Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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kaythenewbie 09-18-2010 11:58 AM

Plant help for a new girl and plant IDs
3 Attachment(s)
My 20 g tank in in the middle of a fishless cycle with pure ammonia, and I added some plants to help with the cycle (and to make the future fish happy). I added Anubis and wisteria about a week ago. I really wanted some water sprite to float. Nowhere near me had it. So I drug my husband with me to a LFS that was about an hour's drive away. The worker there gave me some water sprite. It looks like a fern and is deeply rooted. I was confused, so I asked about floating it. The guy looked at me like I was crazy. "Water sprite doesn't float." So I asked for floating plants and he said he'd throw in some leftover sprigs of something he had. He wasn't sure if they'd grow or not, but he gave them to me for free.

My husband loved the "Water Sprite" (he's so weird sometimes) and insisted that if we were going to drive for an hour for it, we were going to buy it whether it floats or not. When I got home, I planted it in my gravel and then tried to look it up on the plant profiles on here. Well, it's definitely not water sprite. What the heck did I put in my tank? (I attached 2 pictures. Hope it works)

Attachment 17361

Attachment 17362

Also, what are my floating sprigs? I figured I'd throw them in the tank and see if they helped with the ammonia cycle. I really didn't expect them to grow. But they are. (I attached a pic of this too. They look like sprigs off of a pine tree)

Attachment 17363

Sorry for all the id's. Just want to know what they are so I can decide to keep them or not.

One more question. The lower leaves on my wisteria plants are developing dark brown/black spots. What is that? Any ideas?

My water params are:
moderately hard (13 dH)
pH 8.1
ammonia 0.25 ppm
nitrite 0.50 ppm
nitrate 5 ppm
substrate: gravel
lighting: no clue (got the aquarium new from someone who had set it all up and threw away the labels and then changed his mind), but my Anubis is thriving so I'm guess it's low to moderate light. Light's are on for 12-14 hrs a day.

I'm on day 14 of my fishless cycle.

Thanks and sorry for the super long post!

badxgillen 09-18-2010 12:38 PM

its hard to say without a better view and a look at the looks the middle pic looks like an aponogeton ulvaceusor crispus,i cant tell but from your description it could be a species of ceratophyllum or myriophyllum.....hope to be of help...keep us posted as it grows....ADIOS...

Byron 09-18-2010 02:52 PM

Hello, and welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

I'm not going to guess at the plant species without more photos. As badxgillen said, a clear photo showing the entire plant would help. As you know from the profile, true Water Sprite does float beautifully, but I honestly can't tell what the plant in photo 1 may be.

As for the brown spots on the Wisteria. If this comes off when you gently wipe the leaf with your fingers, it is diatoms (brown algae), common in new tanks during the first 2-3 months. If it does not come off but is within the leaf, it may be due to inadequate nutrients or light.

On the light, since this is the most critical issue for plants, can you tell us what it is? If fluorescent, at one end of the tube will be some data, if you could give us that.

Are you using any fertilizer now?

Last comment; with live plants, you can forget cycling and add fish from the start. I explain this in the 4-part series "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" stickied at the top of this section.


Blaxicanlatino 09-18-2010 08:38 PM

welcome to the forums! that looks like a nice tank. it doesnt look slike water sprite

redchigh 09-19-2010 03:11 PM

The pine-needle type thing could be either hornwort or ceratopteris... There are two forms of ceratopteris, one floats (but can be rooted) and the other is rooted... Their names are used interchangably...

Very confusing...

kaythenewbie 09-19-2010 04:58 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Sorry about the bad pics. I took them with my phone. These ones I took with my camera so they should work better.

Here's the so called water sprite:

Attachment 17399

And here's one of the floating sprigs.:

Attachment 17400

I am using a fertilizer. It's called Nutrafin Plant Grow. It's a weekly plant supplement. I can't check the light right now since it's on and hot, but I'll check later and post it.

I think the black spots are algae. Which actually is great, because I'm hoping to put some Otos in the tank (I've gotten rather attached to them) so I'll just let it grow for a few weeks.

I know I can add fish soon, but I originally had only fake plants in my tank and was doing a fishless cycle with pure ammonia, and added plants about a week after I added the ammonia. (I added too much and there was still a lot after water changes so I added plants to help the ammonia concentration go down). So now I'm just waiting for my ammonia and nitrites to drop to zero (which should be any day now).

Thanks so much everyone for answering. Hopefully these pics will be a little easier to ID from.

Byron 09-19-2010 07:41 PM

The stem plant (those two little ones at the front in the photo, and there are more that are taller in the back) are Wisteria, or Hygrophila difformis. Click on the shaded name, we have this species in our plant profiles. Everyting you need to know is there.

kaythenewbie 09-20-2010 08:27 AM


Originally Posted by redchigh (Post 474841)
The pine-needle type thing could be either hornwort or ceratopteris... There are two forms of ceratopteris, one floats (but can be rooted) and the other is rooted.

Thanks so much! I'll look into those!


Originally Posted by Byron (Post 475101)
The stem plant (those two little ones at the front in the photo, and there are more that are taller in the back) are Wisteria, or Hygrophila difformis. Click on the shaded name, we have this species in our plant profiles. Everyting you need to know is there.

Thanks for taking a stab at the ID, Bryon, but actually it's the other plant in the foreground that I need to ID. The really tall skinny one. Sorry that I didn't clarify that well. (I do love my Wisteria though, it's growing great; I'm glad you noticed!) Sorry that the picture is blurry, I'm a horrible picture taker :oops: Anyone have any thoughts on what the tall plant in the front could be? (If it helps, in my first post, the second picture is taken from above my aquarium looking down which gives a better view of the leaves)

Bryon, you asked about my lighting. My tank came with a 24" long Exo-Terra Repti-Glo 2.0 light (20W). So I guess my tank was intended to be a terrarium originally. Will it work or do I need to find a different light? I have lots of Wisteria and Anubis in my tank along with the two mystery plants (the possibly hornwort/ceratopteris and the other really tall one) My water params are listed in a few posts above. . .

Byron 09-20-2010 12:42 PM

The tall plant is Aponogeton, not sure which species from the photo, but we have the two most common in our profiles so have a look for info on both. Aponogeton crispus and Aponogeton undulatus.

On the light, I suspect not. You don't indicate the Kelvin rating (Kelvin is the measurement of the colour temperature of light) but in a reptile light I would expect it to be low (high in the red/yellow). Plants do best under full spectrum which has a kelvin around 6500K close to the mid-day sun in colour. You can buy suitable tubes at hardware stores for considerably less than the "aquarium" tubes in fish stores, thought they all work fine. A "daylight" type tube with a K around 6500K is made by GE, Phillips and Sylvania. Just get the one that measures the same length as your tube, measured end to end not including the prongs. Wattage is irrelevant, it is basically standard for the size of tube. With a full spectrum tube you should have no plant problems related to light.

You also need fertilizer to provide all the 17 nutrients. I see you're using Plant-Gro, so that should be OK. It is my second choice, my first being Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium. When the Nutrafin runs out, you might want to look for Flourish Comprehensive; you use less of it, it is concentrated, and all essential nutrients are included, the only fert that has everything as far as I know.


kaythenewbie 09-21-2010 08:47 AM

Thank you everyone! Now I know what is in my tank. The plants were looking a little yellow so I bought a new light and added some fertilizer. Wow, they perked up quick. They were vibrant green in less than a day. . . So thanks for the advice.

My ammonia and nitrite levels had been zero for two days and the plants are doing great so I decided to go buy some fish. Got some glowlight tetra who are absolutely loving the tank and the plants. Thanks again!

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