Low-light mid-ground plant? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 02-11-2013, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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Low-light mid-ground plant?

Hello everyone!

I've decided I no longer like the look of my Java Ferns (especially now that they're throwing off plantlets and all those hairy root things and sagging from the weight :P). So, I was wondering if anyone could suggest a new plant for the middle of my tank.

My water is very soft and acidic. I don't have the exact numbers, my gH test kit is still coming in the mail, buy my pH is around 6.4 (tap is 6, and I'm slowly trying to get it closer to that after messing with my pH in my tank. :P)

My tank is a 20 gallon high.

I have the beginnings of a java moss carpet, two anubias nana in the front, and a vall background. Java Ferns are in the middle kind of wedged under everything (Although they like to float away or fall and get tangled in the vals).

My substrate is pool filter sand.

I'm roughly using this method
Non CO2 methods - Page 2 - Aquarium Plants
to fertilize my plants. I'm dosing with Excel, but I'm also doing water changes.

I have MTS, Amano Shrimp, Harlequin Rasboras, and a BN Pleco. I had Nerites and am going to add more in the near future.

My lighting is just a T8 15 watt, with some sunlight.

I'm looking for a plant that can be planted in the substrate, or semi-planted (like the anubias). I had very little success trying to tie things down and just ended up wedging my java ferns under my rocks and driftwood. :P

I was thinking maybe Dwarf Sags, but would this look too similar to my val background?

I'm also planning on getting some frogbit.

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post #2 of 6 Old 02-12-2013, 12:56 AM
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What about crypts? Crypt Wendtii and Crypt Lucens come to mind, I have both.
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post #3 of 6 Old 02-12-2013, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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I went to the store to find some Crypt Wendtii Bronze, but they weren't getting any until later this week. (Although with the current weather the lady said don't be surprised if the shipment ends up getting postponed to the following week.) But, while I was there, I found a Giant Hygro that I think would work pretty nice if I keep pruning it and making it grow bushier instead of taller. I also threw a couple of bunches of Wisteria on the top.
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post #4 of 6 Old 02-12-2013, 01:16 PM
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The Hygro and Wisteria might not last, so be prepared. These are high light plants, plus we don't know the GH and the hard minerals are important.

To your initial question, crypts as was suggested. And pygmy chain sword.

A warning on the Excel. You mentioned Vallisneria, and frequently this plant will be killed by Excel. Mosses also tend not to last. Given that Excel is a very toxic chemical that if overdosed will kill everything, I would not use it.


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]

Last edited by Byron; 02-12-2013 at 01:48 PM.
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-12-2013, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
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I am looking into upgrading my lights, hopefully sometime this week or weekend (depending on the weather.)

Right now I'm dosing a quarter of what is recommended for the Excel and it seems to be working positively for everything (even the vals). I'll be careful what I dose..at least until this bottle is out.
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post #6 of 6 Old 02-12-2013, 02:04 PM
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Giant hygrophila, too light needy, just tried it myself with a 1750 lux setup and I am not certain they are going to thrive.

Dwarf hygrophila on the other hand are taking off and sometimes growing an inch a day. I use flourish once a week if I remember, have cut the DH in half numerous times so I have LOTS of stems now and I am about 7 weeks into this tank.

BUT, better as a rear plant, in my 37 high (22") they grow to the top every week or two. You cut just mow them like grass once you have enough stems to cover the area so they COULD be a mid area plant IF you didn't mind the extra trimming once a week. They are filling in nice and sometimes do branch.


Total years fish keeping experience: 7 months, can't start counting in years for a while yet.

The shotgun approach to a planted tank with an LED fixture

Small scale nitrogen cycle with a jar, water and fish food; no substrate, filter etc
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