An Absolute Newbie in Planted - Dumb Questions


Junior Poster
Mar 16, 2009
Kolkata, India
Hello Freinds,

Just joined this great place :) . Little about myself, I come from india, and have a fishkeeping experience of little close to 7 years. Throughout this tenure, except the initial hiccups, have been concentrating primarily on Cichlids and Arowana.
Have kept, large sized NA Cichlids, Arowana (Still have 1 - 16 inches long Silver), Frontosa tanks etc...

This is my first venture into planted aquaria.. This weekend, have setup my first ever planted tank..

Wanted to setup the Tank first with no CO2 injection...The details are as follows

1. Tank dimension - 36 in (L) X 15 in (W) X 18 in (H). I do realize that the W is less, as more is needed for aquascaping well.. but realized it much late

2. Lighting - Going by 1.5 - 2 WPG rule, have 2 X 36 Watts PLL, with 80 CRI and 6500 K

3. Substrate Used - Prodac Humus, Prodac Fertil (Plant Base), Prodac Fondovivo, and regular Sand Gravel 2 - 3 mm on top.

4. Cannister Filer - 1000L/H capacity.

Attached is the picture, with 6 hrs after plantation.. Water was still murky, but eventually clearing out...

The plants I have used (Sorry too bad in scientific names). If possible, from the attached picture, can someone also ID the plants..

1. Lily Bulb (Front Corners, Right and Left)
2. Dwarf Amazon
3. Anubias Nana
4. Ludwigia
5. Some red plants and rear right (Seller told the name as Gynia)
6. Cabomba
7. Hydrophilla
8. Some Spiral shaped plants (Rear left - not sure of the exact name)

Below is the understanding and questions I have

1. For a non CO2 based tank, from the startup, I have gone for the tank as heavily planted as possible... So as any ammonia released in the system, gets immly absorbed by the plants and I do not have algae growth.

2. The WPG is followed as said earlier with 1.5 - 2 WPG and the initial lighting I have started is with 6 hrs per day. I am planning to increase to 8 (at the max) -- But since when?

3. I am afraid, that, If I carry out large water changes, then the amount of dissolved CO2 in the water may vary and I may trigger an algae growth.. So theoritically, I should not be doing any water changes at all, other than topping up for the evaporated amount?? What should be the Water change schedule , the amount and frequency?

4. Is the plantation sufficient.. Or do I need to add more?

5. The Fauna, I had decided is

a. Neon Tetra (20)
b. Remi Rezi (4)
c. Corydoras Cat (2)
d. Red Cherry Shrimp (2)

Is the list overstocking?

6. The temperature in Summer, here touches almost 32 degrees celcius.. I know there may be a concern.. But how much the damage can be?

7. Since my substrate is rich in nutrients, do you forsee unlimited nutrients being present in the water columns, even after the plants absorption? I also understand that low light and unlimited nutrients does not trigger algae but traces of NH3 and NH4 can... Can the substrate be a concern?

I realize it is far from a good aquascaping.. but I realize it is a art and needs years to master.. so till now, may be this looks like a jungle.. But am I on the right track to maintain this jungle?

Waiting for some good suggestions and criticisms...


Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 15, 2009
Cory Cats are much happier with 3 or more. If you're planning on using the shrimp for a clean up crew you're definitely going to need more than two. I only have two left of the reds. I've got 6 of the amano type and they're generally in clusters of 3. When I had more of the reds they would do similarly but didn't seem too inclined to hang out with the amanos. If you're worried about stocking levels you could drop the number of neons. Most likely that will happen anyway as I've never found neons to be all that robust. Mortality rates on cardinal tetras also seems pretty high initially ( although once the initial culling happens the remaining ones seem to live a long time ). Your stocking rate overall seems fine. Given your temperature concerns you may want to leave it on the low side until you see how things are going to react.