View Full Version : Starting a planted tank ?'s

07-05-2014, 10:12 AM
I currently have 3 African cichlid tanks but I have been wanting to switch to a community planted tank for some time now. I have always kept Africans but I am looking for something new and would like to jump in the community/planted tank world now. I am looking to go with a low tech system. I don't want to run CO2 or get to fancy with it at first. I have done research on the internet but just wanted more opinions. I have a few questions below and the specs of my tank are below as well, thanks

1. 75g (48"L x 18"w x 20"D)
2. Current Freshwater LED + lights 48"
3. Seachem fluorite substrate
4. FX6 filtration

1. I currently have a Current Freshwater LED+ 48" light that has 30w total, 96 6500K leds and 48 RGB full spectrum LEDS. Is this enough light for a low tech tank?
2. I am not sure of what plants I would like to get so are there any suggestions for a low tech Tank?
3. What ferts should I use and how often?

I am sure there are many questions that I am not asking so just let me know if you need more info. I will be selling my Africans soon so be looking for that post if you are interested. Thanks again for your feedback.

07-05-2014, 12:22 PM
That's enough light for low tech, PAR should be in the 30 to 40 range at 20+ inches to the substrate. You might be pushing medium light and would need to dose something like excel as a co2 enhancement to ward of the worst of the algae.

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07-05-2014, 12:25 PM
Also might want to dose micros every once in awhile but macros might not be needed depending on your bio load.

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07-06-2014, 08:18 AM
I have a couple more questions on water changes. How often should I do water changes on a planted tank assuming that I have an average load of fish? I am currently doing weekly water changes on my African tanks but I've been told you can do every 2 weeks on planted tanks. Also do you vacuum/stir up the substrate or leave it alone?

08-21-2014, 04:30 PM
That depends. What is an average fish load? Are we talking 1"/gallon? Catfish? Tetras? If you are dosing fertilizers you will need to do weekly water changes or keep close watch on your parameters. If you go that route I have a spreadsheet that I use to dose fertilizers. You are welcome to it. I calculates a daily average based on a starting level and fertilizer you add per its calculation, less uptake (based on my tanks average losses over the last year or so). As for your substrate I generally only vacuum the top if there are plants there. If there aren't I vacuum the substrate and under houses and rocks/wood. Depending on your substrate you may not want to. Some are very light and tend to get sucked out or clog up the hose. Plants don't seem to do as well in compacted substrate. If you are found of Africans why not try west Africans?

Dana Menello
10-03-2014, 10:00 PM
i don't know if anyone has mentioned this or not, but african cichlids like to eat plants. unless they're rams. then, you're okay. the lakes in africa don't have any plants (or very few, granted there is one particular inlet that has a lot but most african cichlids dont' live there) and have a lot of fish competing with one another. therefore, most african cichlids live off of algae. That makes them herbivorous and therefore, plant-eaters. just fyi. although anubias and java fer are probably tough enough if they're well anchored.

10-04-2014, 01:05 AM
java fern and hornwort work in african tanks, they like hard water and don't taste good. rams are South American.

10-06-2014, 04:07 PM
Why do they eat each other, snails, and generally anything that will fit in their mouths if they are herbivores?

Like I said west Africans. 3477

10-06-2014, 04:44 PM
Very few fish are strict herbivores, most will eat eggs and fry if they can get them. There are carnivorous cichids (bug and inverts) and fish that eat fish as well as mbuna that mostly graze algae in the wild.

Mog Carns
10-07-2014, 07:19 AM
Even if they do not eat the plants, some westies like Jewels tear them out of the ground. In their eyes, the plants give places for enemies to hide.

Kribs LOVE planted tanks, however. They nibble watersprite and wisteria leaves, but they are most at home hiding in plants.