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Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:40 pm
by Crazygar
Depends if you want your plants to root. I've tried planting and adding fish at the same time and I ended up with a lot of floating plants and replanting before I removed the fish to another tank until the plants took root. My "Paradise" tank only had Otocinclus and Red Cherry Shrimp for 4months.

Gary

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:59 am
by cpardy
Here it is:
Image

Well my lack of patients, and lack of funds to buy another filter and heater has forced me to put the loach into the tank. (not to mention my mother wanting her living room back without fishy stuff all over it) SO he's in there... and seems quite happy, he's been gental and hasn't up rooted anything yet. Now the cat, on the other hand is going to be my nemisis. The tank is her new TV seeing her friend the loach in there, and has been trying to go fishing in the holes at the back of the hood. I'm more afraid of her catching the plants and tearing them up. We'll see. She'll eventually get bored by it and move on to something else.

Thanks for the identifications of the plants. Heh, I thought that one was one plant with a pretty long name. How long does it take to tell if the plants aren't happy?

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:54 pm
by Crazygar
All depends. Looking at that tank, I'm guessing a nice acidic conditions (pH >7.0). Most of your plants will do fine in such conditions, I'd just worry about the Loach in this type of environment, as they prefer more Neutral (7.0) to slighly alkaline conditions (7.1 - 7.5) when it comes to water pH.

Observe them for about 2 weeks, they should start throwing off new shoots, runners and leaves if things are ok. Keep up on the water changes weekly though.

Gary

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:26 pm
by Plantkeeper
Great start for you first planted tank!

You say your intent was to spend no more than 40 bucks, did you?! That plant list is a bit, how do I say, undeserving for the amount of money you spent if you did.

Not saying that you did not get decent plants, just seems a bit on the expensive side.

Your tank is just screaming for some nice anubias to fill in some areas. Nice, no fuss, easy plant. Just tie them on something and thats it! I think I have some extra I can part with, they are yours if you like. I will check and see what I have, all I would ask is for shipping... and I think I may have some other stuff you can play around with. I know I have some needle lead java fern plantlets you can have (same thing, just tie them to something and thats it). I have some moss you can play with too.

Just shoot me a message if your interested.


From what I have read from fresh fishy (LOL, that name kills me Laura), and some of the other members here, it looks like they have given you the crash course info for sure.

The key element that is really the most important (and in my opinion is the driving element of High or Low Tech setups) is Lighting. Good consistent lighting is all you need. You don't need to bang 500 watts for 12 hours to have a nice planted tank (altough, you can grow some serious plants under 500 watts...lol). Lower light tanks can be quite stunning if you are patient. Patience is really the key.

Some thoughts and analogies for you to use as you explore this end of the hobby...

Lights are the driving force. The plants will adjust to the lights and "attempt" to photosynthesize as mush as it can under the lighting its given. Once it begins to "use the light", it requires various nutients to actually photosynthsize (like we need food to walk and do things, so do plants).

Key nutrients:

1. Carbon - we use CO2 to provide this nutrient. This can be absorbed from the atmosphere directly or from respiration of fish, but can be the biggest limiting factor. Not enough CO2 for the plants to uptake, your plants will not grow well and perhaps not at all. Period. You will have very nice algae though! CO2 can also be injected, as is such once you achieve a point where the "normal tank" conditions do not provide it sufficiently. Injection can be done by pressurized Co2 canisters (such as the similar type of setups used for beer and soda distribution in bars and restaurants), but you can also make your own DIY CO2 mixture. Not as stable as a pressurized setup, but usually a great compliment to a low light environment and one I always reccomend for someone to get stated with. There are supplemental alternatives like Seachem Excel and others... but I don't rely on them as a sole source and have my own reasons for doing so.

2. Macros - Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. You may have actually seen "N P K" before if your a gardener... Potassium is the only one that is not really naturally occuring in an aquarium. Nitrogen can be provided from Nitrates, Nitrites and even the famous NH4... (yes NH4 and NO2, plants are great during a tank cycle because they will utilize some of these bad things that we as fish keepers try to avoid). Phosphorus is not naturally occuring, but it does come in trace forms in fish food and such. Under a low light setup, these nutrients N and P can be just enough to provide adequate growth for plants. Just feed the fish, they poop, the "bad stuff" gets gobbled up by the plants. Seems simple enough right? Well, it can be... but the plants may not look spectacular... but hey, you have to start somewhere and this is always the best way to start. Don't stop what you have been doing as a fish keeper. Adjust to what is needed, don't guess at what you need to do. Potassium, whole different story and can be moderatly dosed as needed. There are plenty of mass products (like the Seachem line) that are more then sufficient.

3. Micros and Trace Elements - The weird stuff like calcium, magnesium, and even Boron.... yada yada yada... yea... I don't bother with the fine print here. The most important of these elements is Ca, Mg and Fe. You don't have to test for them, just make sure they are there. If you have Rock hard water, then don't sweat Ca and Mg. Like Potassium, there are plenty of products out there that do all this dosing for you in easy to manage increments.

I am done ranting for now... I got on a role, sorry. But if you want some plants, I am always up for getting a new comer started!!!

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:30 pm
by cpardy
Thanks gmccreedy,

... yeah, I still feel a bit taken on the plants, but that's ok. It's a week later and they're still alive. So I'm feeling a bit better, just REALLY hurt the wallet. But I was like a kid in a candyshop. And these plants really did look healthy, and most are really full. But I don't even spend that on our gardens in the summer. LOL

Oh well....

But Yes, I would be interested in what ever plants you had to offer. I was going to get some moss too... when the penny jar filled back up. Shoot me a PM if you'd like with some more info. :)

The loach, my mom calls him Wormmie... (anyways) is still playing nice in there :) I'll probably be getting some fish next weekend (If I can wait that long, maybe tomorrow)

What's Patients. Lol... I just want it set up and done, so I can be patient watching things grow.

Thanks for all the pointers on the chemistry too :)

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 12:35 am
by freshfish
Glen's got awesome plants, I've gotten tons from him and they're always gorgeous. :thumb:

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:25 pm
by Plantkeeper
You have a PM coming.

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:38 pm
by Crazygar
Its great that you live close enough to access these wonderful plants. Some of us have to have them delivered!

Gary

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:28 pm
by cpardy
:dontknow: Alright, now you two have me confused...

Well I went to the place I buy my fish. And I hate the fact that I can't remember numbers. I went in thinking that last time I looked the cardinals were 3/$3.79 um... right, I was WAY off... I would like to have at least 10-15 but at their price of 3/$9.99 that's not going to happen any time soon. So I left there with three Ottos and an UpsideDown cat (I'm succers for those)

Pretty colors will have to wait.

Is there a place you can buy fish online and it be cheaper?

I guess this hobby is the opposite of owning a boat which is a hole in the water you keep throwing money into. Fishies = a tank of water you keep throwing money into.

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:45 pm
by J.B.
The usual price for Cardinal Tetras around here is $3.79/each, so you're getting a fairly decent price if you are picking them up for 3/$9.99. Concerning on-line buying...if $10.00 for three fish is discouraging, then on-line buying definitely isn't a road you want to venture down. Once you factor in shipping, it gets costly.

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:47 pm
by freshfish
My best advice- research the sources that are available to you very carefully. Spending $3.99/fish for Cardinals that are healthy and won't die on you within the first week is VERY worth it compared to getting some "iffy" stock where you have 50-80% losses. And with Cardinals, this is VERY common.

I spent about $100 for my school of 35. I could have gotten them much cheaper- like $1 each- if I'd been willing to risk getting fish I'd never seen- but I was able to observe these at the LFS for almost 2 months before I got them. I was positive at that point that they didn't have ich or fungus. To date, I've only lost one of the original 35. :thumb:

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:59 pm
by cpardy
Well yeah, that does make sense. I do want to buy them all at the same time too... I like to stop in weekly at my lfs just to see how their tanks look from week to week. I'd also like to get a good group of fish that are schooling together nicely, I used to just pick a few here and there and when I'd put them in my tank none wanted anything to do with each other. I'm still pretty torn on which I like better... the cardinals or the neons. They seem so much alike definately a hard decision. I know I've asked this but are they're any differences other than the red on the bottom stopping short of the belly on the neon?

Another fish I've seemed to fall in love with are the German Rams, does anyone know anything about these? I think I'd want just one though.

Eeeek Help! lol save me from insanity!! :scared: :P :cheer: :scared:

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 12:05 am
by freshfish
Hehehe- don't worry about the insanity- no use in trying to fight the addiction, just go with it! :D

Cardinals should be kept at higher temps than Neons. Neons prefer low to mid 70s, Cardinals upper 70s to high 80s. If you want to keep a pair of Rams in the tank, then go with Cardinals- Rams also need those warm temps.

IME Rams and Cardinals are a good mix. You'll need to make sure to provide lots of hiding places for the Rams, though- they can get aggressive with each other if one of them is "in the mood" but the other is not. You need decor (caves, driftwood, or plants) that will break their lines of sight- if they can find places in the tank where the other cannot see them, then they can get "breaks" from each other when they need it.

IME the best way to spawn Rams is to 1) keep up the water parameters, they need super-clean water, 2) feed them very well- especially frozen and live foods if possible, 3) give them someplace to spawn- a sandy area for them to dig a little pit, a big broad leaf, or a flat rock all tend to be good options for them.

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 12:13 am
by Plantkeeper
And to add to Fresh's little list...

They can be easily stressed fish. Avoid irregular changes and upheavels to their environments. Fast darty fish are never a good compliment for Rams... (for instance any danio sp. or rasbora are a bad mix IMO)

Re: Plantkeeping for a Beginner Questions

PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 3:30 pm
by Crazygar
Pencilfish, on the other hand work well. With those Otocinclus you purchased, how mature (how long has the tank been running?) in your tank? Remember, these guys are really sensitive to changes and a non-mature tank will not have enough algae in it for the Otocinclus to eat. If anything, I would suggest supplemental feedings anyways.

Gary