Setting up a planted aquarium is an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can be a little overwhelming at first. Here are some essential pieces of advice to follow when setting up your planted tank.
1) The right location
Planted tanks require light, so you will need to place them in a room with indirect sunlight or use fluorescent lighting (fluorescent lighting is cheaper to run, but slightly less efficient at photosynthesis).
2) The right equipment
Make sure to get the right equipment and chemical fertilizers for your planted aquarium, and that you follow all instructions – otherwise you will not enjoy your planted tank.
All planted tanks should have a filter. More advanced planted tanks will also have a heater and an air pump to create bubbles. You can buy these as a kit if you wish – it is more cost-effective than buying the parts separately.
3) Choose the right aquarium size
When setting up a planted aquarium, it is important to choose the right size aquarium. A planted aquarium should be at least 5 gallons for a single species tank or 10 gallons for a planted community tank. Larger tanks are preferable, as they provide more space for plants and create a more natural environment.
4) The right substrate
The substrate is the material that covers the bottom of your planted aquarium. It is important to choose the right substrate for your tank. Some substrates like gravel can be used in any planted tank, but others like sand and crushed coral should only be used in certain planted tanks. If you need help choosing a substrate, we recommend that you check out our planted tank substrate guide.
5) The right plants
When setting up a planted aquarium, it is important to choose the right plants for your tank. Some plants grow better than others in different planted tanks. We have made separate guides for each type of planted tank which you can find here:
What Else Do I Need?
If your plan is to keep any animals with your planted tank such as snails or shrimp, then you will also need an air pump and heater. There are also some other useful gadgets that might come in useful: light timer – this makes sure that your lights go on and off at the same time every day so that your plants can photosynthesize properly. air stone – this makes bubbles in your planted tank which oxygenates the water and provides an environment for beneficial bacteria to grow. thermometer – measuring temperature is vital because most plants thrive between 22-28 degrees Celsius (72-83 degrees Fahrenheit).
How Long Does it Take?
Planted aquariums usually take between 4 weeks and 6 months to fully ‘cycle’. Cycling basically means getting all of the bacteria you will need for a healthy planted tank established in your planted aquarium. To learn more about cycling click here. If you are interested, we have put together our top tips on how to cycle a planted aquarium as quickly as possible.
If you follow these steps when setting up a planted aquarium, you should have a healthy planted tank in no time. Finally, the best way to learn is by doing. Before long, you will be an expert!