Please help a fool ID his plants (with pictures)
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Please help a fool ID his plants (with pictures)

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Please help a fool ID his plants (with pictures)
Old 01-10-2012, 11:16 AM   #1
 
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Please help a fool ID his plants (with pictures)

Shame on me! I was under strict budgetary limitations when I planted a new 15g aquarium just before Christmas. I took advantage of Petco's Buy2 Get1 Free deal on "loose plants." Only yesterday did I get around to Byron's wonderful 4-part article on aquarium plants as well as several other excellent posts from the lot of you. Now I'm full of questions and ideas, but first I need to figure out what plants I have. Would you please help me ID these 6 mystery plants:

Mystery Plant #1: The long grassy fellow in back center of the shot. I believe I made a mistake planting this in such a short tank. Already the leaves have reached/breached the surface and I'm seeing some damage.



Mystery Plant #2: About 4" tall and very dense.


Mystery Plant #3: About 4" tall and seems to want to grow out, not up. New roots forming low on the visible stem


Mystery Plant #4: Fairly tall (about 7") with one leaf that nearly reaches the surface. There was a shoot growing out of the center of this plant which I was told I could cut and replant. This replanted shoot is visible in closeup on the right hand side of the first image (Mystery Plant #1).


Mystery Plant #5:
Very short. 2" maybe. This one already has a little offshoot that appears to be growing its own rusty brown roots (out of focus in background)


Mystery Plant #6:
Another potential mistake in a small tank as this plant has been growing like mad. I've cut and replanted the 3 stems that already reached the surface.


Finally, here they are identified by number and shown in the tank for size reference, etc.


Thank you in advance for taking the time to share your valuable expertise with a foolhardy noob! I thought I might be able to figure this out myself but I was quickly overwhelmed by the sheer scope of aquatic flora available to hobbyists. I have learned my lesson when it comes to planting a tank based solely on aesthetics, price, and Petco availability! I look forward to formulating a goal and a plan for long term care of these plants once I know what they are!
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:57 AM   #2
 
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Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Glad to have you with us.

That is a very nice aquascape; I like the way the rocks build up naturally. Nice work.

To the plants:

1. Ophiopogon japonicus, commonly called Fountain Plant. Not a true aquatic, this is a terrestrial plant. But it will often do quite well submersed, I had it years ago, and it can last years. So I would leave it in. A nice contrasting plant. Let the leaves grow over the surface, they are quite thin and will look natural.

2. Bacopa, a stem plant. There are several species, the two most often seen are B. caroliniana and B. monnieri; from the rounder leaves i suspect the latter, but whichever, care is the same. Being a stem plant, needs more light that some of the other plants.

3. Another terrestrial plant, Hemigraphis colorata, commonly Crimson Ivy (Hiscock). I|t may or may not survive submersed; keep an eye on it, if it begins to fall apart (rot) pull it out. Hiscock writes that it may last a year submersed.

4. One of the "sword" plants, genus Echinodorus. A superb plant for the aquarium. I suspect this is the most common species, Echinodorus bleherae; the leaf form is the emersed, so as the plant becomes established the existing leaves will yellow and can be removed. New growth from the centre of the crown will be the submersed leaf form, which can vary somewhat depending upon conditions in the aquarium. This plant is in our profiles, click the shaded name for more info.

5. Microsorium pteropus, common name Java Fern. Low to moderate light, but should not be buried in the substrate. The thick black "stem" from which leaves and fine roots grow is the rhizome and should not be buried. It can be attached to wood or rock, with black cotton thread or fishing line if necessary, and the roots will grow and attach it in time. Read more in the profile.

6. Looks familiar, but I can't place it; a quick flip through my reference works didn't find it. I may track it down later, or someone else may know.

Byron.
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Old 01-10-2012, 02:06 PM   #3
 
#6...is that Mexican Oak leaf maybe...(Shinnersia rivularis)

Nice job on your tank.....
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Old 01-10-2012, 02:56 PM   #4
 
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Thank you both for your incredibly quick and informative responses! I shudder to think where I'd be without the web and the seemingly limitless kindness of strangers. Overall, it seems I really lucked out with my choices. I'm sad to hear that the Crimson Ivy may struggle as I particularly like the contrast that the purple underside of the leaves provides. I'm certain I can learn about alternatives in this forum. I will act quickly to dig up the Java Fern and attach it to my favorite rock. Very thankful for that piece of advice!

Now that I'm armed with this information, I'm excited to begin developing an overall care plan:

1) It sounds like the Bacopa figures to require the most light. At present, I have a Marineland Natural Daylight F15T8 giving me 1 watt per gallon at 6,500K (or so I've read). Is this sufficient?

2) I intend to dose with a comprehensive liquid fertilizer on the day following my water change. Should I choose one without copper if I intend to include invertebrates?

3) My "starter" tank came with a Whisper10 filter, which I seeded from a friend's aquarium prior to adding plants/fish. Should I take the filter out of the equation and allow the plants to reap any ammonia the nitrifying bacteria may be hogging?

Thank you again!!!
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Old 01-10-2012, 05:01 PM   #5
 
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There are a couple of aquatic plants (or at any rate, aquarium plants, since many of our plants are strictly speaking bog or marsh plants and not true aquatics) with a similar leaf colouration, but I won't get into that here. Keep an eye on the Crimson Ivy, it may last a while or it may not. Now to your questions.

Quote:
1) It sounds like the Bacopa figures to require the most light. At present, I have a Marineland Natural Daylight F15T8 giving me 1 watt per gallon at 6,500K (or so I've read). Is this sufficient?
Two answers to your question. First, the light is in my view certainly sufficient for the tank. I had a single T8 over my 15g for years. But I would definitely get some floating plants. Water Sprite is my favourite; Brazilian Pennywort though a stem plant grows very well floating. Both are in our profiles, click the names.

Second answer specific to Bacopa is, maybe. Stem plants generally need more light, and thus more nutrients to balance, and the same plant species may do poorly in one tank but well in another of the same size and under the same light. A 15g is relatively shallow, so more light is getting into the water and may be adequate. All you can do is try the plant; if it obviously fails, try something else. I can't grow every plant in my tanks, and some plants grow in one tank but not another. Over the years i simply stay with what works in my situation, as I am not prepared to increase my light just to accomodate one or two plants.

Quote:
2) I intend to dose with a comprehensive liquid fertilizer on the day following my water change. Should I choose one without copper if I intend to include invertebrates?
The amount of copper in any aquarium plant fertilizer is not sufficient to cause any issues for plants, fish or invertebrates--or bacteria for that matter--provided the fertilizer is not overdosed, and quite substantially at that. There may well be more copper in your tap water, but plants help you here again by taking up such heavy metals not as nutrients per say but as toxins.

Quote:
3) My "starter" tank came with a Whisper10 filter, which I seeded from a friend's aquarium prior to adding plants/fish. Should I take the filter out of the equation and allow the plants to reap any ammonia the nitrifying bacteria may be hogging?
I like a filter in each of my tanks, so long as it is not going overboard. Water movement is beneficial to plants and fish; it circulates nutrients to plants, keeps a more stable temperature, and removes suspended particulate matter from plant leaves and the water column itself when it passes through the filter media/pads. Plants generally out-compete bacteria, and the faster growing plants do this voraciously. The nice benefit of this is that when you rinse the filter pads/media, as you should do regularly to maintain a good consistent water flow through the media, you can do it under the tap. Killing the bacteria in the filter is not an issue when live plants are in the aquarium.
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:38 PM   #6
 
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Outstanding information; I cannot thank you enough! The Water Sprite looks beautiful but the profile suggests that it will block a significant amount of light. Should I be at all concerned about that for the plants in the substrate? Were there specific advantages that you had in mind with this recommendation beyond aesthetics? Thank you again.
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:57 AM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onemanswarm View Post
Outstanding information; I cannot thank you enough! The Water Sprite looks beautiful but the profile suggests that it will block a significant amount of light. Should I be at all concerned about that for the plants in the substrate? Were there specific advantages that you had in mind with this recommendation beyond aesthetics? Thank you again.
Any floating plant will block light; the aquarist controls this by thinning them out during the weekly water change, according to how much light you want in the tank. Floating plants grow fast because they are closer to the light and they can assimilate CO2 from the air which is both faster and easier for the plant than when fully submersed.

I never have a fish aquarium without floating plants. In new tanks they work to assimilate nutrients--including ammonia/ammonium--faster which is a benefit. But the fact is that all fish appreciate them. Some absolutely need them whether as "cover" or sources of food, others just feel safer. Most of our fish occur in dimly-lit forest streams and flooded forest. Bright light overhead is not something they grow up with, and for a fish it creates a sense of being open and vulnerable. Same occurs with white substrates. A fish programmed by nature to live in darker waters with a brown/black substrate and overhead cover (be it floating plants, overhanging vegetation, or roots and branches extending into the water) will always be less stressed and thus healthier when it has something comparable in the aquarium. I have had examples of this in my own aquaria, where fish that were moved from one tank to another with a darker substrate and more cover became much more intensely-coloured, more active, out and about, even spawning. The proof is in the pudding.
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Old 01-11-2012, 03:00 PM   #8
 
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I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but once again I'm compelled to thank you for the useful and fascinating information. I like the idea of catering to the evolutionary preferences of the tank's inhabitants and providing the most natural setting possible while still maintaining a pleasing aesthetic that won't cause my wife to object.
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