Plants And Geophagus

  1. Discusluv Well Known Member Member

    I will be setting up a 180 gallon tank soon with geophagus species and was planning on planting about 1/3 of the tank with Vallisneria, Hairgrass, and Nymphaea- it will be low-tech.

    My question is, firstly, should I just not bother planting this tank at all being that they are geo's and they filter through the substrate continuously?

    I really want some plants in it, but I don't want to be unrealistic.
    However, if you think that it is doable, planting around 1/3 of the tank, what type of soil should I use? I am getting so confused with the different types: ADA, Eco-complete, Fluvel...

    When I placed a layer of soil down, could I then top it with something like gravel and then top the gravel with a deeper layer of sand? Or, would the geo's just upend this in the long-run.
    Do you have another suggestion?
    @BeanFish , @ashenwelt, @KinsKicks, @Zahc or anyone else who would like to jump in.
     
  2. vikingkirken Well Known Member Member

    You might be able to do a planted tank, lots of people manage it with geos. But the dirt is a BAD idea. I had three juvenile guianacaras (1-1/2 - 2" long) in a tank that is about half dirted with sand cap, and half just sand. They dug straight through the sand to create pits in the dirt below, and there was dirt everywhere... they also managed to burrow around small rocks, even toppling a small cave in the process. If you want plants, I'd just stick with sand. Or join me in experimenting with burying lava rock pieces around the base of my plants--I'm hoping my plants will send enough roots into the lava rock to hold them in place, and also that the rock will trap nutrients for the plants better than sand would. I also have a sword plant in a pot, and rocks around the base of my rooted plants. It's only been a few weeks, so I can't claim success yet... but so far so good.
     

  3. BeanFish Well Known Member Member

    I know very little about big fish. I dont know how bad they would uproot stuff. I wouldnt use dirt just to be safe tbh. The last thing you want to see is brown water.
     
  4. ashenwelt Well Known Member Member

    So whatever the lower substrate it would need a heavy cap. Now I do not know these fish. But heavy caps can be incredibly effective or heavy substrate with maybe a layer of coconut fiber to allow rooting but make sure you keep it planted during cycling and trim the roots pre-planting. And let those roots grow.

    A few companies sell the rooting media like coconut fiber... I would use it under the cap.
     

  5. Discusluv Well Known Member Member

    @ashenwelt oh, okay! I was watching a video on Caribsea today and they had a material called Rhyzomat that seems to be similar to what you are describing of the coconut fiber.
    CaribSea
     
  6. ashenwelt Well Known Member Member

    That's one my LFS caries. I would use it in a heart beat.
     
  7. Discusluv Well Known Member Member

    What soil would you recommend under it and to what depth?
     

  8. vikingkirken Well Known Member Member

    Geos will have a glorious time picking apart coco fiber bit by bit... They love rearranging the substrate. My guianacaras love nothing better than moving around dead leaves and random bits in my sand.

    I'm trying to save you the headache I went through! Bark bits everywhere! And mine are still little! Don't do it man! :rolleyes:
     
  9. ashenwelt Well Known Member Member

    Like I said... I have never had these fiah and dont know them. But i would do sand or sand and gravelfor the parts you dont want planted and then I would do something like amazonia under the mat and then burry it under like gravel then sand.

    I have no idea if they will tear it up tho... you could also bury small pots in sand.
     
  10. William_Wallace Initiate Member

    My geos do pretty well in a lightly plant tank. Every once in a while I'll come home to an uprooted plant, but I just replant it. Anubias, java fern, swords have done well in my tank so far. Wisteria is a no go (for me)...also no hairgrass.
     

  11. TwoHedWlf Well Known Member Member

    Haha, Good luck. The only way I managed when I had them was to either put small rocks around everywhere, that meant they couldn't dig up too much of the substrate and dig up the plants. Or to have heavily deeply rooted plants, so that the substrate would spill back into place before they dug deep enough to dig them up. And then put rock around their base.

    Your best bet would probably be to do all of the above, and give the plants time to get well established before adding the Geos.
     
  12. KinsKicks Well Known Member Member

    So that's what the mystery fish was! Eartheaters are so cool!

    Anyways, you could have plants, but you'll have to be a bit more creative.

    If I were to scape it, I'd look for a really nice wood piece, or a couple to intertwine and mix together; Malaysian would be a good choice as they had a stockier build and can have some texture to it in larger pieces. Arrange it so it it creates a semicircle and spans along the sides/corner. This way, you can have a bit of layered substrate (for plant growing) if you want along the side and in the corner in order to grow your Vals. Because of their shape, you could position the wood a lot closer to the sides to prevent any of those large Geophagus from being able to fit and the wood will most likely be too heavily for them to move.

    This will also allow you to try adding Java fern accents on the drfitwood to break up the hardscape if you want and have books and crannies to add the Nymphaea through.

    As for hairgrass, you can use a stainless steel mesh (sandwiched between substarte) to keep the hairgrass in place and eventually allow it to carpet over it as well and get some nifty mats. You could even silicone the mesh to the driftwood/hardscape if you want the carpeting effect closer to your hardscape and make it all one piece so its harder for them to nudge it loose if the get diggy

    OR

    If you find a large enough centerpiece/s (to the effect of a bridge or something), you could still use plants that attatch to the driftwood, push it closer to the back, and have vallisneria along the back or in the closest corner

    OR

    Do a total lava rock (or regular rock) hardscape and use attatching plants and nymphaea to accent it

    (I hope this makes sense lol!)
     
  13. Zahc Well Known Member Member

    I would agree with mostly everyone else. Go planted, but stick to hardy well rooted plants or rhizome plants, kind of like the ones you have in mind (swords, val, anubias, java fern, mosses, crypts) and let them get their root systems established before adding the geophagus. I doubt Hairgrass will work i'm afraid, and in a geophagus setup, lots of bare sand is better than a carpet.

    I have never actually tried to use soil in a planted tank yet, so I have no experience there, but I wouldn't go in that direction either personally, as others have said. Root tabs and a very fine sand would be much better.

    Whatever you chose to do, i'm really eager to see this tank planted and stocked!
     
  14. grantm91 Well Known Member Member

    What about elodea, it gives a good effect, needs little to no care and grows its self, i just put some in the 120 as i wont be bothered when i have to re plant it when my parrots dig it up, had in my 55 since i started it, its fish proof. 9b08632987507205bd3da88280b2047e.jpg
    And literally just put it in here 43fb736ce33f0e0c292177517cfe4062.jpg

    Obviously I'm not your fancy pants planted type of guy, just easy stuff, especially when you have destructive fish.