Will my 10g tank be overgrown? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-17-2010, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
Will my 10g tank be overgrown?

I got all excited and drew up a plan for my tank and I think it will look good when all is done, but after reading more on TFK and seeing other's aquarium growth I am starting to worry myself. I do not know much about the size of plants. This is partly to lack of research and the rest I think is solved by pruning. Will these plants be too much for 10 gallons down the line?

Plants to be added:

2 Limnophila sessiflora
1 Cryptocryne crispatulata var. balansae
3 Valisnera spiralis
1 Ceratophteris thalictroides
1 hygrophila polysperma "Rosanervig"
2 Microsorium pteropus
1 Alternanthera reineckii "Rosafolia"
3 Cryptocoryne wendtii
1 Anubias barteri var. nana
2 Micranthemum umbrosum
7 Sagitaria subulata

Thanks to Byron's 4 page article, I think I will drop the CO2 injection and intensity of light from my listed aquarium.

Also has anyone had any experience with a fully planted bottom or "lawn" of any plant type? I was considering this idea as well, but am uncertain about how to vacuum such a setup.

Thanks everyone. I will try and post a sketch of my idea up perhaps.
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-18-2010, 07:29 AM
Hawkian's Avatar
Do you have any fish in there? My only concern with your plan would be that most fish like to have open areas for swimming and your list of plants will very much limit the size of such an area. My advice to you would be to start small and add as you go. Tall plants for the back and smaller ones for the front, is usually the way to go. Here are some comments on some of the plants in your list:

Limnophila sessiflora: This appears to be one of those needle-leaf plant similar to hornwort. Your water needs to be cristal clear and free of floating debris because those plants will catch such debris and the needles will start looking brownish and ugly.

Cryptocoryne: I have read in a few places that cryptocorynes may actually 'encourage' the growth of cyanobacteria. I will never again buy those plants.

Hygrophilla: I have had many strands of hygrophilla in my tank at one time or another and all are very hardy and beautiful. Hygrophila difformis (water wisteria) is supposedly said to help control algae in an aquarium but I cannot tell you if that is true or not.

Sagitaria: In my experience you need to know your stuff in order to keep this plant. It died very quickly in mine and I believe my tank was lacking in proper nutrients for this plant to survive. Add to that the fact that it is a plant that is low and close to the substrate and the cyanobacteria that lived in my tank attacked this plant first. Planted in a proper rish substrate this plant will grow to create a carpet on your tank floor but I haven't seen that personally.

I do not have experience with a "fully planted bottom" but in my view that's something you would want to work towards rather than instantly implement for various reasons. Not all plants will require the same care and maintenance and if you add them all at once and some start to die, you'll never know why and you will not be able to tackle one problem at a time. As plant matter dies and sinks to the bottom on your carpeted tank floor, debris will accumulate and possibly 'choke' your carpet to death. If I was doing this, I would add one plant type at a time, wait a few weeks to see how the plants adapt, and then add another type of plant and wait... etc. Of course it is easy to give advice... I probably wouldn't be able to wait at all...
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post #3 of 9 Old 04-18-2010, 09:17 AM
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Hawkian has made some good points. I will just add a couple of thoughts.

First consideration is, what fish will be in this 10g? This touches on the issue of swimming space that Hawkian mentioned, and there are other considerations. Anabantids (betta, gourami) love floating plants because they spend a lot of time at the surface browsing leaves and roots, building bubblenests, etc., and the Ceratopteris is ideal for this. When some of your plants take hold and start to grow, you will have a thick mass of plants. Stem plants grow very fast and require regular (probably weekly) pruning and trimming to keep them in check. Vallisneria and Sagitarria send out runners and daughter plants will soon cover the substrate.

As for vacuuming the substrate, once the plants are in there this is usually unnecessary; mulm collects on and in the substrate where bacteria break down the organics into nutrients; it is a valuable source of nourishment for the plants, so why remove it? Just ensure the fish load is balanced for the tank size and plants so this will not be excessive and will naturally handle itself.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #4 of 9 Old 04-18-2010, 11:26 AM
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In another thread Jon talks about wanting to stock w/ shrimps, otos, a betta and another small schooling fish, possibly rasboros. Heavily planted for his stocking plan sounds about right.

Hawkian-it's funny how different our experiences can be. I've got a "hint" of cyano growing in my 6 gl. (You see that stuff and you panic) It's just on the ends of a large mass of java moss. I cut that section out and off and fingers crossed that's the end of it. There are lots of plants in this 6 gl but no crypts. My other three tanks have crypts but no cyano.

If you don't stand up for something you'll fall for anything...
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post #5 of 9 Old 04-18-2010, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
Wow, I am very thankful for these posts! I am amazed at the things that aren't covered in books or articles. True experience is priceless. Thanks Hawkian for the info. In regards to Limnophila - I have an AquaClear Mini for the tank and have heard many reviews that say it lives up to its name. AqAdvisor says that the filtration capacity is between 141% - 176%, depending on the number of rasboras (5-9). Is this sufficient filtration for the needle-leaf plant? I have previously had Cyptocoryne in a the tank and did suffer an unrecoverable algal explosion. There are more factors to that story though. It is a scary thought that a plant could foster the growth of cyanobacteria! It would be interesting to undertake a study of this. I was not aware that Sagitaria is a difficult plant to grow, but I do plan to include a layer of substrate and treat with a comprehensive mineral supplement.

I think I will reconsider the amount of plants. Anything that is not a lone plant I will replant the propagation throughout the tank and allow it to fill itself out naturally. Also I will try to proceed as slowly as my anxious self allows :P
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post #6 of 9 Old 04-18-2010, 04:09 PM
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I got dwarf sag thinking it would be a nice foreground plant-
instead it's almost to the waterline- Perfect beckground plant or a 10G IMO.
Vallisneria, though, gets a bit too big. Maybe leave the vallis out?
For a foreground plant in a small tank, mosses are the only thing that's worked for me.

Originally Posted by Christople View Post
^^ genius

Soil Substrates Guide:
Part 1
--------- Part 2

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post #7 of 9 Old 04-18-2010, 09:54 PM
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I feel that I need to explain myself to you Jon...

What I have given you was MY experience, not necessarily an ultimate truth. Other people may have had a completely different experience with cryptocoryne and may find that sagitaria is in fact an easy plant to grow...

My point was to tell you to take it one plant at a time and observe.

À la Darwin... you know?
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post #8 of 9 Old 04-19-2010, 01:26 AM Thread Starter
Understood :) Tank you
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post #9 of 9 Old 04-19-2010, 05:17 AM
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Aqua Jon, i do have a 10 gallons also as many other. I only started with 4 plants for starter in my aquarium and planned to expand later. I would recommend keep your plan but start with only a few and see how they grow ,then expand later if you want.
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