View Full Version : Looking to start a planted tank (again)

Cole Cross
09-22-2015, 08:17 PM
I have a 29 gallon tank I'm looking to make into a planted tank and possibly later on introduce some invertebrates like snails and shrimp. Right now it has pool sand as substrate. I had bought a $25 plant kit on ebay and the plants lasted maybe 8 months and all died at the same time. I reckon it was due to me never fertilizing them. Anyways, Im looking for suggestions on what plants to start with. I plan on keeping the sand substrate but I want some form of low laying ground cover and maybe some medium to tall plants in the rear. What do you guys suggest I get and where should I get them?

09-22-2015, 08:48 PM
Your light level will play a huge role in determining what plants you can grow in the aquarium and what the fertilization needs will be. Could you elaborate as to what the lighting levels are? A number of us have planted tanks with excess plants. Let us know what you are using for lighting and I think we can help you.

Mog Carns
09-23-2015, 10:38 AM
Plants are just like fish... they have specific care requirements and compatibility.

I use the throw fish and plants in water method... no CO2 or outside ferts. What I have seen:

Java Ferns seem to live and grow (slowly) no matter what. A year's growth is two, maybe three inches. Nothing eats it. About your only fear would be that algae grows on it. Reproduces by budding.

Java Moss seems to be roughly unkillable unless you get the tank too cold (40F ish?). Even then, it grows back when it warms up.

Water Sprite grows quickly, but has no interest in remaining rooted. It is constantly pulling out of the substrate. Even if you keep the main plant down, it is constantly shooting off buds to float around. Like all floating plants, this one RAPIDLY soaks up nutrients in the water. Dies at 40F. This plant is perfect if all you want is O2, fish food, cover, and water cleaning. If you like variation in your plant scape... keep looking. This one out competes everything else, stunting everything not Water Sprite.

Amazon Swords were my first foray into plants. They are pretty sturdy in all regards, and fairly difficult to mess up. However, they do get out competed by the faster growing floaters. They grow quite large, and reproduce by sending out runners, from which many smaller plants emerge. They are root feeders, meaning the nutrients have to reach the roots. I found they grew better in pea sized gravel rather than sand. If using sand, you HAVE to have a supply of burrowing snails to move the nutrients to the roots, or use root tablets to fertilize it.