Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Canadian Fish 09-23-2012 04:37 PM

Trying Plants for First Time - Total Newbie
 
Looking to try Anubias, Java Fern, Java Moss.

Can these all live with normal aquarium gravel? Will I need to add fertilizer to the water?

Will the fertilizer hurt any types of fish?

The tank just comes with standard lights. Double strip, 72" (2 x 2 36" I believe). Do either of these plants need special lights?

Can I add the plants while the tank is still cycling, or should I wait until it is cycled? Does ammonia hurt the plants?

Is there a way to get the java moss to grow on ornaments? My wife wants a sunken plane and I want to get moss to grow on the wings so it still fits in with a mostly natural looking aquarium.

Thanks!

fishkid 09-23-2012 04:40 PM

All of those plants are easy to grow and are grown attached to decor such as rocks and wood (you can attach them with cotton thread). Fertilizers would not be necessary, as they are slow growers.

Byron 09-23-2012 06:48 PM

Plant nutrients occur naturally from the tap water (the "hard" minerals, obviously depending on the GH of the water) and fish food which gets digested and settles as organic waste where bacteria break it down. Depending upon the GH and the fish load, this can provide all the nutrients for some plants, if the light is in balance. And the plants mentioned are slow-growers so this means lower nutrient requirement.

No mention is made of fish, but all forest fish will be better for having floating plants. These are also easy, but will probably require some liquid fertilization as they are very fast growers--and thus good for water quality, producing oxygen via the roots, etc. Flourish Comprehensive Supplement and Brightwell Aquatics' FlorinMulti are good complete fertilizers, and they will not harm any fish or invertebrates unless way over-dosed. We mentioned Pets&Ponds in another thread, you can get the 2 litre jug of Flourish Comprehensive from them at $20-30 less than any store.

Plants should go in at the start, as soon as the hardscape is done and the water in about 2/3. Slow-growing plants will have minimal benefit but the faster floating plants will aid in cycling as they use a lot of ammonia. With sufficient plants, you can put in some fish and slowly build the fish level.

Java Moss will grow on surfaces but it needs something to hold on to, like rock or wood for example; a shiny or slippery surface might not provide this.

Regular gravel is fine, provided it is not too large; this not only can inhibit plant roots but causes problems with food bits and bacteria.

Byron.

Canadian Fish 09-23-2012 06:58 PM

Thanks! I want plant eaters, barbs and balas. Maybe some yoyo loaches. It's a 220 gallon tank. That's why I went with those plants, I heard they won't get eaten. Petsmart has something called marimo moss balls. Are you familiar with this at all?

cwmorrow 09-24-2012 08:58 AM

You want plant eaters in a planted tank? I don't believe the two will go well together, especially slow growing plants.

Canadian Fish 09-24-2012 09:15 AM

I don't know anything about plants, so I could be 100% wrong about these, but I was told to use these specifically because fish won't eat them.

Byron 09-24-2012 10:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Canadian Fish (Post 1255079)
I don't know anything about plants, so I could be 100% wrong about these, but I was told to use these specifically because fish won't eat them.

Some plants such as Java Fern will not be eaten, as far as I know; some sources suggest they may be bitter, or tough, or it may be both. Anubias tends to stand up better too, due to its sturdiness.

Floating plants are still recommended regardless; these are very fast growing, and thus even if they are being eaten, they can usually reproduce fast enough to remain. And you gain not only the benefits of the water stability with floaters, but the shade which almost all forest fish appreciate. Fish will be more colourful, and usually healthier, with a "roof" above them.

If there are specific vegetarians in the tank, it is good to provide some live plants specifically for them. Duckweed is a good choice, as it reproduces very fast and is highly nutritious [the common name comes from the fact that wild ducks love this tasty plant].

In tanks where lower plants are risky, whether due to being eaten or low light, a more natural biotope aquascape is the best solution. Providing the hard aquascaping that the specific fish species appreciate, then adding the cover of floating plants to replicate overhanging vegetation. The floating plants shade the light which will be sufficient for them, remove ammonia and other pollutants, and increase the oxygen via their dangling roots.

Byron.

Canadian Fish 09-24-2012 10:20 AM

I had duckweed with my silver dollars and they ate it all before it reproduced. I had it with my goldfish and it kept blocking the filter so I removed it.The problem was I have two HOB filters on the goldfish tank and the water forced the duckweed down into the tank, where it stuck to the filter. I did not have that problem in the silver dollar tank. I only have a filter on one side of that tank, and I set up an air pump to create large bubbles in the centre of the tank, which kept the duckweed to one side, away from the filter. But they ate it all. I can try it again in the 220. Are there any floating plants that herbivores won't eat?

That goldfish tank is empty now, and I am going to remove one of the filters and move it to a 55 gallon as a second filter. It will be housing a solitairy RTS so it probably doesn't need the Tetra Whisper 45 and the Aquaclear 70 on a 35 gallon tank. With one filter, I can probably set it up so duckweed doesn't clog the filter. Maybe I can let the duckweed grow in what will be the RTS tank, and I can keep adding that to the 220, as it gets eaten up in the large tank. That way if they eat it all, I can just keep getting more from the grow tank.

Are you familiar with the marimo moss balls at all? I am wondering if they will get eaten.

Byron 09-24-2012 11:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Canadian Fish (Post 1255120)
I had duckweed with my silver dollars and they ate it all before it reproduced. I had it with my goldfish and it kept blocking the filter so I removed it.The problem was I have two HOB filters on the goldfish tank and the water forced the duckweed down into the tank, where it stuck to the filter. I did not have that problem in the silver dollar tank. I only have a filter on one side of that tank, and I set up an air pump to create large bubbles in the centre of the tank, which kept the duckweed to one side, away from the filter. But they ate it all. I can try it again in the 220. Are there any floating plants that herbivores won't eat?

That goldfish tank is empty now, and I am going to remove one of the filters and move it to a 55 gallon as a second filter. It will be housing a solitairy RTS so it probably doesn't need the Tetra Whisper 45 and the Aquaclear 70 on a 35 gallon tank. With one filter, I can probably set it up so duckweed doesn't clog the filter. Maybe I can let the duckweed grow in what will be the RTS tank, and I can keep adding that to the 220, as it gets eaten up in the large tank. That way if they eat it all, I can just keep getting more from the grow tank.

Are you familiar with the marimo moss balls at all? I am wondering if they will get eaten.

The floating plants I know are all fairly soft textured, and thus likely to be eaten. Outdoor pond floating plants might have a better chance, though they get large (water lettuce, water hyacinth, etc). Some stem plants do well floating, like Brazilian Pennywort. This would likely get eaten, but unless you have real vegetarians, enough should manage to continue.

I've never tried the so-called moss balls; I believe they are actually a type of algae, not a true moss.

Canadian Fish 09-24-2012 12:13 PM

Thanks! Maybe I'll try some pond plants. I'll look into 'em. The tank is 72x48x30 so it might be big enough if they don't get too large.


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