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Plant Selection Assistance

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by csmith, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    My 55 gallon tank is currently in DSM mode, however the time to fill it is getting closer and I need to get some ideas of which plants to fill it with. I intend to fill it heavily as suggested, but I'd prefer plants that I can actually keep and not have to remove after they have "served their purpose". I was contemplating moving the two ozelot swords from my 10 gallon to allow that tank more open space (still up in the air on that decision). I've also thought about vallisneria, water sprite and wisteria. I'm not against using just swords, either.
    Are any of these plants not a good idea (grow entirely too fast, grow out too much, etc.), or are there any other suggestions as to what I could use for the start and keep for the long term? Thank you for the help.

    2x54 watt T-5's, will be using Co2 and EI if that helps the process.
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    A 55 is narrow and larger swords can swallow that space up quickly...

    You are using some high lighting (IMO) so will get good fast growth no matter WHAT you put in there....

    So, since you will be trimming regularly until you lower your light (as we all do eventually :)), I would pick some plants like crypys and anubias, ferns, etc that do not grow as quickly as most stems....

    If you can get 2 bulbs and a total of 54 watts of T5 for both bulbs, I think that would be perfect.

    Remember, light drives growth and c02 demand, and it is easier to supply less than more. all other things being equal.
     
  3. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    Really? It's a hair under 2 WPG. I know T-5 is a lot better lighting, but that much better? With this light how often is regular trimming?
     
  4. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    I apologize in advance..

    ..for the coming list. I know anubias and crypts were recommended, but I can't see being happy with nothing but them for more than a short time. I just see me prefering more variety. With this tank I intend on learning the majority of my skills, and I'd rather go a bit bigger than the slowest of growers. I've done quite a bit of research on the website of the company (floridaaquatics.com) my LFS acquires their plants from to see what was obtainable, and I've compiled a list of potential victims..er, test subjects..uh..plants to flourish in my tank! :D I'm wanting to know if any of these are just an absolute no-go in any of the members' eyes (i.e. just an absolute bear to deal with, etc). I do have a few crypts/anubias on my list, so I won't list them here as it's apparent they are usable candidates. Here goes..

    alternathera reineckii var. roseafolia
    ceratopteris thalictroides
    bacopa monnieri
    cabomba pulcherrima
    didiplis diandra
    hygrophilia difformis
    hygrophilia polysperma
    limnophila aromatica
    ludwiga glandulosa
    ludwiga inclanata
    nesaea pedicellata
    potamogeton gayi
    prosperpinaca palustris
    vallisneria americana

    Not all of these will be used, just my starting list to be wittled down. Thank you in advance.
     
    #4 csmith, Jan 30, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2010
  5. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    Also, as a secondary question, is there really a difference between pond plants and aquarium plants? It seems they're the same thing save for where they go. Of course I'm probably wrong.
     
  6. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Pond plants can get huge, and some aren't meant to live their lives completely submerged. The quality control can also be much worse; pond plants are often grown outdoors, so they can be crawling with bugs. If you do find a species in the pond section that crosses over, you'll have to clean it up.

    As for the plant list, I haven't kept all of those but I recognize them and they're all true aquatics. P. palustris is a nice plant; on my list of future candidates.

    I've got horrible luck with the bacopas, and I've seen others struggle with it when they shouldn't be having any issues. I still need to try again with a fine tuned system though.
     
  7. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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  8. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Plant Packages

    Hi,

    I have looked at your plant list and even started to write a little critique of the plants. :eek:

    Instead, I will repeat a little advice I gave you on one of your other threads. Do not over-think, give yourself room, time to learn and understand. A 55-gallon tank is not as large as you think. :gw

    My advice is to start with plants and critters that increase the probability of early success. You have plenty of time once you have the basics down to move on to other plants and other critters.

    Gerry earlier pointed out one of the weaknesses of 55-gallon tanks. The width, if you want Swords, Echinodorus, such as E. Amazonicus or E. Ozelot they will take over a good portion of your tank, front to back. I have an E Ozelot in a 55-gallon, very heavily planted, diy CO2, 80 watt, 6700k shop lights, 6 inches above the water, E Ozelot in a terracotta pot commands one end of the tank, I think it is gorgeous, even flowers. Crypts can consume tank real estate quickly as well.

    My good friend Dan of Philosophos fame tells a tale of woe with bacopas; Dan thinks too much, the downside of being smart. Bacopa caroliniana is a crossover pond and aquarium that does well kind of left alone. Several Bacopa spp. work well in most aquariums and if you choose, can grow right up and given a terraced area up the back of the aquarium can transition beautifully from underwater, to bog, to terrestrial. :) I love that kind of stuff. :rolleyes:

    I say all of this to annoy everyone. :p

    Think about buying a package deal from any of the many reputable dealers. I recommend starting with one of the hardy packages. Left C has recommended Robert at http://www.aquabotanicstore.com/ and the forest package http://www.aquabotanicstore.com/Forest_Edge_p/passort4.htm, not a bad choice. I think http://www.aquabotanicstore.com/product_p/passort2.htm gives a less artistic but broader beginners package. As a matter of disclosure, I have not been very happy with Aqua Botanics, however Robert is a bright and knowledgeable fellow and says he has improved his methodology. I take him at his word. :)

    If you are not a subscriber, I heartily recommend subscribing to this site. You seem a bright, inquisitive (bordering on worrywart) individual. There is plenty to read and learn here.

    Living in Colorado Springs, you have outstanding water, on the soft side so GH booster is going to be part of your life.

    I think you will do well. :cool:

    Biollante
     
  9. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    Yes, I think 2 wpg of T5 is pretty high. You would be surprised the readings that come up on a PAR meter, just for T5s....

    If you have good c02, nutrient dosing, and general maintenance there is nothing on the list that should give any problems.

    The aromatica and didiplis do like c02 and are good indicator plants. If they do poorly, look to c02, all other things being good.

    I can seem trimming every 2-3 weeks in your tank at that light. More than I care to do anymore, but it is fun watching them grow.

    Be careful of the cabomba and didiplis in terms of detritus/algae on the leaves. These plants need good flow to keep the leaves clean. Also they can get very thick, so keep an eye on them.

    I have grown Bacopa caroliniana and monnieri in non c02, low, and high light, but the best growth is with c02 and EI........... It is a very attractive plant as Bio mentions and makes a nice thicket....
     
  10. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Gerry and I have our differences on lighting sometimes, but I agree with him here that 2wpg T5HO is pushing pretty high. Don't get me wrong, it can be done, but it takes a lot of effort and there aren't any real payoffs; they're more like choices in aesthetic or growth pattern.

    Biollante, I've put these plants in all sorts of conditions and it never works out. I've tried neglect; it dies slower. I keep crypts just fine and I leave them alone for quite a while at a time. There's some sort of other variable that's off; many individuals do show tanks with regular water changes and neutral pH with bacopas of all sorts.
     
  11. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Tried Breath Mints?

    Hi Dan,

    I guess we all have that plant, but if they are dying slower, that is a step in the right direction. ;)

    After all isn't "good health" really just the slowest death possible? :cool:

    Be well my friend!

    Biollante
     
  12. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    Is this true for all anubias, or just particular ones? I'd like to bury what I'm using.

    Is this true as well?
     
    #12 csmith, Feb 28, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2010
  13. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Yes on both counts.

    I've found adding extra light and CO2 does nothing for anubias. Anubias is easy to keep, but it's slow growing. This usually makes it a bit expensive; $4-8 for a ~2 inch rhyzome is pretty typical in a store.

    You can plant it on the substrate, but the rhyzome should be above the gravel.
     
  14. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    Another true statement?

    I'm working on setting up one of the previously suggested 20 gallon plant packages, with a few tweaks for things I can't get. Multiplied what was there 3x for a 55 gallon.

    3 bunches Bacopa monnieri
    3 bunches of Rotala rotundifolia
    3 bunches Ludwigia arcuata
    3 bunches Ludwigia repens
    3 bunches Rotala 'nanjenshan'
    6 Anubias barteri var. nana 'narrow leaf'
    9 Microsorum pteropus

    I spent quite a bit of time reading through the articles this weekend, and I found this one to be my favorite thus far. I find myself oddly having a few of these traits at the same time. I either skipped stage 3, or I'll come back it. More than likely I got over that with the fish.

    As for the lighting, I'm most likely going to remove a bulb when my DSM is done to 1 54w bulb. Seeing as the plants apparently don't care about 6500 K or 10000 K (something else I read this weekend), I figure I can just use one once the other is dead.
     
    #14 csmith, Mar 1, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010
  15. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Run

    Hi,

    Planted tanks are a disease, a terrible disease. Run, run while there is still hope...

    Opps to late.:p

    Biollante
     
  16. ghostsword

    ghostsword Lifetime Charter Member
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    My two cents.. I got a small tank, 22gallons and just keep Amazon's, Anubias, floating Riccia and MU.

    For experienced folk 55gallons is not a lot, but for a newbie it is a lot of water and space to fill. :)

    My advice is to try plants that you like, enjoy the ride and don't be afraid to change them. I keep the large majority of my plants on pots, hidden behind a juwel terrace, and with EI and CO2 I am starting to prune more often than I would like, the only downside.

    As some said, don't overthink it, see what works for you, and to do that you need to try plants.

    The forum is great to learn techniques, and to avoid mistakes others made, but ultimately you need to get out there and try them out.
     
  17. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Also, don't be afraid to ask on the different forums in the trade sections. Often you will get people sending you buckets of stuff for not much more than the price of shipping. Once you start doing well you may find you have far more than you ever wanted of a particular kind of plant and it feels better to send it "somewhere" other than the trash heap.

    -
    S
     
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