question about setting up new tank - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 12 Old 11-27-2010, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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question about setting up new tank

I'm setting up a 10 gallon tank and I was wondering what types of plants and how many of them I'll need to absorb the ammonia. I don't have anything in it so far. Next week I'll be purchasing a lid and some pennywort. Will pennywort and wisteria be enough? I only plan on keeping two or three fish in this tank at a time (mollies and platies). It's going to be used as a quarantine tank for the new ones I buy to make sure they're not sick before I add them to the main tank so their won't be many fish in the tank at once.
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post #2 of 12 Old 11-28-2010, 11:36 PM
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Plants that comes in bunches generally absorb nutrients from the water, i'm not sure plants absorb ammonia. But they will absorb nitrite and nitrate. Cabomba and Bacopa are good ones. Duckweed is your best bet if it's a quarantine aquarium your making. They absorb nutrients straight from the water, provide shade for stressed out fish, grow fast, and probably can get it free from a pond or a pet stores aquarium.
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post #3 of 12 Old 11-28-2010, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the reply. I really appreciate it.
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post #4 of 12 Old 11-29-2010, 03:42 AM
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Would not place plant's in quarantine tank that may see medications ,but perhaps floating plants such as pennywort would /could be removed before medicating if need be.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #5 of 12 Old 11-29-2010, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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Unfortunately there won't be any medicating taking place. The prices of medicines in the pet shops around here are very high, in the large chain stores, and I can't order online. If I do get a sick fish I'll have to take it back to the shop. The man I talked with at the smaller pet store I found said that their fish go through a quarantine process before they're put up for sale, and that almost all of them are locally bred so they're healthier than the ones found in large chain stores like the ones I used to shop at.
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post #6 of 12 Old 11-29-2010, 07:29 PM
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Pennywort and Wisteria are stem plants, and like all stem plants they grow fast which means they assimilate more nutrients. And ammonia is a major nutrient.

Just a side note for the benefit of jayheuk and anyone else interested: nitrogen is a macro-nutrient plants need. Nitrogen of course may be in the form of ammonia, ammonium, nitrite or nitrate. Aquatic plants overwhelmingly prefer ammonium as their preferred source of nitrogen. Ammonium is a basically harmless form of ammonia--almost all ammonia detoxifiers like Prime water conditioner and such detoxify ammonia by changing it to ammonium. In acidic water (pH below 7) ammonia produced by the fish and bacteria immediately changes to ammonium, and plants grab it. In basic water (pH above 7) the plants have the ability to change the ammonia to ammonium internally. Either way, they assimilate quite a lot of it, and beyond that (as a nutrient), they also have the ability to take it up in toxic form, much as they can take up other toxic substances and heavy metals. But that is another issue from nutrients.

When there are no fish in your QT, ammonia/ammonium will be scarce; some occurs form the other bacteria, but Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive also contains some nitrogen, so weekly use of Flourish (once a week is usually max without fish) should keep the plants "alive." It certainly did for me.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #7 of 12 Old 11-29-2010, 07:40 PM
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Hornswort, its the fastest growing plant in my aquariums and with 2 fish currently in my 10 gallon quarantine is keeping all my readings at 0, keep some in your main tank and trim some off every time you need to stock you quarantine and throw it in there. I trim a good amount out of my main tank every 2 weeks just so the other plants can get light.
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post #8 of 12 Old 11-29-2010, 07:46 PM
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+1 on the smaller fish store. Ask them lots of questions; they love to share their knowledge. The only store i'll go to buy fish where i live is the one that's 23 miles away, and is locally owned and operated.I live within 10 minutes of petco and petsmart and won't buy there. The fish are always far better, and the personal touch cannot be matched at the large stores despite their best efforts.

As far as plants i have rotala in my tank and it grows rapidly with my lighting(moderate), and my fish go into groupings at night or if stressed.
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post #9 of 12 Old 11-30-2010, 01:52 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys so much for your replies. I'll definitely look into getting some Hornwort. Money is getting kind of tight, especially with Christmas just around the corner, so all I can afford to get at the moment is the lid for my 10 gallon and the pennywort I ordered. The Wisteria is going to be from the plants that I already have. I'm just waiting on the new hood and then four Wisteria plants are going into the ten gallon along with the pennywort. I don't know exactly how much pennywort I'm going to be getting. I ordered two bundles, but I don't know how much is in each bundle as I've never purchased plants from this store before.

After I get everything set up I'll post pictures in the picture/video section and if you wouldn't mind letting me know if I have enough to absorb any ammonia that would be great. I only plan on keeping two maybe three fish at a time. It would be two mollies at a time, or three platies depending on the size. This store purchases baby fish once they're large enough to not be eaten by the adults, so if they're still small mollies I might have three at a time.

Also, how long should I quarantine the fish for? I've read anywhere from two to three weeks is best, but I'm thinking more like four to six. Is that too long? I know platies and mollies are supposed to be kept in larger groups of at least five, would keeping only two fish in a tank by themselves for so long stress them out too much?
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post #10 of 12 Old 11-30-2010, 09:53 AM
Originally Posted by Salix View Post
After I get everything set up I'll post pictures in the picture/video section and if you wouldn't mind letting me know if I have enough to absorb any ammonia that would be great. I only plan on keeping two maybe three fish at a time. It would be two mollies at a time, or three platies depending on the size
there are lots of variables for how much ammonia plants will use up, so it's hard to say. plants will use up ammonia (and nitritites and nitrates, to varying degrees) depending on the amount of light they are given and if they have all the nutrients they require (from a fertiliser for example). Plants in moderately lit, fertilised, heavily planted tanks with low fish stocking levels will usually use up most of the ammonia (and nitritites and nitrates) produced by the fish. The only way to tell if this is the case in your tank is to test for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates (though once the tank is cycled there should be minimal levels of ammonia and nitrites anyway). In my heavily planted tank the ammonia and nitrite levels are pretty much zero and the nitrates slowly creep up towards 10ppm a week or two after a water change
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