07-07-2010, 11:33 PM
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Hey Inga :) Those are some nice plants! The top one looks big.
I know the top plant is a type of Echinodorus (Sword) plant, but I can only guess at the species (melon sword?). The bottom is hard for me to tell, maybe a Cambomba? - again I couldn't tell you the species. But with fertilization you will continue to have great growing plants!
Something I do know more about are Petco/Petsmart tube plants. More specifically the tubes with the little gel substrate. I bought mine from Petsmart, but I believe them to be very similar. A few things first, but generally yes you can buy them (depending on species) and they will do well in your tank. I have purchased 3 from the tubes and they are doing fantastic and have grown much since.
1. Always do your homework. And then do it again. I say this because they sell only a few true aquatic species in the tubes (notice they don't say aquarium plants, just live plants - for reptilian or whatever reason). To my knowledge the true aquatic species they sell are Java Fern (Microsorium pteropus), Dwarf Anubias (Anubias nana), Water Wisteria (Hygrophilia difformis), and a Sword plant (Echinodorus sp.). These will do well in your aquarium. Since these are all grown using a gel hydropnic technique and can change in the tank since they are grown emersed. The biggest change will be seen in the Wisteria's (Hygrophilia difformis) small mint like leaves. They will divide and become more "palm-frond-like" as they grow and given direct light.
2. Inspect the tubes carefully. Some are in great condition: full green leaves with no yellow or brown, white color roots, and small leaves starting to grow. Some are in poor condition with decaying leaves, shriveled up and lacking a green healthy color. It may take some exploring since the packaging is not entirely viewer friendly. Do not be discouraged if there is only a single brown leaf, but the rest of the plant is fine, it may still be a good pick after you trim it.
3. Do not always trust the advice of the employees - many do not know what they are talking about and will quickly suggest plants that will die when fully submersed in water. Rarely do they give great advice, even some that seem to know what they talking about. This is not to say that all the employees do not know what they are advising, I have come to know a few they are spot on. In short, trust your own time spent doing research and asking questions here and elsewhere.