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Starting a planted tank -- inadequate lighting?

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Starting a planted tank -- inadequate lighting?
Old 07-28-2012, 03:20 PM   #11
 
Plants online?

Hey guys, I'd like to start greening up my tank beyond the two amazon swords in there I have right now and was hoping for some more advice. I live in the SF Bay Area and have seem some decent selection, but not really the full scope of what I was looking for in terms of being able to pick and choose. One store in San Francisco had an impressive array of plants and some really gorgeous planted tanks, but few South American species (still planning to go the amazon biotope route.) At the moment, I'm thinking three or for pygmy chain swords for the foreground and another one or two larger plants for the back -- maybe a marble queen sword? Any particular suggestions that I'd have trouble killing as a beginner?

And as far as broadening my selection horizons, it seems like buying online is pretty reputable these days. Any dos and don'ts I should watch out for? Any particular sites you guys are fond of?
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:08 PM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drewo View Post
Hey guys, I'd like to start greening up my tank beyond the two amazon swords in there I have right now and was hoping for some more advice. I live in the SF Bay Area and have seem some decent selection, but not really the full scope of what I was looking for in terms of being able to pick and choose. One store in San Francisco had an impressive array of plants and some really gorgeous planted tanks, but few South American species (still planning to go the amazon biotope route.) At the moment, I'm thinking three or for pygmy chain swords for the foreground and another one or two larger plants for the back -- maybe a marble queen sword? Any particular suggestions that I'd have trouble killing as a beginner?

And as far as broadening my selection horizons, it seems like buying online is pretty reputable these days. Any dos and don'ts I should watch out for? Any particular sites you guys are fond of?
You should have good luck with most of the swords (Echinodorus species), at least the green-leaf ones. The red leaf plants are fussier, requiring brighter light and even with this they frequently do not attain the true red that they will with CO2 diffusion and more frequent nutrient supplements. They may still survive, with dark green/brownish instead of red leaves, at least mine are like this.

You might want to limit species, if you are after a more authentic aquascape. In nature you normally find may plants of each species, and in a specific area seldom more than 2 or 3 species. Within this i aim for some contrast in colour. Among the swords this can be achieved by a large species like E. bleherae, then for a much darker green the E. parviflorus "Tropica," one of the chains for lighter green, Helanthium tenellum or H. bolivianus, and one of the "Marble" species with their variegated spotted leaves or the reddish leaf ones (that will be more brown/red as I noted).

As for online plant sources, I will leave this to other members who have used them, which is something I have not.

Byron.
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Old 08-19-2012, 11:03 PM   #13
 
Stocking possibilities in my amazon biotope

Thanks for all the helps folks! I'm a few weeks further along and could use some more advice about where to go from here.

Quick update: my 46 gallon tank is cycled and things seem to be going well. I currently have:
-6 colombian tetras
-6 marble hatchet fish
-1 clown pleco

as well as some driftwood and several plants: two amazon swords, some micro swords in the foreground and some anacharis floating on top for the hatchets.

The question is where to go from here. I was thinking I wanted to add a couple (say 2) angelfish, which I think would put my tank close to capacity. But I was reading tonight in the profile here and elsewhere that angels should be kept in a larger group than that, I gather because of intraspecies aggression issues. Is it definitely a bad idea to have just a pair? I don't think I have the capacity for the recommended four or more. Would one do okay by him or herself? And if angels aren't appropriate, what recommendations would fellow amazon keepers suggest? I'm very happy with the way the colombian tetras swim around the full range of the tank and would like to add some more fish that also use the open portion (as opposed to the hatchets hanging out at the surface and the pleco slinking around after dark.) One obvious direction would be another school of tetras, or increasing the size of the tetra and hatchet schools I have, but I almost had my heart set on something a little bigger and beautiful like the angels.


Thanks!
Drew
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Old 08-20-2012, 05:45 PM   #14
 
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The profile for Pterophyllum scalare sets out the issues with angelfish. A mated pair for spawning would be OK but the other fish would have to go. A shoal in a larger tank is OK. But 2 or 3 angels frequently results in one being the bully and two stressed and often dead angels.

I would increase the shoals, six is the "minimum" number recommended for most characins but more is always better. The marbles definitely do better with more, I would say a dozen minimum in your tank. And a couple more Colombian won't hurt. [BTW, this is not a particularly good tankmate for angels, even if you did have more space; it is active and can get nippy.]

A single Bolivian Ram does well, but just one; profile explains why. My only concern would be possible fin nipping by the Colombians, but increasing them to 8 should hopefully resolve this.

Other options are substrate fish, a group of corys would work fine; no less than five of a single species, but if you want more than one species, no less than 3 of each. You could have up to a dozen easily.

Another shoaling mid-water fish is also possible, provided you are careful with the species. The Colombian is active, not all tetra are, and the Colombian can get nippy with the wrong tankmates.

Byron.
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