Starting your own personal planted tank or designing the perfect home aquarium certainly requires some tiring efforts, dedication, and yes you guessed it: TIME. It's true, and there's really no beating around the bush on this one folks: Aqua-hobbies are beautiful, yes, but they also need routine attention. It isn't as easy as just tossing some plant pellets and fish flakes in your tank and then kicking back to watch how beautiful things are. Nope. In fact, if that is your strategy, turn around and run because your tank will suffer numerous issues and problems early on and later down the road.
In order to fully understand what it takes and how much goes into maintaining a planted tank or aquascape, we have taken the time to construct a small overview of what being a proud member of the aquatic community means and the amount of dedication, discipline, and constant learning that goes into keep your underwater world operational and thriving. From selecting fish for the tank to the type of food you will feed your fish, and from the actual planting process to the growth and development of a lustrious aquascape, there are some things to consider before you jump in.
Routine water changes are necessary for your fish and aquatic plants in your planted tank to sustain optimal vitality and remain happy, healthy, and properly cared for. If you have weighed your options have determined that you have a few hours a week to dedicate, then planning should be on your mind from here in which case we advise growing aquatic plants based on an inspirational design, and then possibly sprinkling some fish in there down the road. A healthy and well-planned combination of the two can greatly enhance the beauty and environment of your planted tank by providing a natural aquascape that can help relieve stress according to some studies. Since there are virtually unlimited types and categories of plants, fish, and hardscape combinations, your planted tank will be one of a kind, and your level of attention will determine your tanks level of success.
So, if you are excited to prepare your own planted tank from scratch, make sure you can spare enough time to manage things properly. As students and working professionals, we have less time to take care of our tanks and it is important that proper care and handling methods are set in advance to avoid any loss.
Factors to consider before starting your own aquarium
As we all find it easier to purchase a readymade fish tank, there are some tips which must be implemented in order to ensure proper plant growth and a healthy environment. There are various types and categories of plants you need to purchase the ones that require minimum care and are easy to handle when first starting out, just to get your feet wet so to speak. Moreover, woods are also beneficial as they enable fish to lay eggs properly and balance the nutrition level in your fish tank too. Plants in some cases require regular treatment with estimative index nutrient dosings to help substrates to maintain the optimum CO2 levels.
There are several other factors which must also be taken into consideration when owning a fish tank or planted aquarium. Owners have to spend a huge amount of time and effort to maintain their aquariums and tanks in order to keep the livestock happy and healthy, preventing the unnecessary deaths of fish, plants, and inverts.
Furthermore, some fish species can only gain health only when the water is fresh, clean and has the correct pH levels and other water chemistry requirements are met. To learn about the water chemistry and its situation, you can conduct pH level and other water tests to determine the condition of your chemical parameters. For tanks that are in the process of battling outbreaks or in need of deep cleaning, it is recommended to perform 75 percent water changes each week until parameters return to normal. Water changes can be more difficult in freshwater aquariums versus saltwater because of the potential fragility of the aquascape. It is very easy to disturb substrate and accidentally cover your plants with dirt. This can be very frustrating and time-consuming if you're not careful. Having patience is the absolute key to success in this hobby.
Best Fish Species to be purchased
Designing a wonderful aquascape is great, and there are a few things to keep in mind when designing an aquascape. And of course, no aquarium is complete without the addition of beautiful and healthy fish, and boy is there a ton of choices. In most cases, the survival of fish are adaptable, and they can usually handle varying conditions of water chemistry, but there are a few who are picky about their conditions.
Some fish remain smaller in size and can sustain higher CO2. Others may be sensitive and require more food. Fish health absolutely depends on their environment and water conditions, even though and tank environment, make sure you have added some great tank plants along with a piece of driftwood.
While we could sit here and list every fish that make perfect tank mates for your aquascape, but we will spare you. A popular species of fish that find themselves frequenting the scape spotlight are tetras. The Ember Tetra is one of the most popular aquascape fish, but they are closely followed by Cardinal tetras, Butterflies, and other small guys. Another popular planted tank fish that seems to find use is the Dwarf Gourami. However, the D. Gourami should be left to larger tanks since it can get up to 3 inches and could through the sense of depth off in the scape of a smaller tank.
These are just a few of the best fish to consider if you want to design a planted tank that looks amazing and requires little time. For more on wood in terms of hardscape and habit structures, planted tanks make creative use of driftwood and other types of wood, which amazing for giving your fish perks of their own secure territory. Fish need proper space to hide and lay eggs and driftwoods serve as ideal beds and are perfect to be added to your aquarium's decoration or as a habitat.
Along with shelter and environmental benefits, some woods are known to kill fungal infections and certain bad bacteria which could damage the health and growth of your fish. Driftwoods are great for providing little 'tuck-aways' for your fish in your planted tank, and we listed a few to get started with, but it will still boil down to how much time you can dedicate to the hobby.
Best plants for your Aquarium
Okay, so far we have lightly dabbled with the idea of fish and the categories of different fish species, and we have even mentioned plants here and there as it is also a complex process to choose the most beneficial plant for your aquarium, making sure your selections fall within your available maintenance time.
Having its own environmental and health benefits, tank plants require routine care and maintenance. As they are supposed to enhance the appearance and beauty of your tank, plants also give a better oxygen supply, shade and relaxing space for fish.
Not all of the plant species are ideal for your planted fish tank as some can secrete poisonous chemicals that can damage your tank's overall health. Anubias barteri var. caladiifolia, variations of hornworts and other low maintenance plants are available that can make a nice looking scape. Make sure you have properly studied about each plant specification before making your final decision. Whether you are looking to add a carpet to your planted tank or to develop a beautiful aquascape using basic or expert level plants, you can rest assured that if you can set out a few hour block each week, then you can run an amazing planted tank.
Accessories and lighting
Plant and fish are not the only things you have to understand, maintain, and keep up with. I'm talking about accessories, such as lighting, filtering, injectors, etc., but they are necessary. Finding an online plant database can be beneficial to help you figure out the correct lighting and appropriate water chemistry for your selected plants.
Different setups have different lighting requirements, and research will be required. You can also reach out to local experts or online forum experts that are willing to lend a hand. You will need to know specifics which digging deeper, as your answers will look like a math project (ha).In order to find the most feasible lighting source, getting advice from fish tank experts over different websites can prove to be of great support.
Placing a reliable and steady CO2 supply by injection, diffusion, or another DIY CO2 means, is the most important step when planning your own aquarium. The larger plant and fish load your tank will have will determine the level of CO2 implementation you will need; a relevantly stronger CO2 supply is also necessary in order to ensure proper growth and a healthy environment. Although there are many DIY methods to add CO2 into your planted tank, however just forking over the few extra bucks and buying an assembly is well worth it as the proper CO2 mechanism can help avoid any loss.
Performing water test, observing pH levels, and ensuring the water hardness is in line, there are a lot of things to keep up with when wanting to start a planted tank. This is not for everyone and can turn into an addiction, just ask several of my friends. It can consume you, learning new techniques, watching your work grow, and then trimming it down to keep it beautiful. This all takes time and not just 10 or 15 minutes a week.
Last but not least, taking proper care of food for your plants and fish is obviously mandatory, as fish can lose health due to under or overfeeding so making sure you add proper food according to your determined routine.
Fish will need to be fed daily. It is best to actually feed lots of small amounts of food throughout the day, but very few people are able to do this. Some species of fish may require much more dedication or require live foods to stay alive. It's generally the best bet to support your local fish store when starting out and ensuring you get the proper species for your tank.
Recapping on the what it takes
Owning and maintaining a planted tank requires attention, routine, and of course time for which very little compromises can be made. From developing a solid cleaning routine to maintaining adequate water chemistry, planted aquarium owners must also focus on proper plant growth and nutrient uptake to ensure optimal conditions to prevent potential algae outbreaks. There are several methods and processes explained in this article to help you understand some of the time it takes to maintain your tank. If you can find the time to dedicate daily or weekly then you can achieve a healthy and beautiful tank. Time management is key.
With different species of plants and fish available at your nearest pet store, we advise you to ask around and take your time to do proper research to determine the right bioload for your time allotments before making any final decision. So, if you have found some extra time and are excited about setting up your new planted aquarium, then we hope this article has helped point out a few time-consuming factors to focus on when starting out.
In the event you start a planted tank and cannot manage things on your own, taking some expert advice from other fish tank owners can be a great idea, and is highly recommended. Besides, you wouldn't want to kill off your hard work, would you? So in closing, I want you to ask yourself this question one more time, "Do I have time to start a planted aquarium?"
Do you have time to start a planted aquarium?
So, if you are excited to prepare your own planted tank from scratch, make sure you can spare time.