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Evaldas
12-04-2011, 05:46 PM
Hello. I'm a newbie to this forum and to this whole aquarium thing as well. Recently my sister has given me her neglected 10l (2.5 gallon) tank with one swordtail. And now I've started thinking about getting a larger tank, measuring 500x300x350h (52l, ~13 gal). And I would like to, before letting in any fish, grow a "lawn" of lilaeopsis brasiliensis (Brazilian micro sword) in it. I'm worried about the medium it should be grown in.
In "Freshwater Aquarium for Dummies" it is written about this plant that "This slow-growing plant does really well in fine substrate such as sand". Can I grow it completely in sand? Can I put some neutralized peat moss (pH~6.5-7) and then on top sand? How thick should be the layer of the medium? Can I make the surface uneven to create hill effect?
I will also use CO2, and two T5, ~6500K bulbs, not sure about their power, they'll have to be shorter than 50 cm (because that's the length of the aquarium).
Any more advice :)?

smaug
12-04-2011, 06:34 PM
They would grow in plain sand if the sand has some nutrients in it. For such a small tank I would really recomend a plants substrate.There are many types available that may suit your liking.Dont bother with the peat,it really adds nothing of value.You can scape the bottom any way you like it.

Evaldas
12-04-2011, 06:56 PM
What if I put water plant fertilizer in conjunction with sand?

Rhaethe
12-04-2011, 07:08 PM
There are two types (looking at it broadly) of fertilizer. Water column and substrate (root tabs).

Plants have a primary method and secondary method of feeding. If you use sand, you should use root tabs for those plants that are substrate feeders, with water column ferts for secondary enhancement.

If you are only using, say, moss and plants whose roots stay in the water column (such as anubias, ferns, etc) then using just water column ferts is fine.

When trying to carpet, however, you'll end up putting in root tabs everywhere ... and then tearing up your carpet to keep reupping the tabs. You are far better off using a plant substrate, or using mineralized top soil and then capping with the sand.

Evaldas
12-04-2011, 07:17 PM
Ok, I'll use a store bought substrate... How fine/coarse should it be?

Rhaethe
12-04-2011, 07:24 PM
It occurs to me as I think about it that you are suggesting to use peat humus as the medium, and then capped by sand ... similar to using mineralized top soil.

That would be fine, but with a huge caveat -- You NEED to know exactly what is in that peat humus.

To be honest, you could use coffee grinds (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/tank-journals-photo-album/155466-coffee-bowl.html). Prepared in a specific way, but doable.


If you want to use a store bought substrate, for plants, there is a wide variety. To be honest, most plant afficiandos do plant substrate for small tanks .... and use the dirt / MTS / capping methods for larger tanks where things like Aquasoil, Eco-Complete, and such are cost prohibitive.

A 20lb bag of eco-complete would probably run around $17-$30 depending on where you live. You definitely won't need as much ... You'll have leftover you can trade or sell. It doesn't come in grain sizes, so you're fine there.

Evaldas
12-04-2011, 07:42 PM
Well, I live in Europe, so products sold here are different from what you have in the USA :).
I haven't been to a specialized aquarium supply store so I don't know what substrates they have there, but I saw in an online store plant substrate, that seemed affordable "TetraPlant CompleteSubstrate", 2.8 kilos (6.2 lb), so I wonder how much that would cover...

Also: how many inches of the substrate I should put on the bottom, and how much sand on top of the substrate?

It also occurs to me that lilaeopsis brasiliensis may be sensitive to hard water, so as I'm going to grow only the carpet for a month or more in my aquarium with no fish in it, so what water at first I should use to help it establish? Distilled? Boiled?

Rhaethe
12-04-2011, 07:48 PM
If you are using plant substrate, you don't have to cap it.

I just looked up the TetraPlant ... and it appears that they are utilizing humic acids amongst other things ... which will probably help soften your water. I would suggest using your regular tap water (dechlorinated with Prime ... I think you can order Prime in Europe) with the Tetraplant and test the water hardness / ph.

The 2.8 kilos should be fine for a 2.5g.

Evaldas
12-05-2011, 08:10 AM
The 2.8 kilos should be fine for a 2.5g.
The 2.5g is my current tank that will be set aside, I said I'm buying a 13 gallon tank ;)

Evaldas
12-05-2011, 11:24 AM
And I dechlorinate using Tetra AquaSafe ;)

Evaldas
12-06-2011, 02:11 PM
How would I clean my carpet of Lilaeopsis brasiliensis?

Rhaethe
12-06-2011, 04:27 PM
Some folks don't. Some folks gently brush the top of the carpet.

Evaldas
12-06-2011, 04:56 PM
What about sucking with a tube? Would it pluck out the plant?

Rhaethe
12-06-2011, 07:31 PM
Not if you do it right.

Its not something you can really show or describe. You definitely wouldn't be jamming the vac into the carpet like many do their substrate. It's more of a wave gently over it ... you can vary the distance of the tube to control suction strength.

Evaldas
12-10-2011, 04:00 PM
How about this http://www.jbl.de/en/aquatics-freshwater-products/detail/3398/jbl-manado#info substrate?

Evaldas
12-16-2011, 08:29 PM
What's bothering me is that I'll want to grow more plants than just Lilaeopsis, so I'm not sure if I should plant them together, or if at first I can grow the carpet of Lilaeopsis brasiliensis and then add more plants?

Evaldas
12-17-2011, 05:10 PM
Could someone please answer my last question, I really want to know :)

Rhaethe
12-17-2011, 09:11 PM
Since you plant the carpet plants spaced out, it doesn't really matter. They have to grow into "carpet-ness". And even after they've grown in, you can just uproot a patch if you want to plant something in a particular spot.