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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to the hobby and have a 40 gallon tank. Just the tank. No lid etc. I want to make it a simple planted aquarium because quite frankly it seems overwhelming at this point with understanding Co2 etc. :fearful:. Soooo who wants to tell me how to spend money? Lol. I'm on a budget and don't mind going slow.
 

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Welcome to the forum and to aquarium keeping!!

If you're new to the hobby I would certainly stay away from CO2, there is a decent learning curve when applying it.
This is where I would put my money to start:

Light - doesn't need to be a very strong one to start with.
Filter - always look for something rated a bit higher than your tank. If the box says "good for tanks up to 40 gallons,: I would pass on it and get the filter "good for tanks up to 60-75 gallons."
Heater - 100watt should be enough
Gravel/Sand - you don't need the fancy fertilized stuff unless you intend to commit to growing a lush planted tank.
Plants - "low tech" plants such as Anubias or Java Ferns are easy to start with and fairly cheap
Fish - as a beginner try to stick to fish that prefer water @ 7.0ph. Also, make sure they are compatible.
Optional - some sort of anti parasite medication....
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you! I do plan on trying to have a lush planted tank. I have a little 5.5 gallon going that I just planted up. I used flourite subtrate but at $27 a bag I can't imagine how much it would cost to do the 40 gallon. What kind of filter would you recommend? I'm thinking I want to go the canister route but that is new to me as well. (I only know pond filters) Thanks again!:grinning:
 

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Thank you! I do plan on trying to have a lush planted tank. I have a little 5.5 gallon going that I just planted up. I used flourite subtrate but at $27 a bag I can't imagine how much it would cost to do the 40 gallon. What kind of filter would you recommend? I'm thinking I want to go the canister route but that is new to me as well. (I only know pond filters) Thanks again!:grinning:
There are lots of options for your 40 gallon. I think your best bang for buck is the API Filstar XP3. Now, I know there will be some other members who would chime in about the Eheim, Fluval, Marineland, etc equivalents. They'll all work just as well and may come with some added benefits such as: they use a bit less power or may give better filtration for their size or may come with more features. However, I've never seen an XP filter leak or breakdown - they are really workhorses. I recommended this filter for my dad (he uses an XP4 in his 120 gallon) and he loves its consistency.

I still think you don't really need to use fancy substrate if you are keeping java ferns and anubias. They're such slow growers they'll just take what nutrients they can from fish poop. I haven't actually used Flourite (only ECO complete and ADA Amazonia), but I've heard this substrate is great because its priced decently and (someone correct me if I'm wrong) not actually nutrient rich, but rather are designed to absorb nutrients from the water column and slowly release them for rooted plants. I believe fluorite won't actually cause an ammonia spike.

I'll take a shot of my dad's 120 gal tonight. He dumped only 1 bag of fluval substrate and a bunch of gravel into his tank and it is growing java ferns like a boss.

Also, feel free to start a journal on your progress. It's a blast when you look back. Here's mine: http://www.bcaquaria.com/forum/tank-journals-16/start-recks-journey-into-planted-tanks-aug-2012-aug-2014-a-30994/
You'll see I was really enamored with planted tanks, but I really struggled at first with keeping plants alive...
 
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If you want a cleaner look, I think Canister is the way to go since you can buy glass inflow/outflow pipes. Since you mentioned you love planted tanks, I'm pretty sure you're going to want to try a carpet eventually. So I would recommend you to find yourself a good set of LED lights that can be adjusted for light intensity as well (even though you don't need it initially). And a general comment would be to do your research and save up longer to buy what you think you're gonna want - or you'll end up having to re-buy things like* I had to which was/is not quite "fiscally responsible" as emphasized by my partner...
 

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Here's what my dad is doing with a low maintenance easy to keep tank with java ferns

 

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I second Reckon's opinion about XP series filters. Those things last forever, just make sure you clean it every 3-6 months.
 

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Java fern is pretty much fool proof.
Mosses don't require any sort of substrate.
Anubias is slow growing but grows in low light.
Floating plants like duckweed, frog bit, et al. are great for cover and multiply like no one's business.

I'd start with an adjustable light intensity LED that you can start off low light plants with, but can also ramp up when you decide to go high tech and add in fertilizer dosing, CO2/metricide, and higher difficulty/light demand plants once you get the hang of keeping the easier growing ones alive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the advice! Where is everyone finding all the plant selections? I've been to the petstores in langley and all the plants look unhealthy. A couple of the stores even had black algae on them. I decided on flourite subtrate and sand. I will take pics later. I'm trying to figure out how to do a journal.
 

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Just like with fish, fresh plants at your pet stores tend to start small. Those that are moderately sized and look good tend to get sold quickly and the unhealthy ones stick around.
You can find many healthy specimens in our classifieds section kept by enthusiasts, they are usually up for sale because they've outgrown their space. Plants like java fern, anubias, and mosses are fairly common because of how easy they are to keep. Sometimes, you have to drive a little to get the bigger/nicer sized portions.

Not sure if you've had experience with snails before. I bring this up because 95% of the time if you intend to keep plants be prepared to also keep snails. They are almost synonymous because snails are prolific and hitchhike on plants.
 

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Good luck with your tank! I echo everyone else here -- Planted tanks can be quite easy even with basic sand or gravel (secondhand is fine) and a simple light like a fluorescent strip or even a clamp work light from the hardware store with a screw-in compact twisty fluorescent. As long as you use plants that aren't very demanding --- and there are plenty of them that seem to grow like weeds no matter what you do -- you'll be fine. You can get small containers of plants from almost any plant store (I like Aquariums West for plants) and also from Patrick here (Canadian Aquatics) or from members. Sometimes members who are doing a trim part with them for free or very little money. Scholz used to run some aquariums almost like in nature -- without worrying about heat or filtration at all, and they did very well. So, good luck! I look forward to your photos
 
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