How to Set Up a Beginner Planted Aquarium
Live aquatic plants are a great way to improve your aquarium-keeping skills. 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 start by making a list of the necessary materials. 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. The aquarium setup can weigh in at least 10 pounds once it is added to the tank.
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 be applied to the tank’s back panel. You could also tape posterboard to the aquarium. Black backgrounds are our favorite as they make the plants stand out and hide algae better.
A heater and thermometer are usually necessary if you plan to keep tropical fish. Read our full article on how to choose an appropriately sized 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. The Finnex Stingray light is our personal favorite because of its solid performance and great value for low to medium light plants, but for more choices, read our article on how to pick the best planted aquarium light for your specific needs. A light timer is also extremely helpful for making sure your plants get a consistent amount of light every day and preventing 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. Learn how to choose the right substrate for your plant 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. For inspiration, you can search online for ideas or simply pick what looks best to you. These plants tank supplies are also useful:
– Dechlorinator for removing chlorine and other toxic substances from the water. – Easy Green all-in one fertilizer to nourish your plants. – Water test kit to determine the amount of fertilizer you need. – Algae scrubber to clean aquarium walls.
Let’s finally talk about purchasing the live aquaculture plants. We saved them at the end of this checklist because you need to wait until almost everything is set up before you shop for them. You don’t want to be disappointed if your new plants aren’t covered by enough substrate. 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. You should buy a variety of plants so that you can try them all. Some species might thrive in certain water conditions while 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. Avoid high-traffic areas, where the tank might be bumped into or explored by curious pets.
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. Install the aquarium stand/counter space and clean the surface. 2. Rinse your aquarium and all accessories. To reduce cloudy water, first wash the tank, substrate and hardscape with water. Next, place the aquarium background if necessary. Some people choose to quarantine their live plants at this point to remove duckweed, pest snails, and other hitchhikers. 3. Place the tank on the stand and add the substrate. Planted tanks usually require at least 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) of substrate. Insert root tab fertilizers in the ground if you use an inert substrate. You can read this article to learn more about root tabs and the plants that require them. 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.
Spend some time moving around the hardscape, and planning where the plants will go.
1. Fill the tank partially with dechlorinated water. By adding approximately 6 inches (15 cm) of water, the lowered water level helps to support the plant leaves while you are planting them so that they do not bend too much and break. To avoid disturbing the aquascape design, pour the water into a colander or onto plastic bags or bowls. 2. Plant the flowers. A blog article that explains the various techniques for each type of flower is available. To make sure that the taller plants don’t overshadow the shorter ones in front, place them in the background. Also, consider where the aquarium lighting will be so that you put the low light plants in the shadows or the edges of the tank and the higher light plants right underneath the light. 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. Add the light and lid to the tank. Make sure that everything is working correctly. 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. Use your creativity and design your planted aquarium in a way that is most pleasing to you.
Don’t throw out your plants if some of their leaves are starting to melt. They are likely growing smaller, more adaptable leaves, which will make them more comfortable living in tap water. However, if they are not performing well within three to four week of planting, we recommend reading our article on plant nutritional deficiencies to ensure they get all the necessary building blocks.