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Hi,

I am experienced with saltwater reef tanks, but have never done a plant tank. I am setting up a 140 gallon glass tank (no holes for overflow.)

I want to keep a fair number of small fish (angels, tetras, corys), and 2 "groves" of plants in the corners.

I want to keep my costs as low as possible, and I am not going to attempt any delicate or difficult plants. I just want a jungle feel as opposed to the rocky cave feel I've had in past FW tanks.

I'm pretty handy with building my own undergravel filters, and doing my own plumbing--but I've never drilled glass before (only acrylic.)

So I was thinking of sealing off the corner planted areas with glass about 6 inches high, and then building an undergravel filter to fill the rest of the bottom of the tank. The roots could not reach the U/G, but the tank would be filtered.

Would this work? Would the corners turn anaerobic? What kind of plants should I get? How much light do I need? I'm not interested in any metal halides--my electricity bill is high enough! I'd like to use as little energy as possible. what kind of substrate should I put in the corners?

Thanks!
s
 

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If you are going to only plant the back corners of the tank, then you would only need plant light for those corners. You might be able to get away with a shop light on each end using a 6700k bulbs. Or maybe a small fixture of some sort set across both ends. Then you could just use a regular flourescent fixture for the rest of the tank.

Undergravel filters are usually not recommend for planted tanks, for different reasons. But since you will not be planting that area of the tank a UG filter should be fine. But you might want to go with a canister filter or a couple of HOB's if you change your mind about planting.

The substrate does not matter that much, so any small (2-3mm) gravel will do, even sand will work. You will need to do some dosing of fertilizers into the water column, since this is where most plants draw their nutrients from.

As far as plants it all depends on the wattage that you end up with. You might want to check out our "PlantFinder" to see what plants you like & go from there.

Here's a good read for the beginner... http://www.aquatic-plants.org/articles/basics/pages/01_intro.html
 

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The biggest problem with planting just the back corners is that you may not have enough growing plants to avoid algae. There are always additions of ammonia to an aquarium, caused by fish and rotting of plant debris. It takes a lot of plants to quickly consume that ammonia or algae will take over. So, the general rule is to initially fill a tank with fast growing stem plants, then only after the tank is stabilized, start replacing those with the plants you really want to keep.
 
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