Adding plants to fake plant setup - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-08-2011, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
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Adding plants to fake plant setup

Hey all, so I'm thinking of adding plants to my tank that only has fake plants right now. I have an air pump going in to two decorations. Will adding plants replace the need for the air pump? Or will I have to get CO2? I'm not sure yet the extent I want live plants. My black skirt tetras hardly show "black", so I'm wondering if having some cover (ie: floating plants) will help? I already have a blue fluorescent light (just replaced the light in the hood that came with the tank)

Also, it's a 56g tall and none of the fake plants I've found at my LFS reach that high. Any plant suggestions? As you can tell, I'm a real novice at this lol, but I love this forum! Everyone is so knowledgeable and willing to help!

Thanks!

PS. I live in Phoenix, AZ if anyone has a club going or anything.
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-08-2011, 11:56 AM
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Good move. Aside from the appearance aspect, the benefits of live plants cannot be understated.

You can grow the vast majority of aquarium plants without additional CO2. But the CO2 occurring naturally in an aquarium (from fish but much more from bacteria) is not inexhaustible, and the more water movement particularly at the surface, the faster the gaseous exchange occurs (CO2 is driven out, O is brought in) and this can seriously affect plant growth. So removing any "bubbling" devices is advisable.

Light is the single most important factor in plant growth; it is the energy that drives photosynthesis. The intensity is important, along with the spectrum. You can read more on this in the series of articles I authored at the head of this section entitled "A Basic Approach h to the Natural Planted Aquarium," Part 4 specifically deals with light but the whole balance is covered in the series.

What specifically is your tube? Make, watts, kelvin, etc.? Is it full length of the tank? I will hold off on plant suggestions since light is a determining factor.

To the question of the Black Skirt Tetra, yes. We have fish (and plant) profiles here, second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page. The profile for the Black Widow Tetra [another common name] mentions that the black will be intensified under subdued light (less) and with floating plants, which will replicate the natural environment of this species. When a fish name is shaded, you can click the name to see the profile.

Light again is the critical issue, so we can discuss floating plants more when the specifics are known.

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 12 Old 05-08-2011, 12:26 PM
for a tall plant I suggest common hornwort. Mine is like 3 feet long and still growing.

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post #4 of 12 Old 05-08-2011, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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Hey Byron, thanks for the reply! It's a Marine Glo blue fluorescent 20-watt that's in a hood that runs the full length. (The original, which I still have, is a white Marineland 40-watt). It can be moved around with the option to fasten using peel-away "stickies" (for lack of better word lol). Right now I have it centered across the top. I got the blue one hoping for less light and more subdued for the tetras.

@christople I'll look into the hornwort. I read on the forums about pennywort being a good floating plant, so that was one that I had in mind too.
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-08-2011, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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Here's a picture from the box, if it helps.
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-08-2011, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yodapoolman View Post
Hey Byron, thanks for the reply! It's a Marine Glo blue fluorescent 20-watt that's in a hood that runs the full length. (The original, which I still have, is a white Marineland 40-watt). It can be moved around with the option to fasten using peel-away "stickies" (for lack of better word lol). Right now I have it centered across the top. I got the blue one hoping for less light and more subdued for the tetras.

@christople I'll look into the hornwort. I read on the forums about pennywort being a good floating plant, so that was one that I had in mind too.
The Marineland white is probably better of the two; the Marine Glo blue is most likely close to an actinic for reef tanks and not good for plants. Also remember these tubes wear out before they burn out. If it is a T8 (T number refers to the diameter, T12 is the older tubes T8 are thinner) it should be replaced every 1-2 years. A full spectrum/cool white type with a Kelvin around 6500K will be good.

Check the floating plants in our profiles, and some stem plants do very well floating too, like the Brazilian Pennywort mentioned.

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 05-08-2011, 11:47 PM
hornwort was messy for me.. sheds a bit. Pennywort looks great, personally i like water sprite, mine started growing leaves above the surface so the covered areas look like a grassy marsh.

If you only add floating plants u may not have to get rid of the airstone since the co2 for the plants will be taken from the air and not the water. I think this works for most of the stem plants left floating.
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-09-2011, 11:21 AM
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I assume the photo of the spectrum is the "blue" tube? And that is not good plant light, as i surmised. Can you post the specttrum and lux of the "white" tube?

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 #9 of 12 Old 05-10-2011, 08:39 AM Thread Starter
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You're right, it is the blue tube. The white came with the hood and there's no picture of that spectrum.

When I add more plants, should I put a lot in at the same time in order to discontinue the air pump? I'm not sure how much I should add to make sure enough oxygen will be given off. I don't want the fish gasping for air at the top of the tank when I turn the air pump off.

Also, I'm concerned about adding a brighter light because of stress to the tetras. As it is, they're not really showing the black that much. And there's basically no cover from floating plants to dim that light.

Last edited by yodapoolman; 05-10-2011 at 08:41 AM.
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-10-2011, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yodapoolman View Post
You're right, it is the blue tube. The white came with the hood and there's no picture of that spectrum.

When I add more plants, should I put a lot in at the same time in order to discontinue the air pump? I'm not sure how much I should add to make sure enough oxygen will be given off. I don't want the fish gasping for air at the top of the tank when I turn the air pump off.

Also, I'm concerned about adding a brighter light because of stress to the tetras. As it is, they're not really showing the black that much. And there's basically no cover from floating plants to dim that light.
On the light, it is not likely to be that much of an impact; we are after the proper spectrum to grow the plants, and that will improve things. Floating plants are easy, even if nothing more than some stem plants allowed to float. Many stem plants will grow floating, and you can usually find some at most fish stores. Brazilian Pennywort is ideal for this, but others work.

As long as the filter is still running, you won't have oxygen problems. Get as many plants as you can, you can always thin them out later when they grow. Floating are very beneficial here too, because they relase a lot of oxygen through their roots dangling in the water.

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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