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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a total Newbie who needs hardy plants.

Can you help me narrow what (and how many of each) will fit in my space constraints?

Side to side tank width = 30 inches
Front to back tank depth = 18 inches
Top to bottom tank height = 24 inches

My water temp will be 66.5ºF and right now I have 1 30inch long dual lamp T5 Aqueon light 18W+18W=36W (like the coralife ones). I also have 1 24 inch T8 20w, (but I don't know if both the T8 and the T5s would be necessary at the same time).

Do any of the following explode in growth under my conditions? Are any more particularly suited to my tank than others? Have I mis-classified any of the following for my tank climate (e.g. have I classified a backgrounder as a foreground, etc.)? Which ones in each category would you skip, and how many of each would you plant?

Foreground:
1. Java Moss (64.4ºF - 86ºF)
2. Dwarf Sag (Sagittaria Subulata) 71.6ºF - 82.4ºF

Mid-Ground:

1. Coffee Anubias (Anubias Barteri Coffeefolia) 69.8 ºF - 86ºF
2. Red Crypt Beckettii (Cryptocoryne beckettii) 68ºF - 86 ºF
3. African Water Fern (Bolbitis heudelotii) 68ºF - 80.6ºF
4. Phillipine Java Fern (Phillipine Microsorum Pteropus) 64.4ºF - 86 ºF
5. Vallisneria Asiatica Biwaensis (Corkscrew Val) 65ºF - 83ºF

Background:

1. Red Rubin Sword (Echinodorus Rubin) 64.4ºF - 86 ºF
2. light green Water Wisteria (Hygrophila Diformis) 75.2ºF - 82.4ºF
3. Rotala (Rotundifolia) 64.4ºF - 82.4ºF
4. Anacharis (Egeria Densa) 50ºF - 82.4ºF

Other specifics about my particular setup:

total tank water volume = 56 gallons
Fish = 2 ryukin/fantail/veiltail-type goldfish
Substrate = 1.5 inches of Flourite + 1.5 inches of sand
Low tech, no CO2
2 HOB filters across the back (one does 200gph and the other does 400gph)
 

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A few thoughts:

Goldfish eat most plants, in my experience. I'd make sure that the fish you intend to keep won't snack on your plants.

Water temperature isn't as important as water chemistry, e.g. hardness and pH. You haven't mentioned what your water chemistry is.

Flourite is an inert substrate (i.e. it contains no nutrients), and you won't be using CO2, but what about fertilization? How will the plants get nutrition, other than from fish waste?

You have Java Moss listed as a foreground plant. You'll need to attach it to something, rather than plant it into the substrate. Same is true of all Anubias, all Java Fern, and Bolbitis.

Understand that using sand can require a lot of work to keep it looking clean, and to keep it from mixing with the Flourite.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I DEEPLY appreciate any and all advice I can get. This is very helpful, and right now I am at a stage with this, my first ever tank, that I can make some big changes that will alter things in very positive or negative ways. I haven't yet made any (irrevocable, uncorrectable) major mistakes. So if you folks can keep me from making big mistakes, I am overjoyed.

Flourite is an inert substrate (i.e. it contains no nutrients), and you won't be using CO2, but what about fertilization? How will the plants get nutrition, other than from fish waste?
I invested in 1.5 inches worth of Flourite after reading (at http://www.plantedtank.net/articles/Basics-to-starting-a-Planted-Tank/4/ ) that it contained iron.

Has this been debunked since this article was written?

I rinsed the Flourite until the water ran clear, let it completely dry, and then I sprinkled 60ml of "Aqueon Aquarium Plant Food" over it and allowed the Flourite to soak up the product. Then I put the 40 pounds of Flourite into the bottom of my tank. I then covered the Flourite with 20lbs of sand that I'd rinsed and dried.

I wanted to cover the Flourite with sand because I didn't want the Goldfish eating the Flourite and getting it stuck in their digestive systems.

If Flourite is useless and inert-- I don't want it in the tank at all because it could be such a hazard to the fish. Plus I personally don't like the look of dark flourite intermingled with light sand. (My sand is a golden tan color.) Right now I have another 20lbs of sand drying in the basement to go over top of what is currently in the tank (why am I drying it out before putting it in there? Well, two reasons, drying flourite helps keep the murkiness problems down, so it might work for sand, too. And second-- this is about all I can do with the tank right now. We are putting new carpet in the room and I don't want to fill the tank until I finish getting the carpet down. So I don't want mold or something growing in the wet sand while it just sits there with nothing in it.)

At any rate, even though I have invested a lot of money in this substrate, I am willing to change it to something better (and right now is the time to make that change). I was attracted to the sand+flourite idea by the article at http://www.plantedtank.net/articles/Sand-Substrate/20/ that described a distinct lack of "peat puffs , laterite bombs , or any other additives that may create a mess." I figure, if I don't constantly uproot the plants, the goldfish will.

I really do not know what ferts I will add to the water on a regular, ongoing basis. I don't want to add anything that would hurt the fish, but I haven't looked into ferts at all. I'm hoping that if the plant food is on the minimal side, the plants will grow slowly and will outcompete with algae for nutrients. (This strategy is in no way grounded in scientific fact-- am I completely off base?)

The tiny amount of product that I poured on the Flourite before adding it to the tank contained

Soluble Potash K2O..................................1%
Calcium ...................................................0.2%
Magnesium (Mg)........................................5%
0.03% Water Soluble Magnesium (Mg)
Sulfur (S)..............................................0.036%
0.036% Combined Sulfur (S)
Boron (B)............................................0.0006%
Iron (Fe)..................................................0.12%
0.12% Chelated Iron (Fe)
Manganese (Mn)............................0.00008%
0.00008% Chelated Manganese (Mn)
Molybdenum (Mo).............................0.0035%
Zinc (Zn)...........................................0.00012%
0.00012% Chelated Zinc (Zn)

Soaking this tiny amount of plant food into the flourite probably did basically nothing, but I'm a noob, and noobs do weird things sometimes. (I have not planned out a regular ongoing fertilizing strategy.)

A few thoughts:

Goldfish eat most plants, in my experience. I'd make sure that the fish you intend to keep won't snack on your plants.
This list in my original post has been compiled by asking folks on this forum and the gab what plants will survive goldfish. Many more than this were suggested, but I picked these because they all seem fairly easy to grow, from my limited research thus far-- and I liked the look of them.

I plan to overplant a tiny bit, expecting some to make it and some to fall prey to voracious critters.

The numbers on my list are in order of my favorites in each category.

I'm actively seeking input now from readers here to see:

a) should I rearrange the order of my top picks for each area?
b) how many from each category can I realistically fit?

Water temperature isn't as important as water chemistry, e.g. hardness and pH. You haven't mentioned what your water chemistry is.
I need to buy the hardness test supplies. Now I only have the API master. I should probably put all of the substrate materials together in another container and then test my water. I'll post the results when I do that.

You have Java Moss listed as a foreground plant. You'll need to attach it to something, rather than plant it into the substrate. Same is true of all Anubias, all Java Fern, and Bolbitis.
This is great advice! Thanks!

Understand that using sand can require a lot of work to keep it looking clean, and to keep it from mixing with the Flourite.
I have considered adding small rocks to the very top of the sand that would have a dark brown and a light tan element to them... so that they would a) keep the fish from the roots of the plants, b) keep the fish away from the flourite, and c) not make the flourite-littered sand look dirty.
 

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Flourite does contain small amounts of micronutrients/traces, but doesn't contain two of the three macronutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus, with potassium being the third). More importantly, those micronutrients are likely to be used up fairly quickly.

Inert doesn't mean useless, and there's nothing wrong with Flourite. I was pointing out that because you're not using CO2, and because you're not using a nutrient-rich substrate, you'll need to consider fertilization at some point. I would read up on fertilization.

You'll want to test the pH and hardness of your tap water. I'd suggest reading up on water chemistry as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I definitely look into learning more about fertilizing. Another one of my problems is that I just don't know how these plants spread out as they grow. I suppose higher-growing plants are okay since the tank is 24inches tall, but I just don't know how many of each type to try to plant in the beginning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
7.3 pH very hard water

Water temperature isn't as important as water chemistry, e.g. hardness and pH. You haven't mentioned what your water chemistry is.
This is what the local water company says about our water:

"Hardness levels leaving our water treatment plants in 2010 ranged from 52 (soft) to 450 ppm (very hard) or 3.0 to 26.3 grains per gallon. The average leaving our plants is 197 ppm (very hard) or 11.5 grains per gallon.

The sodium level is approximately 20 ppm.

Water within our distribution system averages 7.3 pH units.

Alkalinity is the capacity of water to neutralize acids; water within our distribution system averages 77 ppm.

The highest Nitrate was 0.29ppm and the highest Nitrite reading was 0.017ppm.

For more detailed information please see the complete report at http://www.amwater.com/files/KY_0340250_CCR.pdf"



Here is where I am in the plant process...

1.) Already in a holding tank:

Right now I have a holding tank with some java ferns (microsorium pteropus), some anubias (nana), some wisteria (hygrophila difformis), and some anacharis (egeria densa). The elodea and on bunch of java ferns came from a LFS and there are black dots on most of the leaves of the java fern that came from the LFS. The Anubias, Wisteria, and another bunch of Java Fern was that Top Fin kind from PetSmart and no black dots, though the wisteria was in kind of bad shape.

2.) Already purchased:

Tomorrow, two people here are shipping me some batches of Marsilea.

3.) To be purchased within the week:

3x Coffee Anubias (Anubias Barteri Coffeefolia)
1x African Water Fern (Bolbitis heudelotii)
1x Rotala (Rotundifolia)
2x Crypt (Parva)
1x Crypt (Nurii)
1x Crypt (Hudoroi)
1x Crypt (red Beckettii)




Can I just shove 25 "RootMedic Complete Capsules" into my substrate every six months and not have dangerous spikes that could hurt the 2 goldfish (Chumlee and Gilbert)?
 
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