Hello all, I'm interested in getting some floating plants for my tank because the top half of my tank looks pretty bare!
Two questions, firstly, I'm worried for my plants on the bottom surface. Surely placing a plant on the surface of the water will block off any light for the plants at the bottom?
Secondly, how will it work in terms of changing the water? If it's at the surface of the water when I put the gravel vacuum I'm concerned the plant could get mixed up and end up being sucked up the pipe.
Actually one more question, my filter drops water from the top of the tank but it's like a waterfall and whenever bits of plants from the bottom surface fall off, when they float up this current immediately throws them back down again. I find that larger pieces stay up longer so this might not be a problem. What's your opinion?
Floating plants are probably not for everyone, but you'll find many of the experienced guys on this site promoting them. I for one love them, there are many benefits to having floating plants.
They take up the harmful ammonia, nitrites and nitrates right out of the water as food, so in that respect they are great for the quality of your tank water.
They provide shade and cover for your fish, can't be very fun for them being in the glare of the tank lights all day. this subdued lighting allows the fish's colours to really come out.
They also look super cool too, once the root systems get going, they grow down into the tank and fish like to swim around in them etc.
The down sides... they can be pain at feeding times, I have to turn my filter off and scoop the plants aside while I feed. During water changes its not so bad, the filter is off anyway so I just scoop a gap and put the gravel vacuum in, but I end up with them all attached to my arms etc when I pull my hand out of the tank. This is a pain, but I get over it really quickly.
In my opinion and many others, the benefit outweighs the negatives...
In the tabs at the top of the page under tropical fish profiles you will find a few floating plants profiles, but to name a few you could look into would be Salvinia, Water lettuce, amazon frogbit, duckweed (although i hear that is a pest rather than a plant) these are true floating plants in their own right. it is possible to float other plants too though, like water sprite (this might be a true floater) wisteria, Green Cabomba, Anacharis etc. there may even be some others too. I prefer the true floating plants though although these can get swirled around the surface, trapped at the intake to the filter, and stick to everything!
If you get total coverage on the surface it may affect the growth of fast growing stem plants, but if you opt for slower growing plants like Anubias, or Java Fern etc etc. you'll be fine, in fact these plants prefer shade, other wise Black beard algae with form on the leaves.
Ill attach some pics of my floating plants to give you an idea of what they look like.
I have a combination of Salvinia and dwarf water lettuce.
hope this helps.
well first we would have to know what kind of water parameters we are dealing with so we can suggest plants that will do well in YOUR tank. Depending on the plants you get a floating plant like duckweed with small leaves would minimize the amount of light blocked. also you could trim them to avoid certain areas (near the filter output, above high light plants, etc.) so they don't interfere with your current setup. If you started the syphon in the tank below the water surface and stop the syphon by putting your thumb over the tube end and holding it vertically over the gravel cleaner you shouldn't have any trouble sucking up the floating plants.
This might sound bad but I'm not sure about what my water parameters are. I'll call in at the pet shop tomorrow with some water from the tank to see if they can test it for me. I'll collect some floating plant names too to see if any match, I suppose that's the best thing I can do for now...
There are some british sellers on Ebay, I brought some dwarf water lettuce of off ebay but only a few plants came and they looked a bit sorry for themselves. I put them in my tank, and all is well. But its a risk not knowing where they come from. could be all sorts of parasites etc being carried on them from the the sellers tank. worth a look though if you get desperate.
Good luck, and let us know how you get on at the fish shop.
Oh and I wouldn't worry too much about water parameters. I never do, and my plants all grow fine. I have hard alkaline water, ph of 8.2 and hardness of 16. you can get the hardness levels off of your local water boards website. might take some looking for it, but should be there. I would invest in a water testing kit if you don't have one, to check ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. this is a must. the API master test kit is a good one, about 30 quid, but it'll last you ages. no need to take the water into the shop then.:-D they won't be able to tell you the hardness etc anyway. Well they might, but I doubt they would test for that.
If you decide to not go with floating plants, you could always go with fast growing, wide leafed plants to fill that void. That's what I did. Amazon Swords, Java Fern and a large Ruffled Sword later and everyone seems to be enjoying hanging out in there. Especially my frogs and Otos.
Storm fish - I would be interested in attaching something like Java Fern to this plastic rock I have , as at least this would make the top half of my tank look better. It's just a matter of how I would get it attached?
Rhymon78 - thanks for that info, to be honest I'm glad you suggested not bothering with the water test in the pet shop, would've been a right pain haha! I'll let you know how I get on in terms of finding floating plants, if I don't find any, I think I'll get java fern like storm fish suggested as I like the look of it and if attached to this plastic rock I have would take up some of the top of my tank which is all I really want!
Yeah I'm sure the LFS will be able to show me how to attach java fern if they don't have any floating plants.
Out of interest, what's the difference between java fern and java moss? I think I've heard of java moss anyway...!
but, seeing as its you.... Java moss is just that, moss. It grows over stuff, like driftwood or rocks or whatever you attach it to. you just spread it out and tie it on, similar to the way you attach java fern. it then attaches itself after a while.
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