View Full Version : A few plant questions...

11-13-2006, 11:18 PM
Are there any plants that grow well in both coarse gravel and low lighting? See, a few months ago, I set up my tank with just plain black coarse gravel substrate. I really was only planning to keep plastic plants, but the more I look at these 'natural' aquariums, the more I want mine to look like that. It seems that most plants require better lighting that what is included in your regular hoods and at least an iron supplement in your gravel.

Could I just get new bulbs to take the place of the ones in my hood? Does it work that way?

Is there a way to add nutrients for plants to my gravel without harming my fish? (I'm not sure they would grow very well if I just stuck them down in plain gravel).

If it helps, I keep my pH at 7.0, hardness is 120ppm, temp at 80F. I don't have any fish that eat plants, I don't think.

I guess I'm just trying to figure out how much of a headache it will be to convert my tank. I currently have a 32 watt on my 45 gallon. I can't imagine many plants growing in 0.7 watts per gallon.

11-16-2006, 02:59 AM
well, dang. someone please tell me I won't have to take down my entire tank in order to grow some decent plants.

11-16-2006, 03:14 AM
How coarse is your gravel? My radican sword thrived in very coarse gravel, althoug this is an exception to the trends it does show that there is hope for you. I would say try a few different things and see how it goes. Barron's has a decent mini encyclopedia of aquatic plants that will help to show what is good for beginners and in low light. If you replace your fluorescent tube with a plant light like Zoo Med's Flora Sun, that would be enough for low light plants. I have only added liquid plant foods so far in the tank that the radican sword was in as well as my 10 gallon planted and so far so good. I have used Tetra's Flora something, but probably won't again after I run out. I will either try some other liquid plant food or experiment with houseplant food. The Tetra liquid food has an iron supplement if I remember right.

11-16-2006, 03:19 AM
Yay!! Thanks, man. So just fit a nicer bulb in my hood, add some liquid plant supplement (I didn't even know they had that), and hope for the best?

It's worth a try.

*by the way, my gravel is the stuff you find at most pet stores that comes in all kinds of colors. Probably a little coarse, but I also have some round smooth decorative stones mixed in there.

11-16-2006, 03:40 AM
The stuff I had with the radican sword was bigger and rougher, so that should work for hardy, beginner plants. Flora Pride, that's the name of the Tetra liquid supplement I have. It seems pretty good considering how well all my plants are doing.

11-16-2006, 05:04 AM
The gravel is fine. You'll have a hard time planting some plants, but you can avoid those.

What kind of hood is it? There may be a relatively inexpensive upgrade/retrofit you can do. A 1x36W plus 1x55W from AHSupply.com would be ideal for low maintenance.

Is your tank a 36x12x24" 45g? There are some 24" lights that would work, too. Anything from Coralife or Current that's 2x65W would actually be better than what I recommended if the tank is actually 24" deep. Otherwise, a 2x55W would be good, too, for that depth. Are you confused yet?

As for fertilizers...most of the fertilizers in PetSmart or PetCo, etc, are nothing but traces. Go to www.aquaticplantcentral.com or www.plantedtank.net or www.barrreport.com and look at things like the Estimative Index (Non-CO2 version). You can actually get away with minimal additions if you have a good bio-load - what some people would consider overstocked!

11-16-2006, 08:16 AM
I grew hornwort and some other fluffy stuff I can't remember. The gravel was almost river rock big, and it was in the bottom of a 55 hex tank. A plant grow light should help quite a bit.

11-16-2006, 12:53 PM
Well, being overstocked for plant growth sounds like fun for me :)
I also have not had much luck with plants most likely because I had no clue about lighting when I started. I asked at the petstore when I started my 65 gal about a substrate for plants and was sold flourite, which I hate. It is sharp, dusty even after many rinsings and since I had no luck with plants now I have a substrate I don't want/like. My 65 would be really hard to light well with the existing hood but my smaller tanks would be much easier. Sometime next year I may be picking your brain about plants quite a bit next year turbo!

11-17-2006, 04:35 AM
ooh, thanks! good info.

my tank measurements are 48x12x18 inches. My hood is a single fitting bulb hood with a reflector with two flip tops in front that open for feeding and maintenance that measures 48 inches long.

And I'm only slightly confused. ;) I've been trying to self-educate myself by just reading the stuff I'm finding over and over again, and I think some of it is actually starting to stick a little.

To get lighting of at least 2 watts per gallon, I would need a 48 inch bulb with 90 watts. I don't think anyone makes any that strong. It looks like I may just need to get a new hood. As for substrate, I'm glad that there's hope.

So all in all, not a bad gig if all I need is a new hood with better lights. Hmmm, I wonder if that comes cheap.... LOL yeah, right! :D

Oh, and I've heard nothing but awesome things about eco-complete, so my next tank will no doubt include that stuff.

11-17-2006, 09:16 PM
It's actually not too bad. You can go with a couple different options.

1. First...are you sure on those measurements? That doesn't look like a standard setup (Check here (http://www.thetropicaltank.co.uk/tanks-us.htm)).

2. Second...48" is a very common size tank. The easiest way to get lights is to get a 2x65W setup from either Current or Coralife. It's about $90-$100.

3. Otherwise, you can go with a 2x55W retrofit from AHSupply.com. In fact, give them a call to see if your current hood can be retrofitted. They also sell hoods to put their light kits in!

4. You may also want to look at a Tek T-5 setup. You should be able to find something like this (http://www.reefgeek.com/products/categories/lighting/104192.html) that will fit your needs. It could be an investment in a larger tank in the future ;)

5. Eco Complete is good. Also consider ADA's Aquasoil line. You can get it from a number of places, but www.adgshop.com is your best bet, I think. It usually is competitive in price vs. Eco Complete. If cheap is what you want, Soilmaster Select in red or charcoal color are great options.

11-18-2006, 02:13 AM
This may be a little off topic but I saw some "plant rocks" at Petsuppliesplus yesterday that have a center cut out in the rock structure to plant your plants into with some type of substrate. There were also holes in the bottom, I assume to allow circulation and even possibly the roots to travel farther. This seemed like a good idea to me since I do like to rearrange my tanks quite frequently. (I guess I am just weird) and that would make it possible to move plants around if I do get lucky enough to find any to grow. Has anyone seen/tried these and what were your opinions?

11-18-2006, 05:45 PM
I'm always up to try something new. I'll see if I can't find them online and maybe try a Java Fern in there. It sounds like a good idea.

11-18-2006, 06:07 PM
1. First...are you sure on those measurements? That doesn't look like a standard setup (Check here (http://www.thetropicaltank.co.uk/tanks-us.htm)).

Well, the tank was given to me, so I don't know if it was custom made. Actually, when the lady gave it to me, she said it was a 55 gallon, but the first time I did a water change, the "40%" I had taken out looked like a lot more than 40%, so I remeasured it and looked it up. 45 gallons. I guess that would definitely throw off my water change calculations! ;)

And thank you for the lighting info. $100 is actually not so bad. I spent about $65 on my current one, which doesn't even match since she didn't have a lid for hers. I was surprised about that, too, because she said she used to keep an Oscar in there.

Well, I know what I'm doing when my tax returns come around in a few months. ;)