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Author Topic: Naturally Planted Tanks  (Read 595 times)
Mearwynna
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Naturally Planted Tanks
« on: February 25, 2012, 02:50:56 PM »

So...because I love interesting projects I'm going to take the first steps to trying out the naturally planted tank system in a very small way. I have long had a goldfish bowl, a 1 gallon. It's been keeping the duckweed alive and growing for a while, since January when someone gave some to me. I've even fed a bit to the fish sometimes and Sebastain LOVES it. I've read it has tons of protein and certainly got him to poo a good bit. Handy for constipation, I think.

Anyway, back to the bowl. So I just happen to find that I had the Miracle Gro organic potting soil on hand so I used about 3 cups as the substrate, and then washed some regular sand as the cap to the soil. I will probably have to find some gravel, but I don't have any small stuff yet. The sand is not that fine, though. So periodically, I add old fish water to the bowl to refill it. I thought the fish waste would be good for the duckweed and the bacteria has cycled the bowl, I think.

So what I did was this: I strained the dry soil to get out the chunks of wood. I then mixed the soil with fish water from the big tank. I emptied out the water and duckweed into a bowl so I could save it, and patted the wet soil down in the bowl. The sides of the bowl were pretty clean but I wiped them with a paper towel just in case there was any algea.

I rinsed the sand until the water was clean and slowly added that to the soil so it laid on top. Then covered the sand with some canning flats, and gently poured in water then scooped it out, and did that a few times to remove floating bits. The water was looking very clean, so at that point I added the fish bowl water and duckweed back to the bowl.

There was some kind of algea growing in it, it was floating in a gel like green sheet, so I took most of that out of the bowl and broke up the clumps of duckweed. The body of a endler guppy was added for bacteria and ammonia to keep the cycle going. I had just bought a few of these little guys from a lfs (they are called feeder guppies here) for the ten gallon tank. We lost one right after we got home.

So it's been two days and the water is very clear, the duckweed is growing. I checked the water today and there was just a tiny bit of amonia present and no nitrites or nitrates... maybe that's from the duckweed. We'll see what happens in the next few weeks, the MG soil is supposed to cause a lot of amonia at first, but I don't know how it will go with the fish water and bacteria that was already in the bowl. Maybe it will speed things up. At present I have no light on the bowl. It's just in a south facing window.

So soon, we will be going to a fish store that is so awesome, they have lots of plants so I'm going to look for hornwort, and some mini plants like grass, swords, and maybe some pelia or baby tears. I have to start trying some things out in our water to see if they will grow, so may as well start here.
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nabi
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Re: Naturally Planted Tanks
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2012, 05:34:18 PM »

If you want to try growing aquarium plants, you should consider getting low maintenance ones that require low lighting, no addition of fertilizer or CO2 injection. It can be a little disappointing to buy some plants and later find out you will need to invest in $300 or $400 worth of equipment to keep them alive.
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scrivens345
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Re: Naturally Planted Tanks
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2012, 04:18:48 PM »

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Mearwynna
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Re: Naturally Planted Tanks
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2012, 07:04:47 PM »

You are right about the low light plants. I found a nice comprehensive list on the planted tank site, I think. On sunday we went up to a big fish store and I had a look at their plants. Most looked pretty poorly, but I found a pygmy chain sword and narrow leaf sword. So I'm going to try these first. No java moss, that's too bad, I really wanted to try that out. I did find some nice driftwood so I have it stashed for later.

Lots of tiny Malasian trumpet snails, too.  Hitchhikers, I guess. These are supposed to be helpful in a planted tank so I put a few in the bowl.

I will probably test the water again soon and then plant the plants.

Thanks for the article. I will keep it mind. I think it would be overwhelming if I tried to start this on a big tank, so It's good I'm just doing a bowl for now.
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Mearwynna
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Re: Naturally Planted Tanks
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2012, 02:05:34 PM »

Our interesting experiment is continuing. The little plants are growing, I think, and look good. Some tannins are leaching into the water and making it a little yellow, but the water seems to be pretty clear. I added a few frogbite plants to the duckweed and am now seeing that there is  a bare space of water around both frogbite plants. I think this is interesting. I wonder if it means that the frogbite is repelling the plants? I should probably thin the duckweed a bit more, and test the water again. I want to see if there is anything  happening (cycle wise) or not. I can't see any of the little snails at all. Maybe I should get something bigger? Like a pond snail or a larger mts? hmmm...

Ok, if I can get some pictures going along with this thread should I leave them here? or should I move it to the pictures and video section?
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