Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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DanMarion 04-16-2010 12:08 PM

Wanting to start a planted aquarium
I have a 29 gallon aquarium that I would like to start putting some real plants into, but to be honest, I know nothing about aquatic plants. What kind of plants should I get, and how many? Also, what kind of lighting do I need?

My aquarium:

29 gallon:

7 Neon Tetras
2 Fancy Guppies
1 Pineapple Swordtail
2 African Dwarf Frogs
2 Ghost Shrimp
1 Albino Bristlenose Pleco

As for lighting, I have the single fluorescent tube that came with the 29 gallon aquarium kit.
And I have the mechanical hob filter that came with the kit.

Any thoughts about planting? :-D

Byron 04-16-2010 01:23 PM

Hi Dan, and welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping.

I prefer the low-tech approach as it is less costly and less involved since it makes use of nature more than intervention by the aquarist. If this interests you, there is a 4-part series at the head of this section, what we call stickies, outlining a basic approach to a natural planted aquarium. Lighting is covered in Part 4, but you may find useful background info in the rest of the series.

I'd be happy to answer any questions that may arise from that. I have used the approach outlined in those articles for over 15 years, with the results shown in the photos under my aquariums.


redchigh 04-16-2010 02:54 PM

Decide whether you want fast growing or slow growing...
Fast growing are fun, and will "spread" but after a while you'll have to cut them back.
Some fast growing species are:
Hygrophila difformis
Java Moss (many people say it is... Doesn't grow fast for me.)
Corkscrew Vallisneria
and most other stem/bunch plants care considered fast growers, but these are the fastest for me.

Some slower plants include Anubias and Java Fern.

Aponogetons (in my experiance) grow in spurts... They might grow like crazy (at one point I measured 4 inches in one night for a floating leaf shooting to the surface) but after a month or so they slow a lot... They also flower in the aquarium.

DanMarion 04-16-2010 04:35 PM

Thanks for the input :)

I'm going to go down to the LFS and see what kind of selection they have after I get off of work today.

JohnnyD44 04-16-2010 05:14 PM

Just wanted to say hello and welcome!!!!

Great advice from Byron and red!

DanMarion 04-16-2010 10:38 PM

Well, I went to Petco and got a few plants. Anubias, Mondo Grass, and something else... not sure what it is, the label says:

Aquatic Combo -

But there are only two plants. Both of them are tallish with long leafs, one is solid dark green and the other is green with like whitish edges around the leaves.

Once I see how well these work out in the tank, I'll get more plants. I have seen the pictures of some of the heavily planted tanks on here, and I;m absolutely in love!!!

Any suggestions for other plants?

Byron 04-17-2010 10:07 AM

I'm not sure what Trichomanes is, but the others are not true aquatic plants. They will last a while under water, but not long (sometimes a couple months), and will slowly (or more quickly) rot. They will do better in a vivarium setup, with the roots in water and the leaves in air.

It is unfortunate that stores like Petco, Petsmart, Walmart will sell basically terrestrial plants as aquatics and not tell customers. There are regularly threads on this forum from aquarists who have been misled. If you have a good fish-only store it is safer to buy plants (and fish) from them.


DanMarion 04-17-2010 10:43 AM

Bummer. There are two fish-only stores in the city, one of them is freshwater only. They are a bit out of the way, but I guess its worth the gas to actually get what I need, right? :P

Thanks for the input :)

Byron 04-17-2010 10:58 AM


Originally Posted by DanMarion (Post 364313)
Bummer. There are two fish-only stores in the city, one of them is freshwater only. They are a bit out of the way, but I guess its worth the gas to actually get what I need, right? :P

Thanks for the input :)

In my view, dealing with a reputable fish-oriented store is well worth it. They are normally more reliable, and provide benefits. It is worth it to establish a good relationship. One still has to be cautious with advice (not everyone thinks the same:-)) as other threads on this forum can attest. But the advantages are there.

DanMarion 04-17-2010 11:05 AM

So here are pics of the plants I get yesterday. Which ones should I yank back out and replace? I plan on slowly replacing all of my plastic ones with live plants. :-P

The two plants in the foreground (grassy one and short leafy guy) The stuff in the back is obviously fake lol


The two tallish ones on the right, the ones on the left are plastic, obviously. :lol:

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