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8 Easy Steps to Plant a Tank

A simple guide to establishing a planted tank.

1. Collect driftwood and rocks from river banks (if legal in your area) or buy them on eBay. Rinse and soak the wood in de-chlorinated water until it stops leaking tannin. Change water periodically until it is no longer brown and the wood becomes waterlog.

2. Going by the golden ratio or just a gut feeling, arrange them in the empty tank to create a natural, wabi sabi look.

3. Select 3-4 types of plants that would best fit the environment. Include some hardy ferns and mosses, fast-growing stem plants, as well as your favorite ones.

4. Prepare a sketch showing the placement of rocks, driftwood, plants and other decorations. Create multiple sketches if the tank is to be viewed from 2 or more angles.

5. Purchase the desired plants at fish stores or trade with local aquascaping enthusiasts. Eliminate snail and algae from the plants by dipping them in 1:19 chlorine-water solution for 2-3 min. Shake them vigorously for a thorough cleansing. Rinse the plants under water and soak in de-chlorinated water before inserting into the tank.

6. Using an old cup or container, slowly fill the bottom of the tank with gravel until it is about 2 deep. For a 10 gallon tank, 15 lb of substrate should be sufficient. Gently push the gravel with a piece of cardboard or short ruler until level. The rear should be deeper than the front for optimal viewing.

7. Secure the plants to different parts of the tank according to the plan.

8. Slowly remove tiers and fishing lines in 2-3 months or when the plants have grabbed onto the surface. When the plants have grown considerably, trim off dead or old leaves to promote new growth, and transplant excess parts from an outgrown area to another by repeating the planting process.

More articles on Aquascaping:

  • What is Wabi-sabi?
  • Aquarium Planting Methods

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