How to Set up an Aquarium With Live Plants

Setting up an aquarium is pretty basic, but setting up an aquarium that will be planted takes a little more work.

Steps

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    Find a place to put the aquarium. It must be able to support the weight of the aquarium. Each gallon weighs about 8 lbs, so a 10 gallon (37.9 L) tank with gravel and decor will be almost 100 lbs. Do not put the tank in direct sunlight, also don't place the tank where there is a lot of activity and the tank might get bumped or jiggled. This can put the fish or plants inside in danger!
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    (Optional) Put a 12 inch (1.3 cm) layer of peat on the bottom of the tank.
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    Put a thick bed of eco-complete (or another fertilizer substrate) on the bottom of the tank. Layer it at least 1.5 thick.
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    Next put a 2–3 inch (5.1–7.6 cm) layer of fine gravel OR sand over the eco-complete and peat. Do not use course gravel as this will make it hard for the plants roots to become established in the substrate.
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    Put a small plate or container lid on top of the gravel and pour water into the tank. Only fill it about 1/4 to 1/3 full of water. Try to keep the water between 70–80 °F (21–27 °C). Very cold or very hot water will shock the plants and possibly kill them.
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    Gently remove the plants from the containers they came in. If they are root bound use a toothpick to gently pull apart the roots and untangle them.
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    Place the plant in the substrate. Keep in mind positioning of the plant. Taller plants should be rooted in the background, and shorter plants should be rooted in the foreground. Do not place the plants too near the filter or the heater, because this will not be good for the plants.
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    Make sure to cover all the roots of the plant. Some plants will die if you cover the crown of the plant so keep this in mind when planting.
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    Fill the rest of the tank with water, being careful not to disturb the roots of the plants. Again, keep the water temperature between 70–80 °F (21–27 °C).
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    Install the filter and the heater and put the hood on the tank.
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    Set up the Co2 system if you are using one.
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    Cycle the tank for at least a month before you put any fish in. The tank needs time to build up beneficial bacteria in the gravel and the filter pad. This beneficial bacteria stabilizes the tank and prevents ammonia and nitrate swings which are harmful to fish. Add onion or bumblebee snails to keep the algae level down. You can also use Flying Foxes or Otto Cats instead. Lighting should be given in accordance to the plants that you have.

Tips

  • On the other hand, if your fish eat aquarium plants, why not give them. Goldfish and cichlids love aquarium plants. That's why they eat them. This is their diet. Fish that eat plants are healthier and have beautiful colors.
  • Do not plant tanks that have cichlids or goldfish in them. Both these fish like to eat plants. Plecos and snails will also sometimes eat plants.
  • Some beginner plant varieties are: Java moss, Anubias, Cryptocoryne Wendtii (AKA Crypt Wendtii), Amazon Sword, and Water Wisteria
  • The easiest carpeting plant for beginners is Sagittaria. It is extremely hardy.
  • If you have plants like the "Sunset" fill the water to the maximum limit possible for your tank. You will be rewarded with bright pink leaves with enough light and fertilizer
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Things You'll Need

  • The aquarium
  • Filter
  • Heater
  • Fine Gravel or sand
  • Peat (optional)
  • Eco-complete or a similar product
  • The plants
  • A thermometer
  • Hood and Light
  • Forceps-It is quite easy to plant with these

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Aquariums