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Planted Aquarium 101

Planted Aquarium basics, the bare minimum requirement to setup one by youselves.
Planted Aquarium 101

This photo is from GreenAqua which is one of the greatest aquarium shops that we have on the planet today.

Planted aquariums are one of the hobbies that gives you more returns in terms of happiness and self realization. It's nature in a glass-box.  

The concept of planted tank is very old and there prevails different methods from the literature. In simple terms, if we grow plants in a fish tank, that is a planted aquarium. Both the fishes and plants grow complementing each other. The plants benefit from the fish waste and also they act as the natural filter to the water.

Different components of a planted aquarium are;

Aquarium Soil -

The usual low tech tanks feature a substrate layer in either natural or synthetic sand. It is recommended to have aquarium soil which is a commercial grade clay-based soil. Quite a few brands of soil is available. Some of them are nutrient rich (Nitrates, Phosphorous & Potassium) or NPK which is the fertilizers for the plants. These commercial soils have high cation exchange capacity (CEC) meaning, if we provide them additional nutrients, it will be stored in the soil and given to the plants when they need them. One such famous soil in the business is ADA Amazonia series of soil.

An Aquarium Filter -

Over time the water gets dirty and though plants are acting as a filter, there is still organic waste that gets into the water (fish food, fish poop, decaying leaves etc). It needs to be filtered. The filter also acts as creating flow in the aquarium which is necessary for both plants and the fishes. There are many commercial filters available to the hobbyist from several brands. I personally like the Eheim filters for their quiet operation and overall lifespan.

Aquarium Light -

The plants thrive by photosynthesis and in nature it uses sun light. In our planted tanks, we have to use a light which would enable them to start the photosynthesis process. There are again different brands available, ADA being one of them. However, I prefer the lights from Chihiros or ONF. These are affordable lights and provides right rendering of different wavelengths required for photosynthesis.

Scape material like rocks/driftwood etc -

To simulate nature, some hardscape can be created with rocks (again different types of rocks) and driftwood. It adds to the aesthetics and looks more like nature.

That's all you need to create a planted aquarium. The below video shows one of the ways to actually scape the hardscape and planting as well.