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redchigh 05-15-2010 03:02 PM

Help choosing plants for South American Biotope
Alrighty I posted on the DIY that I'm building a 35 gallon or so tank...

It will be (most likely) 36x15x15

I think I will use it to house South American tetras, and move them to a 5 or 10G for spawning.

I thought it would be cool to make the 35G a south american biotope, so does anyone know of any good plants for a relatively short tank? (15" tall- add in gravel and everything it will likely be 12" of growth space)

I was thinking echinodorus species right off the bat-
Would amazon swords work as a background along the back wall?
(I don't want to use them if they'll get too big...)

Other plants I found that could work are:
Bacopa Australis (? found a couple sources that said this was from SA but the name sounds like australia.)
Egeria Densa (Is this SA native?)
Hygrophila Augustifolia
Green Ludwigea
Telenthera Lilacena

Anyone have any ideas for a foreground plant?

Angel079 05-16-2010 06:58 AM

Check the different offers of Echinodrus at sweetaquatics; the typical Amazon Sword from my experience anyway grows too tall for a 15" tank at least for me they grow very close to the tops of my 55's each time, so for Echi's I'd select smaller one's (Barthii, Indian Red, Kleiner can see these in the post/ pictures of my new 30g set up)
The same would go for the Hygro you listed; I have the same Hygro in my latest 55 and I have trimmed about 8" tops off since I planted it earlier this year about 4-5 times already and keep giving them away honestly I don't even want it for the "short" 55 any more. But there also choose a smaller staying Hygro.

I'd not add baccoba for the set up your going for neither.

For the foreground pers I'd def use narrowleaf chain swords which do very well in gravel set ups. If you plan sand maybe dwarf hairgrass would be a option for you, I really love how mine started spreading in the sand set up.

As for spawning / breeding....maybe also give a thought to something finer yet easily manageable for you like a Rotala that provides excellent coverage while its growing denser then the Stargrass would.

redchigh 05-16-2010 03:55 PM


I have a lot of plants in my 5G, but I plan on moving pairs in there to spawn. Its got a lot of java moss and thick plant growth...

I'm probably going to use sand in the 35G because it's cheaper. I might just transfer my dwarf sag over to that tank. I'm kind of scared to use hairgrass...
I read it can get up to 8 inches tall- in a tank 15 inches tall that doesn't leave a lot of swimming room.

Will probably use echinodorus tennelus "micro" or dwarf sag (I know its not south american but I already have it in another tank- it looks south american. I'll tell everyone its microsword. :p)
if you think they'll work in sand.
I guess I could use hairgrass as a midground/specimen plant.

I want to put either corys, shrimp, or a CPO in the tank and I know they'll enjoy the sand too.
Would a CPO get along with shrimp or cories?
Would cories eat my shrimp?

Back on first topic, are there any plants that absolutely do not like sand, or will most adjust/thrive?

Doh, How much light would I need for a 35G that was only 15" deep? Maybe plan for about 35W?

Angel079 05-16-2010 05:45 PM

Yes if you place hairgrass under low light it'll try to reach the light and grow more upwards rather then spreading out...I just assumed with your exp you'll set up the proper light period ;-)

See now I donno if its just my 55 since that the first tank I have dwarf sag in but it grow quite taller there for me then the narrowleaf chain sowrd, not having measured it but i'd have to say the dwarf sag is around 5-6" tall :-?

Alright you know me I'll be the first to vote on the CPO of cause :-D CPO-Shrimp (eg RCS) I see no issue from having housed them. Cory and CPO I donno about the CPO fry there, same with Cory-Shrimp. You could test it out but pers I'm MUCH rather wanna see CPO-Shrimp combo there....Had you ever seen my CPO tank?

I have had a wide verity planted in sand so far of the years and I hadn't had one yet that "died" in sand so my guess is no; I'm sure you could find some kinda specialty plant somewheres that may not like sand but I'm guessing you would go for more commonly used plants!?

35W T8??? :shock: That'd be more then I have over the 55 or 45g. Over my 30 tall I have a single 20W T8 daylight, its a lil too much on the bright side for my taste so I may exchange it for a lower one....So really if this was my 35g I'm setting up I'd look at bulbs 15-20w t8 daylight no more.

redchigh 05-16-2010 09:58 PM

By many standards you have extremely low light... So does your hairgrass stay short?

It's bizarre- my 10G with 10W of light over it is having a huge brown algae problem...
My 10G guppy with 20W of light has no algae whatsoever- also no ferts. *shrug*

I might have trouble with a 36" light being too strong... I just wanted the light to be even.

I guess I could get a 36" 20W...

Amazing- It goes against everything I've read and practiced. (EVERYTHING says minimum 1-2 wpg)
My 10G with no algae has 20W of CFL over it.

Don't get me wrong, I'll definately try it. Cheaper and less maintenence.
It's like I'm going against the little voice in my head.

So.. a 20W 36" daylight over the tank.

While I have you here... ;)
Which combo do you think would work best for breeding? Do CPOs protect their young at all? Have you tried to breed them before? (Worried they might be territorial against their own kind...) I plan on removing the tetra eggs/fry or leting them spawn in a different tank, but the inverts might be too much trouble to move.

I'm kind of leaning towards CPO and Corys in that tank... Since I can have the shrimp in the 5 or 10 with the fry I'll be growing out. (I've heard corys will eat livebearer fry, and I bet CPO's would too- tetra fry would have no chance. Want to get the most "profit" out of my limited tank space. Im not getting rich, but I'm definately making enough to support my fish addiction.)

Right now I'm wanting to "mass produce":
Red Cherry Shrimp
Ember Tetras
Silver-tip tetra (undecided, might do some other tetra)
Gold Dust Tetra (Might be getting the name wrong- in the wild it's gold but tank-bred it's silver. Very odd. ;))
Some type of small cory- either pygmy or dainty (aka salt'n'pepper)
CPO's if feasible.

Angel079 05-17-2010 07:52 AM

Hey now that very tank is a 10g with 15w - That's pretty high for my standards :lol: in the back part, pretty much directly under the lights its about 1" tall in the front part where its getting less light it grows taller, but I just trim it.

Hmm you mean diatoms? What's the water parameters?

I donno how good friends are you with the guys from the hardware store, my guys here lemme buy a bulb and if its really too bright return it and exchange for another one. But I'd really not think a 36" 20w would be too strong.
That whole watt per gallon matter used to work GREAT back in the days when everybody had T12 only over tanks. Now having T8 and CFL and what not that really does not apply any longer. For example you can buy CFLs that *use* 7w of power, however the intensity of light they give off is actually that whole wpg is wayyy out the window seriously.

If you personally do not like this, don't do it :-D I can only suggest what works for me and has worked in the past and I think my tank pic's are a lil proof of that too. But if it ain't your piece of cake, don't eat it :-D

I'm not trying to breed my Cory's however they do lay eggs extremely regularly with a storm, especially the Bronze one's. That said the second 1 gal lay's eggs on glass/ leaf there's about 8 other cory's ganging up behind her with another 8 Tiger Barbs and all them snack down the eggs SECONDS after they're layed. So unless you wanna do some night time watch with the flashlight and tricky set ups with mesh on the bottom etc etc I'd say don't breed cory's.
That said I'm therefore quite sure the Cory's would also eat the Tetra fry and the CPO fry. Personally I'm raising my Killi fry (which is about as small of a fish as its ever gonna get) with my Red Cherry; alternatively I'd go for CPO and then also raise some CPO baby's but i'd not add cory cats in that mix.

Easiest way to move shrimp if you want to: Get a smaller coke bottle cleaned out, cut the 'neck' of where the bottle is not angled any more; turn this neck inside out into the bottle and fill it with tank water and bottom feeder pills. Shrimp of all sizes will go in to it to eat but somehow thou its open they don't go back out of there. Easiest and most unstressful way to catch them all ;-)

RCS breed unlimited by themselves so that's super simple as long as you got a good water quality.
Tetra's I never tried breeding so I can tell you little about this.
Cory's like I said I'd do a sep set up specifically to breed just them (10g for 1 pair?)

redchigh 05-17-2010 06:29 PM

I guess they're diatoms- brown algae that rubs off easily.

I almost posted the stats for my guppy tank- I just realised I haven't tested that tank in a while. Hmm. I'll post it later.

a pair of cory in a 10G? I thought I had to keep them in groups of 6.

Don't get me wrong about the light thing- I was just commenting on books. I think a private conversation with an expert is worth more than a book. ;) I plan on 20W now. :)

I was thinking dense planting might allow fry that hatch in the tank to survive...
I may try to fit cories CPO and shrimp in the 35G, and whenever I see something spawn/lay eggs I'll move the parents to the 5G and wait on them to do it again...

Or make a 10G shrimp farm... I just don't wanna be stuck with fry I don't have room for. I'd rather not have any spawning than have the same thing happen that happened with the guppies.

Thanks for the shrimp trapping idea- sounds like a lobster cage. :)

Angel079 05-18-2010 08:57 AM

Hm you'd usually only see diatoms in new set ups or if you had messed with your filter/ cleaned it recently?

Generally I'd absolutely agree on larger groups of Cory (I'd not recommend anything below 8) however you wanna breed them and a group that size AND breeding in a 10g is asking for troubles! I donno what all tanks you have but was it me I'd have my big gang in the 55g and watch them and see who's pairing up and sep them out of the group for breeding.

I'd pers go for s species set up either Shrimp OR CPO or 1 kinda fish. That said which ever one you'll go for from all you named NOTHING will breed as bunny-like crazy as Guppy's do :-D
Pers if I could get my hands on a nice and reasonably priced pair of CPO that's what I'd do again cause they're just simply too cool.

redchigh 05-18-2010 01:56 PM

I haven't done anything to the filter, but there is a teeny tiny amount of nitrites.
(wasn't there last month)
My color chart has 0 - >3 and 3-4, and the color is between the two.

I made a pad out of filter floss and added it to the filter. I changed 20% of the water and also added a half-dose of stress-zyme (bacteria in a bottle).

Should I worry about the dead algae hurting the tank?
Maybe I'll put the algae-covered hornwort into my ghost shrimp tank so they'll clean it for me.

Angel079 05-20-2010 06:54 AM

You must have done something to have your nitrites spike up? Too much food? Too many fish (poop) in relation to tank size?

I'd just wipe off what you can and use the gravel vac to suck up what you can and do that each week till its "cleaned up"

Just keep up good weekly maintenance (30-40% wc, clean of what you can by hand etc) and whatever tossed it outta wack will then hopefully subside.

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