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Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. Default How Do You Get Your Plants to Stick in the Substrate?

    0 Not allowed!
    I'm not usually an inept person, but for some reason I have trouble with this.

    Everybody else posts beautiful photos of their newly planted tanks, and it seems like the plants all just cooperated and went in together nicely. But when I finally get one plant to stay down in the substrate, and then I try to plant another one next to it, the first one comes loose and floats up. I finally had to just give up and space all my plants farther apart than I would have liked. Is there a tutorial somewhere that I can learn how to physically get my plants arranged? I don't dare move a thing because I'm afraid I will dislodge the whole bunch and end up with a floating mess!

    Surely there must be some trick that I have just missed. I'm really good at planting outdoor plants, but those don't float up in the air while your working on them!

  2. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    long tweezers work GREAT, i picked up a 12" pair of hemostats at harbor freight for like $4.

  3. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Could you describe your technique for using the hemostat?

  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    Grab plant at the bit just over the roots. Push down. next.
    And remove the rockwool of course.

    Of course it also depends what you're planting into. Medium to coarse gravel is distinctly more difficult than fine gravel or sand.

  5. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by talldutchie View Post

    Of course it also depends what you're planting into. Medium to coarse gravel is distinctly more difficult than fine gravel or sand.
    That may be my problem, since I have regular gravel. Then I added some fluorite substrate on top of that and they seem to be sticking a little better now. I'm afraid if I just shove the plant right in, it will break off the roots, and I've also found that handling them too roughly breaks off a lot of the stems.

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    lol, the imagery of floating plants in air had me snickering. "These damned plants won't stay down!$@" as I curse the air and lack of gravity.

    Finnie, I'd have to agree with the gravel/coarse substrate. I have this crappy gravel-like "soil" that I use in one of my tanks, which has been the bane of my existence. Roots grow out of it, stems never stay down, etc. I want to replace it with sand, but it's a hassle to do so.

    I've actually been where you are, except just for stem plants. If you push the stems down into the substrate it'll look perfectly fine, but any subtle movements near the stem will jostle it free. The only solutions are to limit the jostling, using tweezers, or holding the gravel in place, while you plant the next stem, or even bend the stem a bit, so that more of it can act as an anchor along the bottom of the substrate (it helps to have some of the actual leaves under the substrate, as well). Even if you get them down... if you have active fish, they could spring the plants free, too.

    In my opinion: Stick with sand/fine substrate - much easier to deal with in a planted environment. ;P
    Adventures in Aquaria - The KevinVA Story

    When in doubt, ask yourself... W.W.L.S (What would Lee Say)?

    Have a fish problem? Fill out and post this completed questionnaire in the General Aquarium Forum, when you start a new thread.

  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    Way back when I made do with dirt cheap coarse gravel I'd often lodge a stem plant between to small pebbles. Do it carefully and the plant might get a chance to root.

  8. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Thank you for your help, Kevin and talldutchie. Those are some good tips. I've done the rock holding the plant in place thing with quite a few of them, and that works OK until the stems rot and break off. I'm pretty much going to stick with non-stem plants now, until I can improve my lighting. I didn't even know you could bury any of the leaves. I thought that would kill the plant, so I've been removing them from the bottom inch or so.

    I do think my German Blue Rams poke around and loosen some of the plants sometimes.

    I guess switching out the substrate to sand will have to be off in the future some day if I ever want to empty out one of my tanks and start all over with it. Looking at other people's planted tanks has me thinking I would like to start one from scratch and do it up right. But I just don't have the time to undo one of my two 55s right now. I do have a 30 gal up in the attic that would be easier to work with. But my husband already complains that I have too many hobbies, and I don't think he likes having tanks all over the place. So, maybe some day.

    I think I'll look around for some hemostats and/or long tweezers and keep limping along with the gravel and fluorite. I've had a little bit of luck by pouring small cupfuls of the fluorite over the roots as I hold the plant down. That makes for a lumpy looking floor, and it's almost more than my OCD can handle to not smooth it out flat!

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