Planted Aquarium for Beginners
Here on this page, I will walk you through setting up your first planted aquarium for beginners. Starting up a planted aquarium can be difficult for a beginner with all the conflicting information and “one size fits all” advice on the internet. Or, the beginner hobbyist happened to visit a local LFS (Local Fish Stores) and has been misinformed to buy this or that which are not essential, compatible, or too expensive for the planted aquarium he/she had in mind as a beginner. Like me, many new hobbyists who want to progress to a planted aquarium naturally started from keeping a fish-only tank. Others were blown away upon seeing a planted aquarium for the first time and decided this is my new passion but has never cared for an aquarium in his/her entire life.
As you progress on this website, you will find that the topics get more advance. And to tell you honestly, most of these topics are the boring ones. But these boring topics will arm you with the essential insights for successfully keeping a planted aquarium at your very own home. It will help you think outside the box, investigate in the right direction, formulate theories, test, and apply. It is not a set-and-forget system and then as your excitement wanes because your planted tank becomes engulf by algae and all sorts of problems because you didn’t even care to know the basics, you quit and decided this hobby is not for you. You need to continuously nurture and maintain it. Don’t worry. I don’t even know even a quarter or an eight of what I know now when I started. And we are still continuously learning. We will get you there and will guide you every step of the way.
Table of Contents
Benefits of a Planted Aquarium
Planning and Essentials
Where should we start?
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Benefits of a Planted Aquarium
Benefits of a Planted Aquarium
Let’s start with the benefits of a planted aquarium to you, your family members, and your freshwater fish, snails, shrimps, etc. Keeping an aquarium at home, most especially a planted aquarium, can:
Simply looking at the fish and the plants gently swaying with the current have a soothing and relaxing effect, just like when you are nature-tripping on one of your vacations. Just thinking about your aquarium, the feeling of fulfillment you can do this, maintaining it to be always stable, fishes are spawning, and plants are thriving is enough to calm you down.
Lower Blood Pressure and Improves Heart Rate
When you are not stressed and calm because of a planted aquarium’s nature-like effects, your blood pressure and heart rate improve.
Improve Your Quality of Sleep
A planted aquarium near your bed can also help you sleep better. A planted aquarium helps you forget about those negative thoughts that have been burdening you throughout the day, allowing you to fall asleep easier every night.
Planted Aquariums in the Bedroom – Aquascaped by Ian Garrido – Philippines
Reduce Anxiety and Feeling of Pain
Ever wonder why some doctors’ clinics, most especially a dentist’s clinic, have aquariums in their waiting room? It is not just simply for decoration. Looking at the aquarium helps to reduce fear and anxiety. It helps the patient feel less pain and even requires no pain medication after completing the dental work. Keeping an aquarium at home is very effective for a family member that has an anxiety disorder. It helps them to keep calm, divert their attention, and forget about whatever is burdening them.
Be a Therapy for Hyperactive Children
I have a son diagnosed with ADHD, and getting him near the aquarium helps him calm down and focus.
Boost Your Productivity
Again, when you are not stressed, it will improve your productivity. That is why some offices employ nature aquarium to calm and relax their employees. I was a work from home employee for more than 2 years, and my aquarium helps me tremendously during those very stressful times.
Aside from the medical benefits, a planted aquarium provides to the hobbyist or owner. Live aquarium plants are more aesthetically pleasing in our eyes than the plastic plants and unnatural ceramic decors we currently have. Live aquarium plants benefit the aquarium by oxygenating the water during lights on and enhancing water quality. They act as a natural filtration by using excess nutrients produced by fish waste, uneaten food, and decaying organic debris. They help prevent algae growth, to some extent, by denying the algae of those nutrients. Fishes and their fry feels safe by providing them with natural refuges (and even food) and encourage many types of fish to spawn.
Most beginner hobbyists don’t want to mess with expensive aquarium lighting, injecting CO2 and other additives due to budget constraints. Even if you are well off, I don’t recommend buying the most expensive equipment and the largest aquarium you can afford to start with. It is crucial to get the hang of setting up your first planted aquarium and maintaining it to make it stable. As much as possible, I will not use very complex and technical terminologies here about the science of a planted aquarium, not yet, or will use layman’s terms. We are not after the most beautiful, expensive, technical, physics-laden, competition-headlining aquascape here in this article. Instead, we give the best, natural-looking environment for your plants and fishes, which is the primary goal.
Planted Aquarium Essentials
Planted aquariums require less work to maintain but need more work to set up for the first time. Most importantly, we need to consider the tank’s ideal location at our home to avoid stressing the fish and avoiding disasters and accidents.
Here are the main topics that will be discussing more in-depth in upcoming articles:
Planted aquariums require less work to maintain but needs more work to set up for the first time. So we need to plan for it properly. Most importantly, we need to consider the ideal location of the tank at our home. So in this article, I will walk you through all the considerations on deciding where to place an aquarium at your home.
Furniture Stands Aquascaped Tanks by Ayong Go Philippines
In this 3-parts series of articles, we will be discussing how to determine your tank dimensions, choose between rimless or braced tanks, the right materials in building your aquarium, and inspecting your aquarium tank before purchasing.
Custom Stand and Cabinet Aquascaped by Fritz Rabaya Philippines
In this 10-parts series of articles, we will be discussing the many different styles of Aquascaping and their core elements that set them apart from each other.
Hybrid Style Aquascaped by Les Paul Villanueva Philippines
In this 4-parts series of articles, we will be discussing the Nitrogen Cycle in our Planted Aquarium and how it will help us in knowing the importance of Tank Cycling for our Faunas and Floras.
This article will discuss the different safe water sources that you can use with your planted aquarium.
From deep-well (spring water), municipal tap water, purified, distilled, Reverse Osmosis (RO), Deionize water (DI), to combinations, we will cover these water sources in-depth.
In this article, we will be discussing the different filtration methods, the different filter media for each filtration method, ideal water turn-over rates, and we will help you decide what the best filter for your planted aquarium is.
Internal Filter Aquascaped by Melchin Origenes Tapan
In this article, we will be discussing the different types of filters that you can use with your planted aquarium, what to look for/consider in a filter, functions, etc.
Using Sponge Filter by Aldrin Solano Gacos Philippines
Planted Aquarium Lighting
In this section, we will be discussing one of the essential needs of your plants to grow, and that is the lighting.
We will outline what we need to consider in choosing your planted aquarium lighting and the importance of adjusting the intensity of your lighting.
All About CO2 Injection
In this section, we will be discussing all about CO2 Injection in our planted aquarium.
We will discuss why the need to inject CO2, and in some situations, you don’t need to inject CO2. We will also compare DIY CO2 injection versus injecting CO2 via a pressurized tank and its pros and cons.
Planted Aquarium Substrate
This section will discuss the many different substrates that we can consider in our planted aquarium.
What is the best substrate for your plants, and the differences between inert and active substrates will be discussed thoroughly.
In this article, we will outline the functions of essential Aquascaping tools for your successful planted aquarium.
From tweezers, curved scissors, quality, and how they can help you with successful planting and trimming maintenance will be discussed in detail.
Other Planted Aquarium Tools and Equipment
Here in this section, we will be discussing other essential tools and equipment which are vital for the success of your planted aquarium.
This article will discuss all about hardscapes that you can use in your planted aquarium, how to set up, how to build, how to plant in them, and other tips and tricks for them to last submerged for a very long time.
Hardscape by Christian Pontiano Philippines
Nutrients, Fertilizers and Dosing
In this article, we will discuss all about fertilizers for your plants, what do we need to consider in choosing forms, what are the essential nutrients for your plants, dosing regime, dosing amounts, how to balance it with your light and CO2.
This article will discuss the many different kinds of plants that you can grow in our planted aquarium. From rosettes, stem, tubers, epiphytes to floating plants are all discussed in-depth.
This article will discuss the many fish species suitable in our planted aquariums, fish stocking, feeding, do’s and don’ts, etc.
Choosing our fish to complement our planted aquarium will make for a vibrant display.
Planted Aquarium Maintenance
Keeping in with your maintenance is vital to the success of keeping a planted aquarium, most especially in the first few weeks to months, where you haven’t achieved the balance yet. You will not be able to keep that balance if you are skipping with your maintenance as well.
So in this article, we will discuss in-depth the tasks (tedious, sometimes) to properly maintain your planted aquariums and provide additional tips when maintaining different styles of aquascapes, different kinds of filters, how many percent of tank volume to water change, trimming plants, siphoning your substrate, doing water parameters tests, etc.
In this article, we will be discussing algae management and how to eradicate them.
What causes them to thrive, the many different kinds and forms of algae, how to avoid them, and balance your water parameters, lights, CO2, and fertilizers for them not to come back anymore.
Finding the Balance of Your Planted Aquarium
Finally, when all is said and done, we will help you find the balance in your planted aquarium so you can enjoy it, with minimal to no visible algae, with less human intervention (just weekly water change of 25 %), and some occasional plant trimmings.
I hope you enjoyed this article and if ever you have additional questions or want to share your experiences with planted aquariums, please leave a comment below. Next, we will be discussing how to determine the ideal location for your planted aquarium.