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New Fish And Plants For The Planted Aquarium

By King of DIY on

Joey Mullen: The 120-gallon planted aquarium, arguably my pride and joy. This is the crowd favorite aquarium. If you guys remember, this is all dwarf hairgrass that has carpeted the bottom. Arguably, this tank has been going downhill over the last couple of months, but we talked about the fact that this tank is not being supplemented with anything. It's no longer getting any CO2 either. A lot of the grass in here is turning yellowish. It's basically some deficiencies.

I did want to get it to this point and see if we can turn things around in a short amount of time. Check out these cardinal tetras.

Aren't they absolutely gorgeous in this aquarium? Anyways, the number one complaint about this tank is this thing needs more plants. You'll see, we added a little bit over here. These plants are actually from the dwarf orbs or the fahaka puffer tank where he had plants in his tank. Then, these are some swords from the 2000.

I hope to not only be able to add in these new plants to this aquarium but also add in some new fish because I'm also in the process of taking down the 307. There are so many aquariums up here with so many names, I always get them mixed up. We're in the process of removing and taking down the 375-gallon tank. If we look closely, we can see some of the ember tetras in this tank swimming around.

It might be difficult to catch them all right away and I might have to add them slowly over time as I catch them out of this tank and put them in the planted tank, but I also need to-- You guys won't see it in this video, but I also need to get these roots out of here, get the arowana over to the 2000, all of the substrate out. I got to scrub this entire tank down. I got to convert the sump below back into a saltwater sump which, initially, it wasn't supposed to be.

Today, the plan is simply just convert this over to add in new aquarium plants as well as some of the fish, some of those ember tetras. I do have a friend that wants quite a few of those as well which I have no problem with because we already have a hundred of these guys in here, and I think a nice mix of those ember tetras will go in there. We might only add maybe 20 or so into this and I'll let him grab the rest.

With that said, the first thing I got to do is drain the tank so I can actually start planting these. I'm just going to take these swords and plant them near the back. As you can see, even these guys aren't doing that great, but I think they'll do a lot better in this tank. Again, we're going to see. What I want to do here in the near future is add the CO2 on to it and then perhaps start supplementing the aquarium with some elements that the tank is clearly lacking.

As the tank is draining, I'm also going to do a little bit of tank maintenance on here, which is essentially just a little bit of gravel vacuuming. In this tank, I really don't have to do a whole lot because I feed it very little, and these small cardinal tetras don't really make that much of a mess. Ultimately, every once in a while, there's a little bit of hair algae in here and things like that that I like to remove, and/or uneaten food. You just gravel vac this just like you would any other tank.

However, because there's a planted tank soil in this, you'll see a lot of mud coming up with this. It would make this tank look filthy or dirty. That's not really detritus or anything. This planted tank substrate over time degrades and turns into a mud anyways, and this is some of the best stuff you can get. It's going to happen to anybody. When selecting which plants I was going to take from the 2000 and put into this one, I was looking for two main things: healthy leaves, obviously, and a good root structure.

Then, I prune the leaves. The ones that are dead, I just rip them right off and leave the rest. This one is definitely deficient, I can almost see through it. Now, I'm draining this tank literally just to make it easier to get into. I can come up on my ladder, but if this tank is filled with water, I'm going to get absolutely soaked if I'm going to rush things. I'm just pretty much doing a big water change on this tank right before I add these plants. Believe it or not, I think we have seven or eight big swords.

I'm not sure if I want to plant them all around the back or if I want to bring them up and bring them near the roots or the tree branches or the trees themselves. I'm not sure at all. Let me know in the comments section what you guys would've did. Let's see what I do first. The plants on here haven't died completely, but they certainly have stagnated in growth. The grass, in fact, is no longer growing. That doesn't mean it's dead. I think it's just maintaining itself at this point.

However, with the addition of some CO2 in this tank, within a month or two, depending on how soon I add that CO2, because it's actually not that simple for me to get it, I've got to send my tank away, wait for it to come back, et cetera. It's a big reason why it's taking me so long is I just keep procrastinating. We can be looking at something completely and dramatically different in a very short period of time.

This tank might not look anything like it does today, so keep that in mind when I plant this and add in all these extra little plants. We might be in for quite a shock here shortly. Focusing most of these plants near the back, the Amazon sword or any sword for that matter tend to get quite big. I'm also keeping them anywhere from three to six inches away from the background so they have room to grow, but also offer the fish a place of refuge so they can get out of the line of sight and hide back there when they want to.

Now, when planting a sword like this, hopefully, you guys can see this, we have the plant or the leaves itself, the rhizome. I'm not sure how to pronounce it, I call it a rhizome, and then the roots themselves. When planting this, you don't want to go above there. We're just pushing it into the substrate this way. Luckily, I have a massive amount of roots. I'm going to rip some off just to make it easier to plant and encourage growth faster. We're just going to push that in and plant it right to there.

Otherwise, you can kill the plant by planting it in too deep. That one's covered in algae, so hopefully-- I could have cleaned them up a little bit I guess. It looks pretty good like this. That one's pretty bad. I don't know if these are going to live or not. I'm also going to be introducing one more thing into this tank. That is going to be snails from this tank. You can see a few here and there on the glass already, they're just your basic pond snails.

I'm actually not sure what species they are but they're the pest snail that nobody really wants. I'm a huge fan of snails myself. I find that they complete the ecosystem in an aquarium. They're just unsightly, but they alter the substrate, turning it over. They're eating dead and dying leaves. They add to the system, in my opinion. Again, they are just unsightly. Now, the reason they're in there is because I never really treated for snails when I added these plants in.

The plants came from a farm, and a lot of the times, when plants are coming from farms, they're peppered in snail eggs. This tank will have some snails here shortly. Now, I know this tank, even as is, looks absolutely wretched. This doesn't look good, this isn't what everybody was expecting, but you weren't expecting this gravel or this grass to cover the entire substrate either. I guess the CO2 died when it was almost completed.

We only added a little bit of tufts in every few inches and they grew into this. Imagine what's going to happen with everything else once the lighting, the CO2, and, of course, once the fertilizer actually kicks in and the plants are taking it up, this is going to look absolutely gorgeous. I think and I hope what happens with these swords in the back here is they grow to massive, lush plants that it's just overgrowing the back. You can see the background and trees there.

You do see these other trees growing out. Eventually, this is going to look absolutely phenomenal. There was a long skinny one right here. I took it out because I thought everything looked way too symmetrical. Let me know what you guys think of the way it looks now. Look at how the cardinals are just sticking together there. Let's get this tank filled back up. I'm going to work on that tank down there and see if we can find some of those ember tetras for my buddy and for this tank.

I got about 25 of these little ember tetras. I could've went with more, but I feel like if I add the same amount of each fish, it's too even, they're going to clash in numbers. I don't think it's going to look as good as a large school and then a small school, a smaller school obviously accenting that bigger one. I'm just scooping these little buggers out now. Here's the first to wiggle around. I might add a few more but we'll see. Here they go.

That is the perfect amount I did. These guys are tight-packed as well. Let's let these guys settle in and see how they look here shortly. See, now check this out, this is absolutely fascinating. I love this sort of stuff. Now, of course, everything's just been added to the tank, so the tank needs some time to clear up a little bit. Again, we've got to get these plants going and pumping in CO2s and some nutrients to this tank, and we're going to be in for a really white tank, but that's it. I'm focused on these fish right now. This was the perfect amount.

It looks like we have so many more cardinal tetras in here right now, but when you look closer, you see the ember tetra, one of the smallest tetras on the planet. A much more tighter school. You can see, even though there's only a few of them, they're sticking together. Then, we get some stragglers throughout the tank. I added probably 30, but there's still more in here. That's going to take me all night to collect them all. I'm not interested in that.

I do got to move these Asian Arowanas. I don't know the order of these videos that are coming out, guys. I'm just trying to get a bunch of things done, plus film it and capture it for you, guys. Then, make the videos together so they all make sense instead of everything just smushed together in one video. Every other video is just going to be like that, so I'm trying to categorize it like this video, for example, we're doing this tank with the plants and the fish being added.

Another video is, of course, tearing this 375 gallon, which I'm doing in a few seconds once I'm finished talking to you, guys. Again, I don't know the order you guys are seeing this, and I usually do. Again, I'm back in love with this tank. I just got to get this CO2 pumping. I'm going to start with CO2, and then I'm going to start dosing with some fertilizers and nutrients perhaps. Open to suggestions or what you guys think.

Either adding this stuff in was a good idea or a bad idea, but I think right now, as is, it looks phenomenal. I think it looks great because I know what it's going to look like long-term. We just got to be patient. A lot of the times, these guys aren't really staying in one spot. They're more so swimming back and forth. Again, I've just had my arms in there. They just went through a big water change and a few things are different.

Anyways, let me know what your thoughts are on this aquarium. I'm absolutely in love with it. I think that the number of tetras that we added to it was the perfect number. I'm very much so wanting hundreds and hundreds, but I'm really, really happy with this number. I don't feel like it's just a bunch of one and a bunch of the other. I think that the cardinals are taking the focus and the embers are complimenting them. A nice little accent for this tank. I love it.

Okay. We're now three days in. Doesn't it look like night and day? There's a couple of things we definitely need to point out here. First and foremost, we took the light off of the 375-gallon aquarium and I'm trying it on the 120 here. I like the way the light looks on here and the plants seem to somewhat be responding. I definitely got to get some iron and potassium into this aquarium. Ultimately, I'd like to know what your guys' thoughts are on what I should be adding to it.

The second thing I definitely got to point out is, look at the fish, look at the cardinals, look at the ember tetras. What do we notice now as opposed to previously? I think it's night and day. They are swimming throughout the entire aquarium. Previously, all the cardinals used to group up and hide together. Every once in a while, they'd surround the full tank if I wasn't coming near. Now, I'm standing right in front of it, I keep walking around it, and all the fish are everywhere.

Of course, the cardinals are standing out far more and the ember tetras as well, but it seems as though they complement each other nicely. The ember tetras look fantastic in here. Actually, they might even look better, but the cardinals are just so bright and vibrant. You can't beat a cardinal tetra. They're just a classic fish. With that said, I think that the embers are almost acting as if they're a dither fish for the cardinals, both comforting each other, letting each other know, " Hey. We can swim throughout the entire tank and it's okay."

It's got to be that or it's got to be these swords that we added to the aquarium. What do you guys think it is that's making this tank just a little bit better? I can't show you the 375 now because, well, that's been transformed into a saltwater aquarium. I can't wait to show you guys that. It's definitely the best tank in the gallery down. Isn't every new tank my best tank and my new favorite aquarium? Guys, I hope you're enjoying these videos. I certainly enjoy making them for you.

If you're excited and want to tune in for all the updates and changes to come, make sure you subscribe if you're not already. I can assure you, you are not going to want to miss this. I was wrong. I was just looking at the footage and it was filmed January 13th at night. Look at the time I started filming it. It's always so late. I don't know. It's just the way I like to do it. Anyway, these are just the individual clips made January 13th. Whenever you guys see this, that's how far ahead I am right now.

About King of DIY

Joey is THE King of DIY, and when he built his gallery of aquariums he chose the Custom Aquariums rack system with 120-gallon tanks...a lot of them!

Joey Mullen is also known as the king of DIY, uarujoey or the DIY fishkeeper on social media. Providing education and inspiration for aquarium enthusiasts on YouTube, he is also the author of The Ultimate DIY Handbook; for the DIY Aquarist. His channel is about educating all levels of fish tank hobbyists who are passionate about caring for fish and keeping an aquarium of their own. Joey's aquarium rack systems were custom made by our professional fish tank engineers, here at Custom Aquariums.

Please watch the King of DIY's videos for some helpful information and great tips on diy aquarium keeping.

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