mainly what I'm looking for are suggestions of anything that won't cost a fortune or take forever to grow, that I can plant in the back that would be tall enough to hide the heater/filter
the tank is a 20 gallon high so it's about 17" tall - has the filter that came with it (aqueon quietflow 20 power filter) a 6" airstone - the light says: 8,000K 15W T8 (whatever that means) - and there's just regular old generic gravel (black)
replacing the bulb with one around 6700k would work better for plant growth
2 easy plants to grow are:
both can be grown stuck in the gravel or free floating
I don't see anything in either plant description that mentions their height... will they grow tall enough to hide the filter and heater?
both plants will keep growing til they reach the top of your tank. once they get to the top, you might want to trim them back or cut and replant them
ahh cool!! awesome =) thank you!! =)
Just want to make sure you are OK on the light issue. As sik80 correctly said, you want an 18-inch tube in T8, and you want a full spectrum or "daylight" type that has a kelvin rating around 6500K. You can get these made by Phillips, Sylvania or GE at many hardware stores for a few dollars. Similar tubes at fish stores will be much more expensive, but basically equal. The "kelvin" number is a measurement of the light's colour, and 6500K is the closest to mid-day sun so it has everything needed.
And on the plants, those are stem plants, and all stem plants just keep growing so they have no "height" as such. When they get to the top (surface) it is good to pull them up, cut off the lower portion and replant the top portion so it will continue to grow. This is a regular task every week or two weeks depending upon how fast they grow. If you don't do this, the plant continues to grow and that means across the surface (not out of the tank) which can be OK in some situations. But when it does this, almost always the lower leaves will fall off, leaving bare stems. The regular "pruning" keeps the plants looking tidy. It's like a regular haircut.
Another plant that is pretty, easy to take care of and will cover your filter is the Amazon Sword. They are easy to come by, inexpensive and far less messy in the tank then others. I love my swords and as you know, I am sort of inept when it comes to plants. The Amazon Sword is my favorite, clean, easy and pretty plant thus far.
The large leaf plant is a Sword.
agree with pretty much everyone.
i just wanted to second Byron's advice on trimming and replanting the 'trimmed' part of the plant. I do this with my ludwigia and my pennywort on a almost bi-weekly basis. Being that they are stem plants, when cut and replanted, it helps them to achieve a "bushy" look and after a month of so, they plants dont even look like stem plants, but more of a full grown plant.
A really nice plant that I got from a friend that has a low light tank like mine is Vallisneria or Val. She had buckets of this stuff and ends up throwing alot away as it grows fast. This plant grows long and it can be trimmed to any lengh. It reminds me of sea kelp. I have 2 15 Watt. fluorescent bulbs over my 55 gal. and 1 15Watt over my 20 gal. this grows well. Sometimes when they get transplanted they go into shock. Just trim it at the base and it will come back same thing for Crypt.
Here is a picture of the plants. Left hand side of pic. is the Long Val, then the 2 Wisteria plants , 1 sword plant and val again in the corner. The Cryptocoryne is in the front of the the background plants and are a purplish color.
I concur on the swords, as long as the tank has been established a while, or as long as you dose the tank with Flourish comprehensive.
I would also like to suggest any of the Hygrophila species.
(Water wisteria is Hygrophila Difformis and there are two other nice ones, hygrophila polysperma and hygrophila corymbrosa. You might want to look into Hygrophila Bold var Sunset for color variety.)
I don't have good luck with trimming my Vallisneria... Sweetaquatics has a rare species of echinodorus (sword plant) that looks a lot like corkscrew vallisneria.
(I'm thinking it's Echonidorus Tortiflora but I could be wrong and if not, don't trust my spelling.
Cryptocryne Spiralis could work as well if you like the look.
Anarchis (Egeria Densa) is also a nice stem plant IMO. Grows super fast, super thick, and doesn't 'shed' at all in my experience. (lower stems may get thinner, but they don't lose their leaves)
Oh and Rotala is nice, but might be hard to make it grow in thich enough to hide the back pane of glass...
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