Here is where the success or failure of your planted tank can happen.

Often we see local fish shop decorate bottom of their tank with sand. Is it ok?
Answer is: Yes ! And No in planted aquarium.

Bacteria factory?
1 important difference of planted aquarium compare to conventional aquarium is we are optimizing the usage of beneficial bacteria. Yes, good bacteria helps you to maintain your aquarium. We keep live stocks (fishes and shrimps) in our tank. The larger population of your live stock, the faster water gets dirty. Most people would think filter is meant for cleaning job. Actually they are half correct. Filter system does clean out the larger particle in your water. But when fishes and shrimps pee and poo in your aquarium, ammonia level in your aquarium will increase. This is poison to all live stocks!

Beneficial bacteria help to change ammonia to nitrates. Nitrates is absorbed by your aquatic plants as fertilizer. So, the cycle is completed! Someone create rubbish, someone convert rubbish, someone consume the converted rubbish. Everybody happy.

In order to sustain enough bacteria to work for you, you need to provide enough home for them. Bacteria will grow attach to bottom layer of substrates and ceramic bio ring. Do Not wash your filter with tap water! Chlorine will kill all your bacteria. You can wash your filter during water change. Use back old water you remove from aquarium.

Where to get bacteria?
Bacteria will grow in your filter and aquarium once everything is establish. This is why we are advised to let aquarium running for 1 or 2 weeks before adding in any live stocks.

However, ADA has some magical powder :). 5 types of ADA bacteria powder is one of the amazing combination which greatly enhance in growing bacteria. Bacter 100, Clear super, Tourmaline BC, Penac P and Penac W. You don’t have to buy all 5 bottles of these powders. Local planted tank shop in Malaysia are selling them in scoops, each scoop Rm2. Tell the shopkeeper what is your aquarium size and they will know how many scoops you need.

How to setup gravel?
Steps:

  1. Clean your aquarium with clean cloth. Do not use soap or chemical.
  2. Spread ADA 5 elements evenly at bottom.
  3. Put 1 inch of crushed lava rock AND/OR power sand.
  4. Put 1 or 2 inch of gravel. ADA Amazonia gravel is recommended.
  5. Done

It is important to have at least 1 inch of bottom gravel for your planted aquarium.

Do not clean or disturb the bottom gravel. Once bacteria is establish in bottom layer, they don’t like you to disturb their home.


ADA Power Sand, JBL Aquabasis plus – The growth of aqua plants like Echinodorus or Cryptocoryne, plants that absorb nutrients from its root, largely depends upon the amount of nutrients within the substrate. Unlike ordinary Power Sand, Power Sand Special provides more minerals and nutrients to the substrate.
Thanks for reading! 🙂

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6 responses »

  1. WeiJieTew says:

    Hi Khor,
    Yes, actually powder size amazonia is nice to see and better for planting.
    Normally i ask clients only use normal type amazonia soil 🙂

  2. weng says:

    Need to spread power sand as ADA recommend or can replace by lava rock in initial setup?

    • WeiJieTew says:

      Hi Weng,
      It’s up to you. lava rocks provides the base layer for bacteria growth. power sand provides extra nutrients to soil bed and promotes bacteria growth. Since we are all using ADA amazonia soil which has great amount of nutrient, why we need power sand? i change my setup every once a year, during rescape, i would top up with another 0.5-1 inch of new soil. So far no problem 🙂
      Rgds,
      weijie

  3. wan says:

    Hi Sifu Weijie

    Is the ada amazonia normal type suitable to plant glosso plant and HC? It seem like the powder type double the price of the normal one. Please advise.

    Thanks.

    • WeiJieTew says:

      hi wan,
      yes, i got several client is planting HC using normal type. glosso is definitely no problem.
      powder price is insanely high. not worth to buy it anymore.

  4. This website was… how do I say it? Relevant!
    ! Finally I have found something which helped me.
    Appreciate it!

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