2 quick questions - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-04-2010, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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2 quick questions

Hi, just out of curiousity are there any plants commonly found outdoors but can still be used in an aquarium and live? Also I have a 10 us gallon tank that will have either apistogramms borellii or norberti, or else a pair of rams and a school of glowlight tetra, I would like to have a planted aquarium but it'll be my first planted tank any suggestions on plants?
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-05-2010, 01:29 PM
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On the outdoor plants, basically no. You live in Minnesota which is not "tropical" so the native aquatic plants need a winter rest period and in a warm water tank would either die back for a period each year or perhaps die altogether. Aquarium plants are from the tropics and while some have periods of slow growth they generally (except for some Aponogeton species) do not hibernate or die back the way temperate plants must. Aside from this, there is the issue of pests and pathogens, but I won't get into that.

As for suitable plants for a 10g with a pair of dwarf cichlids, you can use the pygmy chain sword Echinodorus tenellus or any of the similar small chain swords. Echinodorus parviflorus 'Tropica' [Dwarf Sword] would be a nice contrast. You can find info on both these in our profiles section, second link from the left in the blue bar across the top, or click on the shaded name in posts to go to that profile.

Crypts would do well in this setup. Anubias is another slow growing plant that tolerates fairly heavy shade like crypts, and this is important in tanks with dwarf cichlids that do not appreciate light. Floating plants are necessary to calm the fish, and crypts and Anubias would do well under them. As would Java Fern and Java Moss.

For floating plants, Ceratopteris cornuta is ideal. The stem plant Brazilian Pennywort allowed to float is also good, I have this in a 10g window tank and the dwarf rasbora love it.

On planted tanks in general, there is a series of 4 articles at the head of this section entitled "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" that should give you some background info. And questions are always welcome.

Byron.

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 #3 of 6 Old 07-12-2010, 12:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
On the outdoor plants, basically no. You live in Minnesota which is not "tropical" so the native aquatic plants need a winter rest period and in a warm water tank would either die back for a period each year or perhaps die altogether. Aquarium plants are from the tropics and while some have periods of slow growth they generally (except for some Aponogeton species) do not hibernate or die back the way temperate plants must.
Quick question for you Byron since I've never kept any natives in a long aquarium situation. I was just curious if plants commonly found in the aquarium trade that also happen to be native to MN such as ceratophyllum demersum or vallisneria americana will still scenesce annually like they would in a natural MN setting even though the aquarium conditions remain stable.

Would this happen only to the plants collected from a local water body or would this happen to any plant of the same species?

Its illegal to transport any aquatic plants in MN so I wouldn't recommend doing it anyways, but I would think some species would fare OK in a tank as long as you choose wisely!
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-12-2010, 01:06 PM
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Quick question for you Byron since I've never kept any natives in a long aquarium situation. I was just curious if plants commonly found in the aquarium trade that also happen to be native to MN such as ceratophyllum demersum or vallisneria americana will still scenesce annually like they would in a natural MN setting even though the aquarium conditions remain stable.

Would this happen only to the plants collected from a local water body or would this happen to any plant of the same species?

Its illegal to transport any aquatic plants in MN so I wouldn't recommend doing it anyways, but I would think some species would fare OK in a tank as long as you choose wisely!
I've no experience with Ceratophyllum (hornwort) since I can't stand it but I have never experienced, read or heard of any Vallisneria dying back. Most substrate-rooted plants need a period of vegetative rest which can mean several things depending upon the species, but none die back that I know of (except the Aponogeton). I didn't realize Vallisneria came as far north as MN, you get cold winters--does it survive in the water or die down?

I don't know if this is an internal thing biologically, or caused solely by environmental conditions.

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 #5 of 6 Old 07-12-2010, 07:10 PM
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I do aquatic vegetation surveys all throughout southeast MN for work and V. americana is quite common in the lakes with average or good water quality. I haven't had much experience with the lakes further north but I would guess that it probably isn't very common the further north you go. They aren't able to overwinter with leaves though, so the whole plant pretty much dies except for the roots, which will grow new leaves come spring. One of the reason invasives like curly-leaf can be so destructive is because the plant starts growing during winter, and has a leg up on the majority of the natives that wait til ice-out to grow!


I have no desire to put hornworts in my tanks either....that stuff grows pretty much everywhere here, and can really take over in some of the lower quality hypereutrophic lakes closer to the Twin Cities.

I'm really curious now to know if MN raised plants would still die off at some point in the year even in a tank setting. I do know some people who have done it and they generally just slowly die. That could be from the loss of true sunlight though.....anyone wanna do a research project??
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-12-2010, 07:26 PM
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Yopur observations are interesting, thanks for sharing them. Since Vallisneria dies down in nature (in temperate climates, presumably not in the tropical areas) but not in the aquarium, I would assume this is environmentally motivated and not biological. So it would be useful to place some of the MN Vallisneria in an aquarium with constant temperatures and light sufficient to grow the plant, and see how it reacted. Of course, other factors may be involved, such as the parameters of the water, sunlight (intensity and angle), nutrients, etc., and one would have to replicate these or experiment with varying models in order to reach an accurate conclusion.

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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