"All Natural Decor tanks, what's best"?

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Discuss all topics related to freshwater and planted tanks.

Posts: 87
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:00 am

"All Natural Decor tanks, what's best"?

by darkruby

Hey everyone,

I own a 55 Gallon aquariuim that WILL contain fake decor and some live plants but I am itching to get all natural decor but it looks to be there could be downsides. I want a planted driftwood tank but I really dont know what is best. Got any suggestions?

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Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:04 am

by Peterkarig3210

Some people say that the hard, heavy, dark wood that usually is like an old stump lowers the pH a lot, but in my experience I've had no problems. It comes in really beautiful shapes, and like I said many are in the shape of a naturally broken off stumps which I think is beautiful. Some kinds of plants can grow on it including Java moss, Java fern, and different kinds of anubias which are all easy to grow low light plants.

I've seen a kind of rock called Zebra rock or something that a lot of people with planted co2 enriched tanks use as well.

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Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 2:35 am

by Serial324556

Malaysian driftwood is nice. I have 2 pieces in my 29 gallon and hasn't lowered the pH at all. It's kind of reddish in color. Also like Peter said java moss will look nice on driftwood.

The more fake decor you have the less it will look realistic. If you want a realistic look stay away from the more fake looking decor. The only thing fake in my tank is the plants but they look nice once some algae starts growing on them.

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Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 8:14 pm

by Ryule1105

Heck, if you want natural looking, there is nothing better than getting you're stuff from nature. I have my driftwood from the lakeshore. The key is just disinfecting it really well in bleach water. 19 parts water 1 part bleach. I soaked it for 6 hours to make sure everything both IN and on the wood was dead. A really good rinse and a few more soaks later, the driftwood was clean and void of life that could harm my tank. You can do the same thing with rocks. The best part is, if your an outdoorish person, you know where all those cool rocks and pieces of wood are.

As far as plants go, Crypts, Javas and Anubis plants are great for beginners and don't require huge amounts of light. If your willing to put money out for lighting, Amazon Swords and Hygros look awesome along the back of a tank. Plants also have the added bonus of stabilizing the chemicals in your tank.
As far as plants

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Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 4:35 am

by Zambize4899

About fake plants, I have a ton of them in my tank, but I have selected fabric or silk plants that sway in the water. No plastic. People standing right in front of the tank are often fooled. For me, real plants are a whole other level of experience and don't belong in my beginner's brain.


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Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:33 pm

by Tmercier834747

My water from tap PH (after a 24 hour settling period) is roughly 7.2-7.4. I have a very large piece of driftwood in my 16 gallon, which probably occupies about as much space as 1-2 gallons of water. Within a month or two of placing it in my tank PH readings ran between 6.2-6.8. I'm pretty sure PK changes his water pretty infrequently like myself but he probably has a lot more water for the wood in his tank to buffer. I think some pieces will lower your PH drastically while others won't I guess it really depends on the source of the driftwood. I might also add that mistakingly I didn't boil mine, so I had to battle tannic acid (turns the water brown-ish) with multiple water changes. Most of it seems to have leeched out now as the water is as clear as it was before I added the wood.
I'm not sure what kind of wood it is as I was seeking some explaination from the LFS I purchased it from and they gave me a vague answer: "Yeah, its safe for your aquarium." lol
I think many varieties of wood are fine for aquaria, but some will pre-maturely break down and rot in the water which is real bad (usually forms of wood that weren't immersed in the first place). So if you choose some native wood make sure it's been in a water source for some time, or at least was before it washed on a beach, etc.

The biggest thing I urge you to consider is whatever wood you decide to use, treat it. If the wood is dry to begin with I.E. - from a beach shore, let it soak for some time in a bucket until it becomes soaked all the way through with water - the best way to determine this is if it no longer floats. :) If its wet, skip that step and go straight to boiling it. It's best to boil any wood you get whether from a LFS or right from the beach for at least 2 hours to remove parasites, little nasties, tannic acid and any impurities that may have existed in it naturally. For real thick pieces I'd recommend boiling longer.
Plants you don't really have to undergo any real special prepartation with. The only REAL important thing with plants is, if you think you may even have the slightest idea of going planted when you start creating a new tank (even if it may be like a year down the road), pick the right substrate, so you don't have to make drastic changes further down the road when your tank is already cycled with fish in it, etc.

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Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2007 8:42 pm

by Poetic_Irony2267

TM83 is absolutely 100% right about the driftwood as well as the substrate issue, if you are going to consider starting a mostly live planted tank, choose your substrate wisely, eco-complete is a perfect choice although it's rather expensive, secondly make sure you have the amount of light needed in order to keep your plants alive and healthy, it does take quite a bit of money to get started with an all live planted tank, i compare it to starting a salt water tank, as far as difficulty level goes, although i don't know a ton about salt water tanks, i do know that ph in a planted tank is key, as some plants can stand higher ph, most of the aquarium plants that you will find in most pet stores like a little bit lower ph level, keeping a few large chunks of drift wood in the tank can help buffer the water to keep the ph at a steady and safe level. next you want to consider a co2 unit you can get a diy unit going for pretty cheap or go out and spend a little extra cash and setup a serious co2 system for your tank. again that depends on the types of plants you are going to keep. lastly after you do setup your tank and start planting it, any plants that have pots, remove them as carefully from the pots as you can and remove as much of the sponge material from around the roots as possible with out damaging the plant, make sure you have a good deep substrate bed for the plants to go down into, and clip off any dead or dieing leaves, as you do not want rotting material in your tank. once all is settled and you have everything going in the right direction just sit back and watch it grow. i've been watching mine since nov of last year and it's amazing when i look through the photos that i have taken and can see the tremendous transformation of the tank take place, if you have friends with fish tanks, they will be a good source for you to rid yourself of overgrowth, plants that start to crowd out other plants in your tank that you want to keep, just clip off the runners and give em away or start another tank. lol can't have too many tanks i always say.
hope some of this helps.

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Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:04 am

by Peterkarig3210

I've gone for years with a low tech low light planted tank. I chose plants that didn't require much light and it was easy.

I had a near disaster in my new high light co2 DIY set up last night. The co2 line is connected to the filter intake and the sponge fell off the intake and a huge ramshorn snail got stuck in it. What happened was that the pump then sucked yeast water into the tank from the co2 generating container. I woke up to a tank filled with bubbles smelling like yeast or beer and the co2 container was all crumpled up. Nothing but the snail died thank god.

Low light plants are easy though.

"All Natural Decor tanks, what's best"?

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