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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-03-2011, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
TAN
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Plant recommendation

Hello,

I am new in this hobby.

Three months ago I purchased a 20 gallon high tank from a local pet store.

My tank looked exactly like this when I bought it.



I am keeping a few swordtails in it.

Last month, I decided that I do not like the look of the plastic plant, and decided to replace it with real plants.

The light is 2x24 watt. 1 blue and 1 white PL light. So I think it should be bright enough.

The problem is I have coral sand substrate. And from what I read, this is not a good substrate for the planted tank.

But I decided to try it anyway. I started with Java Fern and Anacharis 1 month ago. So far they have been doing fine.

Last week, I put in Corkscrew Vallisneria and Ludwigia (not sure which species). Ludwigia is pretty much dead, and vallisneria is struggling, but may pull through.

Now, I am eyeing for the sagittaria subulata, and ludwigia repens. And perhaps hornwort because I heard that this grow fast, even in hard water.
I am also thinking about attaching java moss to that white rock.

Do you think I have a chance to keep these plants alive ? Please advice me on this. Thank you.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-03-2011, 02:46 PM
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You could try anacharis, it grows really fast. If it melts, it may grow back. Mine did for sure.

My roommate says I'll die by giant turtle.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-03-2011, 03:52 PM
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are you fertilizing at all?

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-03-2011, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
TAN
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@ValMM: yes, I got the anacharis. They seem to grow just fine.

@BlazingWolf: No. But I can if I have to. What kind of fertilizer would I need?

My main concern is if it is possible to have a beautiful planted tank with the coral sand substrate.

Is there anyone have success planting the plant I listed in coral sand tank ?
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-04-2011, 04:10 AM
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Oh! I missed it, sorry.

My roommate says I'll die by giant turtle.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-04-2011, 04:34 AM
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I would suggest that you only have one of those lights on your tank or you might get some algae problems in the near future if you want to keep things simple and easy at first.

I would suggest that you get some anubis or java fern they are really hardy and easy to grow plants.


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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-05-2011, 08:24 AM Thread Starter
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Rockhoe14er: Thank you for the advice. Yes,there was brown algae, but they are gone. Now I have some green algae, but it is nothing serious yet. I have limit the timer to 8 hours. It seems to help reduce the algae problem a bit.

Btw, do you know if anyone successfully keep plants with coral substrate ? Or may be I should just try my luck with those plants... I will place the order and let you know in few days, or weeks. I will also try to get some plant fertilizer, see how that help the Vallisneria.

Thank you for the reply . I am still open for more advice, so please voice your advice and criticism here. Feel free, I take critics well.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-05-2011, 06:57 PM
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Hi Tan,

You should replace your substrate with something more hospitable for aquatic plants. Crushed coral substrate is for marine tanks. It will turn your water very hard in your fresh water setup.

The blue light you mentioned must be an actinic bulb for SW tank. You should consider replacing it with daylight (6500K) bulb.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-06-2011, 03:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Tomoko View Post
Hi Tan,

You should replace your substrate with something more hospitable for aquatic plants. Crushed coral substrate is for marine tanks. It will turn your water very hard in your fresh water setup.

The blue light you mentioned must be an actinic bulb for SW tank. You should consider replacing it with daylight (6500K) bulb.
Actually chlorophyll plants prefer both low wavelength(actinic) and high wavelength(red) to manufacture chloroplast and grow. Either way a daylight bulb will not hurt, but save that money for replacing that gravel(Ecocomplete, Gravel+Laterite, or Fluorite?)

The 2X24 seems to be HO so raising it 4 inches might reduce algea outbreak, especially if you're going to keep that white reflective coral gravel bed.

What kinds of swordtails are you keeping?
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-06-2011, 03:40 AM
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@BlazingWolf: No. But I can if I have to. What kind of fertilizer would I need?

My main concern is if it is possible to have a beautiful planted tank with the coral sand substrate.
and yes it is possible. i agree with the suggestions to change the substrate.. but at minimum some driftwood to help lower the ph would be good or peat IMO...

green leaf aqauriums also has a beginner package for 20 bux on ferts.. its a great start

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-06-2011, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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@Tomoko: I did not even have the slightest idea that my setup actually was for the marine tank. I purchased it as a set, including the decorations and the substrates. I guess all that should go into the garbage soon.

@AirstoND: The color of the swordtails is orange. It was red (I think), but the color seems to fade due to the substrate.

Will they do well in this water ?

If I go for two weeks without water change, will the water become too hard for them to survive?

So far, they looked healthy, active, and playful. But I have been changing water everyweek, sometimes even twice a week.

@HD Blazingwolf: I bought the flora pride. I will try it on my tank. I hope it works well.

More question:
Question One: if I replace the substrate with something else, can I keep the white rock (sea rock , I assume)? Or will the rock also make the water hard ?

Question Two: if I change the substrate, won't it hurt my fish, seeing that they have already adapted to the hard water. I am afraid that I am going to expose them to pH shock. Let me know if there is a safe way to do this.

Thank you. You all have been very helpful.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-06-2011, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Question Two: if I change the substrate, won't it hurt my fish, seeing that they have already adapted to the hard water. I am afraid that I am going to expose them to pH shock. Let me know if there is a safe way to do this.

I'm a newbie to planted tanks too so I can't help with much but one thing I can suggest is: when I changed my substrate from small pebbles to eco-complete I did it without doing a water change (except removing about 1-2 gallons so I could work without overflowing). I just went in with a cup to dig out the old and then put in the new. I then did a 10% water change every other day for about a week. My fish did fine.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-07-2011, 05:28 AM Thread Starter
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@In2wishin:Thank you. That makes sense. So, the fish can adapt slowly overtime.

Last night I do a 50% water change and dose the water with 10 ml of Flora Pride. I will see if I have success despite of the substrate. If it grows well, I will keep the substrate, as changing substrate will be costly, time and money.

I choose only those plants who supposedly can stand the hard water: Java fern, anacharis, Hornwort, ludwigia repens, and sagittaria. I do not mind the limited selection.

Wish me good luck.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-07-2011, 05:58 AM
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Your swordtails will be fine, even in very hard water. They live in hard water in nature.

You have plenty of light.

Make sure to use fertilizers to keep the plants growing.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-08-2011, 08:34 AM Thread Starter
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Your swordtails will be fine, even in very hard water. They live in hard water in nature.

You have plenty of light.

Make sure to use fertilizers to keep the plants growing.
Great. Thanks.

Currently I have these plants in my tank:
1. Ludwigia repens
2. Sagittaria
3. Vallisneria (Corkscrew variant)
4. Anacharis
5. Java fern
6. Hygrophilla

I have doubt about how to properly use the fertilizer. The product instruction reads: "Add 5ml per 10 l for a newly set up aquarium or 5 ml per 20 l for re-fertilisation every four weeks."

I added only 10 ml for the 60 litres of water in my tank. This is way under the recommended dose. I think, with the frequent water changes, adding too much will be a waste. Am I doing it right? Or should I just add more?

This is the look of my tank now.
I think I have too many background plants.
What should I do to upgrade the look?


Last edited by TAN; 09-08-2011 at 09:19 AM. Reason: Added image
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