Start A Very Low Tech Planted Tank?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Plants' started by cichlid12345, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. cichlid12345Valued MemberMember

    I have a 5 gallon tank that has cherry shrimp, dwarf cajun crays, and an ivory mystery snail. A small bunch of najas grass and hornwort came with the shipment of shrimp/crays. I added it along with a few moss balls into the tank and it has been doing well under diy led lighting with no extra care. It looks pretty and has peaked my interest in live plants for my other aquariums. I have a 30 gallon with a couple angels, a small school of tetras, a few cories, and a hoplo cat. This tank has a standard fluorescent hood. Any suggestions on what I could grow under those conditions with REALLY minimal care? I was considering some banana plants, java fern, anubias, baby tears, swords, or java moss. Can I get some specific instructions on care(if I need to add any supplements to the tank, what I need to add) and what might work? I've always used fake plants up until this point.

  2. KaderTheAntWell Known MemberMember

    Most anubias are low light and pretty easy to care for. That's all I can say for that though as I'm still a novice when it comes to planted tanks.

  3. dansamyValued MemberMember

    I'm going to watch your replies because I'm working on planning a 29g low tech planted tank. I also have a few plants in my 10g that I'm trying to keep alive but I have black thumbs...

  4. BriggsWell Known MemberMember

    Traditionally the easiest to care for are Java Ferns, Anubias and most of the mosses (Java, Christmas, Flame, etc). None of these need high lighting, special substrates (they are tied/glued/wedged in to cracks of hardscape and decorations) or extensive fertilizers. Banana plants probably fall into the same category, but I've never kept them so I'm not 100% sure of their needs. Swords are heavy root feeders, but will do okay in most substrates if you give them root tab fertilizers every so often. I'm assuming you don't mean dwarf baby tears because they are a high tech carpeting plant, but there are at least 4 different plants I've seen called baby tears, so I'd check for and google the scientific name before buying them.

    Since you have the cherry shrimp, I'd look especially close at the mosses. Moss offers a lot of area for biofilm to grow, which is the primary food source for cherries (and most other dwarf shrimp) and will give them cover for hiding from fish you might add down the line. Java fern is a good background plant for filling out your tank and making it look fuller, and anubias comes in a ton of shapes and sizes so you can get a good variety with them.
  5. Ken OoiValued MemberMember

    That's a comprehensive reply. The Java Moss under good lighting conditions will expand until you run out of space.
  6. cichlid12345Valued MemberMember

    Thanks for the great info. I'm going to start with moss, java fern, and maybe some anubias. For the shrimp tank, I'm not sure if I want to attach the moss to the driftwood I have in that tank or a small, flat rock. It will eventually cover everything anyway, right?
  7. Jocelyn AdelmanFishlore VIPMember

    Only thing I would caution is to keep to the plants listed above. A 30gal is pretty deep, when you leave the realm of javas/anubias/most mosses you will need a decent plant specific light to penetrate the depth. Anubias would be the best option. Happily there are a number of different specials which range from tiny to huge, should be able to give your tank interest by mixing the species :)
  8. cichlid12345Valued MemberMember

    Great. I will shop around and start off with just a couple to see how they do. I think my fish will appreciate the additions as well.
  9. -Mak-Fishlore VIPMember

    By baby tears do you mean Hemianthus callitrichoides or Hemianthus micranthemoides? The former is a really high tech plant and the latter is a low tech plant.
  10. cichlid12345Valued MemberMember

    You know, I have no idea. If the hemianthus micro. is the low tech I will be sure to pay attention to the name if I find those. I was actually just looking at shrimp tank setups online and I liked the look of what was described as just "baby tears" in the photo. It was a small leaf carpet along the bottom of the tank.
  11. -Mak-Fishlore VIPMember

    That would be HC, the high tech one. :( H. micranthemoides is commonly call pearlweed and doesn't carpet, unless you spend a lot of time trimming and replanting to give it the look of a carpet.

    Carpeting plants tend to be high tech, but a good alternative is micranthemum monte carlo. I wouldn't say it's extremely low tech, but it's more low tech than things like HC, glossostigma, and probably dwarf hairgrass. I have some growing in a low-ish tech tank with medium lighting, good fertilization, but only occasional excel dosing (however I have algae issues so I will be upping the excel dosing).
  12. cichlid12345Valued MemberMember

    Oh ok. I'll pass on the baby tears all together for now then. I also run an air pump in all my aquariums. Will this be a problem for the amouny of co2 needed for the plants?
  13. -Mak-Fishlore VIPMember

    Perhaps, the surface agitation will cause the Co2 in the water to gas out, so if you do have more in the water than what it would otherwise have it would decrease. However liquid carbon like excel isn't affected by surface agitation.
  14. cichlid12345Valued MemberMember

    Ok, thanks. So do you recommend adding excel maybe on a weekly basis? I think I'm going to start with a small amount of java moss attached to my driftwood, a bunch (about 10) of very small banana plants , and 2-3 anubias nana rhizomes attached to rocks and/or the driftwood also. After looking online, Seachem offers an overwhelmingly large amount of liquid additives (flourish, flourish excel, iron, potassium, phosphate, trace elements, etc.) With the above listed plants in a 30 gallon with an air stone I should only have to add Excel? I just want to make sure I'm understanding. :writer:
  15. -Mak-Fishlore VIPMember

    Excel needs to be dosed daily if you want carbon available to plants all the time, it has a half life of something like 7-10 hours. Since it's a carbon substitute and adds no nutrients, it's not a fertilizer. With the swords you'll want to add a root tab under them, they are heavy root feeders. And your stocking as quite a small bioload, so you probably want to consider at least some light fertilization.
    I wrote this, it kind of gives some insight into what nutrients plants need and such:
    Info Before You Buy Flourish And Ferts In General
  16. cichlid12345Valued MemberMember

    Thanks for all the great info. I'm excited to get started!

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