Live Plant Help? Pet of the Month
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Mar 4, 2013
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I currently have a twenty gallon high freshwater community with a guppy, three danios, two corydoras, a nerite snail, and two platys. It has regular gravel as a substrate and currently only plastic plants. I was wondering if I could switch to live plants without changing the gravel? If so, what plants, and how many? What are the benefits and negatives to live plants and what care do they require? With the type of fish I currently have, How heavily/lightly planted should my tank be? Thanks.
With a lack of a better word, your stocking is a bit strange. The danios need a school of 5+, and so do the cories.
That's all the wet sandwiching I'll be doing. :lol:
You could just replace the fakes with the real plants, like normal. ;) I'm thinking Hornwort, Java Fern, Anubias, some type of sword, there are so many. You could just search "Easy freshwater plants" and that would contribute.
My plants (Stringy Moss, Crpto-something-or-other, Anubias, Amazon Sword) are very hardy, but in general, plants don't like bad conditions. Some need special lighting, but some are fine with normal tank lights.
The plants help with O2, Ammonia control (I believe), and fish behaviour. My old betta flipped out when I moved him to a temporary barren tank, they definently like plants or swim in and rest on.
Thanks so much! Yeah, I know I'm lacking with my schooling fish. I recently had a couple of my danios pass away and a had a third cory cat too. I'm definitely going to get some more soon, so no need to worry there. \i'm definitely going to get some live plants if I can. Do you know if they can be in the regular gravel I have?
Yeah, I think they will be okay with your gravel. :)
What is the "regular gravel" you have?  Now would be the time to replace it, before planting.  I'm asking with respect to the plants (too large a gravel is not as good as fine gravel or sand) and the fish, as corys would be better over sand.  And again, it is better to do this substrate switch before adding more fish.
What is your tank lighting?  And what is the GH (general hardness) and pH of your water?
Plants need food, obviously, just as all living things, and much of this may be available naturally from water changes (some minerals) and fish foods.  Some plants are heavier feeders than others (the faster a plant grows, the more food it needs) but there are good liquid fertilizers available that will be sufficient.  We can go into this more when we have a better idea of intended plants, and that will depend upon the above answers.
Just stick with the basics to start....
Java fern and Anubias. You can keep your current gravel with both these plants, as both of these plants do better tied to decor rather than in the gravel itself. You can keep your lighting, you dont have to stress abut fertalisers etc. Once you feel confident with these plants, you can then start looking at other types with higher demands.
Yeah, I definitely want to start with some easy plants till I get the hang of it. Is sand a difficult substrate to care for? Can I just use a regular siphon?
No, sand is actually very easy to care for. I found it easier than gravel. You just wave the siphon over the sand or scuffle it along the sand to clean it.
(Sorry if I was a bit of a noob up there, I was not considering ferts or anyhting like that. :/)

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