Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   What aquarium plants can survive best without much light? (

Welsh 05-03-2010 06:53 AM

What aquarium plants can survive best without much light?
I have a 2.4 gall tank with a male betta and I was wondering what plants would survive best in a tank this small without a filter and a constant light? the tank does have a heater if this makes a difference.

I have other plants in my 12 gallon but i''m not sure what plants I have, I've done some research using google and think I may have.

1 fountain plant
1 Water Hyssop
1 Asian Ambulia
2 Elodea Densa

Also would these plants grow in my tank? I have gravel, its pretty big and the plants are very diffucult to plant so I've left the sponge and clip on them.

Aqua Jon 05-03-2010 12:13 PM

I have had elodea densa run rampant in a normal tank. Also, I recall having it in a goldfish bowl. I don't think it grows great, but it is simple to cut off a strand or divide a single long strand to float or anchor.

Byron 05-03-2010 01:33 PM

Small tanks that can be close to a window often do very well without artificial light. You want to avoid direct sun (algae will frequently take over) but a window facing east, west or south with blinds to control the brightness can work very well.

Some good plants would be any of the Cryptocoryne species. Floating plants are somewhat essential for bettas that spend a lot of time near the surface and appreciate floating plants; not only as security, but they can browse the dangling roots for food, and of course use them for bubblenests if spawning. Many of the stem plants will grow as floating, or they can be planted in the substrate and allowed to grow long enough to trail across the surface. Ceratopteris (Water Sprite) is an excellent floating plant for these fish.

Your substrate gravel could be changed to provide better plant rooting medium, and better bacteria colonization which is essential for plants. When planting, the sponge and clip should be removed; the clip is probably metal of some form (often lead) which is toxic. A small grain gravel or sand would work in your setup.


Welsh 05-04-2010 03:58 AM

I read that sand isn't good for a fish tank, I can't remember exactly why I think it was because bettas eat it. Do I need to feed the plants anything? Stupidly, I thought that the plants if separated would grow more leaves,etc not just grow taller lol

Thanks for your help =)

Byron 05-04-2010 10:07 AM

The issue with sand is compaction. I've not heard of fish actually eating it; some bottom fish sift through it for food, but the sand comes out through the gills or is spit out.

Water must be able to flow through the substrate; bacteria live in the substrate and they need oxygen plus the water transports nutrients to the plant roots. When the substrate compacts water is impeded and sometimes stops flowing through. This kills the aerobic bacteria (and stops the transport of nutrients) which causes anaerobic bacteria to increase creating other issues with nitrogen gas, and the plant roots rot, further adding to the problems. Any substrate can compact if not properly cared for, but as sand is so fine a grain it is much easier for this to occur than with regular gravel. The deeper the substrate the more likely it is to compact. In a small tank as you mention, having a thin (relatively) layer of sand, say 1.5 inches, and raking or poking it regularly, would work. Gravel is frankly easier to handle. But that is up to you.

Plants need food, which are nutrients, plus light ibn order to grow. It is possible to have a balanced system where the fish, fish food, and minerals in the water (replaced via water changes) provide what the plants require in balance with the light. But most of us find that this is insufficient, so we use a liquid fertilizer once or sometimes twice a week. I recommend Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium. It contains most all of the nutrients required (the others come from the fish and biological processes) and in the relative proportions. In a 2.4g tank it would only take a drop or two per week.

Welsh 05-04-2010 10:52 AM

Do I just add the liquid straight to the tank water, or there is a complicated method? I like the idea of sand but I just want something simple to maintain, especially as theres always dead leaves through and on the gravel I already have. I suppose I could have it in the small tank and gravel in the 12 gall since there are more plants in that tank. =)

Thanks again for your help =)

Byron 05-04-2010 10:56 AM

I just add the Flourish (measured with a teaspoon in my larger tanks) to the end of the tank where the filter return spray bar is, so the filter current moves the fertilizer into the water column.

Welsh 05-04-2010 03:09 PM

That sounds simple enough, lol. Just one more question. I have read a lot on the betta forum that people use play sand in their aquarium, is this safe for my fish and will my plants still grow?

Byron 05-05-2010 11:43 AM

Play sand is fine if it is just inert play sand. Inert means it is plain sand with no minerals or other substances added that could affect the water chemistry. For instance, some sand sold for marine tanks or rift lake cichlid tanks contain calcareous minerals that will raise the hardness and pH; you don't want that in a freshwater planted tank. So provided the play sand is just that, yes, it works; it has all the issues of any sand--sand is sand in that respect.

And I would get the darker colour though; I have some dark grey which looks nice, I intend to use it in a 10g as an experiment. It takes a lot of washing/rinsing though, and I mean a lot, to get it reasonably clean. The whiter sand is not so good as it means the substrate is light and will reflect light and the fish do not find this "natural". Few of them occur in water with a light substrate so it makes them feel "uncomfortable" if you follow.

Welsh 05-05-2010 12:46 PM

I have been looking for black or grey sand, I have a school of tetras with my female bettas and think their colours will stand out more against this but the only colour we seem to have over here is tan or white.

I was wondering, that if I go ahead with the sand substrate does it matter how much I put in? I would prefer it to be fairly deep but when I look at other aquariums I see their tanks have little sand.

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