Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   So I just got some wisteria.... (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/beginner-planted-aquarium/so-i-just-got-some-wisteria-27204/)

Herky 08-12-2009 10:12 PM

So I just got some wisteria....
 
I just picked up some new plants to try out and see how my fish respond to them before I take the plunge and buy an amazon plant package when I get my new big tank. I purchased a container with four small Wisteria, which after some research are actually called hygrophila difformis, and are supposedly easy to care for. I have them in a 29 gallon, and I have no idea what the wattage is on the bulb (standard fluorescent fixture) but I know it is a full spectrum bulb, or at least it claimed to be when I bought it. Can I expect these to live at all? I have them planted in regular aquarium gravel, no fertilizer as of yet, but will be picking up some flourish. My fish so far have seemed to ignore them for the most part, they sniffed around them a little bit at first but went right back to doing whatever it is they normally do, so that answers my fears that they would just eat up any live plants I put in with them (at least so far).

Byron 08-13-2009 12:10 PM

What kind of fish, that you thought they would eat plants? Just curious.

As for Hygrophila difformis, if you have 1-2 watts per gallon of full spectrum it should manage. It is, like all stem plants, a fast grower [more on this below] and thus requires good light and nutrients. While it will obviously grow well in a tank with CO2 and corresponding mega light, I have grown it successfully in tanks with no added CO2 and minimum light of 1 watt per gallon. The tank depth does play a part in this, as the deeper the tank the harder for light to penetrate. I currently have mine in a 70g with two 40w full spectrum tubes and it is thriving. Many years ago I grew it fine in a 23g with one 20w tube and it filled the tank. The light level indicates the leaf shape; low light results in wider leaves, while higher light levels result in leaves that are finer textured and more lacy in appearance. In my present setup it is producing the lacy leaves.

Like most stem plants, the growth rate is rapid by comparison to rooted plants. The stems will grow towards the surface (the light source) and once they reach it, continue to grow along the surface, curtting out light to the plants below including the base of the wisteria. The leaves at the base will usually drop off readily. It is therefore best to regularly prune this plant, as with most stem plants, to keep it slightly below the surface at all times. Stimply pull the stems out, cut off the bottom portion (as much as necessary to shorten the stems to what you want), and stick them back in the gravel. Regular pruning like this (probably weekly once it gets established) will keep the plant looking healthy. Stem plants produce roots all along the stem, but wisteria (unlike some) produces significant roots from the portion buried in the substrate, which helps to anchor the plant better than some stem plants.

Fast growing plants consume more nutrients, including nitrates and ammonium produced by the fish and biological processes in the aquarium. They are for this reason good filters. In a SE Asian swamp aquascape for instance, they can be the only filtration for fish like the anabantoids and small rasbora. And, as fast growers, they help to limit algae which cannot compete so well for the light and nutrients.

Pale or yellowing leaves indicate a nutrient deficiency, and this can be rectified by using a liquid fertilizer like Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive once or twice a week, as required by the look of the plant. A comprehensive fertilizer has all the necessary macro and micronutrients in the correct balance for plants. Once a week fertilizing is recommended regardless, but the afore-mentioned signs with once a week fertilizing would indicate twice weekly is needed. Substrate fertilization is less important because this plant absorbs nutrients through the leaves more than plants like swords and crypts that are heavy root feeders.

Your single tube full spectrum over a 29g should work. Make sure you change the tube every 12 months at the least; as they age (burn), tubes significantly weaken in light intensity, and while they still light and may look fine to us, they emit too little light for the plants. A full spectrum tube with a kelvin rating of around 6500K (6700K is common) will be fine, left on for 10-12 hours daily.

Herky 08-13-2009 01:22 PM

As far as the fish eating it, angels, discus and gouramis...they act like they want to eat the fake plants...but so far they seem to have no interest in the new real ones.

Byron 08-13-2009 01:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Herky (Post 226857)
As far as the fish eating it, angels, discus and gouramis...they act like they want to eat the fake plants...but so far they seem to have no interest in the new real ones.

Ah, they're not eating (or trying to eat) the plastic plants, they're feeding off the food particles on the leaves. This is natural behaviour for all three fish, constantly grazing leaves. They're not much on the algae, more the food bits stuck in it. Once some minute algae grows on the leaves, they be browsing them. They won't eat your plants, but they'll love having them. Plastic plants can't filter the water for one thing.

Byron.

Herky 08-13-2009 02:23 PM

Yeah, I'm pretty excited, I always thought having live plants was an extreme endeavor, but after seeing all the information and all the shared stories and knowledge on here, I've been inspired to give it a go. The fact that it is providing the fish with a much more natural environment is just awesome. I'm definitely going to go for the planted tank after seeing these plants, even aesthetics wise...they blow fake plants out of the water...the true green of the plants just absolutely shines. One thing I noticed when I planted them yesterday, when I made the hole to put them in, bubbles started coming up out of my gravel. I'm assuming it may be nitrogen? I have no idea. Never seen it before when siphoning the gravel. Reminded me of seeing nitrogen/methane bubbles coming up from the bottom of local wetlands during my ecology field trips in college.

Byron 08-13-2009 02:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Herky (Post 226907)
Yeah, I'm pretty excited, I always thought having live plants was an extreme endeavor, but after seeing all the information and all the shared stories and knowledge on here, I've been inspired to give it a go. The fact that it is providing the fish with a much more natural environment is just awesome. I'm definitely going to go for the planted tank after seeing these plants, even aesthetics wise...they blow fake plants out of the water...the true green of the plants just absolutely shines. One thing I noticed when I planted them yesterday, when I made the hole to put them in, bubbles started coming up out of my gravel. I'm assuming it may be nitrogen? I have no idea. Never seen it before when siphoning the gravel. Reminded me of seeing nitrogen/methane bubbles coming up from the bottom of local wetlands during my ecology field trips in college.

If this is a relatively new tank (few weeks) it is more likely plain air that was trapped in the gravel when the water was put in. Even after several weeks, if I move an original plant in a tank I sometimes see bubbles of air that were trapped. Usually it gradually makes its way to the surface of the gravel (air rises in water as you know) but it can take some time if there is a deeper substrate or it is finer grain, or under a piece of bogwood or rock.

Years ago when I tore down a tank with an undergravel filter I had nitrogen gas bubbles from some dead spots...you would probably know the difference.:-)

artgalnj 08-13-2009 02:46 PM

I love having a planted tank for so many reasons. I could never go back to what I used to have. I couldn't grow anything in my old 20g. I bought the wrong light for it and because the light was so intense, nothing grew. When I set up my 75g I asked alot of questions and kind people, like byron and others, gave me sage advice. I recently bought some bunched plants and they've been a bit more challening for me as opposed to the swords and crypts, which took off. Half of the bunched plants are growing roots and the other half died. Byron helped me w/ lighting for my new tank (I don't know if he remembers) but I was impressed w/ his aquariums and I wanted something just half as nice. I've been dosing regularly but not overdoing it. I've started adding some flourish excel and other dry ferts. The colors are really starting to show beautifully and it seems as though the fish just love a planted tank too. Give it shot, if you get the right combo of lighting (as recommended above) and everything else, you'll be hooked!

Herky 08-13-2009 02:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 226912)
If this is a relatively new tank (few weeks) it is more likely plain air that was trapped in the gravel when the water was put in. Even after several weeks, if I move an original plant in a tank I sometimes see bubbles of air that were trapped. Usually it gradually makes its way to the surface of the gravel (air rises in water as you know) but it can take some time if there is a deeper substrate or it is finer grain, or under a piece of bogwood or rock.

Years ago when I tore down a tank with an undergravel filter I had nitrogen gas bubbles from some dead spots...you would probably know the difference.:-)


Nah, this tank is going on 8 or 9 months, so it's not really new. I take it the nitrogen bubbles smell a tad bit?

Herky 08-13-2009 03:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by artgalnj (Post 226924)
I love having a planted tank for so many reasons. I could never go back to what I used to have. I couldn't grow anything in my old 20g. I bought the wrong light for it and because the light was so intense, nothing grew. When I set up my 75g I asked alot of questions and kind people, like byron and others, gave me sage advice. I recently bought some bunched plants and they've been a bit more challening for me as opposed to the swords and crypts, which took off. Half of the bunched plants are growing roots and the other half died. Byron helped me w/ lighting for my new tank (I don't know if he remembers) but I was impressed w/ his aquariums and I wanted something just half as nice. I've been dosing regularly but not overdoing it. I've started adding some flourish excel and other dry ferts. The colors are really starting to show beautifully and it seems as though the fish just love a planted tank too. Give it shot, if you get the right combo of lighting (as recommended above) and everything else, you'll be hooked!

The color that the plants put off is just amazing. Such a rich beautiful green. It really shocked me after I got them in and took a step back to check them out. It really makes me want to take the fake plants out..they look so drab and ugly compared to the real deal.

artgalnj 08-13-2009 05:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Herky (Post 226939)
It really makes me want to take the fake plants out..they look so drab and ugly compared to the real deal.

LOL, pretty soon you'll be considering CO2.

BTW, I'm purchasing some angelfish tomorrow from a fellow that breeds them (he's only 15 minutes away from me). I don't know what type I'm getting yet, I need to see what he has available.


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