Plants for 55 Gallon
How do you determine how many plants are needed when you set up a new aquarium? I want to end up with a heavily planted tank, but I know that I need to leave some space for the plants to grow. Is there any sort of rule of thumb for planting? Or do you just keep sticking plants in there until you are happy with how it looks?
Initially, a planted tank--especially if using newly purchased plants which will be smaller--can look very sparse, but we know most plants do grow. Of course, one can always remove excess plants, but that only works if the initial cost is not significant and you have somewhere to put them. Plants are not inexpensive.
I solve the need for lots of plants initially mainly with floating ploants, as they use more nutrients including ammonia to get the biology established. These can be thinned regularly.
As an example, below is a photo of my 115g tank when i reset it in July 2011, and the second photo is what it looks like a year later.
Both of those tanks look fabulous Byron. And you are absolutely correct in that plants are not inexpensive. I have been trying to find plants and driftwood for a reasonable price and I have been quite shocked at how much these items cost. I like the idea of starting with a good amount of floating plants; I think it will solve the problem of having enough plants to utilize the oxygen while waiting for the plants to establish themselves.
If you don't mind me asking, what are the grassy looking plants in the front and what floating plants are in there?
On a side note, I have been very wishy/washy about what fish I am going to put in the tank; first I was thinking Tiger Barbs, then I thought Tetras but now I am back to Tiger Barbs as I saw them schooling at my LFS. They were beautiful! At least one of my many tank dilemmas has been solved!
You have several choices for floating plants. Brazilian Pennywort, Duckweed, Dwarf water lettuce, and Water sprite just to name a few. I believe Byron has both Pennywort and Water sprite for floating plants. Water sprite when established puts out long roots into the tank that look awesome btw! As for grassy type plants easiest of them are Pygmy Chain sword and Dwarf Sagittaria. I have no luck with the latter plant mentioned but both are easy plants to grow and will look like the plants in Byrons tank. If I am not mistaken he has the Pygmy Chain sword. I love the look of heavily planted tanks but it takes time to get them to that point unless money isn't an issue. LoL None of my LFS have plants with the exception of one and believe it or not it is cheaper for me to order plants even with shipping then to buy them for that store.
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I noticed that you live in the Middle of Nowhere which is the same place I live! Our LFS has a few plants but I think their prices are outrageous so I am looking online for some reasonably priced plants.
I really am shocked at how much the plants cost for what you get and then shipping is very high also. For the sizes of the plants I have seen being advertised it seems like it wouldn't cost more than a couple of dollars to ship them. But what do I know :-)
A lot if places will ship them to you in 2 or 3 days some next day. Which is the reason for the prices. Another good places for plants is in classifieds. I have bought quite a few plants on the classified section here and had good results and great prices for them. That's another option too. I have also bought plants off another forums classifieds with good results. If you look around you can find good deals and pricing.
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Boredomb has basically answered for me:lol: but yes, the floating plants in the first photo is primarily Brazilian Pennywort, and in the second Water Sprite which i prefer long-term. I use this in all my tanks.
The mini swords are in this tank the chain sword, the larger of the two "chain" species, it is in our profiles. The smaller pygmy chain sword, which I have in three or four other tanks, is very similar, and i believe there is one plant of this species in the second photo, if you can see it [a test for you:-)], it is along the front on the right of centre side.
If you are going with Tiger Barb, just remember that a 55g is a fairly good sized tank, 4 feet in length, and having TB will restrict tankmates. I personally would have fish like TB in their own tank. Which is not to say they can't be combined, they can, but again not with everything. Slow and sedate fish are out for example. Plan out what you'd like this tank to look like first, thinking of various fish you might want, before buying something like TB.
As for the Tiger Barb, I am going to do a single species tank with the exception of the clown loaches that I have that will eventually outgrow the tank. I have seen a few tanks with the Tiger Barbs and I really, really like how they look. I had no idea the Tiger Barbs could get so big.
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