What kind of plants can I grow?
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What kind of plants can I grow?

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What kind of plants can I grow?
Old 03-17-2010, 05:15 PM   #1
 
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What kind of plants can I grow?

Hey, just a small and straight-to-the point question. I'm not ABSOLUTELY 100% sure up to what plants I can grow. In terms of Low lights, medium lights, and high light plants. No list or links of plants necessary, thank you! I actually am going to use ferts, but that's a different deal ATM.

I have a 10W mini(?) compact fluorescent over a 5 gallon. I can find out if it's a compact fluo. or a mini-compact fluo. easily, just not soon. If they happen to be different, please tell me. Thank you very much~

I'm pretty sure I'm near the low-light part, but from what I've read, I've not sure anymore. I think I read too fast, ha. So it got me a bit confused. Also, if it turns out I am a low light, what would happen if I tried to push up to moderate lighting?

Last edited by xxabc; 03-17-2010 at 05:23 PM..
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Old 03-17-2010, 07:29 PM   #2
 
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Low, medium and high light plant designations are something I am not fond of; the truth is that the vast majority of plants will grow very well with far less light than many in the hobby still advocate, as several of us on this forum with long-time planted tanks (with "low light" as these others would call it) can attest to.

The main thing with light is that it needs to be adequate in intensity and duration to balance the available nutrients of which there are 17; plants will only grow (by photosynthesis) if everything they need is present. Plants grow according to what is known as the Law of Minimum; this means that growth will continue up to the point where something is no longer available, be it light or a nutrient. The item no longer available is called the "limiting factor." Light should always be the limiting factor in a planted aquarium. This means you want the least intense light you need for the specific plants; if light is beyond what is needed to balance the available nutrients, plants can't use the excess and algae will.

So, in your example, I would not increase the light as it will cause more trouble than benefit. You will need to balance it with nutrients. These include nitrogen (which plants get from the ammonia/ammonium produced by the fish and biological processes), carbon (as CO2 from the fish and processes again), and micro-nutrients which are minerals that are usually added with a liquid comprehensive fertilizer because while some may be present in tap water and from fish food and waste (organics) not all of them will.

I would suggest you could grow most plants in your setup, provided you fertilize weekly and have the light on for a sufficient duration each day, usually 10-12 hours.

Byron.
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:29 PM   #3
 
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Thank you, very knowledged.

Alrigh, I think I've told you before I wouldn't use a fert. Well, that was before I actually found out it was in liquid form, and in tab form. I thought it meant like as a substrate. Oh, so wrong, and apologies for that. I will be using a fert, most likely liquid. However, i'm severely limited to what I can do, mainly because parents limit me to only Walmart, Petco, and Petsmart (...), and from that, ONLY in-store. No online. And of those three, whats available is

API Leaf Zone http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...ductId=2754007
Aqueon Plant Food http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...ductId=3714141
Tetra Flora Pride - Iron Intensive http://www.petco.com/product/3997/Te...ertilizer.aspx

Which would you recommend to me?
Now, off of Petco's website, there are some plants labeled "Lighting: High", and etc. Now, if I did supply with a fert (once one is recommended), would I be able to take care of a supposed high-light plant? (And aside from lighting 'needs', the ones I have my eyes on claimed to be easy to take plants from what I've read through brief research)

Thank you very much~
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Old 03-17-2010, 09:10 PM   #4
 
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Originally Posted by xxabc View Post
Thank you, very knowledged.

Alrigh, I think I've told you before I wouldn't use a fert. Well, that was before I actually found out it was in liquid form, and in tab form. I thought it meant like as a substrate. Oh, so wrong, and apologies for that. I will be using a fert, most likely liquid. However, i'm severely limited to what I can do, mainly because parents limit me to only Walmart, Petco, and Petsmart (...), and from that, ONLY in-store. No online. And of those three, whats available is

API Leaf Zone http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...ductId=2754007
Aqueon Plant Food http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...ductId=3714141
Tetra Flora Pride - Iron Intensive http://www.petco.com/product/3997/Te...ertilizer.aspx

Which would you recommend to me?
Now, off of Petco's website, there are some plants labeled "Lighting: High", and etc. Now, if I did supply with a fert (once one is recommended), would I be able to take care of a supposed high-light plant? (And aside from lighting 'needs', the ones I have my eyes on claimed to be easy to take plants from what I've read through brief research)

Thank you very much~
I would not waste my money on API Leaf Zone nor Tetra Flora-Pride. Both (from what I can ascertain from their websites) are solely iron and one (or two) other things, no where near the 15 nutrients. I recall another member switched from API to Flourish and had noticeable improvement. The Aqueon, although I do not personally know it (i.e., haven't tried it), certainly has a good list of nutrients included, so of the three this is the only one I'd try.

I can best answer you last question by asking one of you--name the specific plants you would like to try and I'll comment. I have grown many high light plants within my so-called "low" light setups.

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Old 03-17-2010, 10:53 PM   #5
 
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I see, thank you!

Here's a list of the plants I've considered, even if barely:

Anubias nana
Brazilian Pennywort
Needle Leaf Ludwigia (ludwigia arcuata)
Moneywort
Rosaefolia (Alternanthera reineckii)
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:23 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxabc View Post
I see, thank you!

Here's a list of the plants I've considered, even if barely:

Anubias nana
Brazilian Pennywort
Needle Leaf Ludwigia (ludwigia arcuata)
Moneywort
Rosaefolia (Alternanthera reineckii)
Anubias nana and Pennywort (Hydrocotyl leucocephala) are easy plants, I have both in my setups now.

Ludwigia arcuata and Alternanthera reineckii are both red plants and thus demanding of somewhat brighter light to retain the red. If these were placed under the direct light, and with the relative shallowness of your 5g tank, they might be OK.

Moneywort or Creeping Jenny as it is also commonly called, Lysimachia nummularia, is actually a marsh or bog plant in the wild and in aquaria frequently does not do well long-term. Given the choice, I would choose Pennywort over this plant, it is more adaptable.

Except for the Anubias, these plants are stem plants. Stem plants are fast growing plants that will require regular (probably weekly) trimming, involving pulling up the plants, cutting off the upper parts (the lower will be scraggly and perhaps leaf-less) and planting them in order to keep the plants neat and beautiful and prevent them taking over the aquarium. They will, if left alone, grow to the surface and then along it very quickly.

Anubias likes shade, and does well with very minimal light. In place of the red stem plants, you might consider one of the red-leaf Cryptocoryne plants that will, once established, be almost maintenance-free, and these also tolerate very low light. There is also the pygmy chain sword (Echinodorus tenellus) which I have found will thrive and cover the tank with runners and daughter plants, and the lighter green contrasts well with the darker green of the Anubias and the red/olive greens of the Crypts. The Pennywort would fit in this group nicely, and be the only plant requiring regular maintenance.

In all this, I have in the back of my mind some floating plants. Depending upon the light when this is set up, floating plants are a great way to provide slight shade if the light is perhaps just a tad more than you want for the fish. And the fish must not be forgotten. No mention has been made of fish for your 5g, but given the size I'm assuming it might be a betta, or one of the small shoaling fish like the Ember tetra, Boraras (rasbora) species, or similar; and these are low-light fish, meaning they come from dimly lit quiet waters thick with plants or overhanging vegetation and branches, and suiting the lighting to them (which I suspect it would be) and the plants--you will have a very beautiful aquarium.

Byron.
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:38 PM   #7
 
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Thank you very much for the tips, it was very helpful. Yes, it's divided with two bettas currently, but will - with time - only house one betta and maybe snails. Shame, no store has the nerite snail anymore.

Where do you get your plants, though? Besides online? I'm limited to in-store only. I will definitely take your advice though.
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:51 PM   #8
 
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assuming your bulb is "cool white" or "daylight" (Make sure it's 6500k- will have a very slight 'bluish' tinge to the light)
I agree with byron that you can grow pretty much anything-

I have 20W over a 10G and, to be honest, it's almost too much light.

Also, (purely from my experience, I don't use ferts at all...That may be my problem so take what I say with a grain of salt)
I wouldn't get the red plants if you would be absolutely heartbroken if they turned green... I have two red plants (rotala indica and ludwigea natans) that were an absolutely beautiful purple-red when I got them... And now they're green.

I think lack of iron may be the problem, as I said I have never used a fert (short of something I used a while back... that I won't even mention.)

Also, if you're curious, CFLs are more efficient than normal flourescent tubes... the WPG rule was invented to apply to old-style flouro tubes... so your 10W over a 5G will actually end up being quite a bit of light. (equivelent to nearly 3 WPG)
but as Byron said, WPG is useless. :)

If you have substrate fert tabs, you can just press them into the gravel IF you decide to get any root-feeding plants.

Bunch/stem plants and anubias feed from the water, so there's no need for any tabs unless you get something like a saggitaria or sword plant (since they feed from the roots.)

I also second the notion that you need something on the surface of the water to keep your fish happy... They don't NECCESARILY have to be floating plants... Something like an aponogeton or banana plant that produced floating leaves will to the trick as a nice centerpiece for your aquarium...

You could always try to talk your mom/dad into ordering off the internet... Convince them how much money they'll save even with shipping. I ordered from sweetaquatics.com, and after adding the shipping and everything, it was half the price of a "pet store".

Good luck with your planted tank!
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Old 03-18-2010, 01:00 PM   #9
 
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How will I know if its 6500k? Will it be on the box?

And the fert. Byron suggested has Iron, so *crosses fingers* let's see how that goes. I probably should have mentioned it's already set up by now, and I have silk plants in there. A bit, actually, lol. I may or may not take some out, we'll see~ and I don't mind buying another light, they're really cheap at Walmart.

And good to hear about lighting, but what about algae? The stock I'm now available to is sooo limited. In terms of invertebrates (no fish, I'll overstock), I have: Mystery snail, inca snail, bamboo shrimp, and ghost shrimp. If you recommend one, I'd appreciate that also. But if I don't get that, wouuld I physically remove the algae with my fingers / hands?

Pennywort can be used as a floating plant, right? Or should I use a different plant?

Oh, and how deep should the gravel be? I might have to buy some more.

Oh, talking about buying online.... I've ventured into those depths, I'm terrified of going back! Haha. Frankly, my parents want my fish dead, ahemm. I'm buying these with a friend, thank goodness :)

And thank you~
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Old 03-18-2010, 01:45 PM   #10
 
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I second redchigh's comments. Just a comment on the red leaf plants, these require iron, true, but also more red light. The red colour appears red to us because the leaf reflects red light, just as green plants reflect green light and thus appear green. Plants don't need green light though, they use mostly red and blue, so low-light plants manage fine with green leaves. But red light is needed, and thus with red plants it is good to have higher light (being careful not to go too high) or more red-end spectrum light (the "sun" type tubes with lower kelvin ratings are higher in red) sometimes called "warm" light as opposed to "cool" which is more blue than red. My red-leaf swords in my 90g for example are brownish-red because of the light more than the iron. But I have no intention of increasing the light due to the forest fish, so I settle for the compromise.

The K rating might be on the box the bulb came in, or it might be on the bulb at the base. If it is a daylight, natural daylight, enhanced daylight, cool white, or some such similar name, it will be around 6500K.

Pennywort makes a very lovely floating plant. In my 90g if I neglect to trim it when it needs it, it will of course continue to grow along the surface, and the leaves at the surface will grow out to the sides of the stem and face up naturally, with the roots dangling in the water; the floating leaves, being closer to the light and additional CO2 from the air, are always larger than those on trimmed stems kept submersed. So it is a very functional plant, and fast growing along the surface.

If you have, or intend to have, substrate-rooted plants like swords, crypts, vallisneria, sagittaria, etc., you should have about 3 inches of substrate (gravel). You can slope it from the front (2 inches) up to deeper near the back where the rooted plants would be. Stem plants will also be held down better with 2-3 inches of gravel.

Algae comes in many varieties. The trick is to keep it at bay, and this means no more light than needed for the plants in balance with the nutrients (liquid fertilizer). As you get more live plants this will become easier to handle. There is nothing wrong with normal amounts of algae, it is perfectly natural and can be very decorative. Rhonda Wilson who writes a monthly plant column in TFH has more than once commented on how many people admire the "plants" in her tanks and it is actually brush algae. I have brush algae on most of the wood, and it is beautiful, and the fish love to sift through it for food particles. I just work to keep it off the plant leaves, and this is easy by controlling the light.

Byron.
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