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First Time Live Plant User - Suggestions?
Hey. I'm planning out my 10G African Dwarf Frog tank, and I'd like some pointers on what kinds of live plants I should include. I'd like something that's easy to take care of and will provide proper cover for my froggies. I'd also like plants that I don't need especially expensive bulbs for, or that I don't need to provide amounts of light that would burn my frogs. I've also seen aquatic plant fertilizer tablets in stores that supposedly make water safe for fish - how useful are these? In all, how should I go about setting up my tank to be good for the plants, as well as the frogs?
I also wouldn't mind flowering plants, if there are any that would suit such a setup.
In my amphibian tanks (I had frogs and newts in the vivarium, salamanders in a terrarium) I used Java Fern in the water portion of the vivarium; it does not root in the substrate (gravel or sand) but attaches itself to rocks and wood. Anubias is another suitable plant, tough leaves like the JF, also attaches by its roots to wood and rocks. Both are low-light plants, so a single fluorescent tube would be adequate and create very little heat. I also had Java Moss on the wood, appeared on its own but very natural and again low light.
I realize your Africans are aquatic so this would be an aquarium; all the above plants grow well in water. In addition, some of the swords (Echinodorus species) would provide a lighter green to contrast; sturdy ones like E. bleheri and E. amazonicus will usually stay smaller in porportion to the aquarium. These would need a good substrate, enough depth to root (they have extensive root systems) and they are heavy feeders so a root fertilizer like Flourish tabs or Nutrafin Plant-Gro stick buried next to the sword roots would be fine.
Flowering plants that are fully aquatic are rare, and usually delicate in their structure. I've had aponogeton and anubias flower in my aquaria, but the flowers of both were not exactly "exciting." I suspect you're probably imagining something like lilies or water hyacinth. Someone with experience in these may have suggestions. Flowering plants will require more light.
The water safe stuff is probably water conditioner to remove chlorine, chloramines and detoxify ammonia and heavy metals. I used this in my amphibian water tanks; chlorine burns and my tap water is quite heavily chlorinated. While the frogs and newts didn't have gills to worry about, I didn't want their eyes and skin being affected.
Thanks for the advice, Byron! I don't particularly need huge flowers, so I'll definitely pick up some anubias. What would you suggest I do as far as driftwood goes? Is it expensive? Do I need to do anything special to it once I get some?
I prefer the dark brown/black bogwood, I believe it may be called ironwood, or mangrove root? If you check the photos of my aquaria you'll see what it looks like. It will leech tannins for a few weeks, unless you boil it, but they are harmless and will disappear with weekly partial water changes.
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