1.Feeding fish a balanced diet is essential for their proper growth and well-being. Unlike fish in their natural environment, fish in captivity rely on their feed for their nutrients.
2.There are many different types of fish food on the market today. They can be categorized into processed feed, dried food, fresh food, frozen food, and live fish food.
3.Processed feed have a long shelf life. If stored properly in a cool dry place, they can be kept for months. Certain types of processed feed are known to last longer than others.Generally, pellet feed will have a longer shelf life than flake food. Refrigeration of fish food help increase the shelf life significantly.
4. Processed fish food contains proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, lipids, binding agent, preservatives, attractants.
These components are added in various ratios in fish food to meet the requirements of different fish species.
5. Pellet food decomposes slower in water compared to other fish food. Therefore, the fish has a better chance of eating the pellet before it decomposes and pollutes the water.
6.Flake food will float for a certain amount of time, then slowly since to the bottom. This gives a chance for all types of fish at all levels of the aquarium to feed. Flake food is great for community fish tanks.
7.Powdered food, or fry food, is often used in fish hatcheries to feed juvenile fish. The dry powder can be directly fed to the fish, or mixed in water before feeding it to the fish. Powdered food can pollute the tank water very quickly
8.Color enhancers are popular for tropical fish and koi fish food. Carotenoids are added as a color enhancer in fish food. In nature, fish would be able to able to eat plants and invertebrates that are high in carotenoids.
9.Medicated fish food are used to treat bacterial infections. The advantage of medicated fish food is that it can be a direct application, as opposed to treating the entire water.
10.Vacation fish food are designed to release the food slowly, over a period of 1-2 weeks. This will allow aquarium fish to survive, while the owner is away on vacation.
11.Dried and freeze-dried foods is a type of natural fish food that is not heavily processed. While the nutritional value may not be equivalent to a fresh or live form, the majority of the nutritional value is still preserved in this dried form.
12.Fresh and frozen fish food can be a great source of nutritious feed. When attempting to condition fish for breeding, a high protein diet of fresh food is beneficial. Some fish are very picky eaters, and they may only accept fresh food.
13.Various types of meat can be fed to carnivorous fish. It is advisable to cook the meat prior to feeding in order to prevent introducing infectious disease to your fish. Meat containing high amounts of fat should be avoided or fed very sparingly in order to prevent digestive problems.
14.Many fresh and frozen vegetables can be fed to herbivorous fish. Prior to feeding, vegetable can be blanched in order to break down the tough membranes. Vegetables that are commonly fed to fish includes romaine lettuce, spinach, cabbage, kale, watercress, zucchini, green peas, broccoli, cauliflower, beet tops, and strawberries.
15.Live fish food is one of the best source of fish food. Live organisms that are suitable for as feed include bloodworms, mealworms, blackworms, tubifex, glassworm, grindal worms, white worms, redworms, daphnia, gammarus, among many others. Feeding live food at least twice a week is recommended for most fish.Quality of live food should first be checked as many sellers sell live food cultured in unhealthy conditions which may lead to fish diseases.
16.Feed fishes sparingly and once a day only. Most fishes can survive without food for atleast a week. Don’t feed fishes on a water changing day. Overfeeding or uneaten food might cause ammonia spike in water and lead to fish death.
17.Cheap foods are cheaper for a reason. The don’t contain adequate nutrients and decomposes easily. Choose quality over quantity when buying fish food.
18. Choose a variety of fish food. However, remember all fishes are not the same so you need to try different foods and see what works the best for your fishes.
1.Use a good starter liquid from Seachem, API or Fluval which contains live beneficial bacteria to jump start your cycling process.You can also use biological media from an established aquarium to cycle the new aquarium. Don’t get used media from others if possible. Only use media if you personally own another established tank.
2. Turn off lights during cycling. You should have the soil and the hardscape only and your filter running.
3.Biological media such as Matrix from Seachem is more porous and can contain more beneficial bacteria than normal ceramic rings or other media available in the market. Choose good biological media as it one of the most important part of the filtration.
4.Test your water parameters and check if the cycling has been complete or not. Typically your ammonia should be zero once cycling is complete. Test kits from API, Seachem and JBL gives accurate results.
5.Once cycling is done, then do your planting and get live stock. You will get lush plant growth using this technique. Remember ammonia is bad for plants as well not only fish.This way you can also prioritize your budget and buy things step by step.
Remember -patience is most important when it comes to aquascaping !
Gaseous carbon dioxide (C02) is essential for photosynthesis of plants and is sometimes overlooked in the planted aquarium hobby. However, having a C02 system gives better and faster results and should always be used if possible in a planted aquarium. Here are a few things that you should know about C02 in a planted aquarium:
1. Pressurized C02 is the best form of gaseous C02 for a planted aquarium. Using a solenoid along with a timer helps control C02 injection in an aquarium. Keep C02 cylinder out of reach of children as it is dangerous.
2. Turn C02 on an hour before the lights turn on in your aquarium. When the lights are off, turn your C02 off as well. Use light and C02 for maximum of 8 hrs in your planted aquarium.
3. For C02 diffusion in a large aquarium, use a c02 reactor or in line diffuser for better diffusion.
4. DYI C02 kits are good for smaller aquariums.
5. Liquid carbon (flourish excel) is not a substitute of gaseous carbon dioxide.
6. Dip diffusers for 30 min in bleach and water (1:1) if C02 bubbles coming out of diffuser becomes big. After that, dip the diffuser in a dechlorinator and water mix before putting the diffuser in the aquarium to help eliminate high chlorine levels from bleach solution dip.
7. DYI C02 systems will not kill fish as the C02 levels are too low.
8. Use a check valve to avoid water getting inside your c02 regulator from your diffuser and damaging it.
9. Use a bubble counter and start off with one bubble per second. Adjust C02 accordingly based on your plants requirements and experimentation.
10. Only injecting C02 will not give desired results. Adequate light and fertilizer use are also essential for plant growth.
11. Although drop checkers give delayed results, having a drop checker helps in giving an idea about right C02 levels. Place your drop checker close to the substrate and follow color readings as advised by the drop checker manual.There is no one rule for C02 injection. As conditions are different for every planted aquarium, trial and error is the only way of finding the right balance for your aquarium.
Fertilizers in planted aquariums are very important. We as humans need certain nutrition from food sources to function. Similarly, plants need nutrition too to survive and be healthy. Here are 10 things you need to know about plant fertilizers:
1. Plants need macro and micro nutrients to survive. Macro nutrients are nutrients that plants consume in large quantities, such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
2. Micro nutrients are nutrients that plants need in trace amounts, such as iron, boron, and manganese.
3. Plants take nutrients from the soil and water columns. Liquid fertilizers provide nutrients to plants through water columns. If you are using good quality and unused aqua soil, root fertilizers (which provides nutrients through plant roots) are not immediately required when you start the aquarium. However root fertilizers and root tabs such as flourish root tabs are required over time for heavy root feeding plants such as crypts. This is due to aqua soil nutrients depleting over time.
4. There are two extremes of fertilizer dosing. One is based on Estimative Index which rely on heavy fertilizer dosing and large weekly water change to reset nutrients. Another is lean dosing which is based on low fertilizer dosing but rely on a nutrient rich substrate such as ADA amazonia soil. You can choose any of the two but as beginners, I think lean dosing or somewhat in between the two extremes is appropriate.
5. Light, C02 and fertilizers work together in making a planted aquarium a success. Finding the right balance takes time. Cooler temperatures also help plants thrive. Don’t overstock , overfeed fishes and use maximum of 8 hrs of light in a planted aquarium.
6. All in one nutrients such as the ‘Aquascaper’ contain all traces of macro and micro nutrients and also gives dosing instructions based on c02 and energy levels. You may also dose individual macro and micro nutrients depending on requirements of plants in your aquarium.
7. Daily or intermittent dosing is better than one large weekly dose based on my experience. Liquid carbon are not fertilizers. Always use a few fast growing stem plants to avoid algae build up. Power soil or other nutients can also be added to aerate the bottom and help buildup beneficial bacteria in your system.
8. Plants become red as part of their defense mechanism. High dosing of iron will not necessarily make your plants red. Iron dosing should be minimal as it may be deadly for livestock.
9. Try using a lot of plants when starting an aquarium to avoid algae build up. Don’t overdose on fertilizers if your using few plants which can cause algae.
10. Research your plants requirements first before using fertilizers. Don’t buy difficult plants if you are a beginner. If you have shrimps, don’t use copper containing fertilizers.
If you have an used aquarium at home or thinking of buying a used one, this article might be important for you. For reusing a used aquarium or doing a makeover, do the following:
1. Clean the aquarium with vinegar and water mix. Mix white vinegar and water and use a sponge and water to clean the aquarium. Never use soap, bleach or any other detergents to clean the aquarium.
2. If you have another aquarium,keep your nano tank filter running. Make sure your biological media from the nano aquarium is inside the filter which will help cycle when you start the makeover aquarium again.
3. If you don’t have any other aquarium, clean the media with aquarium water and leave it for the next day. Keep them wet and in aquarium water.
4. Store any plants you want to reuse in aquarium water.
5. If you have soil or bought used soil, keep it wet which will help in replanting.
Dry start method takes patience but usually gives great results specially with a few carpeting plants. Results show in 6-8 weeks time. Expecting a lush carpet of montecarlo in this aquarium in six to eight weeks.
For this setup, I
– used old aqua soil with root tabs and made background as steep as possible to give it a sense of depth.
– did my hardscape in 30 min. Usually I take about 2 weeks to complete hardscape for any project but as I couldn’t use more variety of materials due to lock down, used odd numbers of dragon stones from my previous project instead.I used a few smaller pieces of dragon stone at the back also to give it a sense of depth.
– Used some monetrcarlo from another project for planting. Some might die as they were submersed. However, hoping some will survive and grow back. – covered the tank with plastic film. You can get it from any superstore. This will ensure moisture for the plants and keep the aquarium humid.
– am using Chihiros full spectrum led light for 10 hrs daily with a digital timer. No chance of algae as I will not be filling the aquarium with water before 8 weeks
– will be spraying water mist with a spray bottle every day. Just enough to keep montecarlo moist.
– left a gap in the plastic film to vent out any excess humidity and enable air exchange. This hopefully will also help keep out mold and fungus.
Why not start your aquarium using the Dry Start Method !
Black Beard Algae or brush algae is very difficult to get rid off. Even if you are on top of maintenance but still getting BBA, flourish excel can come to the rescue. To get rid of BBA:
1. Lower water to the point that BBA affected rocks, wood or plants (bucephlandra or anubias types) come out of the water.
2. Pour a capful of excel in a container and brush the BBA in affected areas. Leave it for a couple of minutes.-
3. Clean your aquarium, filter etc and fill up with water. Use a good declorinator if you are using tap water.- Using excel in this way also reduces chances of over dosing which can be toxic to fishes, shrimps or plants if used inappropriately.-
If you have other forms of algae such as green hair, use a syringe and apply in affected areas.
– Be careful specially with crypts & mosses when adding excel.Please note that flourish excel is not liquid carbon dioxide and is not a replacement of gaseous C02. It contains glutaraldehyde which is a chemical. Be extra cautious in using excel and keep it out of children.
I get many questions regarding algae control or finding the right balance out of a planted aquarium. However, many people don’t realize is that all aquariums will have some sort of algae during its life and some are beneficial for live stock.
However, If you don’t want to use chemicals such as liquid carbon (flourish excel) or hydrogen peroxide and want a reduction from different forms of algae, the ‘Blackout Method’ can be an effective solution. For Black Method to work effectively, do the following:
1. Get some black plastic bags. You can get them in most shops which are sold as garbage bags.
2.Cut the bags according to your aquarium size. You can use thick blankets as well instead of the bags to avoid any light entering your aquarium.2. First, do your weekly maintenance. Clean all visible algae as much as possible and also your filters. Dechlorinate your water with your choice of declorinator such as Seachem prime.
3. Cover the entire aquarium with the plastic bags or blanket. The goal is not for any light to enter your aquarium. Use tape and clips to secure the bags and cover your aquarium.
4. Turn off C02, light and don’t add any fertilizer during the blackout period
5. Keep your filter running. You may also use an air pump to increase surface agitation.
6. Blackouts can be done for maximum of 2 weeks depending on plants. However, I do it for a week and get good results.
7. Feed fishes sparingly in your blackout period. I suggest you feed your fishes once every 3 days. Most fishes survive atleast 7 days without food. Check your filter everyday and make sure they are running properly.
8. After 7 days or your desired blackout period, take off the bags or blanket and do a 50 percent water change and do your weekly maintenance.
9. Add light, c02, fertilizers as usual. However, I suggest 4 hrs of lighting period and c02 daily initially and then go up to maximum 8hrs depending on your plant requirements.
10. You can do ‘blackout method’ every couple of months. Stem plants might look worn out initially but will eventually grow back. Slow growing plants such as anubias will not be largely affected.
Fishes might lose color but will get back to their true color after the blackout period. Most algae will die off during the period.Blackout Method is a great way of resetting your aquarium from algae every couple of months without use of chemicals.
However, nothing is more important than weekly large water changes,maintenance and having a clean up crew such as siamese algae eater, amano shrimp, ready cherry shrimp or algae cleaning snails in your aquarium.
Fish keeping is one of the most enjoyable hobbies that you can take up as children and families can enjoy the breathtaking views of the underwater world right at home. Fish keeping has been known to reduce stress and provide a host of other benefits for health as well.
However, the fish keeping we knew 20 years back has transformed into a billion dollar industry globally and Bangladesh in the last ten years is slowly catching up with the global trend.
Aquariums add color to your home
If you are new to fish keeping and planning to get an aquarium in Dhaka, you will probably go to the pet shop market in Katabon. Katabon pet market has been in existence from many years and you get to choose from a variety of colorful fishes for your hobby.
However, you will probably realize that majority of fish stores in katabon lack two major things. First, expert advice when it comes to fish keeping and second, variance in price and cleanliness among the shops.
Many fish stores are overstocked ! Check the health of your fish before buying !
If you are planning on getting an aquarium, here are a few things you need to know before making your first purchase:
1. Fix your budget before heading out to buy an aquarium. This is very important as many people buy more than what they can keep and overspend. Decided on whether you want a fresh water or saltwater setup. Saltwater setups are more expensive than freshwater and require a strict maintenance regime. Don’t buy fishes and aquarium on the same day.
Saltwater aquariums require strict maintenance regime for success
2. Research online on the compatibility of fishes and know their requirements. Fishes do become large after a certain period so know their compatibility. Aqadvisor.com is an excellent website to check compatibility of fishes and provide plenty of information regarding filtration etc.
check compatibility and size requirements before buying fish
3. Decide on the size of the aquarium. Note that the larger the aquarium, the easier to maintain. Avoid buying glass jar and bowls as proper filtration is difficult in them. Decide on the glass thickness depending on what decor you intend to put in it. For extra clarity, you can choose crystal glass. For authenticity, note that crystal glass are typical clear on the edges and not green like most cheap glasses. Avoid acrylic aquariums as they are more prone to scratches than glass aquariums.
All in one systems are good for generic setups but not for high energy planted aquariums
4. Filters are very important to keep aquarium water clean. Choose from a variety of filters available such as power filter, Hang on Back Filter, Sump Filter, Cannister filter, top filter etc. Buy appropriate filter media as well to ensure biological and mechanical filtration.
small schooling fish look great in planted aquariums
5. If you decide to get a planted aquarium, your requirements will be a bit different. The right choice of aquasoil, light, fertilizer, plants, rocks and bogwood will make your aquarium stand out. For planted aquariums, avoid ‘all in one aquariums’ available in the market. All in one systems makes aquarium difficult for changes and up gradation. Buy aquarium light with the right spectrum and wattage to grow aquatic plants.
avoid artificial plant that are not safe. Buy aquarium safe decor or live plants for a healthy eco system
6.If you decide to get a saltwater aquarium, you will need live rock, aquarium salt and a different set of equipment such as a refractometer to test the salinity of water. You will also need a chiller to integrate cooler water temperatures in your system if you want to grow corals given our hot climate. Choose light specific to your needs. A FOWLR (Fish only with live rock) system may not require the same equipment as a coral setup. Sump Filters work best for saltwater setups.
Growing corals require a different skillset by experienced hobbyist
7. Buy a good water conditioner and live nitryfying bacteria to cycle your aquarium. Research online on cycling aquarium to learn more about the ammonia cycle. Add fish only when your aquarium is cycled.
8. Buy maintenance kits such as fish net, water test kits, glass cleaner etc. and do weekly water changes to ensure a healthy ecosystem. Live plants help stabilize aquariums and keep deadly ammonia in check. Use live plants when possible in a freshwater setup. Keep fish medicine in handy and test your water weekly to know more about water parameters.
Planted aquariums require good knowledge of live plants
9. Don’t keep your aquarium lights on for more than 8 hours. Algae is one of the major reason why most people leave the hobby. So make sure you start with a lot of healthy live plants in freshwater aquarium to avoid algae. Do large water changes in planted aquariums to keep the system algae free. Use sterilizers and other algae control products to reduce or eliminate algae when needed.
keep mainteance kits in hand, wear proper clothes during water changes and keep your phones away to avoid splash and accidents
10. Feed fishes only once a day. Don’t overfeed fish. Use a lot of hardscape such as bogwood, live rock, stones etc to keep hiding spaces for fish.When buying fish, make sure they do not have any unusual spots or damaged fins and look sick. Most fishes are stressed during shipment so it is best to buy fishes after a couple of days of shipment from a reputed store.
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In this guide, we will take you through the step-by-step process of setting up a planted tank. We will cover all of the necessary steps and equipment to help you getting your planted aquarium ready.
Clean up crew such as otto fish, siamese algae eater or snails are a great way to keep your aquarium algae free
A few things you may need:
You may have to pick up a few quipment before setting up a planted aquarium. Here are a few things you may need:
LED lighting: I always recommend the Florescent T5 or the Chihiros WRGB. Chihiros is a great brand and I cant recommend them enough. Also, their LED lights are made specifically for planted tanks.
Substrate: Choosing a substrate is something that a lot of people struggle with. I would recommend either ADA AquaSoil (if you’re looking for something with lots of nutrients) or Sylhet Sand (no nutrients, but very high quality).
Heater: A heater is an absolute necessity for any tank.
Filtration System: The type of filter you need really depends on your setup. If you’re setting up a tank larger than 40 gallons or so, you probably want to go with a canister filter. For smaller setups, a hang on back unit is usually fine.
a planted tank with big fish is difficult to maintain
Step 1: The Substrate
Choosing a substrate for a non-planted tank is really easy. Just pick any type of gravel and you’re good to go. So why doesn’t this work for planted tanks? The answer is simple; plants need nutrients to survive. Gravel, though simple and easy to clean, does not hold nutrients well enough to support most aquatic plants.
Types of Planted Aquarium Substrate
So we know that plain gravel probably isn’t the best choice. Luckily, there are a few types of substrate that help nutrients well and facilitate great plant growth! We mentioned a bit about our favorite choices earlier in the article, but now we will go into a little more depth:
Flourite: This substrate is unique in that it doesn’t naturally contain any nutrients, but is absorbs nutrients from the water very well. If you decide to use Flourite, it is probably best to add a few root tabs (small discs that contain tons of nutrients and “leach” it into the substrate). Flourite will suck up the nutrients well, which is then used by your aquatic plants as a food source. I recommend Seachem Flourite Black for an amazingly sleek look.
All-in-One Substrates: These substrates use actually a “mix” of several different types of substrate and are pre-packed with tons of nutrients (so there is no need for root tabs!). If you’re looking for some serious plant growth, all-in-one substrates can’t really be beat. ADA Aqua Soil is a leader in the industry for all-in-one substrates and we highly recommend them if you want to go this route.
Note: If you decide to use a substrate that is pre-packed with nutrients, make sure that you don’t have any fish present in the tank when you add it. The spike of nutrients can cause high levels of ammonia for the first few days, which can be deadly for fish.
Laying the Substrate
Plant substrates have a pesky habit of clouding up the entire tank if not laid down correctly. Honestly, this can be one of the most frustrating parts of setting up a planted aquarium.
Before you attempt to put anything into the aquarium, make sure to rise the substrate. Use a five gallon bucket and rinse it until the water runs relatively clear. Nowadays, a lot of substrates claim that a pre-rinse is unnecessary but I usually do it anyways.
Next, lay 3 to 4 inches of substrate in your tank. A lot of people like to top it off with some gravel to hold everything together better, but this is completely optional (sand it also a good option, but make sure to only use aquarium sand). It is important to know that even the best-washed substrate in the world will cause a mess if you don’t fill the tank carefully, so add water slowly!
A great tip to avoid a ton of clouding is to place a plate (any old dinner plate should do) on top of your newly-laid substrate and dump the non-chlorinated water onto the plate instead on directly into the substrate. This will prevent it from stirring up the soil/gravel and save you a huge headache. Do not rush this step!
Step 2: Lighting
Getting your hands on a good light fixture is vital when setting up a planted aquarium. The basic fluorescent bulbs that come with most fish tanks simply won’t cut it.
A light fixture is definitely something you don’t want to skimp on; buying knock-off light fixtures will probably cost you more in the long run and can even be a fire hazard. Luckily, good lighting is can actually be pretty cheap.
depending on the plants, choose appropriate light
variety of lights are available. Choose the right one that works well
high quality RGB lights options make plant growing easier
When setting up a planted aquarium, it is important to know that no two tanks are alike. There is no magic light cycle or certain number of hours you have to keep your lights on. That said, I start out keeping my lights on somewhere between 10-12 hours a day.
If I want a little more growth out of my plants, I bump up the light cycle by an hour or two. If I notice algae growth, I scale back a little.
Some plants will be happy with 10 hour days while other may like a little more. It is important to feel out your tank and try out some different cycles to get the good growth and avoid algae.
Step 3: Filtration
Picking out your filtration may not be the most “fun” part of setting up a planted aquarium, but its important nonetheless. That said, I believe that most people tend to overthink their filtration setups. My recommendation is rather simple:
·Tanks under 50 Gallons: Smaller planted aquariums under 50 gallons (especially beginner tanks) are completely fine with hang on back filtration units. Though not as powerful as their canister counterparts, HOB units are convenient, easy to use, and function well. i recommend the Dophin .
·Tanks 50+ Gallons: Larger tanks over 50 gallons are best suited for canister filters. Canister filters are capable of processing much more water, which can be a necessity for hard-to-keep plants. I recommend the Dophin or Fluval.
hang on back filters work well in smaller planted aquariums
Cannister filters work well for bigger aquariums
Step 4: Adding Plants
One of the frustrating parts of setting up an aquarium is staring at an empty tank for weeks while it cycles.
Now you’re probably wondering, “Is it necessary to cycle my aquarium before adding live plants?” Luckily, the answer is NO! In fact, live plants can actually help speed up the entire cycling process. Make sure you still monitor the cycling process closely and never add fish until ammonia and nitrites are completely undetectable.
Suggested Beginner Plants & Placement
As a beginner, it is important to start out with some easy-to-keep plants. These plants won’t require any special dosing or upkeep other than some occasional trimming:
1. Java Moss (Carpet)
2. Anubias Nana (Foreground)
3. Crypt Wendtii (Foreground)
4. Pygmy Chain Sword (Foreground)
5. Micro Sword (Foreground)
6. Cryptocoryne (Mid-Ground)
7. Java Fern (Mid-Ground)
8. Water Wisteria (Background)
9. Amazon Sword (Background
10. Hornwort (Background/Floating)
Carpeting Plants: These plants do exactly as their name suggest; carpet you tank floor is a beautiful green carpet. Carpeting plants such as Java Moss tend to grow quickly and easily, attaching to substrate, rocks, and driftwood at it grows.
Foreground Plants: Foreground plants are meant to be placed in the very front of the tank. They tend to stay relatively short, so your view of the back of the tank won’t be obstructed. Species such as Anubian Nana and Pygmy Chain Swords offer great fill, but don’t take away from the look of your “main” pieces.
Mid-Ground Plants: Mid-Ground plants should be planted near the middle of the tank and are slightly taller then foreground plants. They tend to be a little thicker and fill out more of the tank, so they give the aquarium a nice “full” feeling.
Background Plants: These are your main piece showstoppers. Plants such as Amazon Swords are large, thick, and tend to be the main attraction. They are usually placed at the very back of the tank as to not obstruct the view
Choosing the right plants and their placement make an aquascape stand out
Proper Plant Care
Before you attempt to put anything into the aquarium, make sure to rise the substrate. Use a five gallon bucket and rinse it until the water runs relatively clear. Nowadays, a lot of substrates claim that a pre-rinse is unnecessary but I usually do it anyways.
Bi-weekly water changes are a must – Water changes are beneficial for several reasons. Nitrate (hopefully no ammonia or nitrite) tend to build up in your tank over time. Unfortunately, sufficient filtration can only get nitrate levels down so far. Bi-weekly water changes help bring down nitrates to safe levels. In addition, water changes help replenish beneficial trace-elements that boost plant growth.
Keep temperatures stable – There are tons of opinions and studies about the perfect temperature for planted tanks (I recommend somewhere between 75-78 degrees). In reality, keeping your water temperature stable is far more important than the actually temperature. User cooler or Chiller to achieve stable temperature.
Trim your plants occasionally – Don’t get me wrong. Letting you plants grow out and fill up the tank is amazing to watch and you should definitely let this happen. You should try to avoid excessive growth, especially when it comes to tall plants. Tall plants that grow large can create too much shade, killing plants below them by restricting access to light. Trim your plants once in a while to make sure they’re not blocking other plants below.
Fertilizing your Plants
Low-tech setups usually don’t require and sort of dosing or special additions in terms of trace elements. A few fish should do this trick to keep you plants happy. But, just like gardens, setting up a planted aquarium sometimes requires fertilization. Here are the two main types or fertilizers is you decide you want explosive plant growth:
1. Substrate Fertilizers – Substrate fertilizers are placed underneath of the substrate. These are especially effective when used with substrates such as Fluorite due to its high CEC (ability to absorb nutrients). Plants use the nutrients over time, so nothing goes to waste.
2. Liquid Fertilizers – Liquid fertilizers are most effective for plants that don’t grow roots in the substrate, such as Java Moss. Since they are unable to absorb nutrients from within the substrate, they pull nutrients from the water. Be careful with liquid fertilizers; they tend to promote algae growth if dosed in high quantities.
Remember, if you plan to keep easy plants in a low-light setup, fertilizing your planted aquarium may be unnecessary. I would recommend feeling out your tank for a while to see how growth is before dosing.
Step 5: Adding Fish
Planted aquarium or not, adding fish is always a big milestone. Please do not rush this step.
Even though plants sometimes help speed up the cycling process, it still isn’t an instantaneous process (usually takes 2-3 weeks). Ammonia and Nitrites should read zero before any live fish are added. Pick up a API Master Test Kit and test often!
water test kit is important. Keep one at home to test water regularly
Once your planted aquarium is completely cycled, it is time to add fish. Here are some of the most popular fish choices when setting up a planted aquarium:
· Tetras: Tetras are great because there are tons of different species. They are active, colorful, and really bring a planted aquarium to life. Tetras should be kept in groups of 6 or more since they are naturally schooling fish. I recommend Cardinal or Neon Tetras.
· Corydoras: Cory Catfish are one of the most peaceful freshwater fish available. These bottom-dwellers are the perfect community fish and eat a variety of foods. If I could only recommend one fish, Corys would take the prize. Like Tetras, Cory Cats tend to be happiest is groups of 6 or more.
· Gouramis: Like Tetras, Gouramis come it tons of different colors and sizes. They tend to be very peaceful fish and are great for any community tank. Try not to keep Gouramis with anything that nips fins, as this stresses them out easily.
tetras look great in planted aquarium
· Swordtails: The easiest-to-keep species on our list, Swordtails are beautiful livebearers that can liven up any tank. They are known to reproduce very quickly, so take that into consideration. If breeding is of any interest to you, Swordtails are a perfect choice.
· Angelfish: One of the most popular freshwater fish, Angelfish make great inhabitants for any community aquarium. They are beautiful, (relatively) peaceful, and tend to leave plants alone. Don’t keep Angelfish with small Tetras, as they tend to eat anything that can fit in their mouths.