Plants for Beginners

Discussion in 'Aquarium Plants' started by Isabella, Feb 12, 2006.

  1. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    Since we have a new section on plants, I thought maybe I'll add my 2 cents on good beginner plants. Many of you probably already know this, and I have myself learned about this from Fish Lore (from Carol and Gunnie, to be more exact!), but there will be others who don't know but are probably wondering.

    Well, for those interested in plants, and who don't want to spend a fortune on lighting systems, CO2 injectors, fertilizers, substrates, etc ... these 3 plant kinds are best to have: java fern, java moss, and various anubias (plus certain kinds of Vallis will do well under low light as well). These 3 plants are easy to maintain and they don't even need a substrate. They can be simply attached to decor such as driftwood and rocks. They will grow under low lighting (low lighting is your standard lighting bulb).

    Live plants are far better than fake ones. Not only do they use substances toxic to fish (such as ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate) but they also remove heavy metals from water that are also toxic to fish. They help stabilize pH (and pH swings are also very dangerous to fish) and they produce oxygen that is also necessary for fish. So, as you can see, there is really not one reason why you shouldn't have live plants instead of fake ones! :)
  2. EmpPlecoWell Known MemberMember

    i was thinking about adding java fern to my 20 gallon tank, in which i already have a piece of driftwood in there for my pleco to nibble on :D What would be the best way to fasten the fern to the wood? Would I have to do anything special to maintain health of a java fern, and it turn, for the health of my fish? And also, don't I risk creating a snail problem by bringing live plants into my tank? Sorry that there are so many questions, but I am new to all this, and don't know the first thing about live plants... one more thing: I have had stable pH (at 7.2) for 2 months now since I have set up my tank(s). By adding live plants, would i be creating a problem for the proper pH balance?

    Sorry so long!! any help would be appreciated though..
  3. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    You can always ask as many questions as you want :) You will not be creating any problems in your tank by planting it. Plants are great and will help maintain a stable pH. You don't need any special care for java fern. There actually are commercial fertilizers for plants to grow better, but what these fertilizers do is they also encourage algal growth, so it's better not to risk it. Besides, I think java fern will grow just fine without any additives. You can attach java fern to your driftwood by tying it to the driftwood with black cotton. Black cotton is hard to see on driftwood and will break down with time leaving the plant's roots firmly attached to the driftwood and growing by themselves.
  4. EmpPlecoWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks for the great ( and quick !) advice! Now that I have answers to most of these questions I will probably be heading out to my LFS tomorrow! However, what should I do to discourage a snail problem? Because I have heard so many times that people bring home snails on their live plants, and then so struggle with the problem for months, maybe longer...

    And also, is black cotton common? I have never heard of it ???

    Thanks again!
  5. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    It's a regular black cotton thread I am talking about :)

    As for the snails - it is true, there is always a possibility of bringing the snails together with your plants. The snails may be too small to see and this is how they make their way into a tank. There are commercial products in which you can submerge plants before you put them in the tank - this supposedly kills the snails. But I never used that and don't know how it works, nor what effects it would have on fish. And I am usually against any commercial products / chemicals to be used on fish or plants. Maybe someone else can help you this this here.

    What I personally do is I rinse my plants well in my tap water first and then in my tank water - before putting them in my tank. I have never had snails so far. I rinse them in tap water first to get rid of any snails if they're there. And rinse them in tank water for the second time to get rid of any chlorine from tap water that might have accumulated on plants.

    However, you may want to wait for someone else's responses on the topic of how to prevent buying snails together with your plants.
  6. EmpPlecoWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks so much for your help!! The twice rinsing sounds like a good idea, but perhaps i will wait for a second opinion before i dive in head first ;) You have been really helpful :)
  7. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    Anytime EmpPleco! (that is, if I know how to help - I am myself much of a beginner)

    And it's a good idea to wait for a second opinion. Patience can never hurt :)

    Good Luck!
  8. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    you can also use a 1:19 bleach dip to discourage snails and disease. 1 part bleach and 19 parts water, dip for 30-60 seconds rinse well in dechlorinated water then tank water before adding to tank.
    The only thing I can add is that Java fern does not like to be planted in the substrate but will love anything else. Anubias can be partial planted in the substrate but will also attach to rocks, wood and other decor. Java Moss will attach to anything its not particular but will have to be trimmed frequently to keep it from taking over your tank :D
    Would you like pictures of each of those types of plants?
  9. EmpPlecoWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks!!! ;D If you don't mind!! ;)
  10. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    ok here goes ;)
    1) Anubias "coffefolia"
    2)Anubias "nana"
    3 ) java moss in back ground, Anubias "nana" with round leaves, Java fern beside Anubias
    4) my ten gallon that the Java Moss has taken over. ;D

    Attached Files:

  11. not4youValued MemberMember

    I have a question about lighting and low-light plants, would using a higher watt bulb on plants like java moss and java fern result in faster growing or would this harm them?
  12. EmpPlecoWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks for the pictures!! i am going to head down to the lfs this weekend and see if i can get some java fern. Very beautiful plant.. I will let you know how it goes! Thanks again :)
  13. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    With higher light I tend to get more algae on Java moss and Java fern and even the Anubias.
  14. EmpPlecoWell Known MemberMember

    But higher light wouldn't kill them?
  15. not4youValued MemberMember

    But do they grow faster or is it just more algae?
  16. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    probably more algae. But if you want higher lights then shade them with taller higher light plants or with a piece of driftwood.
  17. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    Ok I stand corrected by my favorite plant Guru. He was telling me light does not cause algae, an imbalance of nutrients does.(gotta whip those nutrients into shape)
    and he also said the plants would adjust to higher lighting than they need just not to lower lighting than they need.
    So your free to whip me with a wet noodle for giving you incorrect info ;)
  18. JonWell Known MemberMember

    lol wet noodle... thx for the info do you know how much light is needed for argentine sword? i cant find it on plant geek
  19. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    Beautiful pictures Carol, thanks! Now you made me want these plants even more. But I am still waiting for the spring to come since I'll be ordering these plants online.

    Not4you, Carol is right. It is the nutrients that plants and algae always compete for. The fewer the plants, the more nutrients are available for alage. And the more the plants, the fewer nutrients available foe algae. In other words, the best natural defense against algal growth is a tank planted so heavily that the plants consume all nutrients and there is nothing left for algae to feed on.

    I personally don't think a stronger light would hurt these plants. But I also don't think you should be getting some extra powerful light such as metal halide for these plants. Maybe that would be too much since these plants are adapted to living in low light conditions. They are often found growing in shaded areas in natural environment where they thrive. Since any plants growing in shade grow slower than those exposed to strong lighting, perhaps a bit stronger than a standard light could increase the anubias' or ferns' growth.
  20. JonWell Known MemberMember

    so does anyone know about argentine swords?

    Edit **: found some info on this site lol... says it needs 50 watts per 25 G... does that mean my 15 Watt light in my 10 gallon tank 10 hours per day is insufficient?