hit me!

Dec 29, 2002
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Indiana
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#1
I am waiting for my tank to cycle, maybe not a good time to ask, but....even my old man used to have 2 tanks (50 and 55), both with live plants, and he suggests the same for my 30. Thing is, its been over 20 years for him, and I am completely new to fish keeping. :) my gravel is just pebbles...normal hood, power filter, airstone of some sort, whisper 30-60 heater (overkill for a 30 I'm told, but it still will work right? lol). I am cycling without fish also....anyhow....if I want real plants, what do I need....where do I start....which plants are ideal....etc....basically, where I can pull some info about the whole ordeal? Any info is appreciated.
 

Avalon

Superstar Fish
Oct 22, 2002
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Ft. Worth, TX
www.davidressel.com
#3
Hmmm...I could "hit" you, but I don't wanna knock you out, so I'll keep it as simple as I can. You must work your way up to successfully keep plants and keep away algae and all that other stuff, so we should keep it simple right now.

First of all, you gotta have a proper substrate. Gravel, 2-3mm in diameter. Flourite is always the best choice if you can or want to afford it. If not, no biggie. Not having it doesn't make you any more disadvantaged than the idiot who charged a bunch on his credit card and doesn't know how to utilize it.

Second, you need lots of plants to begin with. Water sprite, water wisteria, green hygro, jungle val, java moss, and java fern are all great starter plants. Do NOT get the fancy plants like riccia, glosso, hairgrass (elocharis OR micro sword-aka Lilaeopsis), etc. thinking you're gonna be cool like Takashi Amano, because you will fail if you don't have extensive plant knowledge. This micro sword plant, lilaeopsis, is sold everywhere, including Wal-Mart, is one of the hardest plants to grow of all IMHO. DO NOT BUY THIS! It looks awful purty and all, but keep away unless you seriously know what you are doing!

Third, actually, this should be first, read all you can on keeping aquatic plants. Read, research, ask questions, then do some more research, and ask more questions. Keeping plants can be an exacting science if you want it to be that, or it can be easy--you can choose to ask "how do I grow a crytocorne," or you can choose to ask, "how does denitrification of nitrogen affect my plant growth?" Like somonas' signature reads, "Knowledge is the door, experience is the key." If you like beautiful plants, you will pour in tons of time and effort to solve the mystery of growing great plants. There are many, many people that do! If you choose to just keep some plants alive in your tank, that's great too! Live plants are highly beneficial to any aquarium, and you are choosing the right path! Ask your old man why he kept them in his tanks for that long.

Third, fourth, whatever--you need light! Flourescent (flo) is the best. Regular flo bulbs are fine (and cheap) for starting out. As you grow in experience and knowledge, you may find that power compact flo's will suit your needs (or maybe not). Two watts per gallon minimum, or just that for a low maintenance tank.

Next comes fertilization, but this should be a ways on down the line, and the subject of another post. I will not go into here, other to say that plants need light, a source of carbon, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, and trace nutrients to grow. Skip all this for now and just change the water once or twice a week. You will be fine.
 

Dec 29, 2002
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Indiana
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#5
thanks guys for the info. :) took the old man with me to PetsMart yesterday to pick out some plants....sadly though, they all looked...eaten...I know there isn't a thing as an underwater catipilar(sp) besides the fictional name of "fish" so we only assumed the plants themselves had some sort of disease. 6 tanks all tied together with one filter, essentially 6 tanks sharing the same water. Real neat setup, just I'm thinking with one bad plant it spread to them all :( so until I can get the info I need, the places to go for healthy plants...I just got the plastic variety....lol...though they look very nice, I love the slight sway they have with the current, kind of realistic looking