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El Natural Diana Walstad's low-maintenance, soil-based 'El Natural' method for keeping plants and fish.

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Old 10-06-2004, 06:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Hello everyone!
Reciently I have become disatisified with my 29 gallon tank containing artifical plants. I have had it now for 3 months, and I would like to incorporate live plants. But I'm confused on how to start. I'm not sure how to add the components for a planted tank with my current number of fish (2 gouramis, 2 anglefish, 5 clown loaches, 4 platies, and an algae eater). I could borrow a tank off of a friend for a few days for the initial transfer, but how long would this be required? Also, what wattage would I need to support basic low-light plants? (I also have small amounts of natural light causing an increase in my algae growth so I would assume that this would benefit any plants in my tank) Would I have to supply CO2 or any other suppliments to support the plants? And finally, since I am a poor college student how can I switch to a planted tank on a budget? Thankyou for reading this and any responses would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 10-06-2004, 06:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Hello everyone!
Reciently I have become disatisified with my 29 gallon tank containing artifical plants. I have had it now for 3 months, and I would like to incorporate live plants. But I'm confused on how to start. I'm not sure how to add the components for a planted tank with my current number of fish (2 gouramis, 2 anglefish, 5 clown loaches, 4 platies, and an algae eater). I could borrow a tank off of a friend for a few days for the initial transfer, but how long would this be required? Also, what wattage would I need to support basic low-light plants? (I also have small amounts of natural light causing an increase in my algae growth so I would assume that this would benefit any plants in my tank) Would I have to supply CO2 or any other suppliments to support the plants? And finally, since I am a poor college student how can I switch to a planted tank on a budget? Thankyou for reading this and any responses would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 10-07-2004, 05:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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hi, i am also a poor college student. i am kinda new at this too, but here is what i think you should do.

the rule is 2 watts per gallon, so u need at least 60 watts of light. personally i would start with a foreground plant like dwarf hairgrass or somthing. you can leave your fish in the tank if you plant piece by piece. the dwarf hairgrass comes in small pots, you take it out of the pots and plant it in small plugs about the width of a pencil. space the plugs out about an inch apart, and in 3 to 4 months it will fill in giving you a nice foreground.

then you can add larger plants after that.
i suggest buying a christmas light timer and putting it on your lihting. they run $7 at walmart. run the lights for around 10 hours a day.
you will probably need c02, but you can find it in the do it yourself forum.
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Old 10-07-2004, 01:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I bought a 55w compact flourescent light from ahsupply.com and retrofit it into the old plastic hood from my previous 30w light and it seems to work fine over my 29g. I have planted mostly crypts, but some hornwort & java fern as well.

I set it up based on information gathered from this forum and from Mrs. Walstad's book and it's been successful & quite pleasing to me. It's been up for about a month & a half and I rarely do anything besides top it off with water. Plants & fish are happy & healthy.
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Old 10-07-2004, 02:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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just make sure that the natural light you spoke of doesn't shine on the tank when the tank's light is off, any light for more than 10 hours will only give you more algae problems.

and be sure not to use any algae killing products after you put the plants in the tank, because most will kill your plants.
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