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Old 02-09-2004, 08:53 PM   #1
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Thinking about adding plants

Hi all,
I have been thinking about adding plants to my existing 20 gallon tank and I have absolutely no idea how to start. I will be working with a very tight budget on this so I can't really go out and buy another lighting fixture. The fixture I have is the one that came with the tank. It is for a 20 gallon high tank, has a single fluorescent tube (Eclipse natural daylight bulb), and the back of the fixture says 17w. I am assuming that that means that the fixture can support a maximum of a 17watt fluorescent bulb safely.

My question is:
What plants will work with this lighting set-up?

I understand that I am well under the 2 watts per gallon rule, so I was thinking of lowlight plants. I also gavel a gravel substrate, so I'm not sure of what plants would do ok in that setting.

TIA
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Old 02-09-2004, 09:32 PM   #2
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plants...

budget heh? You can always do things cheaply if you try hard enough.. a few suggestions I'm going to make might be rejected by someone else but I'm just sharing my thoughts, not neccessarily what you should do... There are a number of plants that should do ok in that setup... I couldn't tell you all of them. I believe anacharis and hornwort are a few that should do ok. I've had good luck with them but mine is a 15 gal but my light is only 15 watts. I have some java moss that is living but not taking over my tank so I guess that might actually be a good thing. As far as cheap goes, here are my suggestions that might get frowned upon... I occasionally buy plant bulbs at walmart... you get around 5 or 6 bulbs for under 3 dollars... just drop them in the water. They aren't spectacular plants but they aren't hidious either. I've had good luck with them. Sometimes they don't grow but there's an address on the back of the package that says where to send proof of purchase and the bulbs that didn't grow and they will send you new ones. I've never done that but I should... Another thing I have done before is collect plants from a local lake. I've only done that once or twice... they seemed like anacharis or hornwort or one of those... I'm not so good with all the different plants yet, but they did real well in my tank. Of course if you did decide to find some plants outdoors you have a few problems... First, there may be laws against it depending on where you are and what plant it is... Second, you could easily introduce some parasites and definitely some unwanted snails...

I'm guessing someone else here will have some better answers as to specific names of plants that will thrive in that kind of lighting... But I'm sure you can have something in there... Plants add a lot to a tank I think...
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Old 02-10-2004, 08:54 AM   #3
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I just might have to try that bulb thing from Walmart. With that kind of warranty, how can you go wrong?! Thanks for your advice, Millipede, I'll look a little farther into hornwort and anacharis plants.

My main reason for trying to go this way is the fact that every tank that I see with live plants in it always seem to look so much better then mine with the fake plants in it. I have also read that a planted tank seems to have healthier fish in them. I'm sure that this is because of the nutrients the the plants use that would otherwise mess up the water's chemistry.

Would java fern be a good plant for me to use also? I am also looking for a good grass type plant that I can use for breeding platys in. I can't seem to find java moss around this area and don't like to do the online shopping thing.
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Old 02-10-2004, 02:24 PM   #4
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no grass will grow in that low light a tank. None.
anachris might not make it either. Your best bet is java ferns, java moss, anubias species, and some low light crypts (oh, and hornwort).

You can definitely have a low maintenance, low light tank with just gravel substrate. I wouldn't even worry about fertilizers in this setup.
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Old 02-10-2004, 03:28 PM   #5
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plants

Any plants at all will help some babies hide. I don't know if the prefer the grass but they don't need it. Any hiding spots would be good. The java moss, if you can find it, is a good plant to hide in. Platys will have quite a few babies... some might get eaten but some might survive... If you had another tank you could net some babies and place them in another tank or use one of those breeder things. Otherwise people call it "natural selection" the ones that live, live.... Personally I think aside from having lots of hiding places, live plants offer another food source for both babies and adults... It will help the babies grow having a constant food supply and with the adults never lacking for food they are a little less likely to eat as many babies... just my opinion but that's how it works with my guppies. Good luck...
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