Need suggestions for my first planted tank

MultipleTankSyndrome

Giant Snakehead
MFK Member
Sep 25, 2021
1,937
1,996
149
Loachaholica

Deadeye

Goliath Tigerfish
MFK Member
Aug 31, 2020
7,202
9,120
178
That’s what my lfs uses with plants. Very good for mounting to driftwood.
That was also what my original hornwort was on, eventually it seemed to decay due to lack of light in the bottom.
 

phreeflow

Goliath Tigerfish
MFK Member
Nov 19, 2007
1,014
1,273
179
SoCal
The best thing to ensure success is to get as many low/medium light plants as possible and jam pack your tank from the start. The reason being is that most people start with a few plants here and there and hope to let it grow and fill out the tank but that doesn’t work because they’ll get outcompeted by the algae, which utilize nutrients faster than a small amount of plants can. Soon, those plants will be covered in algae.

Also, things like anubius, crypts, moss, and java fern are great but grow too slow to outcompete the algae so you’ll have to mix in some fast growing stem plants to uptake the nutrients or again, they’ll be covered in algae. Either that, or you can have a smaller plant load if you add a bunch of floaters as they will uptake nutrients rapidly since they have access to atmospheric CO2.

If you have sand substrate, you’ll have to use root tabs for heavy root feeders like sword plants and crypts. But for stems, you’ll have to dose the water column.

Lastly, make sure to have a lot of water flow…that too will prevent certain algae growing on your plants
 

Friller2009

Dovii
MFK Member
Oct 27, 2021
518
639
100
Australia
I run quite a few planted tanks and heres thing i’ve Learnt.
Hornwort wants to float, let it. Don’t “plant it” as you would Valisneria, it will deteriorate and float.
Don’t put anubias in direct light, as it will get covered in black beard algae.
I combat the algae on java fern/anubias with bristlenose catfish (ancistrus sp.) and java moss. The moss will mop up any excess nutrients, stopping algae from growing and bristlenose will make quick work of any algae, but remember to chuck in algae wafers to keep them fed.
Don’t put java fern and anubias’ rhizomes in the substrate. Attach them instead to rocks or driftwood with aquarium safe superglue. Java fern will attach itself to a gravel substrate if you weigh it down.

And finally, if you want to always have duckweed in an aquarium, add it. If you don’t always want it in the tank, don’t add it. It is a pain in the back to get rid of it, and you can also get unsightly roots floating around if your fish eat the leaves.

anyway hope this helps
 

MultipleTankSyndrome

Giant Snakehead
MFK Member
Sep 25, 2021
1,937
1,996
149
Loachaholica
Thank you to both phreeflow and Friller2009 for adding the additional advide. This is a rough plan I have for now:

-The hornwort will be dealt with bearing the experience of both Deadeye's fish store and Friller2009 in mind. A few clippings will be tentatively weighted at first to see how they do, in the hope that they do as well as Deadeye's fish store got them to do.
But if I see them even start to deteriorate in the slightest (as Friller2009 mentioned), they will be unweighted and allowed to float free. (And if I have to do that, it could reduce the odds of the planned marbled hatchetfish jumping).

-All the plants will be added to the tank at once or at most within a day or 2, bearing in mind what phreeflow said, in order to keep that algae at bay.

-Not going to be getting the duckweed. I do not want it clogging the surface.

-Java fern and swords are probably what I'll be getting. Bearing in mind phreeflow's advice the fast-growing hornwort can help them, and bearing in mind Friller2009's advice they won't be buried, rather glued/weighed down.

I'll report back on how things go when I get to putting this plan into action.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jjohnwm and Deadeye

Deadeye

Goliath Tigerfish
MFK Member
Aug 31, 2020
7,202
9,120
178
I will mention that the hornwort I bought did eventually deteriorate on the bottom, I did try to bury it though.
 

MultipleTankSyndrome

Giant Snakehead
MFK Member
Sep 25, 2021
1,937
1,996
149
Loachaholica
Maybe the burying had something to do with it. I suppose I'll have to wait and see what happens with mine - and if it doesn't work, there is at least the benefit of hachetfish security.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Deadeye

Niki_up

Blue Tier VIP
MFK Member
Jan 5, 2018
2,242
3,817
429
Maybe the burying had something to do with it. I suppose I'll have to wait and see what happens with mine - and if it doesn't work, there is at least the benefit of hachetfish security.
Sometimes I found looping it around a pice of driftwood with both ends pointing upwards worked well for me and didn’t cause deterioration. See rough pic attached
AE1074CB-0AF6-4369-89CB-93BF0E1FBD83.jpeg
 

phreeflow

Goliath Tigerfish
MFK Member
Nov 19, 2007
1,014
1,273
179
SoCal
A lot of stem plants, including hornwort will rot or lose leaves near the bottom when planted as bunches. Best thing to do is separate the stem plants after you buy them and bury each stem an inch apart. That way, plenty of light will get to the bottom.

As they grow, cut off the tops and replant them in the same manner. Remove any bottoms that didn’t make it but the ones that did root should now branch where you cut the top off so it’ll grow more lush.

For maintenance, repeat by trimming and replanting tops and be sure enough light and water flow get to the bottom of the stem plants.

Also, there are less annoying floaters like Amazon Frogbit or Salvinia that’s easier to manage. If not, most stems do fine floating…like water sprite and hornwort. You should have something floating at the start to help shield the light and be a nutrient sink until your chosen plants take root. Once they’re thriving, you can remove the floaters as needed
 
Last edited:

MultipleTankSyndrome

Giant Snakehead
MFK Member
Sep 25, 2021
1,937
1,996
149
Loachaholica
Some updates on this. I've been working at it for a while and things have ended up differently than planned, but splendid nonetheless.

What I ended up getting from my classifieds ended up being more than just hornwort. There's some guppy grass and duckweed in the mix too.
Unfortunately, most of the guppy grass ended up dead (presumably due to competition with the hornwort). The duckweed may have increased in number since I got it, but it's also possible that it stayed the same or even started dying off.
The cabomba did not make the cut, it ended up dying.

On the upside, however, the hornwort appears to be doing well. As can be seen in the attached photo, it's growing thick and bushy at the top of the water and I don't intend to inhibit this by rooting it down.
What's more, the cover of the hornwort at the top of the water is making the green neon tetras much bolder than they were before. Before it they used to mostly cower in the bottom right corner, but as can be seen in the image they now swim in the mid-water as they should.

And of course, there's the quintessential benefit of the NO3 being kept fairly low by all those plants.

Next step: Capitalize on those 2 upsides. I will be using the plant grower on the right of the tank in the image to propagate more hornwort so that more NO3 is consumed and so I can fill the gaps in the existing hornwort covering (thus giving the green neons even more security).
That plant grower is very useful. It provided a refugium to my plants when I had to whitespot-treat the tank with salt, and now I can monitor the progress of propagation clippings.
 
zoomed.com
hikariusa.com
aqaimports.com
Store