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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 have been looking at planting and, specifically, the plants that I have in my tank so far. It appears ...

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The shotgun approach to planting a tank
Old 01-17-2013, 10:41 AM   #51
 
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I have been looking at planting and, specifically, the plants that I have in my tank so far.

It appears that the best piece of advice that I have seen so far is to only plant the roots of the plant below the surface of the substrate. I might think that this is more important with a sand substrate as it will reduce the water flow beneath the surface more than a gravel might. Leaving the sand up over some of the green stem part will promote rot and will kill the stem/branch/shoot. I have already seen this on a small level with my dwarf swords which I left floating until I figured out how to best situate them... they have been replanted about a week.

Now, while I am sitting at work, I am thinking that I still have some plants planted too deep... there are no signs of problems yet so they mustn't be deep enough for an immediate response but I plant on playing in the water tonight and pulling everything that is specifically substrate planted up out of the sand a bit more. Even just fanning off some of the sand might suffice. I need to rely more on the roots holding things in place as opposed to letting the sand do the work farther up the stem.

Jeff.
With stem plants, you can plant a fairly long piece under the substrate and just barely cover a healthy node. This keeps the plant in place while the node develops roots. With substrate planted specimens, I wouldn't let them float around too long because they are disconnected from their nutrient source. I agree that planting depth is probably more critical with sand than it is with gravel; however, I wouldn't take any chances with either. From what I've seen, you seem to have a nack with plants.
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:53 AM   #52
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With stem plants, you can plant a fairly long piece under the substrate and just barely cover a healthy node. This keeps the plant in place while the node develops roots. With substrate planted specimens, I wouldn't let them float around too long because they are disconnected from their nutrient source. I agree that planting depth is probably more critical with sand than it is with gravel; however, I wouldn't take any chances with either. From what I've seen, you seem to have a nack with plants.
That's only because I don't need to water these ones.

What I've done with stems was to cut off up to the healthy node, remove most of the leaf material and plant, the node ends up about an inch under the surface. Saves any rot below the surface. I have pulled out a stem to check them and the roots have just taken off. Sand holds the stem firmly enough at the start.

Even the rooted plants take in a lot of nutrient from the water through the leaves, more so in most cases than through the roots. Perhaps this is more while the roots develop and due to lack of nutrient in the substrate initially. I hear of large root systems in many cases so obviously they do more than just hold the plant down. I may try some sort of root tabs and see what difference they make.

JEff.
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:51 PM   #53
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Cardamine Lyrata relocation

OK, so it may not technically be a dwarf pennywort, it is Cardamine Lyrata.

I moved it from it's bunch beside the feeding rock and put individual stems in various places to see how it goes.

pic one is on the drift wood, a single stem tucked under the quartz rock.

pic two is two pieces tucked in a crevasse where the driftwood has a branch and a bit of Java Moss holds it in place.

I thought that the Java Moss was a little sickly but looking at it at this magnification level shows that it is just a darker colour and the "leaves" are very defined and healthy.

I left one long stem by the rock only for lack of anywhere else to move it and I knew that at least that one would continue to grow in that particular spot.

I can't take pictures of fish worth a damn with my phone but at least plants hold still long enough to get the focus right... most times.

Jeff.
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File Type: jpg cardamine lyrata wood.jpg (56.4 KB, 81 views)
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:56 PM   #54
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pennywort offering

This is a cool shot of an air bubble on the top leaf of the pennywort right after refilling following a large water change.

I thought the reflection of the light was interesting, almost looks like a drop of mercury, even if it is the wrong shape.

Jeff.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:22 AM   #55
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Progress pic

Here is a current picture of my tank with the new plant locations. It's starting to look more filled in now. I pruned and planted more of the dwarf hygrophila, I think I did 5 stems and I am up to about 20 in the tank now. Some are starting to branch creating two stems from one even without the cutting forcing the issue. I did notice that one that I let go made it to the surface and that seemed to trigger a splitting response in the lower stem.

I decided to break the tank into two sections using the DH as a divider to come around beside the large drift wood piece. Two of my barbs are displaying territorial behavior now, one in each rear corner, so this might make it easier to provide two visually distinct areas. This might also provide more red colouration in more fish as the now two dominant males have their respective hierarchies. Need more cherry barbs... I have room to add two more.

I don't think that I have room for the swords, at least not the two of them. I'm less fond of those than the DH, I just like the look of smaller leaved plants as it tends to make everything else look larger. Sort of a relative scale thing. That and the swords seem to be taking FOREVER to grow tall enough to cover the back wall but will invariably shade other plants up front, particularly the red ludwigia, which seem to be doing much better where they are now... lots of new growth.

Is there any way, short of just tying the lower stems to get them to stay more vertical rather than spreading out the way they are? There are a fair number of nice new green shoots coming up and they are, obviously, heading up from the middle but I am sure that they won't stay going straight up for long.

I was concerned about a red plant in an LED tank but with the ludwigia doing as well as it is I am considering another red leafed plant that I noticed at the LFS. It is a bit larger than the Ludwigia though and starts green at the bottom and red at the top, reverse of the RL. I would probably move the brazilian pennywort back over to the feeding rock and put the new red plant directly under the front left light bulb. The valls should get tall enough that they are still visible behind it to keep the green rear wall theme going.

Back to thinking about a dedicated plant tank though.

Jeff.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:38 AM   #56
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Tiny Giant Vallisneria

I had a piece of one of the giant vallisneria end up coming loose and was floating about the tank, I decided to put it back into the sand. The longer leaves didn't look so healthy but underneath was this tiny little vall. I put it out front rather than in with the others to see if I could speed it along it's growth, no shade here. Also, the main bunch seem to have a slight transparent look to the leaves and this specimen does not. I'm curious to see if it stays that way or if they lighten up as well. They all seem to be doing fine other than the leaf look.

Pic on is the little lonely Vall.

Pic two is an early shot of the valls, Jan 3, probably a week after planting... funny, I don't have any other shots that highlight them at all. As much as they appear to be a good rear plant, I guess they are too boring to warrant there own shots.

Pic three is a shot from this weekend of some other plant but this is a crop of the vall leaf and you can see the transparency.

Jeff.
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File Type: jpg vall lonely little.jpg (29.6 KB, 76 views)
File Type: jpg Vall grouping.jpg (37.2 KB, 77 views)
File Type: jpg transparent valls.jpg (32.5 KB, 76 views)
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:06 PM   #57
 
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Your tank is really looking great, Jeff. Starting to take on a thickly planted appearance.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:36 PM   #58
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Thanks FM.

I keep forgetting that the tank is only 12" deep (front to back) so here was a shot from the end which gives a little perspective on tank space... now I wish I had managed to fine a more square tank to provide more bottom area.

Jeff.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:12 AM   #59
 
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All of my tanks have that narrow depth also. They used to make a 40 gallon that was a lot deeper than the average tank. I think people refer to them as grow out or raising tanks. It seems you could really create some interesting features in a deeper tank. Paths, grottos, etc. You definitely have an eye for aquascaping.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:50 AM   #60
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Thanks again. I did some dreaming on another thread with a much larger tank setup. Ideally, space permitting, I would love to setup a square footprint that can be viewed from all sides... at least 3 though. Short story is a partially divided tank. A a rocky space with flow, or at least active water, and a quiet space with sand. Nice visual change from one side to the other... essentially two styles of tanks in one. Plants and fish stocked accordingly. Right near our house the river does this and The transition, while obviously more than 3 or 4 feet, isn't as gradual as one might think. I would be curious to see how the fish take up the spaces whether they end up favouring one side over the other, transition back and forth or if it may end up just being a free for all.

The current tank is a test bed for low light plants as I would have preferred to have 4 or 5 primary plant types instead of 11 or 12... I like them all but the space really doesn't visually provide for such a variety. It's fun to play with them all the same. I just didn't want to go with a small variety only to have too many fail, I felt I needed a method to guarantee that at least a few thrive to help with the water quality. It looks like I didn't really need to worry so much about that as I only lost one to probable low light and another, well, I just didn't like much.

Jeff.

Last edited by JDM; 01-22-2013 at 07:53 AM..
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