Very basic plant question - please don't laugh at me!
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Very basic plant question - please don't laugh at me!

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Very basic plant question - please don't laugh at me!
Old 07-07-2009, 06:22 AM   #1
 
Very basic plant question - please don't laugh at me!

Hi

I got some plants from the lfs yesterday, along with small gravel substrate. I set it all up, and then I had a thought... Should one remove the metal strips holding the bottom of the stems/top of the roots together to allow the roots to spread better? Or does this help to weight them down?

This seems like a very basic thing, and I should have asked exactly what to do when I bought them, but I want to make sure I do it right!

I may be back with questions about lighting and fertiliser, but let's get the basics sorted first!

Thanks
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:38 AM   #2
 
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Yes, remove the lead strips prior to planting.
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:58 AM   #3
 
Thank you! Bother, now I have to dig it all up again!
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:16 PM   #4
 
They don't stay in so well now! I hope they root quickly, or I'll be forever poking them back in.
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Old 07-07-2009, 01:00 PM   #5
 
the lead strips are used to weigh the plants down for easy planting but they can affect your water. Your plants are most likely stem plants like cabomba correct? One method that ive heard for keeping them down is tying them to the bottom of some ornament or rock and then burying the rock so it pulls the plants down and into the gravel for rooting. I'm not sure if you ened to remove the thread later though.
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Old 07-07-2009, 01:00 PM   #6
 
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Stem plants are notorious for coming out of the gravel and most do not develop any substantial base root system. Stem plants grow very fast and obtain their nutrients from the water (you will often see roots all along the stems) so they don't ever develop good base root systems to anchor them in the gravel. Stick a few inches of the lower end of the stem in the gravel and carefully mound the gravel around it.

I find that just changing water and vacuuming the gravel near stem plants causes them to float up, and fish activity can keep them doing this as well. You can take a smallish rock or bit of bogwood and use it to hold the gravel in place around the base. If the plants grow quickly, as most stem plants do, you will probably be pulling them up every couple of weeks just to trim them and replant the tops; the bottoms tend to lose most leaves, depending upon light and nutrients and species of plant, and the tops grow better and nicer looking.

You were correct to follow kymmie's advice and remove the strips. Metal is not something you want permanently in the water. Sometimes they use elastic bands, those should be removed as well. And the pots that rooted plants sometimes come in, should you get some, should also not be planted (some aquarists do, I know, but most suggest not).
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Old 07-07-2009, 01:53 PM   #7
 
Lol thanks all. I can see that having lead in the water is probably not a good idea. Please don't ask for plant names! Hold on, I'll try and search for them...

OK, they all look too alike! I can't decide what I have. Not a camboba though. I know the two planted bog woods are large leaf annubis and java fern. One of the other plants has large broad leaves on stems which all 'sprout' from a single point. There is a reed, of undetermined variety, something bushy, with lots of small leaves on several individual stems. Also two lower, smaller plants. One reddish one, and one which has largish leaves for its size, and several long shoots, with similar leaves swaying at the top of a long, very thin (descriptive words fail me...) 'thing'. A bit like strawberries I guess.

When I get fed up with re-planting uprooted plants, what would be suggestions for plants which will root better and stay there? This is why I never had plants in my coldwater tank. They drive me mad!
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Old 07-07-2009, 02:38 PM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beckywhite1979 View Post
Lol thanks all. I can see that having lead in the water is probably not a good idea. Please don't ask for plant names! Hold on, I'll try and search for them...

OK, they all look too alike! I can't decide what I have. Not a camboba though. I know the two planted bog woods are large leaf annubis and java fern. One of the other plants has large broad leaves on stems which all 'sprout' from a single point. There is a reed, of undetermined variety, something bushy, with lots of small leaves on several individual stems. Also two lower, smaller plants. One reddish one, and one which has largish leaves for its size, and several long shoots, with similar leaves swaying at the top of a long, very thin (descriptive words fail me...) 'thing'. A bit like strawberries I guess.

When I get fed up with re-planting uprooted plants, what would be suggestions for plants which will root better and stay there? This is why I never had plants in my coldwater tank. They drive me mad!
Could you post a photo of the tank so we could see these plants; easier to know what they might be from a photo. From your descriptions, sounds like some of your plants are rooted plants, not stem plants (that photo would answer this in a jiffy). The Anubias and Java Fern are neither stem nor rooted strictly speaking, the roots of both attach themselves to wood (or rocks also) and the rhizone grows and leaves (and side shoots with Anubias) develop along the rhizome. Anubias is a slow grower, but a nice plant because it can go in a darker corner (very low light plant) where most other plants would never manage to grow. Java Fern is also low light, but not as slow growing, and daughter plants will emerge from the older leaves as it matures. When they develop sufficiently in size, they can be pulled off and established on their own. I like to leave some just for that "natural" look. Don't plant the rhizomes of these two plants in the gravel, that may cause it to rot; it can be attached to wood, rock, ornaments with black thread until it takes hold.

You haven't told us what light you have, and that will largely govern what will grow. The stem plants as I previously mentioned are fast growers, which means require brighter light, than most of the rooted plants which are sort of moderate light (generally) and then the Anubias, Java Fern and crypts that are moderate to low light. Have a look at the photos of my two aquaria; most of the plants in both are swords (Echinodorus species). In the 70g there are a couple rhizomes of Anubias nana on the left side, and the floating plant is Ceratopteris (water sprite or floating fern). It can be planted in the substrate (the roots you'll see danglin down) but I find it does better floating. Also useful for fry to hide in if you have livebearers. Daughter plants sprout from the larger leaves in abundance, and can be pulled off when a couple inches across and the parent plant tossed away (they get very big, will cover the entire surface within days if left alone). In the 90g along with swords there are crypts (a few on the bottom in the centre) and Brazilian Pennywort (a stem plant, the only one I have luck with due to lower light) thriving in both rear corners. No floating plants since the big sword (Echinodorus macrophyllum) has floating leaves that I like the look of, and the Pennywort will grow across the tank surface if not pruned every week or two (as stem plants require).

I'll have more to offer when I know your light and tank size. And an idea of what look you're after.

Byron.
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Old 07-08-2009, 03:01 AM   #9
 
OK, pics attached.

As for what type of light, it doesn't say anything on it, and the only info I can find is

"11W Arc Pod / Original Tropical Compact Lamp".
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Old 07-08-2009, 03:32 AM   #10
 
the big broad leaf plant is definitely a sword plant. The grassy thing I'm not really sure on hairgrass maybe in not, It might not be aquatic. Can't remember the names on the other ones.
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