Originally Posted by Powell
I recently purchased a 14 gallon freshwater tank, I am about to start cycling it soon.
I have seen a few articles etc that say live plants help with conditioning the tank.
Any good advice for beginners with plants?
-what are good hardy starter plants
-how many to get for tank size
-how to plant the plants :)
-plant care, etc
Hi! I'm pretty new myself. I started cycling my 10 gal. tank on April 18 and I'm still a big noob in many situations.
It's true that if your tank is thickly planted (not filled if you don't want, but what I mean is a significant presence of plants), the plants will take up all the ammonia and a test will show 0 ammonia, possibly the same day.
I used planted Water Sprite, Cabomba, and Wisteria, which isn't really a fast-growing plant, but it does alright. Cabomba may require a lot of light, but if everything is in balance it really grows fast. It has a habit of losing lower leaves and I suppose that can be a little messy. Water Sprite just takes off. Careful pruning, though - cut only the thicker branches instead of hedge clipper style. Keep on reading this forum and whatever you can find on plants and planted tanks. Try to develop your own good judgement and use it when you come across new information.
Oh, yeah - substrate - you can have a look at information about substrate. My gravel is too big for a gravel substrate and I am beginning to regret doing it in favor of dirt covered with sand, or at least coarse sand, black. That's me, though.
My method of planting is to put the end of the plant under my index finger and use the index finger to displace some substrate, getting the plant end down far enough so that it won't come out, and pack a little substrate around the end to fill up the hole.
Plant care. At some point you will have to start fertilizing, but I can't say exactly when. Watch the plants carefully and look for a slowing of growth. Then get in there with the fertilizer, folloing directions on the bottle. I use less than a milligram. I guess I'm still hesitant about it.