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iamntbatman 06-11-2008 02:49 AM

Plants for my sandy, low-light 29g
I realize that I've already got several strikes against me. I've got a nice glob of floating hornwort in the tank that's doing well, as well as some nicely-growing java fern that's working on attaching to my driftwood. I've also got some java moss on the rocks/wood that has kept its deep green color, so I assume it's doing good as well. I tried a bunch of anacharis, but it was starting to lose some color and was completely done in during about 24 hours of total dark during a storm-caused power outage.

My question is, do I have any hopes of growing anything interesting in the tank with these conditions? I was hoping for some taller plants for at least the back corners to frame the rock work and possibly some sort of grassy plant for out front in front of the rocks. I can upgrade the lighting if that's the only way to more planty success, but I'm not willing to do that unless I can be sure that it's worth it with the sand substrate.

Any ideas? I really like the look of some kind of hygro or taller vals for the back with dwarf sags or micro swords out front. Are plants like those a possibility?

1077 06-11-2008 06:04 AM

Have you considered potted plants? Lighting upgrade would allow more choice with potted plants. Not sure about sand substrate which is what I chose for new 29 gal. I have had good results with potted plants in the past and it is what I'll probably do in 29 gal. Makes easy to clean the bottom .You just move the plants to one side. :)

iamntbatman 06-11-2008 02:12 PM

You mean just leave them in the pots? That's a good idea...

I'll have to see what sorts of plants usually come in pots at the LFS.

okiemavis 06-11-2008 06:05 PM

I have a sand substrate, but I don't leave the plants in their pots. I prefer the roots to be able to spread out properly.

If you want tall plants, go for anubias. There are a lot of different kinds, but they'll do well in low-nutrient, low-light environments. They may grow slowly, but hey, they grow slowly in optimum environments as well.

There are also some awesome low-light crypts you should have some success with.

On the other hand, upgrading the lighting would be my top choice, but mostly cuz I LOVE planted tanks, and higher light would provide way more opportunity to play. :D. The sand shouldn't pose any problems. I'll attach a recent pic of my heavily planted play sand tank for proof, not a single fake plant in there. It's 86 gallons with 3x 24" Coralife compact fluorescent 65 watt.

iamntbatman 06-11-2008 09:16 PM

Thanks for the tips! Your planted tanks always look a heck of a lot better than mine. I like the aquascaping in my tank so far, but more live plants would be a great addition.

In general, is crypt wendtii a taller plant than anubias? I think I'll plant the crypts in the back corners to frame the rockwork and will put the anubias out front and center to replace the fake amazon sword.

I only have a single tube of T8 lighting (6700K) at the moment. I'm not asking that these plants grow like crazy, but will this be enough?

okiemavis 06-12-2008 04:45 PM

How many watts is the t8?

Anubias will grow taller generally, although it depends on the species. My crypt wendtii maxed out around 8-9 inches.

1077 06-13-2008 04:50 AM

Potted plant Idea came from cichlids always tearing up rooted plants. You can grow just about any thing that your lighting will allow . I took Four inch pots at first ,filled them two thirds full with mixture of pure potting soil (no additives) and flourite. Soil should be mixed in pail with water until it has the consistency of bread dough.Then put it in the pot two thirds full, try to use pots with no hole in the bottom. Then put the plant in the pot and fill the rest of the way with aquarium gravel. The next step is IMPERATIVE. Place the potted plant in five gallon bucket of aquarium water for at least 45 minutes. This will allow gas or air to escape into bucket rather than your aquarium. Then you just put the plant where you want it in the aquarium. Soil and flourite mixture will keep plant fertilized and as I said makes cleaningthe bottom much easier. Got this from a website almost one year ago and found it to work well in preventing cichlids from uprooting plants. :)

okiemavis 06-13-2008 06:45 AM

I meant to add before, aquascaping? hehehe! It's more like: find open space, jam plant in. Bascially every plant in the tank was purchased cuz I went into the fish store and went "ooh pretty". But thanks for the compliment!

iamntbatman 06-13-2008 02:24 PM

It's only a 20 watt bulb. :oops:

Terrible, I know! But, I figured if my java fern is thriving (and it's all the way at the bottom of the tank and is sometimes/partially shaded by my floating hornwort) then I can't be too doing too terribly.

I think I'm going to give the anubias and crypt wendtii a shot and see what happens. Everything I read about them says they're the easiest, lowest-maintenance plants possible and do well in very low-light conditions. I'll be quite happy if they manage to stay alive.

The reason I'm reluctant to spend the extra dough to upgrade the lighting is because eventually, I plan on moving everything from this tank to a larger one (with better lighting and more plants!) and using this one as my intro reef tank. When the time comes, I'd have to upgrade to suitable reef lighting anyway.

okiemavis 06-13-2008 03:26 PM

True, but suitable reef lighting can also be suitable planted tank lighting. You'll just switch out the 6700k bulb for one that is 50/50 actinic.

Sounds like it's worth a try tho.

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