Adding Plants To Established Tank

Tio
  • #1
I have a 55 gallon tank everything is running good the fish are healthy .I have platties tetras and mollies and I want to add some real plants.how do you add plants to an tank without empting the water?are their plants thatI could add that would not require a substrate under the gravel?one last question,do you need to treat the plants before adding them so not to add some unwanted critters?thanks from bradford.
 
jsalemi
  • #2
You could add live plants pretty much anytime. It's easiest to do when the water level is lower, so you could do it when you do your regular water change.

If it's an established tank, there's probably some nutrients in the gravel already that the plants can use. If not, you can add some 'root tabs' that will give them extra nutrition until they establish themselves.
 
susitna-flower
  • #3
HI Tio, WELCOME to FISHLORE, I haven't seen any official welcome yet, so just wanted to say HI and let you know 1967 wasn't THAT long ago. Do you REMEMBER that far back

Main thing that you will need to do before adding plants is REASEARCH, the plants. is a good site. You have to buy plants according to the light requirements of the plants, and the lighting you have for your tank.

Check out Isabellas planted 75 gallon tank, you can see some pictures she just posted with her angel fish. Her tank is SOooooo lovely, you can see the black eco-complete she uses for substrate, it is coarse black sand, packed with minerals and nutrients for plants, as well as beneficial bacteria to help cycle your tank. Of course this is a whole different issue of tearing your tank down if you added it, but just thought you would like to see some great tanks to give inspiration.....
 
fordtrannyman
  • #4
I have a 55 gallon tank everything is running good the fish are healthy .I have platties tetras and mollies and I want to add some real plants.how do you add plants to an tank without empting the water?are their plants thatI could add that would not require a substrate under the gravel?one last question,do you need to treat the plants before adding them so not to add some unwanted critters?thanks from bradford.

Yes, you can add plants to plain inert gravel without emptying the tank.
As long as the plant does not require a nutrient rich substrate.
It's also possible to change the substrate using Eco Complete without tearing down tank.
If you get the plants from a reliable source then (known members) then it's usually no worry. Besides a few snails are actually viable contributors to a healthy planted tank.

Take a look at If you haven't already
 
Tio
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
thanks I was all over plant geeks already saw anothe post here refering someone there(great site would never found it on my own).I bought 3 small plants for now (they have very large names)that the employee at Big Als recomended would be a good plant to start with.they can be planted right into the gravel.the plants are doing well but my 2 plecos I got a the same time both died 3-4 days latter they were doing well they clean most of the tank it looks spotless.trying to figure what happened to them.the rest of my fish are doing well and breeding even,have baby platties swimming arond in the new plants.
 
fordtrannyman
  • #6
thanks I was all over plant geeks already saw anothe post here refering someone there(great site would never found it on my own).I bought 3 small plants for now (they have very large names)that the employee at Big Als recomended would be a good plant to start with.they can be planted right into the gravel.the plants are doing well but my 2 plecos I got a the same time both died 3-4 days latter they were doing well they clean most of the tank it looks spotless.trying to figure what happened to them.the rest of my fish are doing well and breeding even,have baby platties swimming arond in the new plants.

Do you know the short common names? How much lighting do you have?

As for the Pleco's, it's hard to say. IME when first starting out with tropical fishkeeping. I couldn't keep a pleco alive for more than two weeks to save my life. I've since learned that there are several different species, along with cold water species. There are also some very unhealthy breeding practices among farms. I would suggest just doing a little scientific research into the species you like and acquiring that species from a reputable LFS, not a chain store.
 
Tio
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
they are low light plants ,right now I have just 2 ,2 foot white lights.I am in the process of making a custom canopy for my tank with 2 four foot plant and aquarium lights and the 2 two foot white lights plus a couple of blue leds for night time.not sure of the common name for the plants were,was told they are a good to start with.one looks like Cryptocoryne walkerI I believe that is the name and Cryptocoryne x willisiI (Lucens) I think is the common name.the plecos were albino chocolate plecos
 
Fishyfish28
  • #8
I'm fairly new to freshwater aquariums (any aquarium, really). We set up a 75 gallon aquarium a few months ago and fish are doing well, and I'd like to add live plants but am not really sure where to start. This week I put in a couple of dwarf amino as, an amazon sword, and some water wisteria. I have an LED light (Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light Plus Moonlights) from amazon, so I think I'm good on lighting, but need help with the rest. I'm really confused by the whole CO2 diffuser and how necessary that is or what I need. Recommendations for fertilizers, root tabs, etc...?
 
Mootang
  • #9
Subscribed as these are questions I also have
 
bizaliz3
  • #11
Seachem root tabs, seachem flourish Excel (co2 supplement) and seachem flourish as a fertilizer. That's all I use for my low tech planted tanks.
 
Joeyblaze88
  • #12
Great question by fishyfish. I think this is something many people, including myself are curious about.

So basically, in a well lit tank, one should:

- add root tabs to the substrate every few months

- dose the tank with seachem flourish after every water change

- does the tank with seachem excel after every water change.

Do I have that right?
-
 
el337
  • #13
Welcome to the forum

What's "dwarf amino as"? The two others you have are low light low tech plants and wouldn't likely need any ferts or CO2. If anything, you could add a root tab next to the sword because they are root feeders. Wisteria can be planted or left to float.
 
MJDuti
  • #14
Plants are fun, and a whole other beast. Congrats on the tank and welcome to FishLore! Lots of helpful people here. I'm no plant expert but have had my fair share. I too have the Finnex Planted+ LED fixture and it works great for low-med light plants. I forget the name of one of my plants but it's keeping the red coloration in it's leaves. I've seen it brighter red in brighter light but I think it looks good.

If you start researching plants, which you should, you'll probably get 2 questions to every 1 answer. There's a TON of info and things that are involved. However, there are easier low light plants and very demanding plants that require certain parameters, ferts, lighting, etc. You really just need to research each one, as even with sword plants there are different types. Basically there are three types of plants, ones that root themselves in the substrate (like your sword), ones that attach their roots to objects in your tank, such as wood, rocks, etc (like Java fern), and floating plants that are pretty self-explanatory (like frogbit). Some feed mainly through their roots, others through their leaves.

I have never run a CO2 drip but there are a lot of simple DIY projects out there that may save you some money. You could also use Seachem Excel, which is a liquid form of CO2. I use it. It can also be used as an algaecide. As for ferts, there are micros and macros. I can't list all of them but I use Seachem Flourish AND Seachem Trace, which is a good mix of both. I have only used specific minerals if I notice a deficiency. And I would get root tabs for any heavy root feeders, like your sword.

Also we're fanatics when it comes to photos. So if you can post a pic of your tank it'd be greatly appreciated. What's it in btw?
 
col7on
  • #15
I have the same light on my 60 for Amazon swords and a large anubias I use flourish and root tabs
 
BlackTeeShirt
  • #16
Planted tanks are awesome! There are tons of benefits to the plants, and it adds another element of excitement.

I've done several planted tanks, and I found early on that starting with low tech (simple lighting, fertilizer, and no CO2) is much less expensive and more forgiving. Low tech compatible plants are commonly hardy and allow you to learn methods and techniques at a comfortable pace. You already chose some decent plants to work with.

As far as CO2, the setups can be relatively simple, all the way to extremely advanced. CO2 systems can make a tank pop, but it's not completely necessary unless using high lighting, and high demand plants.
 
75 Gallon
  • #17
My plants grew awesomely just with seachem root tabs. Lights on a decent amount of time, plants are in gravel, and they grow like mad.
 
LadyRae425
  • #18
Following for the info
 
Fishyfish28
  • #19
dwarf amino as = dwarf anubias --darn autocorrect. Thanks for the input!
 
el337
  • #20
That would be another low light plant that doesn't need anything to thrive. Just make sure the rhizomes are not buried.
 
Fishyfish28
  • #21
Thanks MJDuti. I was confused about all the fertilizers...flourish, trace, excel, root tabs, and what I need. It sounds like a combination of a few will work best since they all provide something different for the plants.

I will get some pictures up soon! I'm a little embarrassed that it doesn't look like much yet though! I'll keep you posted.

Thanks again!

el337 I know this sounds silly...but how do I keep the plant from just floating around while it's establishing? I would like it to root on something.
 
MJDuti
  • #23
fishing line or small rubber bands to keep things tied to object. For rooted plants they make "plant weights", which is just a cheap metal bar that can bend and break into smaller pieces if needed. Don't know what it's made out of, but they don't rust. Rooted plants can be a pain sometimes, especially after your tank is established with plants
 
Fishyfish28
  • #24


Ok makes sense. Do you guys know what is going on with all these green strands in the gravel? They showed up after I put the plants in last week. I also added a pleco and a few tetras a few days before.

Also, has anyone used flourish glue for attaching plants?
 
aniroc
  • #25
Looks like fish poop.
 
Fishyfish28
  • #26
there's TONS of it...its on all of the gravel. I had zebra danios and cory cats already in the tank and didn't have any of this until adding the tetras and pleco. but this is normal?
 
BlackTeeShirt
  • #27
I've never seen fish poo that green. If it's spreading fast, I'm concerned that you might have BGA (blue green algae) cyanobacteria. Do you recall how the tank you got the new plants from looked?

I could be way off, so if anyone has other ideas, please chime in.
 
Fishyfish28
  • #28
I bought the plants from petsmart in packaged plastic tubes (TopFin) and rinsed them before I put them in. My tank did have some green algae in the back of the tank on the glass, that actually cleared up completely this week. The tank overall looks much brighter and clearer than it ever has. I'll do a water change tomorrow and see what happens.
 
BlackTeeShirt
  • #29
I bought the plants from petsmart in packaged plastic tubes (TopFin) and rinsed them before I put them in. My tank did have some green algae in the back of the tank on the glass, that actually cleared up completely this week. The tank overall looks much brighter and clearer than it ever has. I'll do a water change tomorrow and see what happens.
I'd do a good gravel vacuum to see if it can be removed and keep a close eye on it. If it starts turning into goopy/slimy looking strands, that's when it's time for concern.
 
Brittany Rismiller
  • #30
HI friends. I have had my 50 gallon tank up and running for a year and a half. My substrate is sand and I've been growing water wisteria, a couple cryptocorynes, anubias, and another plant I forget the name of which is growing almost better than the wisteria (2 pics of it attached). From my experience so far, plants that take nutrients from the substrate do not do well in my tank, such as an Amazon sword that I've had since I first got my little 5 gallon 2 years ago, it's definitely diminishing. It seems that plants that take nutrients from the water column do best in my tank. What other plants should I add? I have an opaline gourami who loves to hide so I need more foliage for her. Thank you for your help!
 

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JenC
  • #31
Are you regularly fertilizing the substrate with root tabs?
 
Brittany Rismiller
  • #32
Are you regularly fertilizing the substrate with root tabs?
I have been burying root tabs but what is regularly? Like every 3 months, 6 months?
 
kallililly1973
  • #33
I think they reccomend every 2-3 months
 
Brittany Rismiller
  • #34
I think they reccomend every 2-3 months
When I first buried some I put way too many in and I waited about 6 months before I even thought about burying more. I just put 2 in earlier today after a partial water change, one by my amazon sword and one by green cryptocoryne. I also use Seachem Flourish and Aquarium Co-op Easy Green and Easy Iron, but use them sparingly so as not to overdo it. Maybe I'm not dosing frequently enough? My tall plants seem to be doing very well with what I'm dosing but I would love for my 2 cryptocorynes and amazon sword to flourish too.
 
kallililly1973
  • #35
you can cut the root tabs in half. I like to put a piece on each side of my swords. I don't have any crypts ( only bloods Joking ) but I also dose Thrive and seachem iron , potassium and excel on ocassion
 
JenC
  • #36
I do the same as kallililly1973, often breaking root tabs into halves or pieces. Big, heavy-feeding plants like tall swords or tiger lotus might get a half or whole tab every 2-3 months. Smaller root-feeders like dwarf sag and s. repens just get fragments every several months.

Plants can grow really well in sand if you find the right balance of fertilizers so I wouldn't give up on them yet. Maybe trim off the bad leaves and set a reminder every two months to feed some root tabs. They were probably hungry for nutrients if it's been six months since they were fed, so they might perk up very soon with the tabs you just gave them.
 
Brittany Rismiller
  • #37
I do the same as kallililly1973, often breaking root tabs into halves or pieces. Big, heavy-feeding plants like tall swords or tiger lotus might get a half or whole tab every 2-3 months. Smaller root-feeders like dwarf sag and s. repens just get fragments every several months.

Plants can grow really well in sand if you find the right balance of fertilizers so I wouldn't give up on them yet. Maybe trim off the bad leaves and set a reminder every two months to feed some root tabs. They were probably hungry for nutrients if it's been six months since they were fed, so they might perk up very soon with the tabs you just gave them.
Ok thanks a lot. I do use homemade root tabs, with osmocote so I guess the only way to "cut them in half" would be to open the capsule and dump half out.
 
Brittany Rismiller
  • #38
I bought a moneywort plant yesterday, I have heard these do well in most tanks. If this one thrives I'll definitely get another 1 or 2. Does anyone know the name of the plant in the last 2 pics with the large leaves? I am pretty sure when I bought it the employee didn't know and it wasn't marked (I'm pretty good at remembering names of things especially if I like them). This plant does AMAZING in my tank. And it's perfect for my opaline gourami.
 
JenC
  • #39
Does anyone know the name of the plant in the last 2 pics with the large leaves?

It looks like my hygrofila but I'm not good at plant IDs so listen to anyone else's ID before mine. What I will say is that my hygro grows like crazy and I'm constantly cutting it to replant or even throw away. It's a crazy grower.
 
SFGiantsGuy
  • #40
That's the same plant that I have: Hygrophila Corymbosa Siamensis, or Narrow leafed Temple Plant. And FYI, Swords tend to grow a lot slower in harder water with a higher GH/KH like my water here in Colorado. And also sometimes Swords take a "pit stop style break" to focus growing their roots as well. And in addition, Swords are MASSIVE root feeders, as the best way that I measure just how many root tabs to utilize as follows: leaves about 3-4 inches/newer plant= HALF a root tab. 6 inch leaves= ONE root tab every 2 months. Any leaves that are established over 6 inches? I dose TWO root tabs every 1-2 months and so on. ANd if it's a HUGE mother plant, she would get TWO root tabs monthly! : )

Temple plant after only 9 days; about 3 inches from only just over a week: (the left center plant)

I could be incorrect though about your plant though! So I could be mistaken. So maybe give your Sword more food, to kick it back into gear from its “pit stop” style break...it’ll likely and eventually come around and snap out of it soon...mine did the exact same thing 3 weeks ago. I actually use a tiny, thin bit of tape, attached to the side of my 29 gal, to easier and more accurately measure and determine daily plant growth, as well as iPhone photos.
 

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