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Non-planted tank advice


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Hi guys

Would you be able to help me do some research on how to maintain a tank without plants? I am considering doing a bit of a natural looking corydoras aquarium, they dont have plants in their habitat, they have sand, roots, driftwood, loads of leaves which also creates mulm and I guess also algae.

I think I would not mind having that sort of tank, this means it could be without light perhaps, just whatever window provides.

I have good filtration in mind, but not so great to be comfortably relying only on it. I wonder if I added some house plants on top of the tank for the roots to leach out the ad stuff, if it could work, and if yes, how much would I have to do. I have many plants I could convert.

 

I would appreciate any info and reminder on the nitrification cycle so I could read up and do proper research. Or experience with this sort of tank. Or if it is even a good idea

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I kept an tanks without plans for a long time the only real differences is no light and more water changes  everything else is the same 

cycle is the same add ammonia it turns into nitrite that turns into nitrate then you change water to keep the nitrate down if you want to you can put some pothos on top with the roots hanging in the water 

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On 6/17/2024 at 9:31 AM, face said:

no light and more water changes  everything else is the same

pretty much this. I have a dark glow fish tank. My wife and daughter like glow fish. i don't have an issue with them. figure twice as many water changes. or you could try a refugium. or possibly floaters on top where the corys wouldn't interact with them

or, depending on how you feel about it, a good canister with chemipure or purigen in it. not natural at all, but effective

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On 6/17/2024 at 7:18 AM, beastie said:

I have good filtration in mind, but not so great to be comfortably relying only on it. I wonder if I added some house plants on top of the tank for the roots to leach out the ad stuff, if it could work, and if yes, how much would I have to do. I have many plants I could convert.

Like everyone else said, there is not a huge difference outside of the fact that you will have to be mindful of nitrates which normally would not be an issue in a well maintained planted tank.

As far as growing terrestrial plants out of the top of the tank, I have done this in plenty of tanks and they will scrub most of the nitrates from the water. Pothos is an all time classic for this, peace lilies work really well but get gigantic growing out of an aquarium, japanese sweetflag is great if you can get your hands on it, there are lots of options. I will say the unlimited amount of water and nutrients they have access to can create some pretty unruly masses of plants in the long run, so just keep that in mind.

Just get yourself some aquarium riparium planters to mount on the back glass of the tank (there are lots of options online for this) and you should be golden.

Edited by DallasCowboys16
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  • 2 weeks later...

So back to this

I decided on a visual and on the tank itself

I am looking for something like this from biotope aquarium contests

image.png.b753d6898089aeb7dea4efdc7137e00c.png

For now white or no background, several long willow branches, leaf litter, maybe coconut cave, some pods, etc. I will either use floating plants, and for sure add some house plants.

 

I want to use sand substrate, some stone. The question is, how much sand should I use? Given there will be no plants planted in it, but corydoras sifting through it, I want some dunes maybe, but not too much to manage the substrate and anaerobic spots. Can I use super soft sand? I bought some play sand and it is way softer than the pool filtration sand that I used before

Any other tips to look for ? 

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I have a number of tanks with sand, some finer some heavier. And I've kept a few types of cories. I find that any "scaping" you do with the sand will eventually be flattened out by water movement (even if very low) and the fish themselves. You'll likely end up with a high end and a low end over time, but the difference isn't big.

Personally, I'd go with finer sand. If you're aiming for a biotope, it would be almost like muck or silt, but that doesn't work for a tank setup (always cloudy, always in the filter, etc). So you want the finest sand that won't get re-suspended by foraging whisker kids. I would think that play sand is pretty close to that.

In a plant-less tank, you can have a pretty thin layer, as little as a half inch. I like more than that, to avoid bare spots as things get moved around. 

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Another option I've thought of trying is a thin layer of silicone painted or rolled across the bottom, with sand on that. I know I've seen a youtube vid on this, but can't think whose it was. That, with a very thin additional layer of sand on top, could be good and would avoid any bare glass spots. 

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On 6/27/2024 at 10:20 AM, TOtrees said:

Another option I've thought of trying is a thin layer of silicone painted or rolled across the bottom, with sand on that. I know I've seen a youtube vid on this, but can't think whose it was. That, with a very thin additional layer of sand on top, could be good and would avoid any bare glass spots. 

@Lowells Fish Lab has a video (can't remember which one, sorry) in which he mentions wanting to run a tank bare bottom but, worried about the glare of the bare glass, painted the underside with black paint.

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On 6/17/2024 at 3:31 PM, face said:

I kept an tanks without plans for a long time the only real differences is no light and more water changes  everything else is the same 

wait how do you see the fish?  

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Would you guys mind sharing how you have the cover handled? I have to have something, for winter at least, since the tank is next to a window I open and corydoras breathing in cold air wouldnt work. But I also want the plants in, and I wonder how to handle the glass

Thanks

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