Would you recommend plants for a beginner?

Firecracker
  • #1
I'm still waiting for my tank to cycle, it should probably be another week or two.

I really like the look of plants and have read a little bit about them. I was considering getting a "mixed pack" of low-light requirement plants. I have a 30 gallon with a big Parthenon looking thing in the middle, and only wanted a few plants behind it and on the sides.

Is it too much trouble? I kind of think if I'm going to do it I should plant them before I get the fish, right?
 
FishPerson
  • #2
what kind of lighting do you have? Plants need light to grow (obviously) and from what I've heard the higher the wattage you have, the more plants that need more light you can have. I think the minimum for the lowest of light requirements is around 1watt/gallon.
 
plant crab
  • #3
Despite my choosen career as a greenhouse grower, aquarium plants are a whole different animal. I am a total newbie to aqauriums and aqaurium plants, but I've been doing some research into plants. The thing is, its different than being in the garden or the greenhouse, because you have this mini-ecosystem, and all these chemical reactions that are going on just get taken for granted normally.

The light that you use on your aquarium gets dispersed very quickly as it goes through the layers of water. For high light plants, you will need 2-4 watts per gallon. Low light plants will take 1-2 watts per gallon. My recommendation is try out a few low light, easy plants before you start spending tons of money on brighter bulbs. You will need to have your light on for 14 hours a day.

Try stuff like Java Fern and Anubias which are both low light. Spathyphyllum (sold as peace lily on dry land) is incredibly difficult to kill and very tolerant of light levels. You will also want to add a bubbler to the tank - put it on a timer and have it go on at night once your lights go out. When plants are in darkness they begin pulling oxygen back. So this is very important.

Also be aware that some fish, plecos for one (from what I've read, not in my experience) will uproot plants. If you have a heavily planted tank, you may also want to look into a CO2 injector, which can be expensive.

Again, I speak from only a little bit of experience, and a good amount of reading. Unfortunately, experience is everything with plants.

I found a good book at my LFS "MiniEncyclopedia: Aquarium Plants" by Peter Hiscock (ISBN 0-7641-2989-9). It's informative and then also gives you a break down of lots of popular plants - even some floating plants normally used in ponds.

I haven't bought all the crazy equipment yet for a planted tank, because I'm personally not sure if its something I want to invest in. But I'm still learning all this too, playing around with some easy plants. It'd be great to hear feedback from people on their plant experiences.
 
rileyrk190
  • #4
A really easy one ( In my opinion) is java fern. I've had this in my tank for about three months now, but its really taking off. I wedged it into a piece of driftwood, and its growing like a weed. It actually grows plants on itself...maybe that's how it reproduces? I only have basic lighting, and don't do anything special for them. Also, my lfs told me that plecos don't like them because they are ridged, and have a bad taste. I can't however verify this, so does anyone know if that's true?
 
lilsoccakid
  • #5
if your lighting is appropriate for a planted tank, then I would deff go for it, plants are very benifical for an aquarium!
 
Firecracker
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
From what I have read, I think I have enough light for a few low-light plants like the anubias, java ferns and wendtii. I will have to check to be sure but those should work out fine.

I am more worried about the care: Would I be getting in over my head as a beginner with keeping both fish AND plants alive? Or are the plants easy enough?

If I do, I've read to either pot them or to plant them in the gravel with a food tablet. I suppose either will work as well?
 
King_Snuggles
  • #7
I just started off too. I have two live plants and some fish. the plants don't need anything buyt the right light. the ones you have mentioned will just make your tank more stable and look nice. I say go for it.
 
Butterfly
  • #8
I would very definitely recommend plants for a new fishkeeper or a new tank. They are the first thing I put in when I set up a new tank. Here is a list of low light plants to start with

Here is a list of non-aquatic plants you may run into at the petstore. Beware they will die and pollute your tank.

Plant crab-Spathyphyllum is a non-aquatic plant. They do really well with the roots in the water but not the leaves. The leaves eventually die and will pollute the tank.
Carol
 
Firecracker
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Good to know!

I am lucky to have a well-recommended fish store relatively nearby ... I am sure they will have the correct plants, and healthy ones too. I keep hearing bad things about the plants AND the fish at chain stores so I will probably avoid Petsmart etc.

That is interesting that they even sell non-aquatic plants. I suppose for tanks with frogs in them or something where the plants can stick above water?

At least getting the plants going will give me something to do while I wait for my water to cycle! I am not a patient person!
 
Firecracker
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Oh, another question. In reading other threads:

If I had a pleco AND a lightly planted aquarium, how much if any vacuuming should I expect to do? If I have only a few plants would it be easier to pot them to keep tank maintenance simple?
 
plant crab
  • #11
Butterfly - Thank you for the tip on the spath - I will take mine out asap. I figured it was safe as I had seen it mentioned in several books as an aquarium plant - but if its going to pollute my tank - no way!
 
Butterfly
  • #12
Butterfly - Thank you for the tip on the spath - I will take mine out asap. I figured it was safe as I had seen it mentioned in several books as an aquarium plant - but if its going to pollute my tank - no way!
The Spathyphyllum most people try to put in their tanks is commonly called Peace Lily. The roots do very well in the water with the leaves above the water.
The Spath sold by LFS is usually Spathiphyllum tasson which is commonly called Brizilian sword which is also a non-aquatic.

carol
 
susitna-flower
  • #13
Oh, another question. In reading other threads:

If I had a pleco AND a lightly planted aquarium, how much if any vacuuming should I expect to do? If I have only a few plants would it be easier to pot them to keep tank maintenance simple?

I wouldn't get a pleco for a 30 gallon tank unless it is a bristlenose pleco. They grow to 4-5 inches, and will not produce the waste a common pleco will.

To answer the question though, you should vacuum all tanks, if it is heavily planted, you can swirl your water then hold the vacuum over the gravel. If you are lightly planted, run the vacuum through the gravel except where the plants are. Be sure to pick up decorations up and vacuum the gravel well under them.

Since poison gas pockets can build up in gravel, you either have to disturb it every few days by poking something down in the gravel, or have MTS snails in your tank, they travel through the gravel and do this job for you. Beware however not to overfeed your tank, or you will have a snail explosion!
 
Firecracker
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
yes, the bristlenose is the one we are going to get. I don't want to get a bunch of cories and I don't plan on getting a bigger tank right now ... it will take me a while to talk my fiance into another tank.

What is a MTS snail?
 

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