New Member
Apr 9, 2020
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Hi, I'm planning to start my first planted aquarium but I have alot of questions even after doing a week of research. I wanna make sure to do this right, so if anyone could answer some of these questions that would be great!

1. What hardy beginner plants can I tie on wood and rocks? Is there any technique to it or do I just tie it anywhere on the wood/rock? Can I jam them into small crevices too?

2. Can I just use my aquarium lights that came with my 55g tank? I'm planning on getting the easiest low tech hardy plants available...

3. Do I NEED fertilizer/Pods? If so, how many pods do I put in and how often?

4. Is there a low tech hardy carpet plant that won't grow too too much? I've heard some can be impossible to remove once added. Also same question for moss.

5. I've seen some people super-glue plants... Is that safe?

6. What are some low tech hardy plants that would be good for the back of the tank? Ones that will grow bushy and large.

7. When I buy the plants and I open the plants little pod that they come in how do I know if it's one plant, or several that I can spread around the tank?

8. How deep do I plant them? Just barely so I don't see the roots, or can I bury a little more?

9. I'm using a gravel substrate. Should I mix some soil in there too?

I know that's alot of questions, but thanks for helping!


Fish Herder
Mar 7, 2020
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1. Anubias, Bucephalandra, moss, java fern, Homalomena Sekadau South, and Bolbitis are good plants to attach to wood. You can use super glue gel to attach anywhere on the hardscapes. You can also jam epiphytes onto crevices.

2. Yes, you can use your aquarium light for low light plants.

3. For epiphyte plants, you can use liquid fertilizer. For rosette plants, you will need root tabs. You can add one or two tabs per plant.

4. You can try Marsilea hirsuta or dwarf Sagittaria as a carpeting plant. You can clip out the runners once there is too much plant growth.

5. Yes, just make sure you use the gel kind.

6. Vallisneria, water wisteria, Bacopa, and Ludwigia would be good plants for the back.

7. You can just clip or rip the plants into individual plants (assuming you buy a pot).

8. Don't bury the plants too deep. For plants such as swords, don't bury the crown.

9. You can use aqua soil and cap it off with gravel.
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Retired Viking

Fish Connoisseur
Nov 22, 2019
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north woods
1.Java Fern African water Fern are good starting ferns, yes you can tie them with string or use aquarium safe super glues. I would not "jam" them but yes I have put them in openings
@Crispii You are fast o_O


Fish Aficionado
Feb 16, 2008
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No need for soil and no real benefit. If you want the rooted plants to bush out prune them. You can plant the cuttings if you remove the lower leaves.


Fish Expert
Feb 25, 2009
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I will respond to the more significant of your points and this may repeat but it is easier for me to just give the explanation rather than piece meal.

2. Maybe, but can you provide some info on your lighting. Type, watts, spectrum (Kelvin)...all you can.

3. Fertilizer depends upon the plants.

4. Depends what you mean by "carpet." High-tech tanks have carpet plants and these need stronger lighting, more nutrients, maybe CO2 diffusion. In a natural or low-tech system there are some plants that do a nice job of spreading over the substrate, like the pygmy chain swords, and these need moderate light and no CO2. Moss tends to be less light, it does well with floating plants over it.

6. This is not always easy, it depends upon light. Larger swords do well because the leaves are higher up but they can still fill the space.

7. Depends upon the plant. Sword plants and crypts for example often have two or three plants that can be separated carefully, or left together. Swords are better separated.

9. There is really no benefit to "soil," but there are serious issues depending upon what it is. I have never bothered and I have heavily planted tanks. Substrate in general is best as one material, it looks more natural and increases the visual concept of space. However, sand is often better than gravel, not only for plants but especially for some fish that need sand. If you intend cories, loaches, and other substrate fish sand is much better and safer, and frankly necessary for cories.


Fish Herder
May 5, 2004
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Ferns anubius crypts and swords.
Having said that if basic needs arent met the plants wont thrive.
Plants take up nutrients 2 ways, through their roots and through the water column through their leaves. Some more than others. For instance swords get about 70% of their nutrients from roots do if one has nutrient rich water but nutrient void substrate swords arent going to do well where as opposite is true for a java fern which is majority column feeder so a rich substrate is useless.
Important to know how your plants feed and what they eat. Plants like valisneria and jave fern consume alot of calcium and calcium is best absorbed in conjunction with magnesium. Red plants of coarse need iron, swords consume high amounts of nitrates.
Regardless all plants need the macro nutrients npk nitrogen phosphate and calcium along with all the micro nutrients. Tom barr of the Barr report says the nutrients plants lack the most in aquariums is potassium and iron. The form of iron best utilized by plants is ferrous gluconate. So make sure to have a comprehensive liquid fert that is high in potassium and iron it is is derived from ferrous gluconate. Same with the root tabs for the substrate. I use easy green from aquarium co op.
As for light thats a whole other story.
If its LED then one needs to be concerned with lumens at 5000K to 6500k with at least a 90 CRI rating. Lumens for low light plants is 20-30per liter. 30-40 for medium and 40-50 for high light plants.
For growing carpeting plants its all about PAR at the substrate. PAR measures a lights intensity as it travels through water. A light that has 30 PAR at the surface might only have 10 PAR at substrate depth, carpeting plants need at least 30PAR at substrate to grow. There is a light calclator on to help with this.
Also id suggest keeping your light on a timer id keep it on for under 8 hours. Algae needs 8 hours of continuous light to grow plants dont.


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