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Beginner plants for non-soil tank?

Discussion in 'Planted Chit Chat' started by BlueOnyx, Oct 31, 2019.

  1. BlueOnyx

    BlueOnyx New Member

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    This will be the first time I will be using live plants in an aquarium. The tank is using small smooth stone pebbles (not standard gravel) and no soil. The water is balanced for the fish with 0 ammonia and 0 nitrates.

    Thus far I have purchased:
    • 3 Anacharis Bunch Elodea Densa
    • 1 Dwarf Pennywort Hydrocotyle Sibthorpioides
    • 1 Anubias Hastifolia Loose Rhizome Nana Barteri Gracilis
    • 1 Marimo Moss Ball

    I have a 10-gallon tank with 3 amano shrimp, 3 zebra danios, and 2 oto catfish.

    Are there other plants that would do good in a tank like this if I decide to add more? I plan on getting another moss ball when I get a few more oto catfish this weekend. The plants I have above are in a treated and filtered 5-gallon tank for the time being.

    I am fully aware I need more oto catfish (going to get 3 more) and I shouldn't have the zebra danios in a 10-gallon tank. The danios are roughly 3 years old and were kept in a 5-gallon previous to this under the advice from a pet store worker that didn't know enough about fish, learned my lesson there. Thankfully, they seem happy and healthy and considering their age and how long I have had them, I am just going to let them live out the rest of their lives in the tank I have now. They also appear to enjoy the company of the oto catfish as the otos will actually swim with them. No nipping either which is great.
     
  2. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
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    Amazon Swords grow easily in gravel.
     
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  3. BlueOnyx

    BlueOnyx New Member

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    Do you know how tall those grow and if they will need to be trimmed?
     
  4. Lilyann

    Lilyann Fish Fanatic
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    Will you be using any fertilizer in water column or substrate ( as in fertilizer tabs)? With zero nitrates, you will not be able to grow much of anything long-term.
    What kind of lighting do you use? For what duration?
     
  5. BlueOnyx

    BlueOnyx New Member

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    Standard LEDs on the lid on a 12/12 cycle. (there is also a small window near the tank)

    I am not familiar with water column fertilization, what would I need to do for that?

    As for the tabs, do you mean something like this: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/seachem-flourish-tabs ??

    I am very new to this so I am going based on what I read. The plants I have don't need anything extra but if it will help and is easy to add in without messing with the tank or fish/shrimp, I can give it a try.
     
    #5 BlueOnyx, Nov 1, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2019
  6. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
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    They are of medium heights and don’t need trimming.
     
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  7. PheonixKingZ

    PheonixKingZ Fish Herder
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    Yes. Amazon Swords grow easy. So does Anacharis. Anacharis is like a cactus in the real world. It’s almost impossible to kill! (Even though when I brought my first ones home, I managed to kill them in a week! :lol:)

    Marimo moss balls also grow good. But they are just set on the surface of the gavel, not buried.

    (P.S. Anacharis can be grown either floating, or planted. I have luck with both. :))
     
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  8. Lilyann

    Lilyann Fish Fanatic
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    For sustained growth, plants need fertilizer: nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium along with some micro-nutrients. In some situations, aquariums with higher bio-loads of fish supply adequate nitrogen and fish food ( containing phosphorous) are all that are needed to grow easy plants like java ferns, anacharis, anubias, some cryptocoryne's etc...
    But, in my experience, even these types of tanks, although they may provide a plants all it needs for awhile to grow healthy, become imbalanced eventually -- especially in terms of micro-nutrients. I have had much more consistent growth in my low tech aquariums by providing root tabs ( like Seachem Flourish root tabs) in substrate around heavy feeding root feeders like swords and crypts. In addition, I use an all in one liquid fertilizer for fast growing stems and java ferns/ anubias
    I use ThriveC http://nilocg.com/ThriveC/ by Nilog ( but, there are others to choose from). Easy, no fuss. Its safe with fish, shrimp, snails, etc...
     
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  9. BlueOnyx

    BlueOnyx New Member

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    I am going to try this method since 4 of the 5 plants in the tank take in nutrients through their roots:


    If that doesn't work, I will invest in something else. I will get some kind of liquid formula as well for the Dwarf Pennywort
     
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  10. BlueOnyx

    BlueOnyx New Member

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    Is that your lionfish in your signature? It is beautiful :wub:
     
  11. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Never use terrestrial-based plant fertilizers. If you look at the ingredients label in this video, you will see way too much nitrate and phosphorus. Neither of these are needed in an aquarium with fish. The fish foods will provide more than the necessary level of phosphorus, and the fish and organic breakdown produce ammonia/ammonium which is the aquatic plant's preference for nitrogen and it is not likely to ever be insufficient. The 15-9-12 is a terrestrial plant need, aquatic plants are different.

    I certainly agree substrate fertilizer is very beneficial but it must be one intended for aquatic aquarium use. Seachem's Flourish Tabs as one example do not dissolve nutrients into the upper water column; I don't know how they achieve this, but they do, and this discourages problem algae. Liquid fertilizers have to be sparingly used so algae doesn't gain a benefit.

    BTW, all aquatic plants take up nutrients via their roots and their leaves; some nutrients are taken up solely by the leaves, others by the roots. Floating plants, most stem plants, and any plants not rooted in the substrate (ferns, mosses, etc) cannot benefit from substrate fertilizers obviously, but a liquid may or may not be necessary as another member said, depending upon the fish load and feeding and the plant species, as well as the light (which drives photosynthesis and this determines how much of the nutrients the plants will require to balance and prevent algae.

    Speaking of algae, there is some present in the video, not surprisingly, given the osmocote.
     
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  12. BlueOnyx

    BlueOnyx New Member

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    Thanks for letting me know about all this. I do want some algae growth so I am not bothered by that but I don't want water levels to get all wacky. The reason I want some is for the shrimp and catfish. I want them to have as natural a diet as possible. They are not fond of the veggie wafers or algae wafers I have tried, but they are eating cucumber so that is something.

    I'll look into maybe using some java moss on the wood bits in the tank.
     
  13. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Not all algae is the same, and those fish that will eat "algae" have very specialized tastes. I've no experience with shrimp. But common green algae is natural in any healthy aquarium, it will appear on all submersed surfaces as part of the biofilm. This algae is what fish will eat (those that are vegetarian). The "problem" algae that will take advantage is a very different thing. This is what will take over, literally, when the light/nutrient balance is out. And almost no fish will eat it, except a species or two like the SAE that will eat brush/beard algae, etc. Bristlenose plecos, otos, whiptails, Farlowella, etc will only eat the common green algae (which is in the biofilm and usually not even visible to us) and diatoms. This non-aquatic substrate fertilizer will feed the problem algae and there are enough threads from members with this problem that I doubt you want to encourage it. ;)
     
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  14. Lilyann

    Lilyann Fish Fanatic
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    There are plenty of people who successfully use DIY fertilizer (with Osmocote, for example) without getting uncontrollable algae.
    I would advise looking at some forums that strictly deal in planted aquariums to get insight in how this can successfully be done.
     
  15. BlueOnyx

    BlueOnyx New Member

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    I'll take your word for it. I have seen some pretty bad tanks. I don't want the stuff growing all over the glass, I would imagine that is what you are talking about. I just want the stuff that grows lightly on rocks and plants in the tank. Nothing that gets out of control though!
     

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