Converting to a jungle style tank

sappers21b

Hi I am planning on converting a standard 20 gallon tank from plastic plants to a jungle style. My main issue is that I have never tried live plants.
 

ruud

I know the feeling. I've never tried plastic plants; seems like a lot of maintenance.
 

sappers21b

Yes and no I would just buy a bunch clean em and pl as ce em
Place
 

RogueFebreze

once you get live plants you'll never go back. they look awesome and they do wonders for keeping your fish healthy. just make sure to keep light and nutrients balanced to prevent algae problems
 

ruud

Same as I do with live plants; buy em, rinse em and place em ;)

My recommendation for beginners who worry about maintenance is as follows:

Place slow growing, shady plants in or just above (rhizome plants) substrate, along with floating plants. Floaters create shades and also serve the jungle feel you like to create.
If you see to it that you have at least 3/4 of surface area covered with shady plants from the very start. you have a maintenance-free jungle from the start. You only need to trim or take out some of the floaters every month.

To avoid spending a fortune, purchase a couple of java fern mother plants and place em completely loose in your tank (they will sink to the bottom) or tie em to wood or a rock (or stick em between branches like I do); this should cover at least half of your surface area.

The reason why many people struggle with planted tanks is that they start off with just a handful of plants, along with active soil (release nutrients), very bright lights, additional fertilizers, (and too many fish); disaster is waiting to happen.

With shady plants, you don't need to go into all that stuff (special lights, active soil, fertilizers, CO2). Many shady plants are rhizome plants that should not be planted in substrate. Crypts are shady as well and do just fine in sand; don't purchase cheap, fine play sand (almost silt), but rather sand that allows water movement in the substrate to take place. Some people mix different sands for a natural look and to ensure they have different grain sizes to enhance water movement.
 

sappers21b

Dont know why I ask questions at the pet store they told me to embed the ferns
 

ruud

Dont know why I ask questions at the pet store they told me to embed the ferns
At my local pet store they tell me it is fine to put 12 tiger barbs in a 10 gallon tank...
 

JavaMossMan

Java ferns, java moss, crypts, and amazon sword plants. Can't go wrong with those. If you have hard water you can try jungle val. If you have soft water don't get val. Note val. there a few varieties of val. I believe the standard is italian val.

All of the above are easy to grow plants.
 

sappers21b

Tank update
20long
Fish 2angelfish, 2kuhli loaches,2 amano shrimp


16357093156457278711189510622120.jpg
 

TClare

In my case I have to remove floating plants every week, not every month! with water lettuce it’s easy though. And Vallisneria does fine for me in very soft water!
 

StarGirl

Every week in my case! Water lettuce. It is easy to remove when necessary, keeps nitrates really low.

Not true in my case, I have very soft water and val does fine.
I wonder what the exact parameters for Vals are.........I have hard water and they grow prolifically, Dunk2 and mattgirl have soft and they won't grow past a few inches. o_O
 

Dunk2

I wonder what the exact parameters for Vals are.........I have hard water and they grow prolifically, Dunk2 and mattgirl have soft and they won't grow past a few inches. o_O
I’m gonna market it as dwarf Italian Val carpet grass. Never needs trimmed. :confused:


57D1FFE2-9B39-438A-90D0-310246C2FE8E.jpeg
 

TClare

I wonder what the exact parameters for Vals are.........I have hard water and they grow prolifically, Dunk2 and mattgirl have soft and they won't grow past a few inches. o_O
Yes, it is strange, I have read in various places that it needs hard water but it grows well for me. GH 1-2! Perhaps not as fast as yours but it grows long and healthy and sends out runners all the time. It doesn’t always grow where I want it though. In one of my tanks it has started to grow all along the front of the tank, instead of along the back. This tank is virtually covered with floating plants so I guess it is growing where there is more light. That tank just has a sand substrate and I don’t use fertiliser. My big tank has a bit of aqua soil mixed in and stronger light and I do fertilise periodically. It grows faster in that one but is fine in both, plus a new tank I have set up. It is one of the plants that I always have some to spare.
 

Dunk2

Yes, it is strange, I have read in various places that it needs hard water but it grows well for me. GH 1-2! Perhaps not as fast as yours but it grows long and healthy and sends out runners all the time. It doesn’t always grow where I want it though. In one of my tanks it has started to grow all along the front of the tank, instead of along the back. This tank is virtually covered with floating plants so I guess it is growing where there is more light. That tank just has a sand substrate and I don’t use fertiliser. My big tank has a bit of aqua soil mixed in and stronger light and I do fertilise periodically. It grows faster in that one but is fine in both, plus a new tank I have set up. It is one of the plants that I always have some to spare.
I have a Fluval Planted 3.0 light, EcoComplete substrate, dose Thrive C and use API and Thrive C root tabs.

And the Vals (plants pretty much generally) still hate me.
 

TClare

I have a Fluval Planted 3.0 light, EcoComplete substrate, Thrive C, API and Thrive C root tabs.

And the Vals (plants pretty much generally) still hate me.
In theory yours should do better! I only have LED floodlights, not aquarium specific. And the big tank is over 150 gallons, I only bought 5kg of aquarium soil and mixed it with river sand. My pH is around 6.6- 6.8. My tiger lotus has also grown quite big but has never sent any leaves to the top. Plants that are supposed to be easy but have not done well for me include water wisteria, Hygrophila pinnatifida and Bacopa caroliniana. Most others I have tried do well.
 

Dunk2

In theory yours should do better! I only have LED floodlights, not aquarium specific. And the big tank is over 150 gallons, I only bought 5kg of aquarium soil and mixed it with river sand. My pH is around 6.6- 6.8.
That makes me feel much better! :p
 

StarGirl

In theory yours should do better! I only have LED floodlights, not aquarium specific. And the big tank is over 150 gallons, I only bought 5kg of aquarium soil and mixed it with river sand. My pH is around 6.6- 6.8. My tiger lotus has also grown quite big but has never sent any leaves to the top. Plants that are supposed to be easy but have not done well for me include water wisteria, Hygrophila pinnatifida and Bacopa caroliniana. Most others I have tried do well.
My pH is 8.2, GH 15-16, KH 8-9. Go figure. I cant grow stem plants in my 55 but in my 9g Flex I am growing Luds pretty well. Maybe its my Aquasky 2.0 isnt any good for deep.
 

sappers21b

Well I have unexpected guest in my tank can anyone guess what they also got me a bottle of prime
 

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