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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-21-2013, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie question

Substrate....What about it? I have a few post out there asking how to get started in this arena of planted tanks. I want to grow Amazon swords and other suitable plants requiring the same conditions.

My substrate questions are such. First i currently have a 50/50 mix of black gravel and red(ish) flourite. It is about 5mm or so and about 2" deep. Do I need some other substrate to grow amazon swords and a few other types of plants? If so can it be localized say in pots or do I have to do the whole substrate? I am not looking for a forest I want a few swords maybe three or four and then something that grows tall and maybe something to that would attach and grow on my wood. I have alot of rock and wood in my tank if that makes a difference.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-21-2013, 08:42 PM
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OK, swords will require root-tabs. If you only have a few, it'll be best to buy them from someone that sells them online. As for the plants attached to driftwood, I recommend java fern or any of the mosses. You can tie them with transparent fishing line, rubber bands, or even biodegradable string. You will want to dose some ferts such as Seachem Flourish 2x week and Seachem Excel (daily; generic form known as glutaraldehyde).

If you are in a position to redo the tank, I would remove everything in the tank. I would apply 2 inches of organic top or potting soil. I would cap with 1 inch layer of the mix gravel you have. The dirt will allow for healthier roots, but again, it's probably not needed for a light-planted tank.

Worst case scenario, if the tank gravel is too big, you can buy mini pots to place your plants in . Fill with dirt, plant, and apply a cap of sand to this pots. Add to the bottom of your aquarium slowly.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-21-2013, 09:25 PM
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Get or make root tabs, stick one under your sword plants every couple months.

Tall plants? Vals would be fine and are easy as long as you aren't dosing Excel.

Anubias, java fern and moss are the easiest plants to find that attach to wood and rock but Bolbitis is a ferny looking fern that is very good as well.

Dirt scares me, I pull up and move things around too much to want to deal with it.

If half the substrate is Fluorite then it is fine for plants. Swords will grow just fine in plain gravel and even better if you add root tabs. My first tank had split pea sized gravel and all the plants were just fine.

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-21-2013, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Redoing the tank while possible would not be fun. It is up and running with fish. So potting would be the best for those that need it. Thanks for the advice. What about those tall plants. One was mentioned but was suggested not to dose excel which the other poster suggested I do. I was reading about the vals and I like them. What would be the issue with excel and why would it not be good for the vals. I think a combo of swords and valls and java fern would be about what I would want and all sound easy.
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