Page 1 of 3

Planting an underwater garden

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:06 am
by greta b
:fish: MTS has struck again!

I was feeling stuck about my aquascaping last night and pulled out some of my favorite garden books. Got some great inspiration and am planning to re-create a beautiful garden in my tank, complete with raised beds and path ways. This has me totally jiggy and now I want to plan tanks #2, 3 and 4.... don't tell my husband! :secret:

I promise I'll post a journal as soon as I get to a step that is intersting to share. At this point I am still collecting and purchasing equipment.

My plan (feel free to blow holes in it now before I get too invested)

75 gallons, 2.5 w/gal/co2 injected (is this enough light to grow most plants?) airstone at night.
Water: Kh1, GH<3, pH 7.2
chunky mossy driftwood (christmas moss if I can find it) left over from last tank. Has nice hiding spots.
center piece "raised bed". Will use a large terra cotta plant saucer filled with flourite.
Sand "paths" for meandering cories. pool filter sand or plain quartz sand

Flora: I am super open to suggestions here as my plantkeeping experience was largely trial and error based on what the local LFS had. This time I plan to mailorder what I WANT :D
Large centerpiece plant: Sword (variety tbd, feel free to shout out favorites :thumb: )

"grassy" foreground: Echinodorus tenellus, Eriocaulon cinereum

"perennial bed" plants: Rotala rotundifolia, Cryptocoryne walkeri, Cryptocoryne wendtii, Anubias barteri v nana, Micranthemum umbrosum

"Big shrub" plant: Limnophila sessiliflora

Re: Planting an underwater garden

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:15 am
by oceansunltd
Don't make the tank to busy or complex. Paint the picture with a broad brush, so to speak. Different gravels/sands are hard to keep apart. So are different elevations without reinforcement of some kind. Most of the plants you mention will be available at the local fish society auctions or from Uncle Ned's Fish Factory. He's in Millis on Rt 109, a few miles from 495. Good store, great fish. 508-533-5969

Re: Planting an underwater garden

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:41 am
by greta b
Really good points. I am actually going to literally "paint" (ok, draw with colored pencils) a picture and see how I can do this in a really simply satisfying way. I'd like to scale back my plant choices to a small number so that visually it isn't too "busy" but plant in large numbers so the tank is full.

This is going to be challenging. I think I can manage the "path" but I am going to need to play with it pre water and see what i can come up with.
Something to occupy me on these dark winter evenings!
I may abandon some of the details, but at least it has my imagination going ( I was feeling really stuck).

Ok, just checked out UNCLE NED's :drooling: I feel a road trip coming on! As soon as the winter storm subsides.....

Re: Planting an underwater garden

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 1:41 pm
by Crazygar
I usually design it on paper as well before moving to the actual contruction phase. I also hardscape it (just placing wood and rocks in without water or anything else) and tweak the design. You'll see what fits and what does not.

Gary

Re: Planting an underwater garden

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:11 pm
by freshfish
IME it doesn't matter what my initial "plans" are - a planted tank evolves along the lines of which plants want to grow whichever ways they want to in each individual tank (ie- a plant that is supposed to grow 18" tall in my tank wants to stay only 6" so I end up moving it to the midground from the background...) That being said, planning the layout is one of the most fun parts of setting up a new tank. :waahooo:

As far as your lighting goes... 2.4 wpg with what type and brand fixture? If you're talking a T5HO fixture with individual reflectors on the bulbs that will be very high lighting indeed for a 75gal tank, and you probably won't end up running that total wattage for the entire photoperiod without having algae issues. If it's T8 lighting, then you may have issues with your Erios not getting enough light (they're really light-hungry plants). Limno also needs a lot of light, CO2 and a really good fert regimen. The rest of the plants you listed so far aren't nearly as demanding and should work just about no matter what setup you go with. :thumb:

As far as swordplants go- I've never met one I didn't love... I'm totally addicted to the entire Echinodorus genus. :D Decide what type of look you're going for (red? tall? short? broad? narrow?) and then we can help you pick out some options.

Re: Planting an underwater garden

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:58 pm
by greta b
I'm purchasing AH Supply kits for my wooden cabinet hood. They come in 36, 55 or 96 watt kits so you can do various combos of lighting.
Bulbs are T5 and T6 and come in a variety of lumens (5500, 6700, and up from there).

I had thought of doing 2x96 kits, one bulb at 5500 and the other at 6700, with timers on each so I can stagger them.
I could do 4x 55 as well.

My husband likes these kits and thinks they look good for the $$. Doesn't think he could do much better buying the set up himself!

Re: Planting an underwater garden

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:04 pm
by freshfish
I'd go for 4 x 54 watts of T5HO, making sure that you have at least 2 switches to control 2 bulbs each. T5HO is superior to CF lighting when it comes to penetrating big, deep tanks :thumb:

Re: Planting an underwater garden

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:16 pm
by greta b
How about lumens :think: ? You think my plan for a combo looks OK?

Re: Planting an underwater garden

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:08 pm
by Crazygar
I would head for a combination of 6700K and 10000K bulbs for the T5HO. Also for Echinodorus, my persona favourite is the Echinodorus quadricostatus. Definately a nice plant!

Gary

Re: Planting an underwater garden

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:20 pm
by greta b
As far as swordplants go- I've never met one I didn't love... I'm totally addicted to the entire Echinodorus genus. Decide what type of look you're going for (red? tall? short? broad? narrow?) and then we can help you pick out some options.


I'd like a center piece plant for starters. Big, lush and tall, broad leaf. Red would be great! But not a must.

Re: Planting an underwater garden

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:21 pm
by Crazygar
There are many Echinodorus that can easily fall into the catergory. Freshfish is our resident Echinodorus person, and she'll have an extensive list of plants that could be suited to your setup.

Gary

Re: Planting an underwater garden

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:58 pm
by freshfish
Are you sure you don't have lumens and kelvins mixed up?

Lumens refers to light output, but kelvin refers to bulb color temperature. 5500, 6700, 10000 are some standard bulb kelvin ratings; and personally, I'd recommend going with a combo of 6700k and 10000k for a FW planted tank.

I'd go with T5s instead of T6s; T6s can be hard to find replacement bulbs.

I'm quite fond of my Kleiner bar sword- the new leaves come in red, and then fade to lighter then darker green as the leaves age. You can see one in the picture in my signature (though my camera does a lousy job picking up reds...) So that's an option.

A Red rubin might also work; those leaves are a bit more slender and they generally grow taller than Kleiner bars, though. I also know where you could get a Red devil, if you're interested; these swords are more rare and a bit more expensive (though not crazy expensive).

Re: Planting an underwater garden

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:06 pm
by Crazygar
If you are lucky enough, hook up with an Aquarium Society or Club and see if anyone has plantlets they can sell. I usually hit the Aquarium Societies first when it comes to looking for plants or at least put the word out you are looking for some.

Gary

Re: Planting an underwater garden

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:48 pm
by greta b
freshfish wrote:Are you sure you don't have lumens and kelvins mixed up?

Lumens refers to light output, but kelvin refers to bulb color temperature. 5500, 6700, 10000 are some standard bulb kelvin ratings; and personally, I'd recommend going with a combo of 6700k and 10000k for a FW planted tank.


yes I mean Kelvins! :?

Thanks for the tips about the swords-- I am planning to go to a local club auction and show next month, so I hope to have a chance to pick up some plants there. I was also recommended a great relatively local fish shop that has me thinking "Road Trip"! Apparetnly he's got good plants.

Re: Planting an underwater garden

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:20 pm
by kb46
Since Freshy got to vote for Echinodorus, I'm putting in my vote for Pennywort. if you look at Laura's tank shot it's the whimsical plant with the lilypad shaped leaves that's tangled around her driftwood. Perfect for a cottage garden, I believe! :thumb:
Kylie