First Aquascape! Looking for advice on the plants I want to get!

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snake90890

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Hello, all I'm very excited to start aquascaping and have a 10-gallon tank that is brand new! I have a list of plants that I was looking at getting and was wondering if everyone could look to see if these plants would go well together. I plan on planting these guys on Miracle grow organic soil with a thick layer of gravel over top. Here's a list of the plants we want to get! Any advice is appciated don't know how long this sale is going to last. This will be a tank with no CO2 but will have a heater and filter. Thank you all!
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Jan Cavalieri

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I am not an expert, but I don't believe you plant an aquascape with regular soil and miracle grow - miracle grow (I've read) is toxic to fish - if you plan to add fish and if you aren't adding fish, then why grow plants underwater. The reason for putting psjk in tanks with fish because plants provide extra oxygen to the tank and the fist add extra carbon dioxide to the water. I haven't had much luck except for two plants you list - the Anubis - good growing easy to handle and the Spike plants - all the others seem to leak pieces of themselves all over the aquarium - sticking to the sides of the aqarium and matching the style you are after (old fashion, modern etc, Things like Christmas moss, that Mygranthemum will release little pills all over the place - the sides of the glass, the filter, your arms, your face etc. Fast growing but a mess to keep under control. Most fish love it because they can hide in it - but it's a pain to maintain. You can by a bottle called Flourish by Seachem to use as a fertilizer. You may also want to thin it out frequently if you have air breathing fish like a gourami or betta or baby fish so they have enough room to find a space to breathe. gpi
 

OliveFish05

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You may have better luck going for a sand substrate with root tabs. The anubias will need to be attached to driftwood or rock or something. When they are planted in the substrate, their rhizome rots! What kind of lighting does the tank have? dwarf Hairgrass does best in good lighting. If you have lower lighting, I would recommend looking at anubias, sword plants, hornwort, anacharis, dwarf sag, java fern, and water sprite. You might want to look around other online plant shops too, there may be more variety and better prices and such. I highly recommend Your Fish Stuff!
 

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Plant Substrates usually run out of nutrients after 6-12 months and then they do nothing but turn to mud. In my opinion, you are better off with gravel or sand and using a tablet or liquid aquarium plant fertiliser.

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AQUARIUM PLANTS 1.01

LIGHTING TIMES

Most aquarium plants like a bit of light and if you only have the light on for a couple of hours a day, they struggle. If the light doesn't have a high enough wattage they also struggle. Try having the tank lights on for 10-12 hours a day.

If you get lots of green algae then reduce the light by an hour a day and monitor the algae over the next 2 weeks.
If you don't get any green algae on the glass then increase the lighting period by an hour and monitor it.
If you get a small amount of algae then the lighting time is about right.

Some plants will close their leaves up when they have had sufficient light. Ambulia, Hygrophilas and a few others close their top set of leaves first, then the next set and so on down the stem. When you see this happening, wait an hour after the leaves have closed up against the stem and then turn lights off.


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TURNING LIGHTS ON AND OFF
Stress from tank lights coming on when the room is dark can be an issue. Fish don't have eyelids and don't tolerate going from complete dark to bright light (or vice versa) instantly.

In the morning open the curtains or turn the room light on at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the tank light on. This will reduce the stress on the fish and they won't go from a dark tank to a bright tank instantly.

At night turn the room light on and then turn the tank light off. Wait at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the room light out. This allows the fish to settle down for the night instead of going from a brightly lit tank to complete darkness instantly.

Try to have the lights on at the same time each day. Use a timer if possible.


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LIST OF PLANTS TO TRY
Some good plants to try include Ambulia, Hygrophila polysperma, H. ruba/ rubra, Elodia (during summer, but don't buy it in winter because it falls apart), Hydrilla, common Amazon sword plant, narrow or twisted/ spiral Vallis, Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides/ cornuta).
The Water Sprite normally floats on the surface but can also be planted in the substrate. The other plants should be planted in the gravel.

Ambulia, H. polysperma, Elodia/ Hydrilla and Vallis are tall plants that do well along the back. Rotala macranda is a medium/ tallish red plant that usually does well.

H. ruba/ rubra is a medium height plant that looks good on the sides of the tank.

Cryptocorynes are small/ medium plants that are taller than pygmy chain swords but shorter than H. rubra. They also come in a range of colours, mostly different shades of green, brown or purplish red. Crypts are not the easiest plant to grow but can do well if they are healthy to begin with and are not disturbed after planting in the tank.

Most Amazon sword plants can get pretty big and are usually kept in the middle of the tank as a show piece. There is an Ozelot sword plant that has brown spots on green leaves, and a red ruffle sword plant (name may vary depending on where you live) with deep red leaves.

There is a pygmy chain sword plant that is small and does well in the front of the tank.


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TRUE AQUATIC VS MARSH/ TERRESTRIAL PLANTS
Lots of plants are sold as aquarium plants and most are marsh plants that do really well when their roots are in water and the rest of the plant is above water. Some marsh plants will do well underwater too.

Hair grass is not a true aquatic plant, neither is Anubias.

Some common marsh plants include Amazon sword plants, Cryptocorynes, Hygrophila sp, Rotala sp, Ludwigia sp, Bacopa sp. These plant do reasonably well underwater.

True aquatic plants include Ambulia, Cabomba, Hornwort, Elodia, Hydrilla and Vallis.

The main difference between marsh plants and true aquatic plants is the stem. True aquatics have a soft flexible stem with air bubbles in it. These bubbles help the plant float and remain buoyant in the water column.

Marsh plants have a rigid stem and these plants can remain standing upright when removed from water. Whereas true aquatic plants will fall over/ collapse when removed from water.


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IRON BASED PLANT FERTILISER
If you add an iron based aquarium plant fertiliser, it will help most aquarium plants do well. The liquid iron based aquarium plant fertilisers tend to be better than the tablet forms, although you can push the tablets under the roots of plants and that works well.

You use an iron (Fe) test kit to monitor iron levels and keep them at 1mg/l (1ppm).

I used Sera Florena liquid plant fertiliser but there are other brands too.


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CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2)
There is no point adding carbon dioxide (CO2) until you have the lights and nutrients worked out. Even then you don't need CO2 unless the tank is full of plants and only has a few small fish in.

There is plenty of CO2 in the average aquarium and it is produced by the fish and filter bacteria all day, every day. The plants also release CO2 at night when it is dark. And more CO2 gets into the tank from the atmosphere.

Don't use liquid CO2 supplements because they are made from toxic substances that harm fish, shrimp and snails.
 
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snake90890

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I was going to buy the organic choice miracle grow and mineralize the soil so that the organic compounds turn into humus. As long as it was organic soil with no added fertilizers and the organic compounds such as manure have been dealt with then it works. Problem is Miracle Grow Organic Choice isn’t sold in stores anymore so I went with the cheapest top soil I could find because they don’t add anything to that it’s just compost and dirt and humus. I’m going to mix the top soil with Safe to Sorb (STS) to get some good absorbent material to suck any nutrients in. At first the nutrients will come from the soil because it will have a lot and then after a while it will suck up nutrients from the fish poop and water. Also, I’m going to soak the soil before to make sure I get all the tannins and floaters out of the water before putting it in the aquarium. Also will be capping the soil with gravel or sand so the soil stays put. We are indeed adding fish, shrimp and snails to our tank. We were going to add a gourami, some danios, shrimp and ramshorn snails or Malaysian trumpet snails. Don’t know if there would be room for Corys but we potentially going to get Pygmy Cory’s. I don’t know the light info as of now I can get that later it is pretty bright a big for a ten gallon.
 

OliveFish05

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I would not do danios. They are active and fast, they need more space to swim than a ten gallon provides unfortunately. You could do a dwarf gourami with a group of Pygmy Cories, shrimp, and a couple snails though! I would get a group of 8 Pygmy Cories for that size tank.
 
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snake90890

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No problem! Did you figure out what kind of light you have on the tank?
Yes! Just got back from running errands after work. Here is a picture of the box, but it is an 18 in, T8 spectrum, 15 watt light.

Also, if those are your axolotls they are very cool! I was looking into those a bit because they are so adorable and quirky.
 

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OliveFish05

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Yes! Just got back from running errands after work. Here is a picture of the box, but it is an 18 in, T8 spectrum, 15 watt light.

Also, if those are your axolotls they are very cool! I was looking into those a bit because they are so adorable and quirky.
Ok, so that is likely a very low level light. I would try to get some amazon swords (they do get really big, but it takes a while), anubias (nana, petite, or barteri are good ones), java fern, java moss, water sprite, dwarf sagittaria, hornwort, or anacharis. Those are all good low light plants. You may want to invest in a higher quality light though.

Yep, thats my axolotl in my avatar! It is actually just one, looking at his reflection!
 
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snake90890

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Ok, so that is likely a very low level light. I would try to get some amazon swords (they do get really big, but it takes a while), anubias (nana, petite, or barteri are good ones), java fern, java moss, water sprite, dwarf sagittaria, hornwort, or anacharis. Those are all good low light plants. You may want to invest in a higher quality light though.

Yep, thats my axolotl in my avatar! It is actually just one, looking at his reflection!
I only bought the light 2 weeks ago now so I think I might take it back to the LFS and get a more suitable light for how many plants I'm going to have. Also, in a Walstad tank am I supposed to have a filter like a bubbler or not?

Your axolotl is so great absolutely love it, may have to get one eventually!
 

OliveFish05

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I am not familiar with that one, but it should be fine!

The Nicrew SkyLED is definitely a choice too. It’s a ton cheaper, and did GREAT with any Plant I’ve tried. It did well with red plants like red Ludwigia and tiger lotus. It was also made for plants, so may be a better choice if you’re able to return the other one
 
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snake90890

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I got this one because people said it was high quality and worked very well. I was thinking about getting a cheaper light but most of the reviews say that after 6 months to a year they have to buy another light because the LEDs have given out. If this one doesn’t work out I will try your light and hope neither give out to early.

Do you have any suggestions for the cap? I was thinking of getting some coarse sand to use as a cap and do about an 1-1.5” of it.
 

Byron

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First issue is the substrate and substrate fish like cories. You must have smooth sand especially for pygmy cories. And it should not have any "soil" under it. These will mix, naturally, and this can cause problems.

As for the soil, it has no benefit other than CO2 initially. You run the risk of ammonia poisoning, and excess CO2. As Colin noted, plants grow very well in inert soil and substrate tabs can be used for those plants that may benefit...stem plants will not.
 

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