How to Set Up a Beginner Planted Aquarium
If you want to increase your aquarium maintenance skills, add live aquatic plants. Not only do they add a natural beauty to your tank, but they also help consume toxic waste chemicals and purify the water for your fish. As we guide you through the steps of setting up a low-tech, planted aquarium, please follow along.
Before You Start: Gather the Planted Tank Supplies
Let’s begin by creating a shopping list for the materials you will need. A rimless, low iron glass aquarium is not necessary if you’re new to planting aquariums. You can find out more about A.
regular glass tank
from your local pet store works just fine, and the rim actually serves a purpose to help buffer against any unevenness between the aquarium and the stand.
The fish tank should be placed on a hard and level surface, such as an aquarium stand, kitchen counter, or solid piece of furniture. You need to ensure that the aquarium setup (and the floor underneath it) is strong enough to support the additional weight of water, substrate, equipment and decorations.
While an aquarium lid may seem like an unnecessary expense, we highly recommend getting one because it minimizes heat loss and the amount of electricity the heater uses. A lid also decreases evaporation, which can cool the tank and cause swinging water parameters that stress your fish. Plus, a fish tank cover is a simple way to prevent fish, shrimp, and snails from accidentally jumping or climbing out of the aquarium.
An aquarium lid stops fish from jumping out and other household pets from getting in.
An aquarium background can be optional, but is a great addition. It hides the power cables from view and prevents airline tubing from being seen. Plasti Dip rubber coating can also be used to cover the tank’s back. Or, you can tape posterboard directly to the aquarium. Because black backgrounds make plants stand out more, and hide algae better, we prefer them.
A heater and thermometer are usually necessary if you plan to keep tropical fish. Find out how to select the right size heater for your setup.
There are many lighting options available. For beginners, we recommend a plant LED light. They are specifically designed to produce the best spectrums and levels (Photosynthetically Active radiation) for growing fish. We love the Finnex Stingray light because it is solid and provides great value for low- to medium-light plants. But, for more information, see our article on choosing the right planted aquarium light for you. An lighttimer can also be very helpful in ensuring that your plants receive consistent light each day and to prevent algae growth.
Substrate remains a hot topic in the world of planted aquariums. Although enriched and dirt soils are often regarded as the best, they can also leak into the water and cause problems or even blooms. For beginners, we recommend using inert substrates without nutrients such as aquarium gravel, coarse sand, or sand. For more information, find out how to pick the best substrate for your planted tank.
Tweezers are useful for planting aquarium plants or adding root tabs into the substrate.
You can design your aquarium using only live plants, but many people like to add hardscape, such as aquascaping rocks and driftwood that are safe for fish tanks. You can look online for inspiration or pick whatever looks good to you. Other useful planted tank supplies include:
– A dechlorinator to remove chlorine from water. – Easy Green all in one fertilizer to feed plants. – A water test kit to determine how much fertilizer is needed. – Algae scrubber for aquarium walls. – Pruning scissors to remove or propagate leaves. – Aquarium siphon to change the water.
Let’s finally talk about purchasing the live aquaculture plants. Because you should wait until everything is in place before buying them, we have saved them for the last part of our checklist. For example, it would be unfortunate if you got your new plants and then realized that you don’t have enough substrate to cover 2-3 inches of the tank bottom. Here are some useful tips for choosing the right plant:
If you’re just starting out with planted tanks, start with beginner plants. They are more resilient and will forgive us for our mistakes. – Buy a wide variety of plants to try out because some species may thrive in your water conditions and others may not. If you can, save up and purchase lots of plants. A large plant density will reduce algae growth by utilizing the nutrients available in the tank.
How to Set Up a Fish Tank with Live Plants
Once you have everything ready, we will show you how to build your aquarium.
1. Pick a suitable location. Ideally, the fish tank should be near an electrical outlet, as well as a source of water for easy water changes. To minimize algae growth and temperature swings, don’t place the tank in direct sunlight or near an air conditioning vent. Also, avoid high traffic areas where the tank may get bumped into by adults or explored by curious pets and young kids.
Find a spot for your aquarium that is low in traffic and out of direct sunlight, but has access to electricity and running water.
1. Installing the aquarium stand or counter-space, and then cleaning the surface. 2. Rinse your aquarium and all accessories. To reduce cloudy water, first wash the tank, substrate and hardscape with water. Next, install the aquarium background if desired. To remove pest snails or duckweed from live plants, some people quarantine them. 3. Put the tank on the stand, and then add the substrate. Most planted tanks require at least 2 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) of substrate. Also, insert root tab fertilizers into the ground if you are using inert substrate and have cryptocoryne plants, sword plants, or other species that feed heavily from their roots. This article will explain how and what plants need root tabs. 4. Add the equipment and hardscape to the aquarium. You can then use decorations and plants to cover them. You will need to arrange the rocks and driftwood in order to create the “skeleton” of your plant tank design.
Before you add any water, spend time moving around the hardscape and plotting out where the plants will go.
1. Add about 6 inches (15 cm) to the tank with dechlorinated waters. This lower water level will help support the plant leaves during planting so they don’t bend or break. Pour the water through a strainer or into a bowl. This will prevent any damage to your aquascape. 2. Place the plants. There is a blog article that details the different methods for each type. To make sure that the taller plants don’t overshadow the shorter ones in front, place them in the background. Consider where the aquarium lighting will be located so that the lower light plants are placed in the shadows, edges or under the lights. You should not move the plants after they have been planted. The plant will need to adjust each time it is moved before it can become well-rooted again. 3. Fill the remaining tank with water, then add the lid and light. Check that everything is operating properly. A heater may require you to wait up to 30 minutes before it can adjust to the temperature of the water. 4. Start with low amounts of fertilizer and lighting at first to avoid algae growth. In the beginning, the plants are still getting used to their new surroundings and won’t be growing as much. The timer should be set for 5-6 hours each day in the beginning. Slowly increase the amount of lighting and Easy Green fertilizer each week as you start to see plant growth.
Don’t feel pressured to replicate the aquascapes professionals have created online. You can use your imagination to design your own planted aquarium.
If some of your plants’ leaves start melting, do not throw away the plants. Most likely, they are producing new, smaller leaves which will adapt to living under water. If your plants still haven’t been doing well after three to four weeks, you can read our article about plant nutrient deficiencies.