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What Plants Are Best?

Discussion in 'Planted Chit Chat' started by Silencedogood, Jan 11, 2019 at 2:10 PM.

  1. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood New Member

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    Hi,
    I'm rather new to tropical fish and I currently have 4 platys, 1 neon tetra, and a pleco. I want to put live plants in my main tank (30 gal) but I'm not sure what plants are best. Actually, I have no plant experience whatsoever besides some for a little while (I think they were some type of hysteria) which were specifically for fry.
    Thanks!

     
  2. Herpin Man

    Herpin Man New Member

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    I'm kind of a beginner to plants myself, but here are a few that I've been able to keep alive and actually grow, which to me equals success:
    - Anubias
    - Brazilian penny wort
    - Vals
    - Anacharis
     
  3. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood New Member

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    What care do live plants need, if any? And do certain plants need certain water parameters? Is it okay to order plants from amazon? Not sure what shape they'll come in. Sorry for the questions.:)
    Thanks in advance!
     
  4. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    What type of light do you have on the tank?
    How many watts does the light globe have?
    How long is the light on for?
    What are the tank dimensions?

    Live aquarium plants need light and if they don't get enough they won't do well. Depending on how high/ tall the tank is will determine how much light you need.

    Assuming there is sufficient light, you can try the following plants: Ambulia, Hygrophila polysperm & H. ruba/ rubra, Ludwigia, Elodia/ Hydrilla, narrow Vallis, common Amazon Sword plant, Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides/ cornuta).

    Water sprite is a floating plant but can also be grown in the substrate. The other plants should be grown in the gravel.

    Have the light on for about 12 hours per day. If you get lots of green algae growing on everything then reduce the lighting times by a couple of hours.

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    You can order plants online and have them delivered. Sometimes they are good and sometimes bad. Try to avoid getting them shipped when the weather is extremely hot or extremely cold. Plants can rot in hot weather and freeze and die in really cold weather.

    Rinse all plants under tap water before adding them to the tank. Check them for small jelly like sacks (snail eggs) and snails, remove any you find.

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    For best results you should get some liquid iron based fertiliser for the plants. I prefer Sera Florena but there are other brands available. Get an iron test kit too so you can monitor the iron levels in the water. Add the fertiliser every day or every second day for the first 2 weeks, use a full dose each time. Monitor the iron levels during this time and if the level gets too high, then stop adding fertiliser. Try to keep the levels constant (about 1ppm of iron I think it is, but check the packaging).

    The plants will use heaps of fertiliser when you get them but after a couple of weeks of regular feedings they won't use as much and you won't have to feed them as often. But monitor the iron levels for best results.

    NB... You don't have to use plant/ iron fertiliser but it does help the plants do better. If you have any concerns about using them, don't bother. Most plants, including the ones I listed above, will do fine without plant fertiliser.

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    Different subject now.

    How long has the tank been set up for?

    Do you know what the general hardness (GH) and pH of the water is?
    You can usually find this information on your water supply company's website or by telephoning them. If they don't have it you can take a glass full of tap water to the local petshop and ask them to test it for you. Write the results down in numbers when they do the test.

    Neons need to be kept in groups of at least 6 and preferably 10 or more. However, if the GH and pH is too high (GH above 250ppm, pH above 7.8) then I would not get more neons.
    If the GH is less than 150ppm and the pH less than 7.0 the platies won't do as well.

    If the tank has not been set up for long (less than 2 months) I would not add any more fish until the filters have cycled/ established. You can get the water checked for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate to see if the filters have cycled.
     
  5. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood New Member

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    I have a LED light in the tank. Not sure how many watts it has. The light is on for roughly 10-12 hours a day. Tank dimensions are: length-24 inches, width-12 inches, height-25 inches.

    The tank has been set up for 6 wks, but it was established for 7 yrs and when I broke it down, I didn't clean out the filters. Not sure if that makes a difference.

    GH and ph of my tap water or tank water? The ph of the tap water is around 7.5. I don't know the gh.
    Tank ph is 7.0. GH is 75 ppm.
     
  6. Byron

    Byron Member

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    The spectrum of the light is as important as the intensity. Light drives photosynthesis which is of course how plants grow, and each species of plant requires a minimum intensity. But the spectrum which is the light colour is also important, because only red and blue drive photosynthesis, and of these red is the more important. [Adding green to this mix does improve plant response, for reasons I will not get into now.] The problem with much of the LED is that it is very low in red and high in blue. This can cause plants to struggle and even fail, but algae will increase (the "problem" algae). The LED specifically designed for freshwater planted tanks is certainly good, though much more expensive than the basic poor LED.

    Concerning the duration, 12 hours might be high, depending. Duration will not offset inadequate intensity; i.e., if the light is not strong enough, having it on longer does not make up for this. But assuming everything is OK (intensity and spectrum), the duration then can be an issue for plants and algae. The nutrients required by plants, and there are 17, must be available in order for the plants to use the light. Twelve hours may push the limit quite a bit. CO2 for example is usually the first nutrient to become insufficient. There is no need to be adding CO2 by any artificial means, but at the same time you do not want to be extending the photoperiod beyond the available natural CO2. I would suggest closer to 8 hours.

    And that brings me to a timer...a simple lamp timer set for a consistent period of tank lighting every 24 hours is better not only for plants but crucially for fish. The "daylight" period can be any time you are normally there, provided it is consistent (one 8 hour period) with a period of total darkness (no room light or ambient daylight) for several hours. Plants and fish require this or their circadian rhythm will be out, and that means stress.
     
  7. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood New Member

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    My LED lights go across the whole tank so virtually the whole tank is getting light. The lights are very bright too, so I don't think any plants would suffer from intensity issues.

    Are there specific plants that livebearers and neon tetras need/prefer? Or can I pick whatever plant?

    Do plecos need driftwood? I've had my pleco for two years and have never had any driftwood.

    I also have a mystery snail. Will he eat the live plants?
     
    #7 Silencedogood, Jan 12, 2019 at 8:39 PM
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019 at 9:06 PM
  8. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    All suckermouth catfish need driftwood to graze on. It helps with their digestion.

    Snails will eat plants if there is nothing else for them to eat. They will normally pick up uneaten food and algae first.

    Most aquarium plants are fine for fish but some of the easier to grow varieties include: Ambulia, Hygrophila polysperma & H. ruba/ rubra, Elodia/ Hydrilla, Ludwigia, narrow Vallis, common Amazon Sword plant, Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides/ cornuta).

    The water sprite is a floating plant that can also be grown in the substrate. The other plants should be grown in the gravel.
     
  9. Silencedogood

    Silencedogood New Member

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    What is the difference between bogwood and driftwood?




    Thank you for all of your help!
     
    #9 Silencedogood, Jan 13, 2019 at 9:02 PM
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019 at 8:41 PM

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