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Any good plants for a beginner?

This is a discussion on Any good plants for a beginner? within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Ah so I DO have it wrong in my head. It's bacteria converting things into nitrites and nitrates, not the nitrite and nitrates doing ...

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Any good plants for a beginner?
Old 10-21-2010, 08:09 AM   #11
 
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Ah so I DO have it wrong in my head. It's bacteria converting things into nitrites and nitrates, not the nitrite and nitrates doing the converting. Got it.
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Old 10-21-2010, 03:27 PM   #12
 
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Thanks!
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Old 10-22-2010, 11:44 AM   #13
 
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Plants do several things for fish-

1- Absorb ammonia (preferred) and nitrates (sometimes)- can virtually eliminate the nitrogen cycle, keeping nitrogenous compounds in check.

2. Convert CO2 to Oxygen, helping the fish.

3. Harbor infusoria for young fish to treat as a first food source (If egg-layers happen to spawn)

4. Provide shelter and comfort to fish and fry.

5. Plants can help remove toxins from the air that end up in the water, or trace elements that are in tap water.

If you search the forum (on the top of the page, between new posts and quick links, or just click here) for "Low light" plants, there will be several topics.

My own reccomendation? Buy a good liquid fertiliser when you can, and make sure you have proper lighting. (It's cheap, don't worry.)

For lighting, use flourescent tubes (Or if you have a screw-in fixture, buy some CFLs AKA Compact Flourescents- the spiral bulbs) and make sure they say "6500k". They are often sold as "Daylight" or "Cool White", but make sure you see 6500k (6700k is ok too). Don't worry about the wattage, and just get what fits your hood.

For fertilisers, grab some "Flourish Comprehensive", and dose it once a week as directed.

You do this, and you can grow nearly anything. If you can't afford new lighting, there are a couple plants that are nearly bullet-proof, but they appreciate good lighting and ferts too.

Hardy plants-
Ludwigea Repens
Echinodorus species AKA sword plants(many get large)
Dwarf Sag
Aponogeton Crispus
Anubias
Java Fern
Java Moss

Anubias, Java Fern, and Java moss grow slowly and should be tied to decor or gently placed on the substrate (not planted). They all grow fairly slowly, but can get fairly tall.
Stem plants (most of the others I named, often called bunch plants) have no predetermined height- they will grow forever. When they get too tall, just cut them to the height you want. You can even get the parts you cut off, remove the lower set of leaves, and plant them to form new plants.
Dwarf sag will grow taller in low light (4-6 inches), but will stay short (<2 inches) if it's well lit.

Last edited by redchigh; 10-22-2010 at 11:49 AM..
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Old 10-22-2010, 06:09 PM   #14
 
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Thanks for all the help, everyone!

So, I was at petsmart today getting fish for myself and a friend, and I got some plants as well. I got an Amazon sword, and some wisteria. Hoping they do well. :D
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Old 10-22-2010, 09:28 PM   #15
 
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And the addiction begins...LOL
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:49 AM   #16
 
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XD lol

Yeah, I'm already addicted to fish... my parents are just gonna love my new addiction to plants! XD jk
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:56 PM   #17
 
Ammonia, Ammonium, Nitrites, and Nitrates areall forms of nitrogen. Different bacteria and plants use nitrogen for fuel by either breaking chemical bonds and using extra electrons or by breaking bonds and using left over electrons. Ammonia, and Nitrites are more reactive and less stable, and are a better fuel source for things that can utillize them for this reason, but are more dangerous to complex animals that cannot use them for the same reasons. Ammonium and Nitrates are much more stable and complex animals like fish, frogs, etc tolerate them much better, but can still be dangerous in higher concentrations. Ammonium does not typically occur in the aquarium unless an Ammonia "remover" is used. The remover actually converts the ammonia to ammonium. Nitrates are the natural end of the nitrogen cycle in aquariums and are typically removed wither through water changes (which is one reason water changes are so important) or are trapped and fixed in the plant and removed when the leaves fall or the the plant is trimmed (which is a major benefit of live plants.
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Old 11-03-2010, 12:17 PM   #18
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell View Post
Ammonia, Ammonium, Nitrites, and Nitrates areall forms of nitrogen. Different bacteria and plants use nitrogen for fuel by either breaking chemical bonds and using extra electrons or by breaking bonds and using left over electrons. Ammonia, and Nitrites are more reactive and less stable, and are a better fuel source for things that can utillize them for this reason, but are more dangerous to complex animals that cannot use them for the same reasons. Ammonium and Nitrates are much more stable and complex animals like fish, frogs, etc tolerate them much better, but can still be dangerous in higher concentrations. Ammonium does not typically occur in the aquarium unless an Ammonia "remover" is used. The remover actually converts the ammonia to ammonium. Nitrates are the natural end of the nitrogen cycle in aquariums and are typically removed wither through water changes (which is one reason water changes are so important) or are trapped and fixed in the plant and removed when the leaves fall or the the plant is trimmed (which is a major benefit of live plants.
I would just add one semi-correction on the ammonium issue. I agree that in an aquarium with basic water (pH above 7) ammonium would only occur when an ammonia detoxifier is used (example, water conditioners like Prime that "detoxify" ammonia do so by changing it to the less harmful ammonium). But in an aquarium with acidic water (pH below 7) the ammonia produced by fish and bacteria immediately changes into harmless ammonium. Nitrosomonas bacteria still use the ammonium same as ammonia, so the cycle operates the same in either acidic or basic water; but the benefit of acidic is that no ammonia poisoning will occur. However, the second stage of the nitrification cycle, the conversion of the nitrite resulting from the nitrosomonas bacteria must still occur via nitrospira (and perhaps other) bacteria, and in either basic or acidic water nitrite is nitrite and toxic to fish and plants.

Plants solve the whole issue very well. They prefer ammonium as their source of nitrogen, and in acidic water will take it up directly. In basic water, they have the ability to take up ammonia and change it to ammonium to then assimilate as their nitrogen nutrient. So with plants in any aquarium, be it basic or acidic water, the initial "cycle" will normally not be detected. Provided there are sufficient plants, and the fish are balanced, the plants take up the ammonia/ammonium fast enough that there will be no traceable amount of ammonia or nitrite, and thus no "cycling" issue. The nitrosomonas and nitrospira bacteria will still establish themselves, but in far reduced numbers than in the same tank without plants, and without plants the time required to become sufficient to handle the fish load can be weeks, hence the "cycle" problems. But plants avoid this cycle issue.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 11-03-2010 at 12:19 PM..
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Old 11-03-2010, 06:58 PM   #19
 
I did not know that ammonia was immediately converted in acidic water. Thats probably a product of me always having basic water. Good info to know if someone asks though. Thanks for the correction.
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Old 11-03-2010, 07:19 PM   #20
 
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In order for anyone to make any suggestion, we need to know more about your tank- the ph of the water, the lighting of the tank, etc. But off the back, id suggest plants like java moss, java fern, moneywort.
welcome to the forum ^^
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