Adding plants to fake plant setup
Hey all, so I'm thinking of adding plants to my tank that only has fake plants right now. I have an air pump going in to two decorations. Will adding plants replace the need for the air pump? Or will I have to get CO2? I'm not sure yet the extent I want live plants. My black skirt tetras hardly show "black", so I'm wondering if having some cover (ie: floating plants) will help? I already have a blue fluorescent light (just replaced the light in the hood that came with the tank)
Also, it's a 56g tall and none of the fake plants I've found at my LFS reach that high. Any plant suggestions? As you can tell, I'm a real novice at this lol, but I love this forum! Everyone is so knowledgeable and willing to help!
PS. I live in Phoenix, AZ if anyone has a club going or anything.
Good move. Aside from the appearance aspect, the benefits of live plants cannot be understated.
You can grow the vast majority of aquarium plants without additional CO2. But the CO2 occurring naturally in an aquarium (from fish but much more from bacteria) is not inexhaustible, and the more water movement particularly at the surface, the faster the gaseous exchange occurs (CO2 is driven out, O is brought in) and this can seriously affect plant growth. So removing any "bubbling" devices is advisable.
Light is the single most important factor in plant growth; it is the energy that drives photosynthesis. The intensity is important, along with the spectrum. You can read more on this in the series of articles I authored at the head of this section entitled "A Basic Approach h to the Natural Planted Aquarium," Part 4 specifically deals with light but the whole balance is covered in the series.
What specifically is your tube? Make, watts, kelvin, etc.? Is it full length of the tank? I will hold off on plant suggestions since light is a determining factor.
To the question of the Black Skirt Tetra, yes. We have fish (and plant) profiles here, second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page. The profile for the Black Widow Tetra [another common name] mentions that the black will be intensified under subdued light (less) and with floating plants, which will replicate the natural environment of this species. When a fish name is shaded, you can click the name to see the profile.
Light again is the critical issue, so we can discuss floating plants more when the specifics are known.
for a tall plant I suggest common hornwort. Mine is like 3 feet long and still growing.
Hey Byron, thanks for the reply! It's a Marine Glo blue fluorescent 20-watt that's in a hood that runs the full length. (The original, which I still have, is a white Marineland 40-watt). It can be moved around with the option to fasten using peel-away "stickies" (for lack of better word lol). Right now I have it centered across the top. I got the blue one hoping for less light and more subdued for the tetras.
@christople I'll look into the hornwort. I read on the forums about pennywort being a good floating plant, so that was one that I had in mind too.
Here's a picture from the box, if it helps.
Check the floating plants in our profiles, and some stem plants do very well floating too, like the Brazilian Pennywort mentioned.
hornwort was messy for me.. sheds a bit. Pennywort looks great, personally i like water sprite, mine started growing leaves above the surface so the covered areas look like a grassy marsh.
If you only add floating plants u may not have to get rid of the airstone since the co2 for the plants will be taken from the air and not the water. I think this works for most of the stem plants left floating.
I assume the photo of the spectrum is the "blue" tube? And that is not good plant light, as i surmised. Can you post the specttrum and lux of the "white" tube?
You're right, it is the blue tube. The white came with the hood and there's no picture of that spectrum.
When I add more plants, should I put a lot in at the same time in order to discontinue the air pump? I'm not sure how much I should add to make sure enough oxygen will be given off. I don't want the fish gasping for air at the top of the tank when I turn the air pump off.
Also, I'm concerned about adding a brighter light because of stress to the tetras. As it is, they're not really showing the black that much. And there's basically no cover from floating plants to dim that light.
As long as the filter is still running, you won't have oxygen problems. Get as many plants as you can, you can always thin them out later when they grow. Floating are very beneficial here too, because they relase a lot of oxygen through their roots dangling in the water.
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