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Old 08-28-2004, 04:59 PM   #1
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help my decision!!

Well i was going to switch over to all live plants but from what i've been reading and hearing it sounds like a lot of work and just as much to learn about the plants as there is to learn about aquariums. My fake plants look nice but real ones i think look better. Are there any nice but low maintenance plants i could put in my 20gal. And a lot of articles are saying you can't use gravel and have to use sand and then you have to layer your substrate with these different minerals and stuff. Wow, just a lot of stuff to keep real plants. A big reason i want to change over is so the tank can support itself and eliminate the nitrates but your still gonna have to do water changes for the plants. And the plastic plants keep getting full of brown algae but no where other than the plants. I'm so tired of doing this. I want the gravel stones like you see in the tanks when you go into petsmart, the nice brown ones. Can you plant real plants in that? Someone please help me make my decision.

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Old 08-28-2004, 06:02 PM   #2
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I started out with all fake plants. Then I got some real ones. Java fern and Java moss. The java moss grew like a weed under 1.5 wpg, but the fern grew slowly. All I had was regular gravel and it worked out okay because I tied the moss/fern to my driftwood. Java moss and fern are some easy low light plants that you might want to consider. Hope this helps.

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Old 08-28-2004, 07:02 PM   #3
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I am also new at the live plants thing, I bought a water sprite and a melon sword about a week ago. I put them right in the gravel. They are alive so far, no sign of dieing. I figured if they stay in ok shape I will get some more.
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Old 08-28-2004, 08:38 PM   #4
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The lighting is the main issue. That's the largest investment upfront. I used the same gravel that was in my 55g when I switched to planted. Today, a couple years since switching, I decided to move a few plants. The root system of the plants that were moved was incredible! I also garden in the yard and from what I can tell the root system was very healthy and the appropriate size for the plant. I'd envourage you to go for the planted tank if you can afford the light investment. I wouldn't try a planted tank without proper lighting. There are several nice looking plants that do well with 1.5wpg of light.

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Old 08-28-2004, 09:05 PM   #5
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Live plants need 10 to 12 hrs of light a day. I just have small grain gravel and I add this liquid fertilizer called Leafzone once a week and my plants reproduce(make lots of small plants) and look awesome! I started with Amazon swords and they are hardy, grow big and kind of fast with good care. Glad your choosing live over fake because there are so many benifits. Plants help w/ algae control, add oxygen, eat wastes out of the gravel, etc. Water sprite is very fragil. Dont get those little bunches of stems plants, they never survive, are a pain, and fall apart. Hope something here helps.
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Old 08-28-2004, 10:56 PM   #6
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yes you have all been very helpful. The girl at petsmart told me live plants will make my brown algae worse. I would have to change my light though. I only have a 15 tube in my hood and sounds like i'd have to jump up to at least 40 watts. Can you even get a tube that high to go in my hood?
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Old 08-28-2004, 11:12 PM   #7
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Forgot to mention as well, the girl also told me that if i put live plants in not only will I have to be more worried about the fish i put in but also about the ones that are already in due to them eating the plants. Is this true?
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Old 08-28-2004, 11:14 PM   #8
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Check out AH Supply for lighting. Great company, reasonalby priced with excellent service.

Anyone wanting to try live plants needs to read Rex Grigg's FAQ here on AA. Another excellent resource is Chuck Gadd's web site. Both of these gentlemen have taken the time to share a wealth of knowledge. All you need to know about plants can be found on these pages.

Research, research, research.....
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