Friday, March 16, 2007

Useful tips to set up a planted tank: Part 1

Planted Tank
Useful tips to set up a planted tank: Part 1


Substrate is one of the most critical issues for a planted tank. The substrate can vary from set up to set up and heavily depends on the species that you are planning keep in the tank. Please remember that the substrate in your tank is not just few colorful pebbles with shiny look or a heap of sand dumped at the bottom of the tank. It is one of the key elements that keep a tank living and growing.

Layering in your substrate is also very critical, as you need to use multiple materials for the substrate, depending on the need of the flora and fauna kept in your tank.

For the bottom layer, I use ¼” thick, Iron rich Laterite soil layer at the bottom of the tank to ensure a constant source of Iron for l-o-n-g time. On the top of that I use a 1-1 1/2” think layer of 4-5 mm sand and then 3-5” thick layer of 2-4 mm sand. I put fine sand at the top most layer just for decoration.

Please remember to use calcium-free sand, i.e. sand free from broken pieces of shells etc. if you are planning to add CO2 in your tank, at a later stage.

Use fine sand only for decoration and in limited amount, (better not to use them at all) as the plants do not grow well in fine sand.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Indigenous species

Aquatic plant
This is a photograph of an indigenous species that I could not identify. I picked up this speciment from a small pet shop in Eastern region of India.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Side View

Planted tank
A side view of my 42 gl. Planted tank. A Corydora julii and a Clown loach can be seen in the photograph with one or two other species.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Indian Spiny Loach in Samit's Tank
The image shows an Indian spiny loach (Lepidocephalichthys thermalis) in my tank. Initially I kept him, along with few other specimens of the same species, in one 32 gl planted community tank. Later, when the 42 Gl planted set up for loaches was ready, I moved them in that, with other 4 other varieties of loaches – Clown Loach (Chromobotia macracanthus), Kuhli Loach (Pangio kuhlii), "Yoyo" Loach (Botia almorhae), Zebra Loach (Botia striata).

Indian spiny loach (Lepidocephalichthys thermalis) is one of the small and peaceful loaches and could be kept with other fishes. Usually, loaches are very much friendly with other loaches, even if the other one belongs to a different species. They are also very peaceful with most of the common aquarium fishes.

If you keeping loaches, then make sure to have a finer substrate such as river sand and lots of hiding places with plants, rocks, earthen pots (this one is best according to me), driftwoods etc. Loaches are particularly sensitive to temperature, so make sure have a thermostat. Most of the loaches prefer little current in the water. So, do not forget to put a power head. Loaches are best while kept in groups.

For more information on loaches visit

Monday, March 12, 2007


Female Guppy in Samit's Tank
The photograph shows one of the breeding female Guppies in my tank. Guppies are the most favorite live bearer of mine, like thousand other aquarists from across the world. Guppy or Poecilia reticulata is probably the most popular freshwater aqurium species in the world. The fish is named after Robert John Lechmere Guppy (a British-born naturalist, 1836-1916) who has discovered this tiny fish in Trinidad, way back in 1866. However, this fish was known to European Aquarists, even before that.

This is a very hardy fish, making it suitable for the beginners. It prefers hard water and can withstand salinity levels up to 150% seawater, making this fish suitable for even a marine tropical community setup.

Its most famous characteristic is its tendency for breeding prolifically. It is known to give birth even while in transit from the pet shop to the home tank. The females are usually ready for conception again within a few hours, after giving birth and can use stored sperm from the previous mating to become pregnant again. Guppies prefer 22 °C (72 °F) for reproduction, but can do well in higher temperature like 26-27 °C, too.