How do you get stems to STAY PUT? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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How do you get stems to STAY PUT?

Hello! I am new to this amazing hobby. I have gotten over my head already with 3 tanks, 30, 20 and 10 gals. I have to plant all of them. I just don't care for the plastic stuff. I am moving to natural landscape items as well, although it may be a while before I give up my castle! I am blown away by the beauty you people have created in underwater landscapes.

I am just trying to get the plants I bought as bunches of stems to stay planted. I am having a devil of a time. I have CaribSea Super Naturals (super fine sand) in the 10, black aquarium gravel in the 20, and a bit coarser black sand in the 30. I have the best luck in the 20, but still, they pop up and float. I bought some grass, which I love, but they are individual grass stems which will never stay put, so I left them in the metal holder thingy. I use tweezers, fingers, combo, but things still come up. Is there a secret? I have watched several videos, it looks easy. They go in fine, stay when I back away, are floating when I come back. grrr. worst culprits are cabamba, water wisteria, hornwart (this one is fine growing on the surface, but would be nice if I could anchor some of it!). Any help would be appreciated. I am getting ready to super glue them to something like mesh and bury it. Perhaps each stem gets a stone glued to it?
I just got some Eco-Complete to change out the 10 gal, but had a big nitrite spike and am dealing with that, so not sure how long before I can make a big change there.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 02:23 AM
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@Capers7
What I do with stems is trim the bottom leaves to about 1/4 - 1/2" long and then bury the stem and stubs in the substrate. The short leaf stubs will serve as anchors until roots get established. When the plants already have roots, I bury them extra deep and then gently pull them upwards with tiny little jerks. This will bring the crown to where you want it and the roots will extend downward into the substrate. Hornwart is especially difficult because it is so brittle. I have only had luck with it as a floating plant.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AguaScape View Post
@Capers7
What I do with stems is trim the bottom leaves to about 1/4 - 1/2" long and then bury the stem and stubs in the substrate.
THAT is what I was doing wrong! I had long naked stems with no anchor stubs. Thank you!
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 02:49 AM
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I take a small piece of scrap filter foam , cut a hole in the middle , put straw through the hole , put the stem and roots in the straw , pull straw out of foam , bury foam and plant in sand . See pic for better idea . Most time I can get the stems to stay without any help...lol
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My wife says if I get one more aquarium she is going to leave me . I sure am going to miss her fried chicken .
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 02:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Capers7 View Post
THAT is what I was doing wrong! I had long naked stems with no anchor stubs. Thank you!
Happy to help!

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Originally Posted by Leeatl View Post
I take a small piece of scrap filter foam , cut a hole in the middle , put straw through the hole , put the stem and roots in the straw , pull straw out of foam , bury foam and plant in sand . See pic for better idea . Most time I can get the stems to stay without any help...lol
Nice trick! I might try that for more difficult stems. Love the signature BTW.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 04:53 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AguaScape View Post
Happy to help!

Nice trick! I might try that for more difficult stems.
Very clever idea! Thank you so much for the suggestion! I have a lot to do tomorrow, redoing my substrate and getting all those pesky stems to stay where they belong! Wohoo!
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 08:37 AM
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Another trick is to go in at an angle instead of straight down. Takes the stems about a day to straighten up. This is an ADA trick because Aquasoil is so light and doesnt hold very well in the beginning

Personally I do what AquaScape said.

And of course deeper substrate helps too, tough to plant anything in a 1" layer


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 06:03 PM
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I keep big bully fish who often do move plants, even just going by, so I have used small stones which hide easy, glue some of the roots to the stone and bury the whole thing. At least then when they grab it and take it around for a ride, it settles back down making it is to cover again! A thin chip of slate type material hides better if the sub is very thin. Kind of like super glue on wood but a different purpose.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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You folks have the best ideas!! Thanks so much!
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 11:50 PM
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As an easy place to find slate, I get a floor tile that seems to have thin sections like slate might and then use a screwdriver, etc. to split it into thin sections. Sometimes slate is hard to find around me but floor tile is easy to find and pretty cheap for the amount of small chips I get.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
As an easy place to find slate, I get a floor tile that seems to have thin sections like slate might and then use a screwdriver, etc. to split it into thin sections. Sometimes slate is hard to find around me but floor tile is easy to find and pretty cheap for the amount of small chips I get.
For my slate I went to a place that sells landscaping stones. They have just about every kind of rock that would be used outside, they charge by the pound. When I went up to where they weigh the rocks I popped the trunk and showed then the four or five pieces I wanted and they laughed and sent me on my way. I guess their scale does not measure that low.

Tim Sapp
Frisco TX
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 02:46 PM
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For wisteria, I used to cut small strips out of plastic milk jug, fold in half to make a pin, and use it to hold the plant at substrate until it grew roots enough. Hornwort won't grow roots- it's a floater. I do like the way it looks pegged down, though. I used to tie mine onto small rocks or wood pieces- but the bottom end will eventually melt and it will float up again. Can use small rubber bands (the kind for tiny braids) or fishing line.


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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 08:09 PM
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I use very fine sand as well and the solution for me was to just have deeper sand...
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old Today, 05:46 PM
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I always just push the stem into the substrate deeper than it has to go and then pull up slowly a bit wit the twizzers. When you pull up, the substrate falls in and around the base holding it better.


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