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Hi all, I am pretty much a newbie at this. I have a gravel substrate and want to start planting. I was thinking about adding a finer substrate to the gravel to "tighten" it up. I have Tetras, Danios, Gouramis, Killfish, Crayfish, Plecos, & Cats. I would love to hear the opinions of people way more experienced than me. And if this will work, suggestions on what substrate to use, easy plants to care for. And what is everyone's experience with plant anchor safety for the fish? I keep seeing lead and that seems concerning. Thank you for the help.
 

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Keeping plants in gravel is easy. I use Pea gravel so it is a little bigger than most of the aquarium gravel you will buy in the bags.

As for what plants it will depend on your lights. If you have a normal aquarium light go with low light plants, something like Java Fern, Anubias, Hornwort, or Amazon swords. All 4 can normally be found in your local chain pet stores and will grow well in most tanks. Java fern and Anubias has a Rhizome root so you want to attach that to a rock, driftwood or something and it will grow from there. Hornwort and Amazon Swords have normal roots so you want to put those under the gravel. Amazon swords they will grow large when given lots of food and light. I really like these but in lower light the do grow slow.


If you are just wanting some green plants in your tank go with one of the above. If you wanted to get more advanced plants you can get into Co2, High Output T5 lights, fertilizers and loads more but you can grow all 4 of the plants I listed with out those.

As far as keeping them anchored down, Java fern and Anubius you can tie them with thread or fishing line to what you want them to stay on, after the roots start to grow they will grab on and stay pretty well. Hornwort and Swords you will clip the roots so they are about 1.5-2" long, dig a small hole, place the roots and base of the plant in it, then cover it will gravel. After a week or so the roots will start to grow and anchor it better.

If you want the plants to really grow well you can get fertilizers from the pet stores, just follow the bottle and most will do well. They have Root tabs you will put under the gravel for the plants with roots in the gravel and liquids for those that just float in the water.

Hope that helps.
 

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Keeping plants in gravel is easy. I use Pea gravel so it is a little bigger than most of the aquarium gravel you will buy in the bags.

As for what plants it will depend on your lights. If you have a normal aquarium light go with low light plants, something like Java Fern, Anubias, Hornwort, or Amazon swords. All 4 can normally be found in your local chain pet stores and will grow well in most tanks. Java fern and Anubias has a Rhizome root so you want to attach that to a rock, driftwood or something and it will grow from there. Hornwort and Amazon Swords have normal roots so you want to put those under the gravel. Amazon swords they will grow large when given lots of food and light. I really like these but in lower light the do grow slow.


If you are just wanting some green plants in your tank go with one of the above. If you wanted to get more advanced plants you can get into Co2, High Output T5 lights, fertilizers and loads more but you can grow all 4 of the plants I listed with out those.

As far as keeping them anchored down, Java fern and Anubius you can tie them with thread or fishing line to what you want them to stay on, after the roots start to grow they will grab on and stay pretty well. Hornwort and Swords you will clip the roots so they are about 1.5-2" long, dig a small hole, place the roots and base of the plant in it, then cover it will gravel. After a week or so the roots will start to grow and anchor it better.

If you want the plants to really grow well you can get fertilizers from the pet stores, just follow the bottle and most will do well. They have Root tabs you will put under the gravel for the plants with roots in the gravel and liquids for those that just float in the water.

Hope that helps.
Thank you Warhawk. That is great info and hugely helpful, plus a whole lot less work. It is greatly appreciated
 

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I saw a You Tube video recently where the guy gave a tip about anchoring plants in the gravel, seems the fish he had were always digging them up. What he did was get a cap from a milk carton or something about 2 inches in diameter and cut an X into it with a knife , he then pushed the plant through the X with the roots dangling below, dug a hole in the gravel and planted the plant--plastic cap and all. He then filled in the cap with gravel and had no more uprooting problems--seemed simple-------great info as always Warlock, any of you guys have any preference for floating plants ?
 

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I saw a You Tube video recently where the guy gave a tip about anchoring plants in the gravel, seems the fish he had were always digging them up. What he did was get a cap from a milk carton or something about 2 inches in diameter and cut an X into it with a knife , he then pushed the plant through the X with the roots dangling below, dug a hole in the gravel and planted the plant--plastic cap and all. He then filled in the cap with gravel and had no more uprooting problems--seemed simple-------great info as always Warlock, any of you guys have any preference for floating plants ?
First off who is Warlock? :-D completely different person. :lol:

Second that is a good idea, I might have to try that next time. Normally if I have a issue with the plant coming loose I will just put it back down and push a little extra gravel up around the base of the plant. After that they stay and I have found most of my fish leave them alone after that. I have plants with my Oscars which every where says doesn't work( I think my oscars are too lazy). The only time it hasn't worked was with my Male Blood Parrot and he is a huge jerk that no one but my wife loves.
 

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My Mystery snails are like bulldozers when it comes to new plants. I use the plastic cap trick works a treat.

No floating plants, other than the ones I want to be floating.
 
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