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Green thumb needed.

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Green thumb needed.

Post by Better than Betta on Tue 10 May 2011 - 0:27

Hi everyone.....Is keeping plants alive in your tank pretty involved? I can never successfully keep plants alive even having the right plant light. Algae is the only thing that grows well in my tanks and some indoor plants. I know one person who had rainbows in his tank and ribbon grass grew everywhere. It looked so beautiful like a Kelp garden. He said by putting clay in the bottom of his tank and then gravel kept his plants healthy. Do any of you do that? I thought that would be a no no as it could harbor dangerous bacteria.
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Re: Green thumb needed.

Post by KalandraJane on Tue 10 May 2011 - 4:20

Any soil you buy pre-packed will have been UV sterilised by the packer. Sand, gravel etc. will all be sterilised when you rinse them in chlorinated tapwater before adding them to your tank. Clay is not a good base substrate for growing plants, it's too dense to allow the roots to grow freely and is a relatively poor source of nutrients. Normal topsoil, compost or special aquarium growing medium would be far better, about a 2" layer topped with 1" of sand or gravel works well.

To be honest though, you only need that sort of setup if you plan on having a very heavily planted tank or growing difficult species. Many common aquarium plants such as Amazon swords will thrive in just a gravel substrate, or you could have floating plants such as frogbit, or plants which grow tied to wood such as anubias. Java fern is the easiest plant, you can either tie it to aquarium d├ęcor or sit it on the gravel where it will root, it reproduces easily and is undemanding. If you get plants but worry about them thriving, you can buy aquarium fertilisers in liquid or tablet form which are easy to use.

If you have algae, you know you have enough light and nutrients in the tank to grow plants. Here's a pic of my boyfriend's planted tank. He uses compost topped with sand, occasional liquid fertiliser and has a homemade CO2 system based on fizzy drink bottles full of yeast! The plants are all common varieties. You could easily have a good looking tank without these extras though Smile

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Re: Green thumb needed.

Post by Better than Betta on Tue 10 May 2011 - 10:53

That looks amazing....now thats what I would like in my tanks. adore I have no idea what names go with what plant. Amazon sword is that the large plant in the back left hand corner? and the Java fern, is that the one in the middle at the back? Sorry for all the questions .......If you put compost down first does it need to be treated? in case it has chemicals or fertilizer in it. You need a co2 system?.....how does that work? scratch
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Re: Green thumb needed.

Post by Nataliey on Tue 10 May 2011 - 17:41

Thats one stunning tank Kalandra Love
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Re: Green thumb needed.

Post by KalandraJane on Tue 10 May 2011 - 22:30

Back left is Amazon sword, the one in front of it is pygmy chain sword, centre back is java fern, in front of it tied to the stick is some anubias nana, back right with the crinkly leraves is aponogeton crispus, the fluffy plant is water wisteria, and front right with the broad leaves is another aponogeton species. The floating one is frogbit, and there are moss balls at the front.

You don't *need* a CO2 system but if you're serious about a heavily planted tank it'll really help them thrive, it's really not necessary when you're starting out though. There are loads of different setups, I don't understand it fully, that's his department Wink

I think it would say on the bag if compost contained added fertiliser or anything, so you'd just need to buy one without, something all-natural like peat. You can also buy something called laterite which is a specialist nutrient-rich plant growing aquarium substrate, it's expensive but you could mix it with a cheaper soil or compost before topping it with sand or gravel. It's important to fill the tank slowly and let it settle so that small particles from the lower layer don't get into your water too and cloud it up.
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Re: Green thumb needed.

Post by Better than Betta on Wed 11 May 2011 - 2:23

KalandraJane wrote:Back left is Amazon sword, the one in front of it is pygmy chain sword, centre back is java fern, in front of it tied to the stick is some anubias nana, back right with the crinkly leraves is aponogeton crispus, the fluffy plant is water wisteria, and front right with the broad leaves is another aponogeton species. The floating one is frogbit, and there are moss balls at the front.

You don't *need* a CO2 system but if you're serious about a heavily planted tank it'll really help them thrive, it's really not necessary when you're starting out though. There are loads of different setups, I don't understand it fully, that's his department Wink

I think it would say on the bag if compost contained added fertiliser or anything, so you'd just need to buy one without, something all-natural like peat. You can also buy something called laterite which is a specialist nutrient-rich plant growing aquarium substrate, it's expensive but you could mix it with a cheaper soil or compost before topping it with sand or gravel. It's important to fill the tank slowly and let it settle so that small particles from the lower layer don't get into your water too and cloud it up.

You're a gem thanks for that information thumbup
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Re: Green thumb needed.

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