Newbies: please read this 1st


Junior Poster
Sep 15, 2016
Montreal, Canada
Well I am planning to switch to a planted tank after 40 years in the hobby. No quite true since I tried an failed miserably 5 years ago. This time I am planning to take my time and make sure that I select the right plants and the right way of growing them. The secret for me will be to choose slow growing plant to avoid having a big ball of vegetation when I come back from my frequent travelling. The info in here will surely help me.

Robin W

New Member
Jul 15, 2017
There are more things to read here than my reading list for my bachelors in communications!
Anyways, Just a word of thanks to Mr Barr and all the rest of the administrators and veterans here for your selfless contributions to the hobby and for helping us out as we try to create a beautiful aquarium!

Robin W.
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Andy Taylor

New Member
Jul 15, 2017
I have had numerous tanks in the past and did a lot of research into setting up and maintaining them.
Good advice is hard to find in my opinion but, by doing research on forums like this and taking advice, setting up and maintaining isn't as hard as you first think!
I recently joined this forum, A, because i am in the process of setting up again (6 years without a set up is a long time!) And B, The advice given on this forum is worth its weight in gold!
I'm looking at a planted aquarium so i feel as if i'm in the right place for help and advice.
Keep up the good work everyone!!



New Member
Sep 13, 2017
West Virginia
Well, you want info?
It's here.

The issue is that to learn, you will want to start by reading as much as your brain can handle, then try a few things and ask questions, after you have read up.

You have time, relax, read at your own pace.
Little by little you will learn more and become better at keeping plants.
Ask for help, that's what other more experienced folks are here for, do not worry, we will be easy on you, see, everyone was a newbie at some point and we all recall what it was like.
Sometimes we go off on tangents, but we do get around to making sure you get it and understand what you should focus on.

Folks come to this hobby from a very wide background.
Some of us have harder times understanding things than others.
It is also good to join a local club or plant group, there are many these days.
You can learn 100X more in the same amount of time with a group like that.
Try and talk with folks at your same level to share the pains and successes.

This will help you and make the hobby more enjoyable.
Now you will have a tougher time learning off the web versus in person, so give folks here/elsewhere and yourself a little grain of salt and latitude.
It's far more difficult on the web versus in person when it comes to communication, I know this very well after well over 10 years helping folks out over the internet:)
Also, it takes time to learn all this, you might never want to know everything, just enough to get by and enjoy the hobby at a slower pace. That's is fine, many do this and have great results.
I came at things from a more common sense perspective and then go really interested as time progressed, but I recall when I was really turned off by all those "plant people", who c/would do those planted gardens that took uo 100% of the aquarium?" I really did not the looks of chemicals and formulations in PMDD (see the Krib) and thought I could just do without any of that. Little by little I started adding things. Over time, it was really simple and easy. Took me awhile to come around is my point, so do not feel bad if you do not jump on board and go "whole hog". The technical aspects are here whenever you desire (or not), in reality, they are not that different than gardening in the yard.

I come across crotchety at times, I'm not that way at all in person and do try very hard to help everyone I can and straighten things out as well as misconceptions.
If I was really mean and cranky, I'd never do this and would have burned out back in 2000 or so. I am very patient and try to help folks when everyone else has given up.
I can be blunt and honest on line/written word. I often come across very well, onerous this media.
I am persistent, you should hopeful be aware of this, and I often speak in general terms, I do not attack anyone personally, I do however debate the idea aggressively. Please do not misunderstand me there, I try not to judge folks, I ask the same in return. The debate process might seem harsh to a newbie, but it's effective at rooting out the best methods and information. Anything worth discussing, should be discussed with some passion and debate. Folks can hash things out better this way in the long run.

Please do not be afraid to pose a question.
I do try to give honest answers as well as most hobbyists that keep planted tanks.
We all where newbies at one time also and have been the same things you are likely to go through.

Tom Barr

Hello, I'm a newbie... Years ago, I had small aquariums. My oh my how things have changed. I've never tried Plants. Now I have 4, Java Fern, Java Fern Lace, Anacharis, Water Spirit. I have a 36 gal. bow front. Gravel. Seacheam Tidal 110 and Biohome Fluid Bed filter ( i made) Florescent light ( one bulb) I turn on 12 hrs day. No CO2. I bought S.T International Root Sticks, used a small piece on each plant. I have not used any liquid ferts or anything else. I do weekly PWC. My Ammonia is 0, Nitrite 0, however NitrAtes have climbed to 20+ ppm. I don't know if it's the Root Sticks or my feeding schedule. I am now feeding every other day. Wondered if anyone has used S.T International Root Sticks? What would be the best Ferts. to use. Safe for snails, I have many Ramshorn snails. ( Do they eat plants? Thanks for all the info. I try to read and learn. Enjoying the Aquarium and hope to keep it healthy.
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New Member
Mar 9, 2018
New England
I found this place through a link from The Planted Tank, and it looks great. I appreciate the clean layout and laid back, co-operative feel. I've been messing with aquatic set ups for a few decades, off and on, but the technology and knowledge has expanded exponentially and i'm glad to be able to look over the shoulders of so many dedicated people. Perhaps I can add some knowledge from before some here were born, but Tere is a lot for me to catch up on. Thanks to all.
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Grant Varcoe

New Member
Mar 11, 2018
Melbourne Australia
I am so pleased to find this forum interesting.
instead of watching tv and you tube trying to find tips on some things which can take up a lot of time.
Sometimes you can get sidetracked and loose focus in what information you were looking for in the 1st place.
Thank you Tom.
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New Member
May 19, 2020
Thanks for creating this forum its a wonderful place for people like me who are new to planted tanks to gain information and knowledge from experienced people willing to share their wealth of information. I'm just starting my journey, I know it will be rough at first but with some help and advice I'm sure I will get the plants to live and grow, hopefully even thrive.
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Lifetime Member
Lifetime Member
Aug 3, 2020
Like so many others, I have enjoyed this hobby for many years. However, I have only recently decided to make the leap (and it feels like a big one) into an attempt at aquascaping. My previous experience with plants is the offerings from the big box stores in an effort to make the lives of my fish better. I am so glad sites like this exist to give people like me access to those of you who have gained so much knowledge. Thanks for sharing!!


New Member
Aug 30, 2020
Ukraine, Kiev
I've been doing this for over 10 years, but I dived deeper when I launched my 500+ aquarium, tank. While I'm getting used to the forum, I read a lot, a lot of interesting material. Thank.