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I should mention that it seems to me that substrate aeration is not needed for the tanks that I set up, but they are all fairly young. The two-level substrate I use seems to allow an aerated space on top with lower nutrients and a rich, fine grained low aeration section on the bottom for those roots which care to penetrate. I should also mention that the internet is another great place to get accurate (but not always accurate) aquatic plant info besides TAG. A wealth of information is available from the World Wide Web site , which contains mainly archives of quality postings to the *.aquaria newsgroups from the past. Now here is an outline of how I set up and maintain healthy tanks cheaply and easily, listed by subject.
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It is natural to be apprehensive about where and how to position the plants. Look at the book Nature Aquarium World by Takashi Amano for artistic inspiration. Then just go ahead and do it, and remember that it won’t look good until the plants grow in, so wait a month or two before repositioning anything. Most plants don’t like to moved too often. One rule that you should follow is to plant very densely. Remember that plants use up available nutrients from the water and thereby prevent algae from getting a strong hold. If you try to save money by planting one plant at a time, you’ll only grow an algae garden. Excess space can be filled in with cheap fast growing plants like Ludwigia, which will quickly use up excess nitrates and/or other nutrients, and can be partially or completely replaced later with fresh cuttings of more other plants. As a fast growing stem plant reaches the top of the water, you’ll want to cut off the top 1/2 to 2/3 of it and replant it, leaving the rooted bottom to produce new sideshoots. In this way a small amount of a stem plant (even one cutting!) can be turned into a thick garden. Rosette plants with roots should be pushed too far into the sand first, then pulled up so that the point where the leaves join the rootstock is above the sand. Small plants can be held down with pieces of bent wire until they root. ONLINE PLACES TO GET CHEAP AQUARIUM PLANTS THAT SHIP TO CANADA
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I have since set up two additional tanks according to the methods outlined below, with similar success stories, except that one still has some visible algae (buy nothing worse than before the addition of the N and P). Several people from the U.C. Davis area, and others from the internet who saw an older version of these instructions posted on the *.aquaria newsgroups have claimed the same successes that I found (including patchy algae successes), so I am confident that the method works reliably and is easy enough for relative beginners (which TAG readers are certainly not, so bear with the obvious items that follow which are included for the sake of completeness). The instructions are meant to be used as a practical guide to setting up planted aquaria as cheaply as possible with almost guaranteed success, and do not include mention of more advanced or expensive techniques which might be used with great success by some advanced aquarists (e.g. heating cables). More detailed information on soil/plant relations and nutrition may appear in a later issue of TAG.For those on a very limited budget. Consider the LED lighting designed for normal donestic use, there’s lots to choose from and with different light spectrums. Look for a ‘warm white’ which will contain some of the necessary red frequency that plants need. There is,of all things, an LED fitting with around 20 LED’s that is designed to fit around your parasol pole in the garden. I have used several of these, they are much, much cheaper than purpose made aquarium lights and are easy to adapt to fit over your tank. I have had good results with plant growth with these. Most of them are powered just by batteries, but there are some with input for plugging in a low voltage power supply, or you could just buy a couple of sets of rechargeable batteries, swopping them as needed.Live freshwater aquarium plants for sale cheap low prices, moss, hornwort, baby tears, java fern, swords, crypts and much more for your planted tank!By the way, even tap water contains soluble iron, but in the high oxygen environment of your aquarium it quickly turns to rust which the plants cannot use. Chelated iron doesn't oxydize quickly and so will remain available for weeks. (Note that "Security" brand is only 0.25% chelated iron, the rest is unchelated and quickly turns to rust, so I add it every night before bed (since it temporarily slightly clouds the water) hoping that some of the unchelated iron has a chance to be absorbed too. Finally I would like to warn against using the cheaptree fertilizer available in garden supply. A friend tried this notnoticing that there was chlorine in the ingredients, and subsequentlykilled all his fish. Try the Osmocote tablets described below. In summary, I would add some solid nitrogen containing fertilizer in the substrate (especially Lilipons or similar), check for high nitrates (if they're high (above 10 ppm), stop fertilizing with nitrogen and increase water changes until they lower), and add chelated iron if the plants take a turn for the worse.