35. Getting Started with Planted Aquariums 2

Water Colors Aquarium Gallery Podcast
Water Colors Aquarium Gallery Podcast
35. Getting Started with Planted Aquariums

In this episode: Ben, Amy, and Charles take a look at what it takes to get into planted aquariums for the first time as a freshwater aquarist. In this scenario, they talk about hypothetically what it takes to transition into planted tanks. They discuss a hypothetical scenario in which they are converting a non planted aquarium into a planted aquarium. This discussion covers plant choice, substrate, lighting, and fertilization. While setting up a high end aquascape may take more effort or money than a handful of anubias plants, a beautiful tank is possible at any skill level and in most setups with a little careful planning.


  1. I gotta say, I’ve never disagreed more with your podcast than when you said you can’t have lush rooted plants growing in blue gravel… I’ve got an Amazon sword taking over my 29 gallon blue gravel bottom tank, vallisneria is growing great, There are ferns, echinodorus varieties, a Lilly, all kinds of things. Could they look more amazing in some kind of aquasoil? I’m sure they could. But my tank looks fantastic to me. I’ve got inert gravel in 6/7 of my tanks, they’re moderately to heavily planted and I’m getting results I’m happy with.

    You guys sound really judgemental. After listening to most episodes of the podcast, I’d be pretty hesitant to have an honest conversation with you about my tanks at your store, for fear of being one of these folks you always seem to be giggling about how little they know. It’s not a nice attitude to exude if you’re trying to share knowledge and promote your business.

    One plant that does not grow in my water: anubias. I’ve spent over $100 trying varieties and have one barely hanging on and another down to a single leaf. I think the best plant to start with is the one you can get cheaply from another hobbiest that grows well in the local water.

    There is a difference between a planted tank and an aquascape. There is a difference between a tank that grows plants and a tank that plants thrive in. I’m not sure the average hobbiest is after either of the latter.

    Amanda Baker
    1. We do genuinely appreciate your feedback. We base our advice on our experience, and the experiences of people we know but of course there are many factors that can contribute to healthy plant growth. The best tank is the tank that makes you happy. If you’re seeing results using another method than what we recommend, we’re still happy for you! Keeping plants that grow well for others locally is a great bit of advice.

      We never purposefully laugh at people who genuinely don’t know things. We do like to share stories about our interactions to illustrate our points, and the ones you hear in the podcast tend to be the ones we feel most strongly about. We may come across as judgmental, but I hope that if you were to reach out with questions you’d find our response reassuringly boring. At the end of the day the biggest thing we’re advocating for is a healthy aquarium that’s fun to keep!

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