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seems like a planet tank is not too far off from having a reef tank? im reading on some sites some do weekly 50% water changes, on my 10g reef i do a weekly 10%. are there different stages of maintence with planted tanks? weekly, bi-weekly, to monthly? will the ecology book discuss this, or do any of you have a tank which you maintain weekly, bi, or monthly? i would like to know. the weekly water change is kinda starting to turn me off. i use water from the supermarket for my ten, to keep my hair algae from having another "party like its 1999" fiasco. is ro/di water recommended for planted tank as well? i guess im trying to hear from the folk who change weekly, and what they have, and the bi, and monthly cleaners, and what plants and fish are in there, and dose. im not looking to use co2.
 

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I do weekly 50% water changes on all my planted tanks. I clean filters when needed. I fertilize about three times a week. But then you have to consider that all my tanks are medium to high light with CO2 injection also. I use straight tap water, but then again my tap water is pretty unusual. But in 90% of the US you can just use your tap water in a planted tank.

Check out my FAQ. It should answer some questions for you.
 

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If you don't want to use CO2 and want to follow a more "low tech" approach, I highly recommend Diana Walstad's book.

Personally, all my tanks are moderate to high light as well. I do 50% weekly water changes with tap water, grow everything from mosses and anubias to light hungry stem plants. I keep mostly South American cichlids large and small, characins, corydoras, and freshwater shrimp species. I use pressurized CO2 on both my tanks. I dose KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4, iron, and traces.

I don't think a well run, high light planted tank with CO2 is much easier than a reef setup (although considerably cheaper). However, I think a planted tank is far more beautiful and soothing. :)

Carlos
 

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I keep a ten gallon planted with local plants. I use DIY co2 and fertilize twice a week. I do water changes once a week, 30-50%. It takes hardly any time at all so I can spend more time watching those crazy fish!
 

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tsunami said:
However, I think a planted tank is far more beautiful and soothing. :)
Carlos, have you ever seen a soft coral setup? It's a mind-numbing visual orgasm! :mrgreen:
 

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I've given up drawing similarities from the reef to the planted tank-- Aside from they both have glass or plastic boxes filles with water, they're really more different than the same. I do love soft corals though, and live rock is about the most interesting thing on this world....

To get back on topic, there are tons of ways to go about maintaining a planted aquarium. You don't have to use RO water-- you just have to understand what's in your tap so that you can make adjustments. For example, lots of people have high NO3 in their tap. You'll need to counter that by adding more traces, and keeping tabs on PO4. ie: make sure you have enough. And so on....

Water changes are important. They restore nutrients that you wouldn't want in a reef, and they export unknowns like algal spores, nutrient build-ups, and tannins, etc...

The biggest difference in maintenance that I see from FW to SW is that there is more "doing" in a plant tank than a reef. Trimming, water changes, tinkering with nutrients, etc. Alot more getting your hands wet. Less testing, and mixing with plant tanks that's for sure. If a $1.00 plant goes down the tubes that's alot different than a $100 SPS frag. Much more forgiving hobby, but it's also much newer, so there's no totally "sound" method that works everytime unless you use RO/DI and make your own water. We're not there yet, but I don't see it being far off. There are too many advantages of being 100% sure what's in your tank water.

Anyway, no the Ecology of the Planted Aquarium book won't talk about general maintenance. Just maintenance for the type of tank that she advocates. The single biggest things are common sense, and water changes.

That may be just what you're looking for, though. Get the book, and try it that way if you don't want to use CO2 or do weekly water changes. She says hardly NEVER do water changes. That's too "hands off" for me ;)
 

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I respect Diana's approach and have seen successful examples. However, I fall into the water changes are beneficial camp. I use RO/DI water out of habit really, but I like to know what is in the water. It is not necessary though.

I believe 50% water changes are difficult for the majority of people and may turn away some beginners. Not all of us have an easy water change routine. However, in the beginning, I believe it is a necessary evil.

Once you learn to read your tank and know how much nutrients it goes through in a certain time period, you can cut down on the recommended dosages and the water change routine. But you will never cut down to no water changes. The accumulation of chemicals will be detrimental to the aquarium in many respects (allelopathy, toxicity, etc.).
 
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