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What you need:
  • 20-gallon tall aquarium
  • 20 lbs. of washed sand
  • Various water plants
  • 60-80 gph water pump
  • Root tabs
  • pH test kit
  • KH test kit
  • Decorative rock
  • Light fixture and bulb(either fluorescent or neodymium)
An aquarium water garden makes a beautiful addition to any room. It brings water gardening indoors, while requiring very little care. Start your garden by evenly spreading 10 lbs. of washed sand across the bottom of a 20-gallon fish tank. Most pet stores stock a tall 20-gallon tank and a wide 20-gallon tank. Choose the taller configuration.
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In order to give your plants a head start, place several root tabs on the bed of sand. This helps the plants establish themselves by encouraging root growth. Once the tank is established, the introduction of fish creates a nearly self-sufficient mini-ecosystem. The food that you feed your fish will provide all the additional nutrients the plants need.
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Add another 10 - 15 lbs. of washed sand to the tank, covering the root tabs, then smooth the sand.
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Half fill the tank with water. Use a gallon jug or a pitcher rather than a hose so you don't stir up the sand and make the water cloudy.
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Add your plants, gently pushing the roots about halfway into the sand.
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Once you are satisfied with the position of your plants, add a few decorative rocks to the aquarium.
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Finish filling the tank with water. If the water becomes cloudy, wait until it clears before finishing the tank. Use this opportunity to change the position of the plants or rocks if you wish. This is also the time to test the water for hardness and pH.
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Place the water pump in the back corner of the tank. This is the only filtration the aquarium needs. Too much filtration robs plants of essential nutrition. The ammonium created by the fish is fertilizer for the plants, which naturally perform essential filtration.
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Strong light is essential to plant growth. Once they have become fully established, window light or direct sunlight are best for your plants. If you can't place your aquarium within a few feet of a window, provide 12 hours of artificial light each day.