Calling all plant people! Need help with 20g

pinkfloydpuffer

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So, I have decided I'd like to plant my 20g. It currently has aragonite, but I can switch that out for Ecocomplete if I need to (I have about half a bag of it). I have 40W fluorescent for that tank, so 2WPG. I was wondering what are some good plants to keep in front, middle, and background. I do not have a 'green thumb', so the easier the plant the better. I already know I can keep java moss and java fern alive though. (Great accomplishment, I know ) I have Seachem Flourish and Excel for fertilizers. Is there anything else I should get? Will I need co2 injection? I'm going to be keeping dwarf puffers in there, a BN pleco, and I'm considering a school of cardinal tetras. If that makes a difference. My tap water has a ph of about 7.8. Um... anything you need to know just ask
Thanks for the help, plant people ;D
 

hop2jr

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I would say yes to the CO2 1 2litter bottle DIY should work and dose Seachem Florish Ecel and Florish one or twice a week and that will be fine for the plants. The reason I said yes to CO2 is when you get up around 1.5 to 2wpg an the plants don't have enuff CO2 to eat you will get every forum of algae know to man trust me I know. As for plants java moss can get messy if not tie tight to a rock to start buts easy to care for, I like water sprite grows like a weed ands easy to split, java fern or Lace Java Fern , anacharis, horn worth but can get messy.Good luck post some pice when your done.
 

MissMTS

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Hey Pink,
I did some reading, and you should be able to keep low to med/low light plants in your tank. Here is a link to a good list of plants:


You shouldn't need CO2 unless you go over 2 WPG. I am not sure about dosing with Excel though. Don't dose with Flourish is you use eco complete. If you don't want to use eco complete, you will need to dose with flourish. You don't want to do both though because an excess of ferts and different trace elements can make plants wilt as much as a lack of ferts can. Hopefully some other people will jump in here and give some more advice
 

Nate McFin

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I would say no at first to Co2. You won't know until you have the tank set up. # of plants, KH, PH, and other variables come into play. I am running a 20 gln with 2.4 watts per gallon and I am currently growing a great looking cryptocoryne lutea and what started as 2 amazon swords is now 5 very healthy looking plants. I don't use Co2 or dose with excel. I do use Flourish root tabs as all of these plants are substrate feeders. (Unlike java moss for instance which feeds from the water column). I will be adding 3 microswords and 2 Giant baby tears this weekend and I did order some excel as I do expect at that point to require some form of Co2. (Excel is Co2) I am going with Excel over injection because I have read that getting injected Co2 dialed in on a 20 Gln. set up can be pretty tough and wide PH swings can occur. A chance I am not willing to take for the fish.
Here is a great way to tell if you need CO2 or not. It requires a KH test and a PH test.....(scroll down to the yellow and green chart)



Regarding plant choices- with 2 wpg your choices are pretty open. It just depends on what you like.
 
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pinkfloydpuffer

pinkfloydpuffer

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Thanks everyone. So Ecocomplete + Flourish is bad? Maybe that's been my problem, lol. Oh, and my tap water has a ph of 7.8, it's rather high. Maybe I should get some driftwood to help with that? Do the tannins effect the amount of light the plants get?
 

MissMTS

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Your high pH won't affect plant growth. Mine is 7.8 too and I have not have trouble keeping any plants
 
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pinkfloydpuffer

pinkfloydpuffer

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Um.... what are the ranges for low, med, etc? I don't see that anywhere. Where does 2WPG fall?
 

MissMTS

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2 WPG is the high end of low light. Anything over that is considered medium light and would probably need CO2. As long as you don't go over 2 WPG though you should be fine
 
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pinkfloydpuffer

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Ooh, looky here! A biotope for dwarf puffers!

Native Plants/Biotope

The following is a list of aquarium plants that are native to the India/SrI Lanka region, which is the homeland of Dwarf Puffers. The purpose of this list is to help someone design a Dwarf Puffer habitat using vegetation that would be found in their native areas. This list is not by any means complete, but it may provide helpful guidelines for planting your Dwarf Puffer tank. Please note that the light requirements listed are only the optimum lighting levels for the plants.... most of them will do just fine at lower intensities, they just may not reach their full potential. The light requirement is shown as "Watts Per Gallon" or "wpg". Click on the Scientific Name of each plant to see a photo:


Scientific Name Common Name Light Requirement Difficulty
Aponogeton crispus Crinkled or Ruffled Aponogeton 3.0 wpg Easy/Medium
Aponogeton ulvaceus Compact Aponogeton 2.0 - 3.0 wpg Medium/Challenging
Aponogeton undulatus 2.0 - 3.0 wpg Easy/Moderate
Cryptocoryne beckettiI Beckett's Cryptocoryne 2.0 - 3.0 wpg Easy/Medium
Cryptocoryne walkerI var. lutea 1.0+ wpg Easy
Cryptocoryne parva Tiny Cryptocoryne 4.0 wpg Challenging
Cryptocoryne undulata Undulate Cryptocoryne 3.0+ wpg Medium/Challenging
Cryptocoryne wendtiI Crypt WendtiI 2.0 - 3.0 wpg Easy/Medium
Cryptocoryne willisiI 3.0 wpg Easy/Medium
Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides 3.0+ wpg Easy/Medium
Hygrophila corymbosa Giant Hygrophila 2.0 - 3.0 wpg Easy
Hygrophila difformis Water Wysteria 3.0+ wpg Medium
Hygrophila polysperma Dwarf Hygrophila 3.0 wpg Easy
Limnophila aquatica Giant Ambulia 3.0+ wpg Medium/Challenging
Limnophila sessiliflora Dwarf Ambulia 3.0+ wpg Easy
Microsorium pteropus Java Fern 1.0+ wpg Easy
Nymphaea lotus Tiger Lotus 3.0 wpg Medium/Challenging
Nymphaea stellata Red and Blue Water Lily 3.0+ wpg Medium
Rotala indica 3.0 wpg Medium
Rotala macrandra Giant Red Rotala 3.0+ wpg Challenging/Difficult
Rotala rotundifolia Dwarf rotala 3.0 wpg Medium
Salvinia natans Salvinia 3.0 wpg Medium
Vallisneria tortifolia Twisted Vallisneria/Dwarf Vallisneria 3.0 wpg Easy
Vesicularia dubyana Java Moss 1.0+ wpg Easy




Biotope

For those of you who would like to take it one step further and create an actual Dwarf Puffer Biotope, the following article may be helpful to you:



Southeast Asia Back-Water
By: Robert Paul H.

Southeast Asia is home to many of the fish which are in most demand by hobbyists today. The backwaters of southeast Asia are both slow moving and thick with vegetation. Both above and below the waterline live many ferns and bamboo. The streams are packed with organic matter and stained brown by the iron rich red rocks that cover the bottom. You can recreate this environment with the following guidelines:

PH: 6.0 to 6.5
Hardness: 100mg/liter CaCO3
Temp: 75 to 79 degrees

Plants:

Bamboo Plant, Blyxa japonica
Giant Hygrophia, Nomaphila stricta
Recommended lighting:
3 watts per gallon of water
Substrate:

laterite
sand
red gravel
multI colored stones
pebbles
Suitable Fish:
Tiger Barb, Barbus tetrazona
Siamese Fighting Fish, Betta splendens
Clown Loach, Botia macracantha
Zebra Danio, Brachydanio rerio
Honey Gourami, Colisa chuna
Dwarf Gourami, Colisa lalia
Pearl Gourami, Trichogaster leerI
Paradise Fish, Macropodus opercularis
Red Tailed Black Shark, Labeo bicolor
(Dwarf Puffers!!)
The bottom layer of the substrate should contain iron rich laterite for the plant growth, topped with a mixture of sand and red gravel accented with larger stones and pebbles. Seachem's Flourite is a red clay gravel very suitable for this. To make things more interesting you can alternate to have some exposed areas of sand as well as gravel or rock, however the overall look of the substrate surface should be dark with a lot of red color. Broken pieces of red clay flower pots also make a nice accent. The over all look you are striving for is tall, bushy plants in the background and sides, and a rocky foreground. This simulates the plants growing close to shore while the outer areas are littered with rocks.

Here's the link:

I'll have to look into this, it'd be awesome ;D
 

MissMTS

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Leave it to you to find that, lol.

That would be really cool to do a biotope tank for your puffs Stick with the easy plants though
 
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pinkfloydpuffer

pinkfloydpuffer

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Of course, lol. It lists java moss and java fern!
I have some narrowleaf java fern coming soon, so that can go in there. And I have tons and tons of java moss, which I'd like to tie to my big tree root looking thing. And I could probably do some cryptos. But I probably won't be able to find most of those plants around here.
 

MissMTS

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Try ordering off of aquabid. That is where I have gotten almost all of my plants. Shipping is super cheap. I can recommend some good sellers if you like
 

Nate McFin

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That looks like a great project PFP!
Eco complete and flourish are not a bad thing. Flourish liquid feeds the water column. Eco complete will let some of the nutrients into water column but it may not be enough for Column feeding plants. On the other side heavy root feeders such as amazon swords may require extra ferts in the form of root tabs even with eco complete.
Overdosing ferts can lead to plant problems but will most likely lead to excess green in the form of Algae.
Here is a great deficiency list for plants I found on a post here.
 
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pinkfloydpuffer

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Ah, thank you.

This is rather exciting! Hehe. All these live plants will look wonderful with my big tree stump thing.
 
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pinkfloydpuffer

pinkfloydpuffer

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When I had a crab she loved to live in there. Poor Fletch was scared of the scary monster in the cave.

Looks like I have lots of work ahead of me! Hopefully I don't kill all these plants this time around! ;D

In addition to java fern and moss, looks like these might work:
Aponogeton undulatus
Cryptocoryne beckettii
Cryptocoryne walkerI var. lutea
Cryptocoryne wendtii
Hygrophila corymbosa
 

MissMTS

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Those sound like really good choices I can't wait to see the tank once you put all of the plants in!
 

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