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Old 09-09-2007, 11:15 PM   #1
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Just some questions I have about low light plants

Hello,

I have recently bought a 20G L tank and I am thinking of setting it up as a low light planted tank but I have a few questions. Here they are:

1) Where can I find a list of all the low light plants for a freshwater tank?

2) Where I live there is a very slim selection of plants for sale. So I was thinking of buying plants off the fine people here. My question though is this, how long is safe for plants to travel? I live in Ontario, Canada.

3) When trimming plants, how do you go about trimming? What tools do you use? With stem plants, do you cut form the top like grass or would you trim from the bottom or uproot the single stem completely? What about carpet plants or other things.

Here is a layout that I am hoping to go with so you have something to look at while answering the questions above. I am hoping to have at least 5 different types of plants in this tank...that's if there is 5 different low light plants....poor me and my very slim plant selection where I come from. (Most stores near me only have 5-7 different plants total to pick from, including a Big Al's Warehouse and a Pet Smart)



Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-09-2007, 11:27 PM   #2
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1. Here is one place to look. Low light plants

2. Plants will do ok for up to a week. As long as they dont freeze or get to hot.

3. Scissors and tweezers are what I use. You can cut the tops off of stems and replant them. The bottoms will develop new growth as well. If the bottoms start getting ratty you can replant the tops and discard the bottoms.

I like your layout ideas. You may want to keep the open area slightly off center and maybe a thrid peice of wood. For some reason odd numbers off things are more soothing.
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Old 09-10-2007, 12:06 AM   #3
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Thanks for your response Rich.

I have several pieces of driftwood laying about. At least three that I have yet to use, savign them for this 20G L tank.

I also have another piece that is currently in a fiddler crab tank. My question is this:

This tank is a brackish tank, would this harm the planted tank if I took the driftwood form it and put it into the planted tank? I know salt is a bad thing for plants, would salt be transfered with the wood due to it soaking into wood?

Also, and further input to the first questions would be helpful, as I read about some of the plants linked by Rich.

Thanks.
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Old 09-10-2007, 06:32 AM   #4
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Other information on plants that require low light can be found at http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...tfinder/go.php and http://www.plantgeek.net/plantguide_...=1&filter_by=2. I frequent both of these web sites and have found the members there very useful in providing answers regarding planted tanks. Of course the members here are very helpful and friendly as well Some of the plant species you should probably consider are various Anubias, some of the Cryptocorynes, dwarf sags, Java fern, Java moss, Rotala rotundifolila, etc. You don't necessarily need a lot of light to grow plants although it may limit your selection. I have several tanks with the standard hoods (i.e. 15W on 10g) that do quite well. Of course the substrate and fertilizers you use can make a difference.

As far as tools for trimming plants goes; I purchased a kit that had a rake, a pair of long-handled tweezers and a pair of long-handled scissors but you don't necessarily need something so elaborate. You will find both the scissors and tweezers very helpful though. If you trim the tops off of stem plants they will usually get more bushy at the base. If you don't want them to fill in you should uproot the stem and trim a few inches off of the bottom instead and then replant that.
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Old 09-10-2007, 01:44 PM   #5
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I use hands and a scissor for trimming and planting.

Between the driftwoods, you can use another thin but long driftwood to make a low bridge and on the bridge you can attach java moss or Anubias. Some catfish like cory will like to hide under the bridge.

For low light plants, travel in mail for a week won't be a problem.
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Old 09-10-2007, 07:13 PM   #6
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I really like that bridge idea and the lfs has some nice pieces that could be used here.

So the questions still needed answered are (added a few in this in this post):

1) Will driftwood that has been in a brackish tank harm the plants if uses in a new freshwater tank? I am worried if the salt in the brackish tank will leach out of the driftwood and harm the plants in the planted tank I will be setting up.

2a) When tying plants to driftwood, what would I use? Fishing Line? Rubber Bands? Will rubber bands harm the plants or break down eventually in the water and snap, thus causing the plant to loose it's attachment to the driftwood?

2b) Also, what exactly do I tie down? How do I go about doing this?

3a) The small lead band that comes with some plants bought from a store, is that harmful or can it planted with the plant to help weigh it down till the roots take hold?

3b) Some plants I get in the LFS come potted, can I plant this pot or should I remove the plant form the pot when I am planting them in my tank?

4) Fertilizer tabs, how do I use these items? Just insert them near the plants roots? How close should they be?

5) Currents. Some of the plants I am looking at state that they need low and some need medium. Can you mix low and medium current plants?

6) If one plant requires something added to the tank, like Trace Elements or Potassium, and other one doesn't, will this harm the ones that don't need that additive?
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Old 09-10-2007, 08:17 PM   #7
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1. Give them a good soak in freshwater I think they will be fine.

2a. Fishing line works, cotton thread is another good choice.

3. Remove the band plant each stem separately but close together. Stems look better in groups.
Unpot the plant carefully.

4. Should be directions on the package. You just stick them deep in the gravel.

5. yes

6. They all will need it. A lot depends on how much light you use.
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Old 09-10-2007, 11:02 PM   #8
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Thanks for your answers.

I am thinking on using 1-2 wpg. No more then 2, no less then 1.

More Questions:

1) What is considered Medium Current? I am planning on using an AQ HOB 30G filter in the 20G L tank. This will be located at the back right corner of the tank. Will this create enough current or will I need to add a powerhead or something to create the extra current to make it medium?

2) In a low light planted tank, would you want to add a airstone or is this not needed?

3) Is there any type of plant that I could tie to the underside of the driftwood bridge that would kind of fall to the gravel? Not sure if there is such plants, also worried that being under driftwood, would they not get the needed light?

4) I will be using a canopy that only had room for one bulb. Is this good if I get the right watt bulb, or should you always use at least two bulbs? Also, are canopies good for planted tanks? I've seen a lot of tanks that have an open top and the lights sitting a good 6" above the top of the tank. Why is this? Is it just for plants that flower above water level?
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Old 09-10-2007, 11:15 PM   #9
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1. I run an AC 50 on my 20g tall and it seems to possibly not create enough current as i seem to have some algae on the lower half of the walls of my tank and I have low light.

2. I have an airstone in my tank, but it probably isn't necesary.

3. Java moss may come close to what you'd like but i'm not totally sure.
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Old 09-10-2007, 11:22 PM   #10
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Okay, so if I have medium current, this would also reduce algae growth?

If so, how would I go about creating this current?

Could I create a medium current by adding two 10 or 15G AQ HOB filters, one on either corners of tank? Or would one 30G AQ HOB filter on one corner and a powerhead in the other be better?
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:39 AM   #11
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I'd try the filter you have and see how it works before you go and get anything else. THe plants won't mind too much if the water flow isn't exactly right. If you start to see fish poo collecting somewhere, or blue-green algae, then you might need some more circulation. That said, I have a 55 with an AC 70 which is really not enough, and the plants are all fine. I just gravel vac more frequently. 20 longs are not big tanks and the AC filters, when kept clean, produce quite a bit of flow.

I don't think you'll need an airstone. I have a 10g with 15 watts, full of various Cryptocorynes, and no airstone. The fishies are just fine.

The regular canopy is fine. The tanks that you ahve seen with the raised lights are probably higher light tanks, the newer, multiple bulb fixtures come with mounting legs rather than the standard hood. Given a standard hood, you can't change the wattage of the bulb that will fit in. Fluorescents aren't like regular bulbs where the different wattages are the same size. In fluorescents, the wattage is kind of related to the length. So for example in my 10g, the hood holds a 18", 15watt bulb, and that's it. The only thing you can change is the color spectrum of the bulb. For plants, anything between 5000K and 10000K is fine (no blue actinic bulbs, the plants can't "see" that light and it is useless for them). So check and see what watt bulb your canopy can hold, and make sure it gives you the light you want. I know you can buy 2-bulb strip lights that will fit into a standard canopy.
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Old 09-11-2007, 12:15 PM   #12
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1. For the most part you really don't need to worry about getting an exact current within the aquarium for most plants. The main thing is to ensure that there is good gas exchange (slight ripple along surface) and that there are no dead spots within the aquarium where the water flow isn't reaching. If you cover both of these, the plants should do fine.

2. Really the only thing that the airstone is going to do for you is to increase the gas exchange. As long as you can get a good ripple across the surface using your filter, etc. the airstone would be unnecessary.

3. This depends on how much light would get under the driftwood. Since your aquarium isn't going to be get a huge amount of light, it's probably going to be overly shady for most plants. You could try some weeping moss along the edges (it would probably die below the driftwood) which could create a nice waterfall type of look.

4. I believe that you are mixing the terms canopy and light fixture.

The canopy is the enclosure that covers the aquarium and is glass, plastic, or wood in most situation. If you bought a kit it probably has a plastic canopy that a light fixture fits snuggly into. The canopy will help to reduce evaporation, prevent jumpers, but can also trap heat in the aquarium and makes it harder for plants to grow emersed.

The light fixture is the part that acually contains the sockets, ballast, etc and determines how much light can be run over your aquarium. If your fixture is for an incadescent bulb, you can increase the lighting by using a screw in compact flourescent. In most situations you can run only one bulb in the fixture, and would need to replace it to increase the amount of light that you can run over the aquarium.
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