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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; --> I'll bet you'd see the fish picking their environment in such a setup. For instance, if you had cherry barbs and neons, the cherry ...

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The shotgun approach to planting a tank
Old 01-22-2013, 08:26 AM   #61
 
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I'll bet you'd see the fish picking their environment in such a setup. For instance, if you had cherry barbs and neons, the cherry barbs would probably enjoy the flow while the neons would prefer the quiet side of the tank.

I've seen very attractive tanks that feature only two or three types of plants. Of course, those tanks also contained massive, very expensive looking wood features. Another thing I've noticed is a tendency to vary substrates within the same tank and have a terraced or undulating substrate surface. I'm still at the point of trying to keep everything healthy and happy.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:33 PM   #62
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Red Hygrophila, duckweed

While at the LFS picking up the catfish today I picked up a red hygrophila bunch. The stem is much different than the dwarf hygrophila, thicker, not the same green. I put it in a high light position in the tank due to the red factor. I don't know if the red will keep as the red ludwigia new growth is coming in green. I find it an interesting counterpoint to the ludwigia as it is green turning red compared to the ludwigia's red turning green. Perhaps I should have put them together.

I also wanted a floating plant, hopelessly hoping that the store had some, although I have never seen any other than their pervasive duckweed since early December when I started into this hobby. Same deal now.

Due to adding eight new fish (which turned out to be nine) after such a short time since the tank was setup, I wanted more of an ammonia sink seeing as the first 12 caused a nitrite spike. I know that my hygrophilia polysperma have multiplied since but I have a theory about how a tank accomodates new ammonia sources that will require more plants than I have now.

So, introducing duckweed. Surprisingly they SELL this stuff. The LFS guy told me I could get it for free as the Petsmart next door but at $1.99 for a handful... It wasn't worth the trip and the chance of getting something form a different water source. I think I got more than the "allotted" $1.99 share anyway, a good deal on the catfish and, as it turns out, an extra fish. I won't complain.

I was concerned that the duckweed would cover the surface of the water enough to affect light levels for the rest of the plants. While I was correct, I came up with a solution... other than going with larger, easier to control floaters. The tank has a middle cross support which, if the water level is higher enough, divides the surface physically. When the filter is running the right side is aswirl with duckweed while the left is totally clear. I already moved the high light plants and the light fixture to the left. The only issue is that the low light area is now lower light. I must admit that the catfish like the dark corner that is created behind the driftwood in the right rear corner.

I guess I am a sucker for a plant. I know the limits of my tank for fish, plants are another matter.

I bought some seachem tabs to try with the swords and valls. I'll see what that does, I don't know if I needed it but thought I might try it anyway.

Pic 1 is the red hygrophila in it's new home.

Pic 2 is the closeup of a single duckweed in my hand. Cool plant even if it is a weed, even according to aquarium standards.

Pic 3 is the "split tank surface"

Pic 4 is the current setup after moving a few plants around, yet again.

Jeff.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Red Hygrophila.jpg (61.6 KB, 93 views)
File Type: jpg Duckweed individual.JPG (21.0 KB, 92 views)
File Type: jpg Duckweed split.jpg (63.8 KB, 92 views)
File Type: jpg progress January 26.jpg (80.2 KB, 92 views)
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:59 PM   #63
 
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Your tank is looking great and that's cool how you can keep the duckweed confined. I bought some of the Seachem tabs also.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:01 AM   #64
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Ammonia, update shot and pennywort roots

Here is an updated shot of my tank from yesterday. Today is water change day and I will be adding a dose of flourish comp afterwards.

The plants are taking off. I attribute this jump to the added ammonia created from the 9 new catfish added last weekend. My ammonia levels are hovering between zero and "not zero". According to the API colour card I would guess that the maximum is around 0.125 ppm. This looks like a new cycle stage 1 created by the new ammonia concentration available to the bacteria. My heavily planted tank is not planted heavily enough to handle the load even though I added half a tank surface of duckweed and some red hygrophila . The hygrophila is not a fast growing stem, not nearly as fast as the dwarf version anyway (those are the really tall stems that are growing near 1 inch per day right now).

I will consider cutting and replanting the DH to increase the ammonia uptake by about 30% by those plants... 1/3 are ready to cut and I figure that if one stem will take up "x" amount of ammonia as it grows, cutting it and doubling the number of stems should take up "2x" ammonia.

The last shot is the top third of the Brazilian Pennywort . The roots shooting are interesting and I went looking for other examples of this plant to see how normal this was, it's pretty common. I also see a lot of examples of it being left as a floater, growing both submersed and emmersed. I think I will let it grow to the surface and not cut it back, see what it does up there. I may move it to the front corner of the tank as it is shading the new red hygrophila. Seeing as it doesn't really fill out and I am not going to propagate it, I think that the front corner is the ideal spot as once it reaches the surface, I expect it to continue to grow horizontally at the top.

I will move my red ludwigia. Seeing as they are not producing roots to hold it down, I may put it up on the driftwood, closer to the light and out of most harms way from the catfish.

Jeff.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg progress February 1, 2013.jpg (49.2 KB, 84 views)
File Type: jpg Pennywort roots.jpg (33.3 KB, 84 views)
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:19 AM   #65
 
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Hey JDM... I do my water changes on Day 1 and Fert on day 2 and 5. I Fert 2 x a week but I never Fert on a water change day. To my understanding de-chlorinator negates fertilizer. Wonder how your plants might grow differently if you wait a day?
Tank is looking amazing by the way!!! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:31 AM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakiebabie View Post
Hey JDM... I do my water changes on Day 1 and Fert on day 2 and 5. I Fert 2 x a week but I never Fert on a water change day. To my understanding de-chlorinator negates fertilizer. Wonder how your plants might grow differently if you wait a day?
Tank is looking amazing by the way!!! Thanks for sharing!
You are correct about the conditioner and fertilizers. I am not 100% certain that they completely negate them or if it is a temporary thing like the ammonia and nitrites. No chlorine here anyways, well water, so I don't need to worry about that.

Thanks.

Jeff.
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Old 02-02-2013, 02:01 PM   #67
 
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Your tank is looking amazing, Jeff. I use API Ammo Lock as my conditioner. It doesn't neutralize heavy metals. From what I understand, most conditioners do neutralize heavy metals and that is why it is recommended to wait a day. Being able to do everything at once works best for me.
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Old 02-02-2013, 04:56 PM   #68
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I like doing it all at once AND not having to add extra chemicals.

Here's a new shot from after the water change today. I cut 8 or 9 dwarf hygrophila and replanted... I can't count them easily but I must be over thirty stems now. It doesn't look so impressive after a cutting as they are all 12" max now.

I lifted the driftwood and propped it with a stone to give the cats a nice hidey cave. They can all fit in there with room to spare so I think they will spend time in there. I left the front open so I could see them rather than losing them with a rear entrance. Probably might consider making it a swim through rather than a cave next time I play aquascaper.

I moved the red ludwigia to atop the driftwood, closer to the light. I tied the stems together and stuffed them in a notch, we'll see how they do.


jeff.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Progress Feb 2, 2013.jpg (94.9 KB, 79 views)
File Type: jpg cave.jpg (79.2 KB, 79 views)
File Type: jpg new rl home.jpg (54.6 KB, 79 views)
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:20 AM   #69
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Red Ludwigia takes off

On the weekend I replanted my red ludwigia onto the driftwood. It was in the sand but most had been knocked out and were floating, I posted about tying them together as a bunch and jamming them into a notch in the driftwood... that was three days ago.

Here is a shot after planting, not so clear but it's visible. Then a shot this morning which I also circled the new growth. Seeing as in the last three weeks it has shown some new growth, but not really much, then this, I'd say that it prefers to be attached to decor rather than stuck in the sand. It never did develop any roots.

Part of my thinking was to get it higher and closer to the light and part was to keep it from being knocked about by the catfish. I do wonder if the new growth will redden up though.

Jeff.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg RL on driftwood first.JPG (45.5 KB, 67 views)
File Type: jpg RL on driftwood.jpg (51.9 KB, 67 views)
File Type: jpg RL on driftwood highlighted.jpg (53.3 KB, 68 views)
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:32 PM   #70
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Java Fern propagation

Well, it appears that java fern propagates differently than most other aquatic plants, at least the ones I am getting familiar with. A week or so ago I noticed some odd growths on the leafs and I thought that it was just some build up and piggy backing little plant but it turns out that the piggy backer is actually a baby java fern.

Now I have a ton of baby java ferns starting. Quite a few leaves had separated from the rhizome so I thought they would just die off, I figured I was somehow killing the plants but I left them floating about or just jammed them into the corner driftwood hunk seeing as they were still green and firm. I am glad now that I didn't just toss them as they've ended up sprouting.

Apparently the little plants will eventually separate and find somewhere to attach to, wood, substrate or rocks even. Seeing as they don't float, but rather stay near the bottom, I think I might just let the little buggers land where they may, within reason. Either that or I will thoroughly plant the driftwood piece and watch it grow green.

Jeff.
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File Type: jpg java fern babies.jpg (44.8 KB, 63 views)
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