Rotala Substrate

FancyGoldfish

I am trying to grow rotala in my aquarium but, I am new to growing plants in aquariums. What substrate should I use for my rotala to grow well and what are some necessary supplies to grow rotala successfully? I don’t have a co2 diffuser, will it be needed?

Thanks.
 

Zigi Zig

there is many types of Rotala plants however most of will need substrate that contains major and minor trace elements to nourish aquarium plants for example CaribSea-Eco-Complete. Rotala plants prefers good water quality with pH of 6.0-7.5, hardness of 3-8 dGH and temperature should be between 72 and 82° F. It is a relatively undemanding aquarium plant and in conditions of high light and nutrients with CO2 supplementation, it grows quickly and spreads across the surface of the water. For optimum growth lighting should be 3 to 5 watts per gallon provided by full spectrum (5000-7000K) bulbs. If you new to aquatic plants chose easy plants for beginner aquarium plants like Java Fern, Java Moss, Amazon Sword, Anubias Nana or Java Fern is very popular since it is low maintenance and very beautiful. It can be used in just about any area of the aquarium but still some of those plants will required moderate lights and good fertilizer..
 

Jocelyn Adelman

So, there are many types of rotala, from rotundifolia to Wallachii.... all have very different requirements... can you post a picture or give the exact name for the species so we can help more? The info posted above only applies to some types of rotala.

As for eco complete, it does NOT contain nutrients, but is a high CEC substrate, meaning it can capture spare nutrients from the water column and release when needed to the roots. It is important to know that you do need root tabs with eco complete.

That being said, I have most of my rotala rotundifolia variants in eco complete and the love it, for the more fussy rotalas I use tropica aquarium soil. More often then not you will not be able to grow the more fussy ones without pressurized co2....
 

SeattleRoy

HI All,

Actually Eco-Complete does contain nutrients as you can see from the label below:

39005922314_78ec381162_b.jpg

And as Jocelyn Adelman has stated it is believed to have a fairly high cation exchange capacity (CEC) but I am unaware of any testing of the product to verify that. A high CEC means a substrate can 'capture' nutrients from the water column and make them available to plants in the root zone as well as making some of the nutrients in the substrate available to the plant roots. However, just because a substrate has an abundance of nutrients does not mean that we can forgo using fertilizers. If you look at the label you will notice that none (N-O-N-E) of the macro-nutrients that plants require are in the substrate, specifically nitrogen (NO3), phosphorus (PO4), and potassium (K). It does contain an abundance of micro-nutrients however including some of the most important nutrients to avoid plant deficiencies such as iron, calcium, and magnesium.

When it comes to growing any species of plants the most important aspects for success are: adequate light (bright is not always better!), sufficient nutrients (including a source of carbon), and water that is not excessively hard or soft. As for substrate it can be natural gravel, colored gravel, or nutrient rich as long as the grain size isn't so big that the roots cannot hold the plants and stems in place.

45 gallon, planted tank with natural gravel

25088853193_20ae2ae3ec_b.jpg
 

SeattleRoy

Double Post
 

Jocelyn Adelman

SeattleRoy so, while it does list those, that is the actual composition of the “lava””gravel””pebble”.... whatever you want to call it... not necessarily available to plants on a regular basis...
Aquasoil turns to mush... basically balled up nutrients in some type of “dirt substance”.... eco complete doesn’t break down... it is “lava stone” and the material itself is made of those elements... if you were to bring it all up that’s what you would have left...however, it’s doesn't actually release these elements in quantities necessary for plants, hence the need to add root tabs and liquids for the substrate to store and release those...
(Note I’m using lava stone loosely, don’t have a bag in front of me to reference exact material)
 

SeattleRoy

HI Jocelyn Adelman,

Yes, the nutrients in Eco-Complete are within and on the surfaces of the grains of the substrate. The plant roots, specifically the hair roots, can access those nutrients but as you stated not necessarily in the amounts the plants need for healthy growth. That is why the addition of nutrients by the hobbyist is necessary. ADA Aquasoil, which I believe is manufactured from rice paddy dirt, does contain the macro-nutrients that Eco-Complete does not along with some micro-nutrients but is expensive and does have a tendency to breakdown into a mud-like material after a year or so.....also it is expensive. Personally, I moved to montmorillonite clay (basically heat treated fracted clay) substrates about 7 years ago. They have a very high CEC, contain most micro-nutrients, typically last about 3 years before starting to break down, have a natural look, and are they inexpensive.

20 gallon 8/23

25592957282_8bbea36743_b.jpg

20 gallon 9/10

25087366363_a2e73df2c9_b.jpg
 

Jocelyn Adelman

SeattleRoy may I ask where you get your substrate from? Building a fishroom and adding multiple tanks, would love to try something other then my eco complete (which I love), or my aquasoils (Amazonia, stratum, and tropica). While the growth won’t be comparable to the soils, I need to look at cost effectiveness without a huge impact to plant growth....

OP, sorry for the digression....
Would still love to know which rotala you are wondering about
 

FancyGoldfish

SeattleRoy may I ask where you get your substrate from? Building a fishroom and adding multiple tanks, would love to try something other then my eco complete (which I love), or my aquasoils (Amazonia, stratum, and tropica). While the growth won’t be comparable to the soils, I need to look at cost effectiveness without a huge impact to plant growth....

OP, sorry for the digression....
Would still love to know which rotala you are wondering about
I was talking about
Rotala Indica (Rotundifolia).
 

Jocelyn Adelman

So, rotala rotundifolia is Likely what you have (rarely do people have true indica, more of a collectors plant, good for Dutch scapes, but it’s often sold misnamed).
Rotundifolia is relatively straightforward.... add a root tab to your substrate, and dose ferts. Rotala rotundifolia appreciates good lighting and moderate flow (gently swaying).
 

SeattleRoy

HI Jocelyn Adelman ,

Here is a thread where I talk about the substrate I am currently using in most of my planted tanks.
 

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