Advertisements
Aquatic Avenue Banner Tropica Shop Banner Fishy Business Banner
Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Get started here!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Ang Mo Kio
    Posts
    4,544
    Feedback Score
    6 (100%)
    Images
    81
    Country
    Singapore

    Get started here!

    Advertisements
    Fresh n Marine aQuarium Banner

    Advertise here

    Advertise here
    Youíre probably here because you have seen one of Takashi Amanoís planted tanks, or you chanced upon a beautifully aquascaped tank picture posted online, and want to recreate a living piece of art in your home for yourself.

    Getting started in planted tanks is a trifle difficult at first, especially if you have no prior experience in fish-keeping. This little article is intended to help you, the complete newcomer, enter our world of greenery and art smoother.

    This article is intended for complete newbies, the help found in here are of my personal decision, and you need not follow strictly what I specify. Iím only trying to describe the process in the simplest way possible in my way.

    Equipment

    So you saw that wonderful tank filled with lush growing plants and fishes darting in and out of the foliage, and you want to create one for yourself.

    Here, I shall go through the process of setting up a 2ft tank. Why a 2ft? 2ft tanks are big enough to remain a stable body of water, and small enough to manage for a beginner. Itís also aesthetically easier to aquascape. Lastly, you need an open mind, and a heart to read and read and read and read some more material online.

    The following will describe how to get a tank ready for plants, just basics.
    What you need to get:

    1) A 2ft glass/acrylic tank.
    2) A bag of ďLapis Lazute sandĒ
    3) A bag of JBL Aquabasis Plus
    4) A lighting set, preferably 36W to 72W
    5) A C02 injection system
    6) A good canister filter
    7) A cooling system, like a chiller, or a DIY fan set.

    That is about it. Everything can be bought at a good LFS, for which I recommend Nature Aquarium in Singapore. (Donít be lazy, search the LFS listings) Bear in mind Iím just citing an easy place to go to for everything for first-timers, not promoting the LFS in question.

    I'lll now go into the more important points of the equipment list, namely the C02 set, and the substrate.

    To make things easy for your first time, get a 3.5L C02 cylinder set, which comprises of:

    1) The cylinder itself
    2) A regulator
    3) A solenoid
    4) A needle valve
    4) A bubble counter
    5) A C02 reactor/diffusor

    The regulator and solenoid combo is popularly sold together, and if you spend your money right, this set will probably last you throughout your hobby. Do not get a manual regulator, for this will cause problems and danger should you turn the valve too much. One way to tell if it's a proper regulator or not is to make sure it has two gauges, and has no knob for you to adjust.

    The reactor/diffusor is needed for you to get the C02 dissolved in the water. There's one for you to DIY here, or you can buy the commercial one sold at the LFS. A reactor is more efficient at dissolving C02 than a diffusor.

    The substrate for a planted tank is made up of two parts: the base fertiliser, and the gravel. The base fertiliser is the JBL Aquabasis Plus I mentioned earlier. This is sort of something like what land plants need, a fertiliser for roots. The gravel is the topmost layer. There are many types of gravel and base fert available in the market. Find one that suits your fancy. I personally recommend Seachem's Flourite; you don't need base fert for this gravel, it's like a 2-in-1. But Lapis sand mentioned above is cheap and popular.

    That's about all the equipment you need to start your first tank.
    Last edited by |squee|; 5th May 2005 at 12:36.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Ang Mo Kio
    Posts
    4,544
    Feedback Score
    6 (100%)
    Images
    81
    Country
    Singapore
    Setting it all up

    Setting it up without plants is really easy.
    Wash the tank before use, check for any leaks. Pour in the bag of base fert first, smooth it out using your hands or a flat tool. Make at least 1-2cm worth of base fert. Next, pour in the gravel over the base fert, making two layers. The substrate should be at least 5cm thick. Install the C02 system ( but don't turn it on ), filter and light set. Then you're ready to go.


    This is the hard part


    Before you start buying plants at random and dumping them all into your tank, it's important to do something. That is to:

    READ

    Sign up for a account here in AQ, and start reading old threads in Plant Talk, especially concerning newbies setting up their tanks. Planted tanks are very complicated, much more than your normal fish tank, where only the health of the fish matters. Ask questions, and then ask more. We don't mind, unless it's trifle stuff like where to buy plants.

    You need to read because

    1) Some things take a year to explain, like fertilisation.
    2) Experience cannot be taught.
    3) Aquascaping is an art, and good aquascapers actually learn artist's techniques.
    4) You gain more knowledge, which makes your life easier instead of having to hog the forums for answers.

    Setting up a tank is easy. It's maintaining it, knowing the science behind it, and the artistic values incorporated into the tank that puts people off this hobby. Laziness is certainly not something you can have in your first year into planted tanks.

    You need to learn about fertilisation, for that is a sick topic and to make things worse there are many variations on how to fertilise. Read around. The more info you get the better your tank will be.

    To aid you, here are some links ( will update with AQ ones after the homepages are up ):

    Rex Grigg's
    A workshop in Singapore Part 1
    A workshop in Singapore Part 2
    Another article on how to setup
    Yet another article on how to setup
    Oh boy, guess what, yet another link
    Aquascaping in simple terms

    That's more or less about it. I'll be updating this sticky regularly as I discover new things that can help you guys.

    Happy planting!
    Last edited by |squee|; 14th Apr 2005 at 14:13.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Perth, Australia / Bishan, Singapore
    Posts
    159
    Feedback Score
    0
    Country
    Australia
    Terrence,

    I work with a manual and no problems for the past few years.
    Dual guage regulators are better at reducing pressures for better control, but i'm curious with what you mentioned aout the 'No Knob'. Its a little misleading imo, Most dual guage regulators do still come with a inbuilt knob (supposed needle valve, though feeble in control)

    Starting with a solenoid may not be the best option either, its best to educate new hobbyists about the pros and cons of each option. I know i can tell you a handful of cons about solenoid regulators thats for sure. Thus my using of manual regulators.

    But all in all an excellent post, have fun moderating.

    Cheers,
    Jerome

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Ang Mo Kio
    Posts
    4,544
    Feedback Score
    6 (100%)
    Images
    81
    Country
    Singapore
    So I did the part regarding equipment. Now I'll be trying to go through the plants part.

    If you've followed the setup above, you should be well equipped to grow most of the plant range available in Singapore. The following will be based on the above setup mentioned.

    There are some plants that you can try that are easy and nice to have.

    Java Fern



    Java Fern is a rosette plant, with pretty green pointed leaves like those in the picture. The specimens you see in the LFS are crap; they have dark green leaves, full of holes, blah blah. But don't worry, pick out the best ones and bring them back home, they'll recover to be as nice as those in the picture.

    In planting, Java Fern should not be pushed into the gravel. It prefers very much to grow on driftwood, or attached to something like a small stone. Take a length of black cotton thread, and attach the fern to the hard material. In time to come, the fern will attach itself to the material, and you never have to bother about the thread since it'll rot away/be invisible after some time.

    ( to be continued )

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •