Does Your Planted Tank Need an Overhaul?

Does Your Planted Tank Need an Overhaul?

Whether you are a seasoned vet or just getting your feet wet, there comes a time when even the most kept planted tanks will require some much-needed grooming, repositioning, and in some cases a complete overhaul. Fortunately, there are a couple tips for aquarists to revitalize their tanks to keep their planted aquariums running efficiently and as smooth as possible.

After you have established a high-energy planted tank, you feelings of accomplishment may make your head swell, but keep in mind, these aesthetically pleasing aquariums do not take care of themselves. No matter how great of an ecosystem you have in place, quality of used hardware, or even the layout of your tank, there will come a time when you will have to groom your tank to keep it from needing to be overhauled. Fortunately, there are a couple tips for aquarists to revitalize their tanks to keep their planted aquariums running efficiently and as smooth as possible.

A common reason for needing to maintain your planted tank consistently is a result of the accumulation of planted biomass. Sounds pretty technical huh? Well, it is just a fancy way of saying your plants are getting bigger; both topside and with some plant species, rootside as well. We should have learned from our days in school that mass is anything that takes up space. Consequently enough, biomass is space occupied by living organisms, usually referring to plants. Keeping your planted tanked groomed and regularly maintained, there should be little worries of needing a complete overhaul. Let’s look at a couple maintenance hacks to keep your planted aquarium looking sharp and your beautiful aquascape, more magnificent than ever.

Know When to Trim Your Planted Tank

If you have been neglectful or just extremely busy, your hi-tech freshwater planted aquarium can quickly get out of hand and in need of a complete planted tank overhaul. Before you make it to the trimming stage, you should finish the bushwhacking first, to get a majority of the plant biomass out of the way. Before things get out of hand, you can regularly trim your plants to keep from having to do such a larger overhaul. After you get most of the big stuff out of the way, now you can start to groom with precision, bringing your planted tank’s aquascape back to life. Once you have moved from basic trimmings, you should now turn your attention to the filter system.

Are My CO2 Injectors Performing Correctly in My Planted Tank

After all of the heavy weed whacking is finished and the initial trimming is done, it is time to move over to your filtration. Some use wet, dry, or a combination of wet/dry filtration systems. While you are pulling, trimming, and grooming your tank, small particles are shuffled around causing them to aimlessly circulate around your tank in search of something to cling to. This is where your filters kick in.

When you are elbow deep in your planted tank performing an overhaul, trimmings, or just routine maintenance, please make sure your filters are off, as you will undoubtedly be stirring up detritus, causing it to create more problems. You do not want to get this gunk, debris, and by-products caught in your filter system. Granted it will eventually happen over time with buildup, but routine checks and water changes can keep this problem at bay for quite some time. Now we need to organize, trim, and replant our tank.

Organized Chaos or Orderly Aquascaping

If you are just getting into aquascaping and are still trying to learn the ropes of the golden Do’s and Don’ts of aquascaping, then you may want to brush up on all things aquarium. From the fish you select to the plants you chose to accompany them, your underwater ecosystem will grow into one of your favorite hobbies. The trick is all about the placement, planting, and design of your planted aquarium. When you get started, make sure you have your most commonly used tools nearby to make the replanting process a breeze:

Now that you have your basics handy let’s look at what needs to go and what doesn’t. Depending on the type of plant life in your aquarium, an assortment of tools may be required, but nothing to drastically difficult to procure. A nice array of different sized forceps and scissors should suffice for most maintenance jobs.

The Real Reason You Overhauled Your Planted Tank: Covered Focal Points

If you happened to catch our shorthand guide to setting up an amazing aquascape, you might remember how we defined the focal points, and the importance in following the, “4 Rules That Every Aquascaper Should Follow in Their Layout.”

Planted aquariums are way more than an underwater biocommunity that depends on you in order to thrive. Ask any seasoned aquarist about their design, and you can bet your bottom dollar they will mention focal points. As aquascaping enthusiasts, we all strive to impress and create a layout that marvels anything ever seen. The problem with this is not everyone gets it!

I know. It sounds a little harsh, but understanding how to lay your tank out in an attractive manner takes more than reading a few post and watching YouTube channels. There is actually a mathematical science behind some of the most amazing layouts of the topmost well-known aquarists. Some people have that artistic eye, while some have to break out the old pen and paper to draw out a grid-style design to ensure everything points to your focal points. That is for another post.

I Performed Aquascape Grooming, and Now It’s Growing Everywhere!!!

Yeah, this can be dreadful and spell disaster if not addressed immediately. A stem duckweed can turn your beautiful Iwagumi into an overgrown mess. If used correctly it can look great, but without proper care, it can quickly get out of hand and will require an overhaul to thoroughly rid the tank of this weed like a stemmed aquatic plant. Sometimes these overgrowths can come in the form of hitchhiked particles in plant, fish, and shrimp shipments, as sometimes the waters can contain sources of these rapidly growing aquatic plants. Be sure to do routine maintenance and check your new acquisitions to ensure you do not bring any foreign life into your controlled freshwater planted tank community. It’s unfortunate, but some stem plants cannot handle regrowing that well, which results in undesirable or stunted growth. Common plants that experience this regrowth issues are Pogostemon, Ludwigia inclinata var verticillata or Ammania ‘Bonsai’.

Keep Your Carpet trimmed with Edging

If it has been awhile since your last cleaning, which in all fairness it should not be any longer than a week, then you may want to do a water change (more on this: Guide to Successful Water Changes). A quick tip on water changes though,

“You should really be doing at least one 50% water change weekly. The top aquarists attest to doing at minimum 2 weeks 50% or larger water changes.”

Back to the important stuff—Edging. In the above youtube video, Tom Barr edges carpet from the front of his Dutch aquascape. It keeps plants from attaching to the glass and creates a defined edge to your aquascape.

Owning a planted tank requires a little more finesse than owning a basic fish aquarium. Regular maintenance should be performed weekly on planted aquariums to ensure optimal growth for the intended aquascape. Revitalize your tank with a complete overhaul. Trim your plants, edge your tank, and do at least two 50% weekly water changes for best results. Want even more on tank grooming? Head over to the forum and chat with the experts.