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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. I hope this is the proper place to ask this.



These are the plants we recently picked up from a few of our local pet stores (Petco and VI Pets). I know the one on the left of the Rainbow Shark is a Wysteria (I THINK), though I can't remember the name of the moss or the potted plant in the teacup. We also have added a few more of the moss, as the few ghost shrimp we have, really seem to love it. I know the water is pretty cloudy, but our Filter decided it was retiring last night after a big tank clean and water change (before we put the plants in), though we picked up a new one about 7/8 hours ago, so it's cleared up quite a bit.

Both myself and my BF are quite new to live plants in freshwater aquariums, so please excuse my Noob-ness.

Current Setup:
40 Gallon Long
Marineland Penguin Biowheel 200 (carbon filter)
Air stone (under the rocks)
There is also an air pump on the far right side, that is currently fairly wide open, though we can fine tune it pretty well, to reduce the amount of oxygen if necessary.
Aqueon Floramax (I believe that is the name, can look at box that went out with the filter) T8 Florescent-1 48" bulb


Fish:
Pool Comet-once it gets warm enough, will be transferred out. Was a cheap impulse buy to add to the pond, and was in great shape, so he's temporary.
Rainbow Shark
Parrot Cichlid
3 GLOfish-Danios Type
3 GLOfish-Tetra Type
Chinese Algae Eater
2 Ghost Shrimp
Nitrite and Chinese Trap Door Snails
(Trap doors are raised mostly in tank, then transferred to Koi Pond)

We have two potted Bamboo like plants (I told you I was a NOOB), one of the Wysteria, and three bunches of the moss.
Picked up these today:
Seachem's Activate-phosphorus
Seachem's Propel-Iron
Seachem's Synthesis-nitrate, organic nitrogen, ammonia-cal)
I dosed the tank with the proper amount using a millimeter syringe.

I've been reading about all of the plant stuff and it's just completely overwhelming me.

My questions-so far:
Does the Wysteria need to be planted? Currently it's sitting inbetween two large rocks to hold it down, though it's not being crushed. If so, how do I go about doing so? We have fairly large gravel, but it's loose for the most part.

What's the proper method for planting Wysteria? Fertilizers and substrates? Is the gravel okay? Can I put the substrate down where the plant will be placed, and loosely place gravel around the plant on top of the substrate?

CO2. Is it necessary for what I have planted? Does the oxygen flow need to be cut down? I'm willing to do a cheap CO2 setup-until I know I can keep plants without killing them, but would like to avoid it if possible as the tank dump scares me.

Our light is on a timer, going on around 8am and shutting off at 10pm. Does this need adjusting?

The mosses-will they grow on the lava type stones, or do they need driftwood? We do have quite a bit of driftwood from the Lake shore. Is this useable if boiled?

Last one-will the plants help to cut down on the amount of algae? I'm assuming it's been liking our lighting schedule, but it's been fighting us quite a lot. We mostly had the light on for most of the day, as the Rainbow Shark got Anchor worms, and after we pulled them out of him a year ago, I was fairly worried, and haven't gotten around to fixing the timers.



Well those are my questions thus far. If anybody could answer them, or even just one, I would REALLY appreciate. We are trying to get it right, and if it goes as planned, and once we get more experienced, we hope to green up the tank a bit more!


-Thank you in advance, the biggest plant noob there is.

I do know the part of the tank I photographed (this is where the plants are mostly planted, though another piece of moss and plant similar to the one in the teacup, are planted n the other side of the tank), looks fairly dark, though that is from me dropping the glass lid last night, and breaking the back pane. I pretty much duck taped it together as a temporary rig to keep the tank covered. Had to get a new glass lid, and it has since been replaced.
 

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My questions-so far:
1. Does the Wysteria need to be planted?

2. What's the proper method for planting Wysteria?

3. Fertilizers and substrates? Is the gravel okay? Can I put the substrate down where the plant will be placed, and loosely place gravel around the plant on top of the substrate?

4. CO2. Is it necessary for what I have planted? Does the oxygen flow need to be cut down?

5. Our light is on a timer, going on around 8am and shutting off at 10pm. Does this need adjusting?

6. The mosses-will they grow on the lava type stones, or do they need driftwood?

7. We do have quite a bit of driftwood from the Lake shore. Is this useable if boiled?

8. Last one-will the plants help to cut down on the amount of algae? I'm assuming it's been liking our lighting schedule, but it's been fighting us quite a lot. We mostly had the light on for most of the day, as the Rainbow Shark got Anchor worms, and after we pulled them out of him a year ago, I was fairly worried, and haven't gotten around to fixing the timers.
1. Yes

2. Get some tweezers (cosmetic tweezers will suffice), trim the leaves off the bottom of the stem, pinch lightly and push down into the gravel.

3. Root fertilizer tabs and a liquid plant fertilizer should be fine. SeaChem Flourish root tabs and Flourish Comprehensive are what I use. You could also look into Flourish Excel to dose carbon, but it's not needed IMO. No need to replace substrate.

4. Not necessary. If you have an air stone in the tank, that will be fine. Otherwise, just make sure there's plenty of surface agitation from your filter to promote gas exchange so CO2 gets into the tank from the surrounding air.

5. You should scale the lighting WAY back, that's the source of your algae. Depending on the light, 6-8 hrs of light is all you need. If you like, you can split the lighting period so it's on in the morning and at night, when you're home.

6. They will grow on either.

7. Yes. Boiled and/or baked (as long as it doesn't light on fire).

8. No, plants will not cut down on algae. Look up the One-Two Punch Method for Algae Control in the Algae forum for a great idea on how to knock it out, otherwise use Algaefix (if you don't have invertebrates), or do a tank blackout for a week to eradicate the algae.

Hope this helps! Disclaimer: I'm no professional, just a hobbyist with decades of experience in planted community tanks.
 

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Welcome and have fun! I'm no expert but here's my suggestions.

The Wisteria can be planted in gravel or even floating and I suspect wedged btwn rocks will be ok.

You don't need CO2 for the plants you have.

your light is likely low light as t8s usually are not enought but hard to say without height of tank. you should decrease your light time to 6-8 hrs. it may still grow your plants b/c they look mostly low light plants but you may want to consider an upgrade.

as for the algae try focusing on growing the plants and doing weekly water changes and cleaning and it should help. but some algae have possible causes so it depends on what algae it is.

since you are going with seachem get the potassium as well. once you finish it check the for sale forum here to buy dry ferts, it is much cheaper.

you might want to consider root tabs from the forum as well or your local fish store b/c the gravel doesn't provide any nutrients. it will help your rooted plant. i tend to take them out of the pot that they come in but i have seen some people leave them in.

add more plants. look for low light plants such as java fern, anubias, crypt wendtii, here's a list
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...67-excellent-list-plants-low-light-tanks.html

good luck!
 

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FYI. The plant on the right side is Dracena and is not an aquatic plant. I would remove it before it rots and fouls up your water.

By the way welcome to the forum. Spend some time reading through some of the stickies and don't be afraid to ask questions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the quick replies. We do have invertebrates, 2 ghost shrimp and a LOT of Trapdoor and Netrite snails. Though we have moved the snails, and I'm assuming we can move the shrimp, to a small 3 gallon tank we used quarantine when trying to get rid of stupid anchor worms.

It's a 40L, so 48 1/4 x 12 3/4 x 16 7/8 are the approximate dimensions of the tank. WE could probably upgrade to a two bulb hood, or just get a T5 in there again We had a shop light T5 in there, but it looked like crap, and it wasn't rated for plants. We do want to get better lighting system, but we just dropped a lot of money into a new filter and a new glass lid, which will let the light get to the plants better, instead of the black duct tape lid.

I do believe our moss is Java Moss. And we picked up two more, plus another bamboo like plant late last night. The new snails seem to be going to town on the Algae. Question on that. We use Barley balls in our Koi Pond for the string algae and other algae issues, and it works wonders and doesn't kill the snails. Can Barley be used in tanks?

I did watch the tank lights to see when they really come on, and they pop on at 10am and are on for almost 12 hours (gasp), so will definitely cut that way back. Most of the algae is just standard green algae, but we do have black algae that has come in. In the Koi Pond when it got bad before we knew about the barley, we had to drain the whole thing, put the Fish in the two plastic pond tanks we have, and sit there with scrub brushes and a bleach mix, and scrub the HELL out of the liner, but I don't know if that's really the best method for the rocks that have the Black Algae growing on it. We had to let the waterfall and filter pumps run for 24 hours, but the fish have never been affected by it.

Thanks a lot, again, for the advice! Appreciated!
 

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Those Dracaena plants can grow emmersed.

So while it will eventually die if it's kept completely underwater, you can get a small container to hold it so it's up near the top of th tank, growing out, and it should do fairly well. I've also seem people just up and stick them in their HOB filters.

Some people have really good results with CO2, and I'm sure you've noticed it's a pretty popular option. I prefer the low-tech approach, as it's cheaper, simpler, and I have less maintenance to do. I think it's also better if you're starting out to do things low tech.

I've used wild-collected driftwood in a number of tanks. I usually just soak it for a while to try and leach out as much of the tannins as I can initially and help waterlog it, and give it a couple good scrubbings with a stiff brush to help remove dirt, sand, bark fragments, rotting wood, etc.

Boiling helps a lot to speed the process up, but it's not really necessary if you don't have a suitable container.

I'd suggest adding a few more plants if you can, it helps to start with about as densely planted as you can manage. Since you have inert substrate, it's probably best to avoid things that are heavy root-feeders, like crypts, swords, tiger lotus, etc. Most stem plants would probably work well, as well as java fern, bolbitis, and anubias. I also like getting some floaters - they help a lot with start up as they can provide some shade, and pick up nutrients pretty quick, and are easy enough to thin out without affecting the tank/scape at all. I'm personally fond of frogbit.

I think anubias and java fern are pretty great plants, especially for beginners. They are pretty undemanding, fairly resilient, and can just be glued/tied on to rocks and driftwood and such.

One thing you can do with the lighting is to do a split photoperiod. The lights come on for a few hours in the morning, turn off for a few hours, and then on again for a few hours in the evening. I like this since it makes the tank viewable for me when I'm actually around, and a lot of people use it to have a viewable tank on both ends of their work/school schedule.
 
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