Planting my tank

The Masked Shadow

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Jul 19, 2020
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Hi everyone,

I want to plant my Bichir tank. It is 90g (48"x24"widex18"). I use standard StingRay lighting and can use plant fertilizer tabs etc, but no CO2. The substrate is Black Diamond Blasting sand 2-3" thick but can pile if needed too. I have a large piece of driftwood, and nothing else.

I want to have some species of grassy plant such as Jungle Val. That's the only requirement for me. Any ideas?
 

jjohnwm

Redtail Catfish
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Mar 29, 2019
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Jungle Val gets pretty tall, tall enough to lay across the top of your tank...which is quite an attractive look, IMHO, but opinions vary. I would suggest standard Corkscrew Val, or one of the Sagittaria varieties such as subulata. Either of those grows like wildfire without needing special care, and reproduce by means of runners like a strawberry plant. They grow well for me, despite the fact that I have no green thumb whatsoever. And they look terrific!

I'd also suggest attaching some Anubias to your driftwood as well. A different look, still tough and resilient, pretty slow growing compared to the Val or Sag.

Finally, some kind of floating plant would probably make your polys comfortable, providing shade and cover. Hornwort or guppy grass (Najas) are hardy, tough and fast-growing. And, of course, duckweed is a given; grows like mad, and since it floats on top of the surface instead of beneath it, duckweed can apparently utilize atmospheric CO2 which helps it grow faster, according to plant experts. You'll be removing handfuls of it regularly, which means you will be removing handfuls of nitrates and other nutrients and improving your water.

Any or all of these are cheap, easy to grow and attractive. If I can grow them, anyone can grow them...even long-hair California surfer dudes! :)

Edited to add: You'll have better success if you buy a fair number of plants right from the start. If you just buy one or two at the beginning, they will still require just as much light...but those few won't utilize much in the way of nutrients, and so you will likely have an algae explosion. Buy more plants right from the get-go, and they will better be able to outcompete algae for the available nutrients. Good luck! :)
 

Coot

Exodon
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Mar 3, 2022
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Could just be me, but I haven’t had any luck with jungle vals under standard lighting. I used root tabs also, but no CO2. Mine got delayed in the mail and basically melted back to the roots after I planted them though. May just have been too much for them to come back from
 

The Masked Shadow

Redtail Catfish
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Jul 19, 2020
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If I were to do Anubias, what would I tie it to? I would get whatever val or subulata they have at my LFS, no preference. However, how many on average should I get?

How many Anubias should I get? What is the best species of duckweed? What about red root floaters? Any other smaller front plants?
 

jjohnwm

Redtail Catfish
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Mar 29, 2019
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phreeflow

Redtail Catfish
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Nov 19, 2007
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A Finnex Stingray won’t don’t much in a 90 gallon. That’s a very weak light for viewing your fish, not growing
much, especially in a tall tank like a 90.

You might get away with Java Fern or Anubias. You could try marsilea minuta for a low light foreground but it’ll grow slow with that led.

Floaters are great but that’s going to limit even more light reaching the substrate. If you want a floater, Amazon Frogbit or Salvinia are large and grow well. Duckweed is a mess. Red root floaters are harder to grow…they need a lot more light.

Just stick with Anubias, Java fern, maybe some crypts…they’ll survive with a Stingray. Otherwise, upgrade your light
 

jjohnwm

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Mar 29, 2019
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Manitoba, Canada
Could just be me, but I haven’t had any luck with jungle vals under standard lighting.
Vals and other "easy" plants have usually done well for me, using only cheap fluorescent shoplites for many years. Only started switching over to LED lamps in the past few years; I wait until a ballast or fluorescent lamp burns out, and then discard the original ballast and re-wire the fixture with retrofit LED tubes and carry on. I also have a tank that is lit with a portable LED work light suspended overhead! :) It grows guppy grass, duckweed and Amazon Swords without a problem, and the "sunlight shimmer" effect from the single-point source is gorgeous. I'm sure that if I increased the power and/or quality of light I would experience far better growth. But the plants don't die, stay green, seem to do okay...good enough for me! :)

A Finnex Stingray won’t don’t much in a 90 gallon. That’s a very weak light for viewing your fish, not growing
much, especially in a tall tank like a 90...Just stick with Anubias, Java fern, maybe some crypts…they’ll survive with a Stingray. Otherwise, upgrade your light...
It blows my mind to learn that there are expensive aquarium-specific lighting fixtures that won't even produce enough illumination to grow plants! Maybe that light is inexpensive by the standards of other aquarium fixtures, but I'll bet that it is still way more costly than shoplites; on sale at Rona for C$35, which is currently less than US$28. Not a high-tech sexy modern gadget, but for a young fellow like the Shadow, just starting out with planted tanks...still a viable option for easy plants.

Maybe leave the Finnex light on throughout the day for observation, and then have an additional light (like the shoplight) turn on/off with a timer for a few extra hours each day for the plants?
 
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The Masked Shadow

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Jul 19, 2020
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Southern California (San Diego)

This is my light.

It seems like it’s a 50/50 or around that shot for my plants to grow under this light. What kind of shop light do you recommend/are talking about.
 
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