...Suggestion for the foreground...blyxa japonica can get pretty big, even in a low tech tank. The little bit you gave me is actually taking over my little 6 gallon and is about 4-5 in tall. I have found that Echinodorus tenellus is a good low tech plant but can grow tall as well...
I hear you, brother, and thank you for the offer. As always, you are right, as you will see in my next post. I purposely selected (a lie) the plants I planted - I might be mad, but I tend to do things for a (mad) reason. I also thank you for giving me the opening for the following collection of personal rants.
: The real reason I planted what I did is simple: I had the plants. Even though I have e. tenellus in several tanks (you can see some in my picture of another tank in this thread) it can be either a blessing or a curse. But that's a subject for another runt.
I am blessed that this is not my first tank and that I learned along the journey the hard way: by hitting my head against hard objects. Repeatedly. And hard.
I have learned that this hobby takes patience, time, perseverance, effort, and patience.
: All of us want to set up a new tank and have it win a contest. On day one. This forum is awash in pictures of beautiful, gorgeous, breath taking pieces of art. What gets lost in the flood is the effort and the time and the knowledge and the skills to create one. If you want a tank full of 'difficult', rare and expensive plants the day you first fill it - I will help you. For a price. You will have one long enough to snap a dozen pictures. After that, you are on your own.
Just check the number of posts on HC, DHG, MM et al. The Dry Start? for 6 months!?! Screw that. I want my pay back and I want it now, just like the other guy. The difference is I actually know what it takes to grow HC in a low tech tank and I am not willing to pay the price. I plant a bunch of blyxa that you cannot give away and I have an instant green tank.
Yes, most of us will not look twice. Big deal, Blyxa. HC and DHG is what you want to show off to 'earn' your spot up front. And you set yourself up and fall on your face. And you leave the hobby to fail again in something else because "patience, perseverance, effort" are not in your lexicon. Instant gratification is.
You, and many others, have seen my tanks in person. None of them is perfect or without problems or ever finished. But then again you know how many plants I've sold. How many R. macrandra and Nesaea Red I gave away to others to try out, to reach higher. How many of those people have ever gotten back to me with stories of success? Maybe 2. Max. Sooo, I did not want a bunch of R. macrandra rotting in my tank. But, talontsiawd
, you just might now me better then I know myself
- I just might end up with a 10g 100% planted with healthy, red r. macrandra ... eventually.
Nesaea red, in my tank:
(do you see much algae? That's a 65g 18" tall tank with 324w of t5ho @ 12 hrs/day)
and in my kitchen sink:
R. macrandra, in my kitchen sink:
Guess this plant, in that color:
: The plants that I expect to be the 'anchor' plants (larger rosettes) get planted first. They define the planted part of the scape, I want to give them a head start on developing the root system and I do not expect or want to move them around the tank. In this case, I want to keep the red tiger lotus and the banana plant.
The rest of the tank gets planted wall to wall with as with much variety of fast growing, cheap / disposable plants as I can get my hands on. My goal is to get to a stable tank as soon as possible. I also try to select plants that have different growing patterns to serve as my indicators.
For example, I expect to pull out some of the Blyxa
to check for the root development. I want long healthy roots that indicate that the substrate is not too compacted, has decent levels of 02 and nutrients. Short and/or decaying roots will point to problems that will need to be addressed.
and S. sessiliflora
use a lot of nutrients from the water column and don't really require that much light. If these plants fail to show decent growth then my dosing is probably out of whack.
is a rosette plant that has shallow roots and reproduces via aerial runners. If that plant fails to stay put, then the substrate might be too lose for it. If the roots start to rot, then I need to check the cleanliness on top of the substrate (organics). If it fails to start sending out runners, then it does not have enough food.
, besides being a great nutrients sync, does not have to be planted. If its roots that I put on top of the substrate start to rot then check the organics.
is a relatively slow growing stem in low light and can be rather 'touchy'. If it's not looking great then maybe my circulation fails to deliver the nutrients it needs. It is also a great thread algae 'magnet': if I start seeing it then I will tone the flow down a bit.
Floating plants like Brazilian pennywort
serve several purposes. First of all, with their access to atmospheric co2, they are not co2 limited. They should take off the fastest in a lo tec, no co2 tank, unless something is really wrong. By being fast growers they are also my defense against drastic swings in a small tank. Moreover, floaters tend to have well developed, fine and dense roots - the perfect place for the string/thread algae to make the first appearance which provide me with the early warning system on flow and nutrients.
Another important role of floaters (and water sprite) is to give me tools to adjust the amount of light reaching the planted plants. If I see GSA - I drop in more floaters. If things are looking stable, I can remove some to gradually increase the level of light without messing with the light fixture. If the tank is rock stable, then I am in a decent spot with my initial light / fert / flow combination.
As the tank matures, I will start replacing the initial plants with something more interesting and / or demanding. Depending on the overall health of the tank I can either increase or decrease my re-planting pace. So, the selection of the initial plants allow me to gauge the state of the affairs and to nudge different parameters towards my golden middle.
As a side note, I have not used a test kit at all yet. I only test the water if things start going south overnight.