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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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Just a newb question

I have been reading on here about dirt and sand and I was just wondering if my plants will grow in gravel? I'm new to the plants in the tank thing but I love the way they look so I went out and got some amazon swords and java ferns and put them in my tank. I really hope they don't do because of my lack of research.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 02:24 PM
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Hi Stump,

Plants need light, fertilizer, and something to put their roots into; gravel will work just fine. Here is my first planted tank with natural gravel, Seachem Flourish Comprehensive fertilizer, and 2 watts per gallon of lighting. BTW, I hope you attached your java ferns to hardscape and didn't try to 'plant' them in the gravel.

30 gallon with natural gravel

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75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XFluval F&P 2.0; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED; all with CO2 and (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Let's just say someone I know planted the java ferns is that a bad thing
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 02:45 PM
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Hi Stump26,

Do a little quick research and you will find that java ferns do best if attached to hardscape like stones, driftwood, and even ornaments. If the rhizomes are planted into the gravel the rhizomes may rot and the plant will die. Some attach the rhizomes with thread, mono-filament fishing line, rubber bands, or my favorite super glue gel. After a month or so the roots of the plant will attach themselves to the hardscape.

I like java ferns.

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75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XFluval F&P 2.0; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED; all with CO2 and (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the advice i will see what I can do about the ferns I have no drift wood or large stone....I do have a few clay pots and a fake rock thing from wal mart
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 02:57 PM
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Hi Stump26,

Pots and fake rocks work fine.

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75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XFluval F&P 2.0; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED; all with CO2 and (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Ok I tied them to my rock I hope they live they had black spots on all of the leaves when I got them from petsmart
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 03:29 PM
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Hi Stump26,

The black spots will not repair themselves; if more appear it may be an indication of a nutrient deficiency - possibly potassium. Don't forget to use a fertilizer, Seachem Flourish Comprehensive is a good all purpose fert for beginners; balanced and easy to dose.

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75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XFluval F&P 2.0; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED; all with CO2 and (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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I been using API leaf zone don't know if that is enough but that's what the worker at pets smart told me to get
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 04:02 PM
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Hi Stump26,

API Leaf Zone is not a 'balanced' fertilizer, it contains only potassium and iron but is missing the macro-nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium; also no micro-nutrients. It is probably the only fertilizer they had on the shelf. I would pick up some Seachem Flourish Comprehensive and alternate dosing the two until you use up the API then don't buy it again.

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75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XFluval F&P 2.0; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED; all with CO2 and (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay

Last edited by Seattle_Aquarist; 07-04-2012 at 04:07 PM. Reason: added additional information
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-05-2012, 12:32 AM
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java fern, for future reference, can also be rested on top of the substrate in lieu of attaching to hardscape.

Last edited by CatB; 07-05-2012 at 12:33 AM. Reason: .
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-05-2012, 01:39 PM
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Java fern and anubias and other plants with rhizomes can be planted provided only the roots are buried and not the rhizome.

My who have plants in plain gravel will use fertilizer tablets that go into the substrate under or next to your plants. These slow release to provide nutrients for rooted plants, crypts for example.


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