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Information overload - help please!!

Discussion in 'Planted Chit Chat' started by baz_78, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. baz_78

    baz_78 Member

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    I'm re-entering the world of fish keeping after a few years away from the hobby and have bought a 5 gallon Fluval Chi which is cycling in preparation for a Betta (and maybe some shrimp - need to do research on that front too!). I have a few questions and am looking for advice on plants so sorry if there are any stupid questions here...

    I'm basically looking for advice on which plants I can add to the tank which will benefit it's occupants but I'm not looking to add anything to the existing lighting/filtration set-up due to the small and clean look of the tank.

    In my eagerness of buying the tank, I did bring home some plants with me (stupidly couldn't resist) which are:
    Limnophila heterophylla - think this will outgrow the tank after doing some research
    Pogostemon helferi - nice and unusual shape to it
    Anubias nana bonzai - seems ideal for the tank

    I'd like to add some moss balls, short grass type foreground plant, mid-size plants for one side/back of the tank and a floating plant for the Betta to rest on - so, please let me have your recommendations!

    Now for the potentially 'stupid' questions:
    - Where do you recommend buying plants from? My fish store has a small range but not massive!
    - Once bought, should plants be removed from the 'tubs' they come in and planted into the substrate (will they float away?!) or do they stay buried in their pots?
    - Is there a beginners guide to pruning/caring for plants as I'm assuming even low effort plants in a small tank will need 'feeding' and cutting back!
    - What basic tools will I need to look after the plants?
    - Will a Betta or shrimp destroy any plants?

    I'm really looking forward to going on this adventure with plants and a Betta but I'm overwhelmed with all the available information!

    Many thanks,
    Barry

     
  2. Byron

    Byron Member

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    I cannot recommend stores as I am not in the UK, but I can help with the other issues. Betta will not bother plants.

    Once you know where you want to "plant" the plant, it should be removed from the pot, and also remove most of the rock wool (the white cotton-like stuff around the roots, or the foam stuff, if either is present). It is sometimes useful to place the potted plant where you think it will look nice and leave it a couple days before in-potting; it is easier and less detriment to the plant to move it around still potted.

    Plant pruning and trimming depends upon the plant species; stem plants naturally continue growing permanently, so regular pruning is needed. Substrate rooted plants tend to not require much of this. Those that produce runners to spread can be trimmed as you like for effect, or allowed to spread.

    Plants will obtain nutrients from the fish/fish food and water changes. This may or may not be sufficient, depending upon the plant species and numbers. A comprehensive liquid fertilizer is all you need beyond this. Something like Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium, or Brightwell Aquatics' FlorinMulti. Use sparingly, as they can cause algae issues.

    I have had planted tanks for 25+ years, and only use my fingers. A pair of scissors (kept only for aquarium use) are sometimes handy to trim tough-stem plants.

    Limnophila heterophylla is a stem plant, and will grow accordingly. It may or may not manage with your light. Pogostemon helferi I have not tried, but from my research it doesn't seem too finicky so you may luck out; it is a lovely looking plant. Anubias is quite hardy, and low light, so that shouldn't be problematic. Attach it to wood or rock, never plant the thick rhizome or it may rot. Fairly slow growing. Tends to do well in shaded light, as under floating plants. And that brings me to the floaters, a good idea with Betta as they naturally live among thick floating plants.

    "Carpet" plants tend to be more demanding of light and nutrients. I prefer something like the pygmy chain sword.

    Byron.
     
  3. NickAu

    NickAu Member

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    For carpeting plant try Micranthemum monte carlo, It seems to do well in lower light tanks without too much fuss.

    Oh yes it also works as a floating plant.


    That is the actual light level in my tank, I add 3 drops of Seachem Flourish complete supplement for the planted tank every other water change, if I remember.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. baz_78

    baz_78 Member

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    Thanks for the very informative feedback. So far all the plants seem to be doing well. I need to get some suitable decorations for the Betta to be able to tie the grass and Anubia to.
    Would love to hear your thoughts on my current look, I added a couple of moss balls and grass at the back.
    I also want to find some tall plants for a bit of height at the back but not large that hey overpower the small tank - any recommendations?
    Thanks,
    Barry
     

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  5. neoyyf

    neoyyf Member

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    Hiya Barry. Love the new setup so far.

    In the UK, plants are best bought online if you are looking for more unusual types. I could only get floating types online. Plants in vitro are popular here as they are invertebrate safe and usually come from Europe and i get most of my plants from Ebay. Whilst the my LPS do stock plants, like your experience, it is usually limited and only popular types like java fern, elodea densa, vallisneria etc. Also they sold non aquatic plants like dracena which is quite naughty.

    Whilst i am a beginner too, i learnt that it is best to go for plants that are suitable for the hardness and temperature of your water. You will also need to consider the lighting requirements the plant needs. I am at the stage where i am considering buying an active substrate for the plants to get extra nutrients and also to start dosing a liquid fertliser. I will probably also dose liquid carbon instead of going the CO2 route but i do want to achieve intense green leaves so will see how it goes.

    I have hard water and currently using a small 6500w led bulb, no fertlisers. Personally i chose low light, low maintenance plants like crypts, java moss, moss balls, pond weed, star weed, and water lettuce. Plants that didnt do well were java fern, elodea densa, dwarf sag (slow growth and is light green), salvinia natans and riccia. Plants that did suprisingly well were ludwigia repens and lilaeopsis brasiliensis.
     

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