Vivarium Planting Advise - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-29-2013, 03:03 AM Thread Starter
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Vivarium Planting Advise

Hello all. I am in the process of building out a vivarium that will eventually house dart frogs. I am also incorporating a fairly sizable water feature, which will be the new home of a school of neon tetras. See the photos below.

I am here to gather some advise on the aquatic plant option that would fit something this size an shape. The depth is 5" and volume is about 5.5g-6g. I am not looking to get to complicated with the aqua scape, I am thinking a gravel substrate. Is the floramax worth the cost? I know that in reef keeping the live sand isn't always worth the added cost. Beyond that I will add a couple larger river rocks, maybe a small peice of driftwood if I find something that will fit. So far I have been thinking of scattering some Corkscrew Vallisneria maybe some Moneywart to help mask the eggcrate & screen divider. Aquatic plant noob here so if I am stupid feel free to tell me so, any advise very much welcome. Thanks.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-29-2013, 06:08 AM
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The corkscrew Vals will get quite long and spread through most of your water feature, I don't see it as a great plant, but if that's what you're after then go for it.

Moneywort is one of my favorite plants, but it doesn't spread and hide things very well at all, it would be a great thing to have in a couple clumps of 3 of 4 stems. It grows out of the water like nobody's business, and it grows fast (especially in shallow areas like yours).

I'd go with some small carpeting plant that doesn't need too much work (and doesn't get too tall), like Dwarf Hairgrass, to make a really nice carpet for the fish to hide in. Another carpeting plant that I enjoy in my shallow water zone thing is Pygmy Chain sword, it's just great.

People are too often merely stating an assumed truth from flawed observation.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-29-2013, 07:19 AM
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for that corner, i would expect that after you plant the rest of your scape, light will be pretty low. So i would stick with hardy low light plants like anubias and ferns. Java ferns will be pretty good at covering the crates. Needle leaf java ferns looks pretty good bunched up.

Another plus for anubias and ferns is that they dont need that much care or trimming. Since that corner will probably be pretty hard to trim. =)
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-29-2013, 04:23 PM
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Looks like a great start.

I would add leaf litter to your dry area and cover/plug up the back area of the background. They can squeeze through tight spots!

Which type of darts are you planning to keep?
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-29-2013, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the direction I will look into your suggestions. Hopefully I will be able to get this thing cycled in the next couple weeks, then I can get planting. Am I correct in my thinking that I should let the plant get established for a couple weeks before I add the fish?

The background is completely sealed for the exception of the open area which is my built-in DIY filtration. The lid will fit pretty tight to the top of the background, I actually still need to trim it down a bit in a couple spots. I am replacing the screen in the lid with glass but I still need to finalized the exact location of the fogger hose and make preparations for a future mister, if I decide to invest in one somewhere down the line. Once I have all that figured out I will screen over the filtration voids to prevent any mishaps. I am not 100% but most likely I will go with leucs, I am leaning towards them for the ability to have more frogs in the enclosure. For the time being I want to get the pond established and running smoothly as well as getting the rest of the tank planted and eventually well seeded with springtails & isopods. Since the frogs are the thing I know the least about I want to have everything else well established so I can focus all my attention on the stars of the show.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-29-2013, 07:14 PM
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Glad you had that in mind, fishing out frog trapped in the false bottom is definitely not going to be fun.

1+ on the microfauna, they are very beneficial to a healthy vivarium. Be sure to keep your dry substrate elevated away from the water level. Wicking water from the pond will lead to waterlogged substrate and tanned water. I highly recommend mist king if you decide on having a mister.

Leucs are get starter frogs. They are forgiving and very bold. Under the right conditions they will breed for you. However from my experience, they are more seasonal breeders. If you are trying to raise tadpoles in your pond area, take a look at Epipedobates anthonyi. They breed readily, do well in group and their tadpoles are communal. Leucomelas tads might cannibalize.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-29-2013, 08:04 PM
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Make sure you have enough ventilation with outside air. You might want to consider a fan. Also make sure your water area is completely sealed from all the false bottom or false walls. You don't want a critter stuck behind where you can reach it and then die and foul your water.
Make sure your lid fits perfectly. Whatever you feed the frogs can and will find that one spot to escape. I have my lid taped and there are still areas where things get out.
You can use ferns, crypts and anubias as well as moss in the water area without problems. Should be fine and looks good.
Make sure to add microfauna and add a lot! Springtails and isopods all the time!
If you want you can cover the white egg crate in black window screen or other black screen material to make it not so obvious.
Before you add water, make sure all glue and silicone smell traces are gone! And I mean completely!

Good luck!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-29-2013, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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The top will be vented, I plan to keep the front two glass panels a little short and cover the gap with screen. The background was finished about 3 weeks ago, so all is cured, the only silicone in the enclosure is sealing the divider between the false floor and the pond which was done several months ago. At the point I am all set and ready to start cycling the water except I have a small crack in the background near the top of the stream and the running water keep finding it and and creating drip into the false bottom. I though I had it sealed up last night but I didn't so I have to let it dry out for a while and then chase it down a bit more tonight and seal that sucker up for good.
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