Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Inga 08-02-2010 07:04 PM

Tools needed to maintain the planted aquarium
Alright I have my planted aquarium and it looks pretty darn nice but I do have an issue. I have a lot of dead plant debris that makes it's way around the tank and settles either on the filter intake or gets stuck in other plants. I am forever dipping pieces of Pennywort and Rotala out but it is difficult to get to the bottom of my tank. It is 25 inches deep and it means for wet armpits if I have to reach down to the bottom.

I am curious as to which, if any, tools any of you use to maintain a clean, healthy planted tank? I have seen long handled tweezer type things and am thinking about purchasing them for grooming the plants. I have yet to cut anything off the plants. I am just not confident that I will know what should be cut and which shouldn't be. I have had leaves on my Amazon Sword kind of brown and then turn green again. I do have new growth on the plant now too even though I have just left the old cruddy looking leaves on it.

The tips of my Java Fern are brownish (still) and I don't know if I should be cutting them off or leaving them. My Rotala still looks rough, In my opinion, or I just don't really like the look of the plant. To me, it looks kind of scrappy looking. The fish however, hang out in there a lot so I am holding off from removing it hoping it will still take off and get thicker and nicer looking.

So folks, How do you prune your aquatic plants to keep the tank looking nice? How do you know what needs to go and what doesn't? How do you decide when to give up hope on a plant?

JohnnyD44 08-02-2010 08:39 PM

I saw those long plant trimmers on fosters & smith, I didn't bother with them....alot of leaves you can snip using your nail and pressing it against your thumb, personally I wouldn't waste your money, but it's your cash!!!!

as far as knowing what to trim and what not to....I've been lucky with about 90% of my plants, my pennywort and rotala grow to the top of the tank weekly and I have to trim them weekly or else they 'float' on top of the water. other than that I haven't needed to trim and 'dead' area off of my stem plants.

I've been battling a nutrient fight with my swords, I think I've discovered the root of the problem, which makes me happy, but I lost of of leaves in the process. I'm seeing new growth, which is a good thing. Byron and I have been trying to figure it out and I've just about narrowed it down.

As for the floating leaves that lay on the filter input, I've only found one way which works for me and getting them off the filter effectively. It's dumb, but it works = weekly I need to clean my cansiter filter, which means I need to re-prime the filter, and during that process air escapes from the pump, and causes the leaves to float everywhere and all over the place. When this happens I simply net out all the particles floating on the surface. As I said, it sounds ridicilious, and even more ridicilious when I type it out haha, but it works!

my fish also love hanging out in rotala, I always see my black skirts hanging out in there...

onefish2fish 08-02-2010 10:02 PM

i was going to say a net and a cleaned $0.99 pair of those blunt tip kids scissors works great. the taller plants will usually be the ones your trimming most which you can cut off a few inches/half a replant that piece for a new stalk.

kitten_penang 08-02-2010 11:14 PM

yeah propagation with the cut off is real cool and you save $$.i have the long thong thing and it's real handy.i don't think dipping your arm till your armpits is good for the tank.if our arms arent clean a lot of unwanted residue could be introduced to the tiny army of shrimps take out a lot of unwanted stuff from the tank but your barbs will have a field day eating them if you had some =p maybe your plant has not enough lighting of maybe fertilizer. mine sword also turned brown in the first few weeks.i've since added another light tube and give it fert every 2 days and wow there are new leaves growing much longer then the old ones ^.^

Inga 08-03-2010 06:27 AM

Thanks everyone. I just wish If I am to keep the Rotala, that it would look nicer. It is getting kind of Yellow now and the leaves just look scrappy. If it were a house plant I would think it needed water. Since that obviously is not the case, I am at a loss. More light, less, fertilizer? Maybe I will just try nipping off a bit of the tops to see if that helps. Maybe if I keep doing that, it will get thicker. To be clear, if I nip off a bit of the top, Can I just plant that little piece and expect it will grow?

JohnnyD44 08-03-2010 07:10 AM

can you post a pic? it is a stem plant and looks very 'skinny', they should be planted in bunches.....

onefish2fish 08-03-2010 10:53 AM

rotala should be a red-ish/pink-ish with some green in it, no?
yellow sounds like somethings off. if i guess i would say to much/to little nutes. exactly what kind of light do you have and how deep is your tank?

JohnnyD44 08-03-2010 11:24 AM

I believe there are different kinds of rotala though....*i think*

inga, what kind of rotala do you have? if it is the 'indicia' (which I'm guessing it is) then onefish2fish's description is indicia has green and off greens leaves leading to pink/redish colored leaves at the top

Inga 08-03-2010 04:02 PM

I am not sure which variety it is. It just seems to be getting worse and worse. It is scraggly looking and the leaves and parts of the stems are getting more yellow. Considering the bright Green of the other plants it seems a real contrast. These pictures don't show off the yellow real well. It looks even worse when looking directly at it.

My tank is 25 inches deep and it has 2 18 inch 15 W 6700K bulbs over it. I have Java Fern right next to the Rotala and it doesn't look any worse then when I put that in there. The Green of the leaves is very bright Green but there is patches of Brown as though the leaves got burned or something. Those have been like that since day one and have not gotten any worse. In fact, it seems to have grown quite a bit.

JohnnyD44 08-03-2010 04:18 PM

thats pretty much what my rotala looks like, it's growing like a mad-plant...

I don't think it's a plant which gets truely "green", I hope i'm not wrong, because my plants have always looked like this and appear healthy...however, mine are a little "fuller" looking than those pictured(but not much)....

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