Best lighting for 20L planted tank. - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 15 Old 02-01-2010, 04:03 PM
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I don't see why (with the named set up above as a whole) you shouldn't be keeping Hairgrass. Granted I donno your actual degree of Hardness; but I had it in several set ups now (before & after the move = hard water to soft water) and it grew well in the harder water too (It was something like ~8dKH)

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
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post #12 of 15 Old 02-01-2010, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by DappleDoxieGirl View Post
Thank you for the information, Byron. I read all of your stickies at the top of the forum and enjoyed them. In the past I have used laterite (if I remember correctly is a reddish brown substrate) with gravel and had a decent outcome. The hairgrass is just a dream, I think it's gorgeous. Do you recommend something that looks like the hairgrass? My water is naturally a little on the hard side. Currently I have 4 mollies in my 55 gallon tank, but plants have not fared well in there because a I have 3 young koi that destroy everything except for some mondo grass and java fern. I have some decent daylight bulbs in there, and the two species are surviving so far.
Laterite is reddish brown, it is simply an iron clay. It was "the rage" back then, now it is seldom mentioned except in high-tech tanks. One drawback of laterite is that is is just iron, and iron is a toxic metal that in high enough levels will kill fish and plants. The "balance" I mention frequently in the stickies is all-important. I would go with plain small gravel.

Substrate cover plants can be tricky, being so far away from the light means the light has to be somewhat more intense to reach them; your 20 long is not as high as a 20 regular, so that is an advantage. If the low plants are kept near the front where they will receive the most light from above and perhaps daylight in the room (?) they may well do OK. It's a bit of an experiment. All tanks are different; the biological balance in them is dependent upon fish (the type of fish, size and number), plants (fast growers, slow growers, floating...all affect the biology differently), minerals in the tap water, fish foods, light, pH, temperature--all this. What will grow in your tank may not grow in mine, etc. As one should choose the fish to suit your given water, so I believe should the plants suit what you can provide for them. Try this or that plant, if it thrives good, if not, move on to another.

Koi would see plants as a free meal.


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 #13 of 15 Old 02-01-2010, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
I think I'll try the dwarf hairgrass. If it doesn't work then it just doesn't work. The room it will be going in is what southerners here call Florida rooms, or just a typical sun room. Its got blinds but will have moderate light during the day. I do not think the temperatures are too extreme to worry about. Maybe a heater in the winter.

Thank you guys for giving me the push I needed. My LFS do not sell dwarf hairgrass, so its something I'll have to buy online.

Btw, the koi are like bulldogs with amazon swords. Its really amazing.
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post #14 of 15 Old 02-02-2010, 08:36 AM
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I shop here for plants Sweet Aquatics several other members started shopping there as well now and are happy there, I'm totally happy and don't even bother looking anywhere else any more.

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
Life May Not Be The Party We Hoped For, But While We're Here, We Should Dance. ~
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post #15 of 15 Old 02-02-2010, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
Thank you Angel. Once I have things ready I'll give them a whirl.
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