Live plants - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-22-2011, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Live plants

I had some live plants in my last aquarium. Unfortunately when I bought the live plants, I didn't realize I was also buying 40 tiny snails that crawled all over my aquarium. I'm still picking them out once in a while, and I got rid of the plants and rinsed off all the ornaments in the tank months ago!

I have a new tank, and I'd like to add some plants (I heard good things about adding plants to new aquariums) but I'm wary. Is there some special way to buy plants that don't come with snail eggs? Also, what are some hardy plants that will be tough to kill?

And finally, my new marineland eclipse tank has fluorescent lighting and is positioned away from a window. Can I even put plants in this tank without sunlight?
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-22-2011, 05:27 PM
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You bet you can. The ideal is to have a bulb that is 6500K on the tank. Byron will explain it better but if you have that, you can have quite a few different plants. For hardy, I love sword plants. They are pretty easy to deal with. The other ones that come to mind are Java Moss, Java Fern and even some of the grasses. Fish seem to LOVE swimming in and around the plants. It is also advised by many to have some floating plants. I have Pennywort and Hornwort floating in the tank. I KNOW the fish like that. They seem to find security in being able to hide under it. They are still visible to anyone looking at the tank but I guess it makes them feel safe so it is all good.

As far as care goes, a little Seachems Comprehensive Supplement 2 times a week and the plants grow like crazy.

Edit to add: I had a huge snail problem for awhile. I wouldn't have minded so much but the numbers just kept increasing and they started eating my plants. I picked some of them out but there were always more. Finally I got a hand full of Assassin Snails and they solved the problem of the pest snails. They also breed quite slowly so you don't have to worry about them over taking your tank.
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-23-2011, 12:06 PM
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I second Inga.

On the snails, consider them your greatest friend in keeping the aquarium healthy. The best are the Malaysian Livebearing snails; usually you will have to buy these, as they seldom "hitch a ride" on plants. But they are invaluable, as they burrow throughout the substrate and assist the bacteria by breaking down large bits of organic matter into much smaller bits that the bacteria can more easily and readily handle, and this provides nutrients for the plants. The pond or bladder snails are also helpful. None of these will eat plants, only dead plant matter and of course all sorts of other organic matter. Inga had ramshorn snails, I would avoid those, some say they will and some say they won't eat plants.

We have plant profiles, same place as the fish profiles, second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top. The plants Inga mentioned are all in the profiles.

You might also like to read the 4-part sticky "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" at the head of the Aquarium Plant section of the forum. A basic background to natural planted tanks.


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 7 Old 06-23-2011, 02:47 PM
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Yes, my PEST snails were the ramshorn and they got very very out of hand because I was purposely over feeding the tanks because I had Fry that I wanted to live. I didn't want the adults too hungry so they would eat the fry. Unfortunately, the ramshorns populate like it is going out of style and I literally had thousands of them. In a matter of minutes this many crawled onto a piece of melon that I dropped in the tank to catch them. It gives you an idea of how bad the problem was. I would take that out get rid of the snails on it and put it in again. In another 3-5 minutes it was loaded again. They did effectively eat a whole bunch of my plants. I think in smaller numbers it wouldn't have been an issue. There are still a few in my tank but the Assassins keep the numbers way way down. I maybe see 2-4 of them if I really look for them. When I had the problem, I would flick the lights on in the morning and have dozens of them on the glass and another hundred on the plants the gravel was covered with them.

Getting the snails Byron mentioned is totally different then the pest ramshorns that hitchhike into a tank.
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post #5 of 7 Old 06-23-2011, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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EEEEK that sounds like a NIGHTMARE! I think I only found 20-30 snails, but this was in my tiny 5 gallon tank that I started out with.

I did have some mystery snails in that tank a while back. They ended up dying off. Not sure if it was due to my beginner blundering of overcrowding and not doing enough water changes or something else.
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-23-2011, 04:31 PM
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I still have one giant Mystery snail in each tank. They are really quite fascinating to watch. The Assassins are kind of cute too but I insist on keeping the ramshorn population way way down. It was amazing how fast that happened. Turns out they breed like crazy and you wouldn't believe how fast they grow. In days I think they go from the size of a pin head to what you see in the picture. Amazing and gross.

I know people think I am nuts for doing such huge and frequent water changes but I think I am paranoid of having too much left over food sitting on the bottom and the opportunist snails making another attack. ha ha I have to feed heavily enough to make certain that my Cories and my Ghost shrimp get plenty to eat. I can't stand the thought of my fish going hungry. Yes, I still over feed but I over clean too so it balances out. ha ha
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-23-2011, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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I'm still scared of the snails, but I've decided to give it a try along with the plants! Unfortunately I can't find either the Malaysian Livebearing snails or the Pennywort at my LFS.

I read that some other fish stores might have the snails to give away for free. Hopefully I can find someplace like that :) So far the fish stores I have encountered have either been 1. Petsmart, where the employees give me terrible advice, or 2. local store with employees that were rude to me when I approached them with questions about cycling my tank. I guess the search continues for a good store!
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