View Full Version : FW Plants that look 'marine'?

12-02-2010, 11:50 AM
Hey everyone, I was thinking of of setting up a FW tank but have a 'marine' look to it. I'll start with sandy substrate of course, and haven't decided whether rocks or wood will look better.
Anyway, what plants can you recommend me that look like seaweed?
I was thinking narrow leaf java ferns and windelov java ferns. And possibly subwassertang. Super expensive, I know, but I think it'll end up looking great!
The fish I'll have in it will probably be a myriad of loaches and some ghost catfish. And possibly a peacock eel (have to check compatibility).
Any other plant recommendations?

12-02-2010, 11:53 AM
The narrow leafed vals could look like sea grass. They grow easily as well.

12-02-2010, 07:28 PM
Well, I thought the name of this stuff was something along the lines of "wusertang"??? But, google isn't turning up a thing and I can't seem to find it by describing it, either. I know it's close, can anyone figure out what I mean by that? I have some in my 10 gallon, and I think it would help with the kind of look you're trying to get. It looks like bunched up seaweed pretty much and it feels like cellophane. It's actually a type of macro algae, if I'm not mistaken.

Michael Milligan
12-02-2010, 08:16 PM
No idea what you mean. But it certainly sounds like a true marine plant. Macro algae are (all?) marine.

Look up "Sea Lettuce".

12-02-2010, 09:20 PM
I know what you are referring to SunSchein89, and IIRC it is fairly expensive and hard to grow. Let me see if I can find it. Definatly sealike though...

12-02-2010, 09:24 PM
are you guys talking about subwassertang, like he mentioned in the first post?

12-02-2010, 09:27 PM
Süsswassertang- Very new plant.


Another good one is Lomariopsis lineata

There was another one I can't seem to find.....rrrg. Saw it at the last auction I was at.

12-02-2010, 09:35 PM
Ohh..while looking I stumbled upon Africa elodea. Awesome looking plant IMO.


12-03-2010, 02:43 PM
Yep, subwassertang would be correct, cool FW plant, albeit funny name XD

Hey scrup, that Africa elodea looks amazing!
I'll definitely be on the look out for that!

12-03-2010, 06:24 PM
Süsswassertang looks beautiful! I might be interested in it myself.. Do snails eat this stuff or leave it alone? I have some snails in my tank

12-03-2010, 06:30 PM
Making a freshwater tank look like a SW tank can be tricky. I've seen some setups that do it an look pretty good though. Generally people use sand bottoms accented with light large light colored rocks. Good white/tan rocks are idea. Vals look good as seagrass, and you can plant bunches of non creeping moss in the rocks that look like anemonies. You might even be able to use Süsswassertang. Pick some colorful fish and you're good to go.

I actually got some Süsswassertang free with some plants a while ago. I found it really hard to grow. VERY temperamental with regards to temperature and required a lot of light and ferts. Much harder than I thought it was going to be. On the other hand it might have just not done well during shipping.

Michael Milligan
12-03-2010, 07:42 PM
Why not make a actual Marine tank? In the end it might prove easier and more rewarding than making a "fake"marine tank.

How far are you from the coast? I don't know how firm the rules in Oz are for fish, but you should be fine to collect your own rock/sand/some inverts from the wild.

12-03-2010, 10:47 PM
IMO in marine tanks setups look good with only rock assemblies. Small accents of algae can be added but to me, it isn't characteristic of a reef environment. But today, they make lots of convincing silicone anemones and fake corals. what would also give you that reef look would be adding some coral skeletons from dead corals. I did this in one of my old FOWLR's. If you dont already know, a FOWLR is a marine setup that does not house any corals, anemone, and etcetera. Another important aspect of making a tank look marine, is the lighting. Bright, blue-tinted lighting gives a very marine feel whereas dimmer red/yellowy-tinted lighting gives the feel of being in cloudy, lake or river waters.

12-03-2010, 10:53 PM
for a great marine look, african cichlids, especially mbunas, which are a group of rock-dwelling species. They have great, insanely bright colors for FW fish. Another great candidate that could work w/ mbuna is a freshwater snowflake moray eel. These are true morays and they look just like the marine ones. There shouldn't be a problem unless the mbuna are too small, but even then, the mbuna are too quick, on top of these eels only really having a taste for crustaceans. You could also try some puffers, but they could only mix with the eel and not the cichlids.

12-04-2010, 04:49 AM
Ahhh subwassertang, that was it, knew I was close. Yeah, I got a nice little bunch of it from a friend I bought some cherry shrimp from. She just threw it in for free along with a few other plants. Pretty cool stuff. I don't have it under anything stronger than two 10-watt cfls from walmart in a 10 gallon tank. I haven't noticed any insane growth, if at all, but the stuff certainly isn't dying on me.

12-04-2010, 07:09 AM
Snowflake eels are not freshwater. They can live for a while, but are not true freshwater fish, more brackish. Very few species of moray can live in freshwater for any extended amount of time.

I advise strongly against putting any moray in a freshwater setup, let alone mixing them with Mbuna.

Mbuna also do not mix well with plants. And mixing morays with puffers is a disaster waiting to happen (morays are predators and puffers are HIGHLY poisonous if consumed, puffers would probably stress the moray to death, or the moray would eat the puffer and die).

perhaps finding a list of saltwater plants you like the look of, then we can find plants that resemble or mimic them in some way might help.

12-04-2010, 08:07 AM
Do a 'planted' SW tank with coral sand, coral rubble, some base rock, and a bunch of macro algae. I've seen some really nice planted SW tanks.


12-04-2010, 03:05 PM
Nah, I probably won't do a real SW tank, I like to landscape environments that doesn't seem like what it actually is (i.e. a FW fish tank).

kaianuanu, that's good advice! I've been diving/snorkelling around those rocky outcrops that stretch out from the beach, I'd wanna create some landscape similar to that, rather than a reef-looking one. There isn't a whole lot of colour here; it's mainly rock towers and structures on sand with growths of plants here and there, accentuated with the odd, bright red anemone. I probably won't find a FW equivalent of a red anemone...but there's an abundance of shrimp and snails, so I think I should consider them as well.

And the other thing is that the creatures living in these rocky places tend to be hiders; so I was considering loaches and a spiny eel (I like to have a centrepiece fish), plus they look interesting and somewhat like marine eels and snakes. And also, like I mentioned in my first post, I might cover the top/middle with glass catfish. I know they're not specifically marine-looking fish, but they have that unusual-ness about them that you see with marine creatures.
I need to check compatibility though, especially with the peacock eel

What do you think?