Seeking advice on plants... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-11-2007, 05:53 AM Thread Starter
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Seeking advice on plants...

I finally have my first planted tank off to a start, a pathetic start to be sure, but a start non the less. Unfortunately I have run into a few problems, mainly due to impulse buying... I will spare you most of the details in the interest of keeping this brief.(Skip to the last paragraph to keep it really brief)

I am using a 20 gallon as my starter tank. I have two HO T5 bulbs, between both bulb I have about 50 watts at 6500K, witch I think is ample for what I have planned, although some of you may disagree. I have laid down one bag of Seachem Flourite, initially I was going to do two, but I thought one would be enough. I now know that I was wrong, but I think it is too late to fix that problem with out going through a great deal of trouble. I have no CO2 yet, but I plan on adding it in the future.

Anyways, I made the mistake of purchasing my first plants from Petcetra, only because my LFS didn't have any at the time. I bought some Mondo Grass and what I thought was an Amazon sword. After doing some research I am sure that I was actually sold a Brazilian sword and I also figured out Mondo grass and Brazilian swords are not true aquarium plants and will die in about a month or two... I also bought some cabomba which I am having a miserable time trying to keep in the Flourite..

I now realize after failing to buy some decent plants, I could use some advice on what plants I should be buying. I have two pairs of German Rams, so I would like to have plants that are indigenous to South America, but also plants that don't demand a great deal to care for. I am also thinking I would like to have a nice carpet plant to overrun the aquarium floor, but I am not so sure if that is a good idea. Anyways sorry for the long winded spiel, some good advice and some helpful pointers would really be appreciated.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-11-2007, 11:29 AM
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Get CO2. your not going to get any "carpet" without it. You should start off simple. Get "easy" fast growing plants to get the process going. Are you dosing fertilizers?

Cabomba is a good starter plant, fast growing and will help the tank settle. Wisteria or ludwigia is good too. If you are having trouble keeping the plants down, you can use the weights the plants came with. But usually, if you have enough substrate and really dig them in there, they will hold.

I reccomend finding a lfs that has plants. Talk to the owner and have him help you find plants that are in stock that can get your tank going.

But I highly reccomend CO2. There are plenty of DIY recipes and ways to get CO2 going and working for you.


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-11-2007, 12:40 PM
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Also I would get that second bag of Fluorite in there. I like about 3".
Rinse it according to Rex's guide with a 5 gallon paint strainer, and be gentle with it.
Then use a piece of PVC pipe to add the Fluorite. Just pour it in like a funnel, should take out some of the headaches of adding the substrate.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-11-2007, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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"Get CO2. your not going to get any "carpet" without it. You should start off simple. Get "easy" fast growing plants to get the process going. Are you dosing fertilizers?"

Well I built a DIY CO2 system a few months ago, I just need the ingredients to get it started. I plan on upgrading to a CO2 bottle and regulator in the near future, but I thought I would try the easy, inexpensive way first.

Yes I am dosing a liquid fertilizer called Plant Gro NPK. I wanted to get Seachem Flourish, but non of my local retailers sell it and this was the only product I could find. I am totally clueless about fertilizers right now though. It says it has a guaranteed analysis of Nitrogen 0.6%, Phosphate 0.3% and Potassium 2.4%. I was also thinking of buying the chelated iron fertilizer that they also offer. I know many of you like ordering Greg Watson fertz, but I would like to avoid having to order things right now.

"Cabomba is a good starter plant, fast growing and will help the tank settle. Wisteria or ludwigia is good too. If you are having trouble keeping the plants down, you can use the weights the plants came with. But usually, if you have enough substrate and really dig them in there, they will hold."

Why is it all the internet sites I have read, say Cabomba is not a good starter plant? I have had it before in a stock Hagen aquarium, dosing only chelated Iron and it grew like a weed.

"Also I would get that second bag of Fluorite in there. I like about 3".
Rinse it according to Rex's guide with a 5 gallon paint strainer, and be gentle with it. Then use a piece of PVC pipe to add the Fluorite. Just pour it in like a funnel, should take out some of the headaches of adding the substrate."

That is a really great idea, but when I added the Flourite last time I rinsed it very well, removed most of the water when I added it and it still turned my tank into a mud puddle for weeks. Also, wouldn't it be a bad idea to cover the existing Flourite?

Does anyone have micro swords? Is it difficult to care for?

Also is their anyway to tell for sure if you have a Brazilian sword or an amazon sword? I have looked at two sites and now I am not so sure I have a Brazilian sword.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-11-2007, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenleaf888 View Post
but I thought I would try the easy, inexpensive way first.
OK, I would say DIY CO2 is less expensive, but not easier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenleaf888 View Post
That is a really great idea, but when I added the Flourite last time I rinsed it very well, removed most of the water when I added it and it still turned my tank into a mud puddle for weeks. Also, wouldn't it be a bad idea to cover the existing Flourite?
I can't think of a reason not to cover your old substrate. And like I said before, be gentle with fluorite. It's baked clay, it can be crushed into dust if you are not careful. Also if you lower, or shut off your filters for a bit, the dust should settle faster.


I had microsword way back, you have to spread it out otherwise it will be an algae magnet, Don't just take the Microsword out of the post, and plant it in. Plant it glosso style. Carefully separate, and plant individual plants. to get the best spread, and growth.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-12-2007, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
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"I had microsword way back, you have to spread it out otherwise it will be an algae magnet, Don't just take the Microsword out of the post, and plant it in. Plant it glosso style. Carefully separate, and plant individual plants. to get the best spread, and growth."

Glosso style? I am sorry but I don't understand this term could you clarify?

I think I finally have the floating cabomba issue under control, I am sure some of the stems have rooted into the gravel. I want to wait a little until all the plants are rooted and doing well, but I am interested in expanding the cabomba. Can you just cut the tops off the cabomba stems and replant the tops? Is that a trait all stem plants share?
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-12-2007, 12:14 AM
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Yes, you can cut the tops off and replant the tops. The bottoms will take a while to start growing again...so cut to the height that you want. The replanted tops will catch up to the original bottoms in no time.

In the interim, you may want to consider dosing Excel. Will act as a CO2 supplement.

Glosso style...walter is trying to explain that if you take the "potted" plant, and break it apart to a bunch of smaller plants and make a "bed", if you will, of it, as opposed to just planting the one plant. this will help it grow faster and spread out quicker....to get that covered bottom appearance I think your after.


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