Help! Input on Aquascaping Marineland System 12 PLanted Tank!

  1. K3NN3TH Initiate Member

    Hello all,

    I have a 12G Marineland tank that measures 21"L x 11"W x 18"H. I have normal gravel substrate, and a mopani driftwood that is about 10"L x 3"W x 3"H.

    I'm looking to heavily plant it. The compact fluorescent bulb is only 13W and unfortunately Marineland manufactures only proprietary bulbs so I'm stuck with that, unless I can find some small mountable light that I can add to the canopy, but I'm stuck with more or less low light. I might add that the light shines almost directly on the foreground and front end of the middleground. In this area, plants I have tried seem to grow much better.

    I have tried several plants to varying degrees of success but I admit I haven't been as disciplined in keeping a stable lighting period (now I have a timer) and I haven't used fertilizer or liquid CO2 yet. I'm willing, with a little advice, to try some of these things.

    So my question/request to you is, what combination of plants should I try and in what number? If any of you are experienced at aquascaping maybe you could advise me on specific plant placement. I have read the posts on low light plants and am familiar with that, but there are many options and I have also had some success with moderate light plants, such as anarcharis, camboba, Hornwort, and Scarlet Temple plants (although the leaves fell off but at that point I had a pleco which I don't anymore). So any recommendations concerning anything to do with this I would appreciate.

    Ken
     
  2. Nate McFin Well Known Member Member

    Welcome to fishlore!
    Planting a smaller tank like this ( I know I have one planted!) is a challenge in that we tend to look at bigger plants as being better. In terms of aquascaping though in may not always be best. Putting a sword plant or a large planting of tall plants can quickly overwhelm a smaller tank making it seem even smaller. The best looking smaller planted tanks I have seen use smaller plants with smaller leaves to make the tank appear to be larger. Smaller leaved plants might include Rotala Rotundifola for the background. They have a nice small leaf that is well balanced with that tanks size. I think crypts look great in a tank that size is well. They have the look of a sword without the same overwhelming feel in a smaller tank. For foreground plants I would lean toward mosses on driftwood.
    Note there are alot of other choices as well but remembering the smaller leaves rule is a good place to start looking.
     

  3. harpua2002 Fishlore VIP Member

    I agree with Nate. I'd stay away from sword plants or others that are overwhelming.

    For a background plant, you could try vallisneria (sometimes grows well for me in low light) or crypt spiralis (always works for me in low light). Smaller crypts (I'm not great with plant names) would work nicely in the foreground, and you could add a Marimo ball for something unique if you'd like. Anubias nana "petite" stays nice and small and can easily be attached to driftwood. Java fern is a really easy plant and can be found in several different varieties, needle leaf or lace java are pretty unique looking and very easy to grow. Java ferns can also be attached to rocks or driftwood, as well as java moss. If you like floating plants, try some frogbit or pennywort; either does well in low light for me.

    If you're looking to upgrade the lighting and try the CO2 and ferts and all, the light I linked you to in your other thread has available mounting legs (not included) that you can attach, adjust, and use to mount the light on the top frame of the tank. IMO that would be your best bet for an upgrade; I can't think of any fixture or retrofit kit that would fit in the hood. I run several tanks open top this way with no problems.

    Hope this helps. :)
     

  4. K3NN3TH Initiate Member

    Thanks for the input guys, I think I'm going to try vallisneria as a back drop plant and a combination of crypts and a java fern attached to my driftwood, maybe an anubis nana. I have also heard wisteria can sometimes grow fine in low light.

    I might try my hand at dwarf hairgrass or clovers and see how it goes too.

    Should I put root plants in a small pot with soil or just put them in the substrate and add some fertilizer?
     

  5. harpua2002 Fishlore VIP Member

    I put them in the substrate, but some put them in pots. It's really up to you. :)