Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Inga 07-07-2010 09:13 PM

What are these?
Does anyone know what type of plants these are?

the one that looks like pine needles?

Are these easy to grow? How much will they expand?

Would you buy plants from a Petco where they are in little plastic containers and just kept very moist?

Aqua Jon 07-07-2010 11:33 PM

Hey Inga :) Those are some nice plants! The top one looks big.

I know the top plant is a type of Echinodorus (Sword) plant, but I can only guess at the species (melon sword?). The bottom is hard for me to tell, maybe a Cambomba? - again I couldn't tell you the species. But with fertilization you will continue to have great growing plants!

Something I do know more about are Petco/Petsmart tube plants. More specifically the tubes with the little gel substrate. I bought mine from Petsmart, but I believe them to be very similar. A few things first, but generally yes you can buy them (depending on species) and they will do well in your tank. I have purchased 3 from the tubes and they are doing fantastic and have grown much since.

1. Always do your homework. And then do it again. I say this because they sell only a few true aquatic species in the tubes (notice they don't say aquarium plants, just live plants - for reptilian or whatever reason). To my knowledge the true aquatic species they sell are Java Fern (Microsorium pteropus), Dwarf Anubias (Anubias nana), Water Wisteria (Hygrophilia difformis), and a Sword plant (Echinodorus sp.). These will do well in your aquarium. Since these are all grown using a gel hydropnic technique and can change in the tank since they are grown emersed. The biggest change will be seen in the Wisteria's (Hygrophilia difformis) small mint like leaves. They will divide and become more "palm-frond-like" as they grow and given direct light.

2. Inspect the tubes carefully. Some are in great condition: full green leaves with no yellow or brown, white color roots, and small leaves starting to grow. Some are in poor condition with decaying leaves, shriveled up and lacking a green healthy color. It may take some exploring since the packaging is not entirely viewer friendly. Do not be discouraged if there is only a single brown leaf, but the rest of the plant is fine, it may still be a good pick after you trim it.

3. Do not always trust the advice of the employees - many do not know what they are talking about and will quickly suggest plants that will die when fully submersed in water. Rarely do they give great advice, even some that seem to know what they talking about. This is not to say that all the employees do not know what they are advising, I have come to know a few they are spot on. In short, trust your own time spent doing research and asking questions here and elsewhere.

aunt kymmie 07-07-2010 11:39 PM

Great post, Aqua Jon, and right on the money about the plants that Petco sells. I agree with you on the bottom plant, it looks like cabomba caroliniana to me.

Inga 07-07-2010 11:49 PM

Thanks both of you. I am not too concerned about the Sword but the other plant is said to be a little more difficult to grow. The gal told me not to bother with fertilizer but I am thinking I best get some. Any brands you guys feel most comfortable with? The sword plant is quite large already, about 20 inches tall. The other one is smallish. I am hoping that it will grow quite tall and sort of fill part of the top of the tank. I got that plant for my Gourami's hoping they would enjoy the cover. Is there any danger to the fish with adding fertilizer to the plants?

aunt kymmie 07-08-2010 12:03 AM

I dose my tanks once a week with Flourish Comprehensive and every few months stick root tabs under the heavy root feeders (swords). Stem plants benefit from ferts in the water column and my Cabomba grows best in my display tank where the light is a little more intense than in my smaller tanks. What type of lighting is on your tank?

Inga 07-08-2010 12:22 AM

I only have the standard light that comes with the aquarium. It is a 60 gallon tank 4 feet long so it has 2 lights on top. I just stuck the real plants in, I will have to pull out more of the silk ones that I had in there. That will allow more light to directly hit them.

Austin 07-08-2010 01:22 AM

If the lights are not the right K rating then the plants won't do well. you need 6500-6700k bulbs. Most standard that come with an aquarium are not the correct kind.

LisaC144 07-08-2010 08:27 AM

Austin is right, BUT you can get the correct lighting for your tank at your local Home Depot or Lowe's for about $15 total. Do not go to your LFS. They are a rip off ;-) For 60 gallon, I'd get 2 30w 6500k bulbs. On my 55g, I currently have 2 30w 6500k Daylight bulbs by I believe GE. Plants are absolutely thriving.

Austin 07-08-2010 09:10 AM

I'd like to mention that the lights from home depot and such are a more goldy/yellowy color. They are more natural looking. At least, the T12 6500k bulb i bought was. The ones such as "Life glo" rated at 6700k were a much whiter light in my experience. But that bulb was aT8. Not sure if it's because one is a T8 and one is a T12 or because they are 6500k and 6700k. but anyways, it might be worth the investment in "Life glo" bulbs if you like the "white" color look.

Inga 07-08-2010 09:55 AM

Alright, I am sure this is another silly question but what type of light do the fish prefer, white or yellow?

What is the normal aquarium light? I like how it looks now. Also, I was thinking of adding some Java Moss and a Java fern which require less light, will that be too much then? Is it true that with more light, less fertilizer is needed?

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