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Help w/ new planted tank

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Looking for some help with our current plants. This is my first planted tank, and we are working on getting things changed up to a more natural environment. The plants in the tank are a java fern attached to a piece of driftwood, a scarlett temple, and an amazon sword. The java fern has been in the tank the longest. I have the sword in one of the planters bought from aquarium co op website, the scarlet temple and the sword were both bought from aquarium co op website as well.  Are these plants meant to just be placed in the tank in the black buckets they come in or should I separate them and place them in different areas? I figure the planter was meant to just have the black bucket placed into it.   I dose with Seachum Flourish twice a week. When I added the plants I made a hole in the gravel where the plants are going and put fluval stratum around them, I added a bit into the bottom of the  planter as well. I heard that Flourish is not the greatest all around. But what should I accommodate with. I chose plants that did not require Co2. 

I currently have blue gravel, but want to change the substrate to use Fluval Stratum and crushed coral, as I want a more plant friendly and more natural looking environment now.   Currently my sword appears to melting. We were going through a cycle when these plants were added , and have done a couple of big water changes when our nitrites were high. Water added to tank is tap water dosed with prime, water from tap is hard water.  We added the natural plants to help w/ tank overall, which they did help to get through an initial cycle. Our nitrites broke down and nitrates lowered, and seemed we were finally completely our first cycle. However now this morning, things are back up. We have been feeding minimal food. We also got through an ick infection a couple of weeks ago. Lots of learning has gone one, and now I just want to get these plants going in the right direction, and complete a a seemingly second cycle coming on. No real changes have happened since adding the plants and water changes. I only added a media bag with crushed coral to the back as we were having some issues with no KH and ph drop. Crushed coral bag did fix this to some extent. 

Here is a photo with the plants. My molly is constantly pecking at them, is she  pecking bacteria on them or is she trying to eat them? This girl does nothing but try to eat all day. LOL Tank is a tall 10 gallon w/ a 20 gallon Aqua Clear filtration running.  We have 3 fish in it.  An albino pleco, male platy and a female gold panda molly. *Yes future bigger tank options are in the plan. 🙂  


Current water parameters: Tested w/ API Freshwater Kit (two days ago the nitrites had finally seemed to be breaking and the color in the tube was a very very light purple with more of a blue tinge. Nothing has changed in the tank since then. And fish have only been fed a small amount of flake and a half an algae wafer. Which was all eaten up in less than an hour. 

PH: 7.0 Ammonia: 0 Nitrites: 0.50 ppm Nitrates: 5.0 ppm Temp: 74-75

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Thats a very nice setup and your plants look great!

I see that you have a bristlenose pleco in the aquarium. Theres a good chance the pleco will start snacking on the amazon sword, I know mine did. To prevent this just feed the pleco lots! 

I would suggest to get some Easy Root Tabs from Aquarium Co-Op for the amazon sword. That will help it really grow! Amazon Swords are very heavy root feeders!

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Well we went allllll out this afternoon, and went for a whole new look. We cleared everything out, got rid of the blue gravel. We were doing a water change and decided to go for it. 🙂 Results look awesome!  We removed the scarlet temple from pot and separated it and planted it. Also added an extra java fern to the driftwood to give it a more full look. So future plans, we want to get rid of the octopus cave thing in the background and replace with something more natural, like some kind of driftwood or rock display. This of course after giving the new gravel time to establish a bacteria buildup.  Suggestions would be great. 

 * To note while doing all of this we didn't clean anything regarding the filter and when we pulled plants and all we just put everything in a bucket of tank water pulled from the tank. We also didn't really clean the walls of the tank much. We replaced the weird blue gravel with.. bottom is Fluval Stratum topped with aquarium gravel rocks, I mixed in some crushed coral, some of which has been sitting the in tank in a media bag for almost a week. After getting everything set up, we added back in about 75% of the original tank water, and then filled the rest with fresh water dosed with prime. I also added 2 tsp of API safe start just to be safe. We let everything cycle for for about an hour and half before adding the fish back from their temporary fish bowl home.  Was a bit scary at first cause water was very cloudy and brown. We even made sure to wash the gravel well. All is starting to clear up now though the longer it filters. 🙂 And fish seem pleased with their upgraded home. 


On 6/15/2021 at 10:36 AM, NewerFishPerson said:



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