in the small tank I have, but I haven't gotten a proper tester kit to actually look into valuing the numbers. My kH seems kinda high according to the strips, but again, I don't have a proper kit yet.
The fish I'm looking into are angelfish or rainbows for sure, not sure what else go with the lower temps yet. How much does temp affect plant selections? I know I'll have to find a way to lower my pH for the fish at least, but hopefully using aged water will help.
Thanks in advance.
|Posted 31-Oct-2010 06:33|
Hello, and first of all, welcome to the site!
Before I forget, make sure to read the stickies on starting aquariums. They're located at the top of the Getting Started section of the forums.
Okay, on to the questions. Sand can compact and cause pockets of ammonia to form, which can be lethal to fish that could accidentally dig into them. I would doubt that you would have this problem if you are going to get a burrowing fish like Loaches, unless you have a really deep sand bed. Just don't make the sand bed any deeper than 1 1/2" to 2" and you should be fine. Any deeper and I would suggest stirring the sand bed with something like a chopstick or the handle of a net once every couple days. Either way, you should be able to use sand if you want to. I myself setup a 55 gallon tank with a somewhat deep bed of sand, and never had a problem.
When it comes to plants, you'll be looking at strictly low-light plants unless you are willing to buy some better lighting. If you just use the single bulb NO fluorescent lights that come with the tank, you could maybe keep some Java Moss or Java Fern tied onto the driftwood, or some type of floating plants like Hornwart or Anacharis.
As for PH, I wouldn't really worry about it. I have kept South American Cichlids, Tetras, Cories, and Plecos, all of which are soft water low PH fish, and they adapted fine. A lot of fish you get from your LFS are already adapted to the PH of the water in your area, so don't bother trying to fight it. Just keeping a stable PH is better than having a PH that swings from acidic to alkaline on a regular basis. Also, in order to get an accurate reading of your PH, fill a glass with tap water, let it sit out untouched for 24 hours, then test it, preferably with a liquid test kit instead of strips.
When it comes to stocking, you have a wide range of options. It seems your just interested in a freshwater community with some Dojo Loaches. That means that you could keep any fish that does well in slightly cooler temperatures. Fish that come to mind are Danios, Barbs, or maybe even a few Fancy Goldfish. I would suggest some type of Cory or Pleco, but that would leave the tank looking quite empty in the mid to upper regions.
Sorry for such a long and boring post. I hope that this helps some. If you have any questions please ask, there are tons of people on these forums WAY more qualified than me to answer you.
|Posted 31-Oct-2010 23:06|
Although I've never kept sand in any of my tanks personally, I have read the horror stories of what happens when anaeobic pockets build up within the sand, often times destroying the entire ecosystem within the tank with death and etc. however I have read about other constructing a sand "pool" within their tanks to allow their burrowing friends to play and burrow but also reduces the risk of the build up. You could do this with a food grade plastic container and just lightly place it where you can reach so that you can stir it every so often to break up gas pockets.
Although you don't necessarily "need" sand in a tank with burrowers. I have kept khuli loaches (they are like little worms!) and they burrowed all throughout my tank with just basic finer gravel. You just have to look at the grain of the gravel to make sure it isn't super sharp looking.
As far as planting you should check your water parameters and get an idea of what equipment you are wanting to buy/set up with the tank. We need to know the lighting, if you plan on fertilizing, adding Carbon Dioxide, and essentially the fish load too.
You want the fish and plants to live in harmony. So fish eat just about anything green and others thrash it up just for fun!
If you need help deciding what to get or with anything thats what the forum is here for, and Welcome!
\\\\\\\"an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure\\\\\\\"
|Posted 03-Nov-2010 20:33|
Hey, thanks for the responses!
I just took a closer look at the hood lights, and they are fluorescent. :/ Not to mention covered in algae - they're soaking up some vinegar right now after being bleached.
I'm thinking of java moss to coat the back wall with, though with it being November and NaNoWriMo time I haven't looked into plant specs yet. I might go with just moss right now to see how high maintenance it is. Right now I'm just trying to get the tank clean. I'm not wanting to hook up co2 or worry about fertilizing unless I have to.
I did pick up some new gravel and some sand to make the sand pit with, I saw that idea somewhere in the forums and fell in love with it.
As for plants, do you generally want to plant them in cycled water, or would water with just the conditioner be okay?
|Posted 03-Nov-2010 22:28|
Its best to put anything live in cycled water. Some plants may do fine in un-cycled but I suggest let it cycle at least a week before you start adding any plants.
Moss is great, I suggest Christmas moss over java though, it grows a little more uniformly and looks better IMO. Do you know how to construct a moss wall? It can get tricky and you want to make sure that you fit it well enough to the glass that no fish or inverts are going to be able to squeeze back there and get stuck and die, thats essentially the only reason why I never built one, I just didn't want to take the risk of loosing any of my fish or shrimp to neglect or etc.
Yeah look up the different types of mosses or plants that intrigue you then report back to us. Sometimes its great to check out Aquabid.com (essentially the ebay of fish crap)... you can find some off the charts stuff for not too bad prices.
Hope the planning is coming along well!
\\\\\\\"an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure\\\\\\\"
|Posted 03-Nov-2010 23:37|
Small Fry with Ketchup
Hmmmm hope that sand goes ok for you.
I tried having separate areas for my sand but it ended up mixing anyway, getting sucked up into the filter (destroying two impellers), and causing anaerobic pockets even with a lot of care and attention. Pretty sure it's what killed off my corys.
Plants need food too, so letting them sit in just dechlor water will 'starve' them. Have them in an established aquarium as soon as you can. Different plants will handle the move better than others. Leaf feeders like java fern should do fine, heavy root feeders like swords might not like being out of a well fed substrate for too long.
|Posted 04-Nov-2010 03:36|
having had moss walls AND dojos... I dont rcommend the mix of the 2... dojos are good at finding every little nook and cranny, if there is a way to get trapped, stuck, or impaled- they'll find it....
Dojos arent the best to have in a tank with rooted plants.
I suggest going with a piece of driftwood, tying anubias, java ferns and moss to that- tightly with fishing line, then melting the ends with a lighter, to make them unsharp.
Sand- put a thin coat down, get some mts snails... and to fill out the tank, do more tying of the abouve plants to more wood/ rocks... toss in some floating plants, and call it good.
|Posted 05-Nov-2010 01:51|
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