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