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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all

I have purchased over the past month about five swords, some with extensive and full root systems and some with just three or four roots sticking out. Is there a way to plant them successfully because I'm having a hard time. The root crown wants to stick out of the water, and when I re-plant, I feel like I have to push a little harder than I should to get them into the substrate. I dig a large, deep hole with my fingers, then hold the plant in while I cover it with substrate but they always end up raising a little too high. I use gravel substrate, and it's about 2 1/2 inches deep in one tank and 3 1/2 inches in the other (this one is sandier substrate and it's still hard).

Suggestions?
 

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Just push them into your gravel till they're well covered with the gravel; they should not drift back up like some stem plants do. and 2"+ of gravel is plenty to keep them down.
Once they're in just stay away from them for 2-3 weeks with the gravel vac til they're rooted down well enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'll try it again...I don't want the root crown to rot so maybe I'll put a few rocks on the gravel around it so nothing bumps around it for a few weeks...thanks
 

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I was just going to suggest the same thing. I'm not sure why you're having trouble with them, but just put a larger (meaning larger than your gravel) near the plant base to hold it down until it roots into the gravel well enough.
 

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All these yrs I always stuck mine all the way into the gravel, maybe 1-2mm root showing above the gravel line (if any), never had a single issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
well, I've had a hard time keeping ALL of mine down so it just shows how NOT green my thumb is! Hopefully the green thumb thing is something that can be acquired. My husband's got it, not me. That would be why he owns a landscaping business.
 

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I agree have him put it in for ya :)
 

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Stephanie, is this occurring in the 29g or the 10g in your tank photos? If the 29g, I myself would have a bit more substrate; those swords appear to be Echinodorus bleheri and the red one E. osiris/rubin or somesuch, and they have very extensive root systems. I would have 3-4 inches of substrate where they are. If its the 10g, the problem could be the large size of the gravel. Fine gravel is recommended because it does make plant rooting easier for the plant, plus other issues I won't get into here.

These plants are quite firm, and any water current will be significant against their relatively broad leaves, which makes a sufficient substrate depth important.

B.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Both...the echindorus or whatever (the red one) is the one with the main issue and yes, the root system is very bulky. Is it possible to add substrate into the tank that's already running? I tried to push surrounding substrate into that area but it didn't really help, the roots just kept popping out. I have a feeling my BN might be getting a little vigorous with his cleaning.

In the 10 gallon, there is sandy substrate underneath the rocks, and those swords only have very few roots coming from the base, so there's not a lot of hold. For now they are in and I'm just going to leave those alone unless I see them floating at the top. Their plant brains will tell them which direction to extend the roots, hopefully. No big fish in there to knock them around, either.
 

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Both...the echindorus or whatever (the red one) is the one with the main issue and yes, the root system is very bulky. Is it possible to add substrate into the tank that's already running? I tried to push surrounding substrate into that area but it didn't really help, the roots just kept popping out. I have a feeling my BN might be getting a little vigorous with his cleaning.

In the 10 gallon, there is sandy substrate underneath the rocks, and those swords only have very few roots coming from the base, so there's not a lot of hold. For now they are in and I'm just going to leave those alone unless I see them floating at the top. Their plant brains will tell them which direction to extend the roots, hopefully. No big fish in there to knock them around, either.
On adding substrate, yes, though if that is enriched substrate [Flourite, Eco-complete or similar] might be a bit messy in the water for a few days, but not an issue otherwise. I often add gravel to my tanks, and usually around large swords that tend to "ride up" in the gravel. The water current, fish activity (like your BN) all "pull" the plants and if the plant is recent the root system has not yet anchored it, so a good 3-4 inches helps.

After not many months, if you can see the underside of the 29g on its stand (my metal stands are frame so I can get down and look up under) you will find the roots of those two swords all through the substrate on the bottom glass. Echinodorus really have very extensive root systems. When I moved those in my former 90g into the 115g last July, they had been in the 90g for 8-9 months, and a couple of them had roots half way across the tank lengthwise and completely front to back--chunks of bogwood came up on top of the mass of roots from a foot or more away from the plant crown.. If you pull them up and trim the roots periodically, it will keep them compact and may be smaller. I've never done this myself, although when or if I move them I do frequently pull off some roots, but not as a regular pruning activity.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
On adding substrate, yes, though if that is enriched substrate [Flourite, Eco-complete or similar] might be a bit messy in the water for a few days, but not an issue otherwise. I often add gravel to my tanks, and usually around large swords that tend to "ride up" in the gravel. The water current, fish activity (like your BN) all "pull" the plants and if the plant is recent the root system has not yet anchored it, so a good 3-4 inches helps.
What method do you use to add substrate to your tanks? I was thinking of dropping through a tube so it wouldn't make a cloudy mess but I guess if it's rinsed then putting it in with my hands should do the job?

Would you suggest doing this right after a gravel vac to avoid stirring stuff up or would that matter?

Thanks
 

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What method do you use to add substrate to your tanks? I was thinking of dropping through a tube so it wouldn't make a cloudy mess but I guess if it's rinsed then putting it in with my hands should do the job?

Would you suggest doing this right after a gravel vac to avoid stirring stuff up or would that matter?

Thanks
I do it during a pwc. First gravel vac the area thoroughly, then add the new gravel with a plastic cup, having washed/rinsed the gravel being added if it is brand new. The cup let's you pour the gravel just where you want it. Then I use my hand to push it around and level it. B.
 

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I second B approach. I find it important to really clean (vac) the area first so you don't trap layers of gunck under the new gravel. I use the normal 2cup measuring cups with the handle on it to add it, works well for me (specially in the sand tanks where I try to refill a lil each year)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Good idea about using the cup with the handle.

And Natalie sorry for questioning every little detail but when you say you want to avoid trapping gunk under the top layer of gravel, doesn't that contradict the let-the-poo-rot-and-feed-the-plants method? Sorry, I do agree with you that I don't want gunk trapped, but just want to probe your plant-goddess brain about that.
 

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Good idea about using the cup with the handle.

And Natalie sorry for questioning every little detail but when you say you want to avoid trapping gunk under the top layer of gravel, doesn't that contradict the let-the-poo-rot-and-feed-the-plants method? Sorry, I do agree with you that I don't want gunk trapped, but just want to probe your plant-goddess brain about that.
Jumping in ahead of Natalie, but I wanted to comment and will be offline in a moment. There's a difference between natural bacterial activity and suddenly burrying the bacteria. In an established tank, the substrate contains a host of different aerobic and anaerobic bacteria and this is essential for healthy plants (and fish). Plant roots give off oxygen to feed some of the aerobic bacteria, but nutrients and oxygen also arrive via the water which percolates through the substrate due to convection currents and all this bacteria activity.

I wouldn't argue the issue if someone questioned the effect of suddenly dumping an inch or two of gravel on top of this established substrate, but it makes some sense to me that it might be detrimental even if in a minor way. Obviously not the same as placing a large chuck of rock over a live substrate, but... it has always seemed better to me to clean up the detrius by which I mean the recent stuff if one is going to add more substrate over it. I suppose a bit comparable to filter bacteria; shutting off the flow through the filter for an extended period causes the bacteria to die, and that means pollution.

Byron.
 
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