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The shotgun approach to planting a tank

This is a discussion on The shotgun approach to planting a tank within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Originally Posted by JDM I suspect it is due to the single leaf with its own little branchlet rather than a terminal node with ...

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The shotgun approach to planting a tank
Old 01-07-2013, 07:00 AM   #31
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDM View Post
I suspect it is due to the single leaf with its own little branchlet rather than a terminal node with a few leafs sprouting right from the node and the relatively longer distance between nodes.... but that's just a guess or two.

Jeff.
That makes perfect sense. I'm using it as a floater. The African Dwarf Frogs and betta use it as perching spots close to the surface.

I took the new plant plunge last night and placed an order with Aquariumplants.com.. Still looking for the right mix myself. I think my problem is overall lighting intensity. I have the right tubes, just not enough of them. My fixtures are all old single tube types. Trying to come up with a way to increase intensity without breaking the bank on new fixtures.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:52 AM   #32
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Some LED Observations

You could replace the bulbs to boost the light levels, I understand that they have a life expectancy that is not just "burnt out", something around 9-12 months even if they look OK.

I was going to get some floating plants but the LFS has nothing specifically floating... other than duckweed. I would use some but I like a thicker surface vegetation than a batch of small leaves. Using the Pennywort as a floater might just be what I end up doing... good idea. Leave some of the ludwigia with it to fill it out a bit too.

Since pulling a bunch of my plants and leaving them float I have noticed different activity in the tank, besides the fish. I have had a snail motoring around in there, all the stems floating are doing better, specifically the red ludwigia I believe because now it is so close to the light. Now I have some little shrimp/insect things that flit about up there... I just noticed them this morning and have no idea what they are, I suspect some sort of shrimp. I'll see if I can catch one to have a closer look tonight.

On the light, it's surprising how much of a difference the light makes from one area to another. I went with a double bright LED array and went to the 24" for my 30" tank, the next size was 36". There are two rows of four bulbs... now I am wishing I had gone to the 36" and made it fit, or just gone to a 36" tank and fit it that way, more bulbs.

In the picture you can see the difference between two sets of stems, the left is just out of the light but not in shade per se, and the right ones are is directly in the light. This is the difference after 10 days as they all started out about the same. It appears that I will have to place higher light plants according to where the light arrives as opposed to just spreading them out in the central area. My original idea was to go with the single bright due primarily to cost at the time but also due to the 50+ bulbs in the array, much better light spread. I could have even doubled up on fixtures, as it turned out, but the intensity of the light affects the light at the bottom of the tank so I was better to go with the 1 Watt 8 bulb array than the 0.06 Watt 50+ bulb array... more light arrives at the bottom even if it is focused in smaller areas.

I might yet get a small single bright to provide more unfocused "top light" for the plants that have already reached that level.

Jeff.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:39 AM   #33
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Dwarf Swords and other observations on patience

I think that these guys need more light than I had allowed them initially. Where I placed them was spread around the large driftwood piece and not anywhere near the direct light from the LEDs. This is quickly becoming an issue that I did not fully anticipate when I considered LEDs... I probably wouldn't re-consider older style lighting as I like the LED profile and look so I will work with it's various limitations.

Besides, isn't that what this hobby is all about, working within limitations?

So, due to the LED setup I will be grouping plants closer together that need more light and place them directly under the more focused light areas even if only to get them to flourish and grow quicker now. I don't mind slow growth, and expect it as things get spread out over time, but I would like to be able to propagate some of these first batches of plants sooner.

Here is a shot of one of my four dwarf swords. One of the perimeter leaves has turned and I pulled it off after the shot was taken. As poor as the leaf looked it was still pretty well attached and tough. I am amazed at how thick and tough the greenery is on most of these plants... getting right in there and handling them sure makes me think differently of the plants. All of the dwarfs had at least one leaf that needed pruning. I haven't really looked too closely at the rest since they've been floating so now that I have a better idea of what needs to be done and a game plan, it's time to replant.

Considering adding some sort of fertilizer stick for these rooted plants but from everything that I have read the roots don't play a large role in nutrient absorption as long as the water path is flowing. More light, add a weekly water supplement then see what needs to go from there.

As Byron alluded to in an earlier post, the plants will flourish but only up to the single lowest factor. If that is light, then all the nutrients available will not be used until the light is increased. If it is a particular nutrient, then having great light will make no difference until that nutrient is supplied in at least some abundance. My first obvious detriment in the tank was lack of fish, I believe, so I waited until after the fish were in place to start making any further changes.

The trouble with not knowing what may be missing is that overdoing it with one factor can cause it's own set of problems either for the plant in particular or the tank in general. Adjusting each factor gradually and separately and having some patience while waiting for the results to either materialize, or waiting long enough to determine that the result is not going to happen and to adjust something else, can be frustrating. It feels like doing nothing is counterproductive, we all want to "fix it now" when doing nothing can be the best course of action... to a point. Monitoring everything to be able to notice when a change has an effect is as important, or is perhaps more important, than making any change in the first place and can feel like taking action on it's own.

I have to remind myself that this is only day 12 for this tank and day 3 for the 12 Barbs.

Jeff.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Dwarf Sword.jpg (28.0 KB, 133 views)
File Type: jpg Dwarf Sword smaller plant.JPG (27.3 KB, 134 views)

Last edited by JDM; 01-07-2013 at 09:41 AM..
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:54 PM   #34
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Dwarf Hygrophilia growth and omnivorous fish

OK, So apparently my Barbs are salad eaters. I took the first shot last night... or yesterday sometime and the second shot this afternoon.

I have not seen them gnawing on this but I have seen them picking at other plants, swords and lower hygrophilia leaves and just picking off the top of the leaves. These were nice new shoots on the top so it stands to reason that they would be the easiest to nibble off.

I recall asking the LFS guy about some veggie food to supplement their diet but he said they didn't need it given the food that I bought has algae meal and spirulina after the krill meal and whole herring meal. Maybe he figured they would make a salad of my greens.

Probably giving them a more veggie option with the main source wouldn't stop them from grazing anyway, wishful thinking I expect.

Jeff.
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File Type: jpg Hygrophilia before Barbs.jpg (54.7 KB, 130 views)
File Type: jpg Hygrophilia after Barbs.jpg (41.5 KB, 130 views)
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:32 PM   #35
 
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Wow, quite a difference in the plant sizes between the bright and moderate sides of the tank. I have been tempted to try some root tabs with some of the heavy root feeding plants but, like you said, they'll only do as well as the weakest facet allows and, for me, it's lighting. Right now, I believe that my best tank insofar as lighting is concerned is an inexpensive 20 set that came with an incandescent fixture. I replaced the bulbs that were supplied with daylight CFLs. They seem to give me the intensity I was missing. I might replace all my old fixtures with cheap incandescents if this works out. Floating plants do add a whole new dimension to a tank. You're probably right about the barbs preferring the plants. Maybe try the cucumber and blanched lettuce or spinach and see if that keeps them off the plants. I have a rainbow shark that is currently keeping all of the water sprites and water wisterias in his tank mowed down. Best of luck !
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:50 PM   #36
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Maybe try the cucumber and blanched lettuce or spinach and see if that keeps them off the plants. I have a rainbow shark that is currently keeping all of the water sprites and water wisterias in his tank mowed down. Best of luck !
Although that is a great idea, (I happen to have some zucchini ends from supper stir fry... oh, composted already), I don't think that they a actually eating the plants so much as tearing the new leaflets while eating the "odds and ends" accumulated there. I want to actually see them eating them so I can tell for sure though. Elusive little pricks.... I mean.... Barbs

I'd like some water sprites, I'll have to go looking at other shops I guess.

Jeff.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:43 AM   #37
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Java Ferns and Dwarf Sword replanting

First off, I replanted my Dwarf Sword group under more direct light and kept them together rather than spread about the bottom as I had them before. Pic below.

My Java Fern bunch was just floating about on the bottom and seemed to congregate around the feeding rock (the rock just happens to be in the open area where I feed, I like to not have the leftovers dropping on plants and in nooks and crannies as it's easier for both the fish and me when it comes time to clean house).

Last night I did a 30% water change, mainly in order to have a less wet time of planting than any real need to change the water... I'm also curious about how the chemistry is reacting with the plants so it gives me more data to crunch. Oh, I determined that water changes are a weekend event, takes too much time out of the evening by the time I vacuum, prune, plant, play and refill. The fish seem really curious about the whole process, I thought they'd be more skittish than they are. Brazen little buggers.

Java Fern is not a typical plant, the roots are not supposed to be planted in the substrate even though they really look like they should be. These "roots" are really the stem of the plant, called the rhizome. The leaf pic shows that the leaf is attached to the rhizome in the same manner as a leaf on my Dwarf Hygrophilia or Ludwigia is attached to their respective stems. This leads me to consider that the leaf, as it is, is all it will ever be... the new growth will be apparent as the rhizome shoots off another leaf rather than the leaf getting any larger. It might be better had the LFS not cut the rhizome for each leaf but left all of the leaves onboard so the plant could be treated as one stem. I now wonder how quickly my fern plantation might fill in... or how slowly may be a better way to phrase the question, as the rhizome needs to grow another node and that looks like it will take some time to do.

Looking closer at the pic ( I blew it up with a different angle) it's more obvious that the green "root" is the stem and the root hairs are not the same as all the root hairs on a stem or substrate plant Their purpose is to provide anchorage to rocks and roots in a river, not to absorb nutrients from the substrate. This is basically a single node.

I have a nice holey piece of malaysian drift tucked in the corner that is perfect for a fern plantation, so that's where I stuck them. I didn't need to tie anything in place as it is the stillest part of the tank and the plant is slightly denser than water so it doesn't try to float away. See attached pic of the newly decorated wood. I like the look better than the Java Moss too but would like a more bunched appearance, I might buy some more and fill it in better. Looking at some online images of java fern it looks best with a matted rhizome/root mess and all the leaves together growing from the whole mess.

I included an overall shot here as well, it looks a bit different than it has... a little neater which wasn't really my initial goal. I still need to deal with the brazilian pennywort and the red ludwigia. Pennywort, probably going into the front left corner space, I will slide the lighting down that way as the Java Fern is OK with lower light... ludwigia is light needy so I may move the feeding rock a bit and go there in the light spot.

Jeff.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg replanted sword.jpg (62.7 KB, 121 views)
File Type: jpg java fern whole leaf.jpg (45.9 KB, 120 views)
File Type: jpg java fern rhizome.jpg (49.3 KB, 121 views)
File Type: jpg java fern new home.jpg (45.2 KB, 120 views)
File Type: jpg total tank update 1.jpg (71.2 KB, 121 views)
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:06 AM   #38
 
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Oh gawd, your tank is growing out so lovely. I love your idea to get a "holey" piece of driftwood for some of your plants. I may stealy this idea from ya ;)
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:47 AM   #39
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Oh gawd, your tank is growing out so lovely. I love your idea to get a "holey" piece of driftwood for some of your plants. I may stealy this idea from ya ;)
Thanks. I actually drilled more holes in the driftwood after I got it. I thought that fish might like them as hidey holes but they don't do anything other than hide behind the whole piece... I'd need larger holes to make tunnels for that but the holes certainly make for more anchoring places for plants.

I was careful to make sure the holes looked like other holes, but in hindsight, it wouldn't be noticeable if stuffed with plant roots anyway. I thought the wood would be more of a center piece look than it is.

It also hides the heater, I used a black plastic cased unit rather than glass and turned the light to the side.

I have some rocks that I want to add but not sure where to put them now, they will make for more plant anchoring too.

Jeff.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:20 PM   #40
 
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Great looking tank and nice photos. I love the little fish face in the first one. I have the "roots" of a couple Java Ferns planted in the substrate up to but not over the rhizome. I don't have any real driftwood and the substrate keeps them anchored. My new plants arrive Friday and I'll be spending some of tomorrow getting the tanks ready for them. My 2 biggest tanks are in the basement (no room upstairs) so I bought a 2 lamp shop light and intend to hang it over the 55 gallon tank. Also bought clear acrylic to replace the hood. Hoping this helps with my lighting.
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