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Questions about dirt & floating plants


fup10k

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  :whistle

 

Okay, so questions:

 

1. Can I use miracle gro (or some other kind of...dirt) as the substrate in my tank?

 

2. I want dirt because I know that sand will run down the impeller in filters.... ... is this even a concern with canister filters? (And... will dirt do the same thing?) 

 

3. I LOVED having guppy grass and duckweed... but the filter was always keeping it to one side or sucking it up, and eventually it all died :rip:  I love the look of floating plants, but is my canister filter going to cause the same issues with pushing them around everywhere? (I'm getting the sunsun 304B and the 602B to keep on the other side)

 

4. How do I stop floating plants from going everywhere  :cry1 Am I just doomed to not keep them?

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1. You will want to use an organic soil free of additives if you want to have a dirted tank. Most generic soils have chemical fertilizers in them that make them deadly to fish. There are plenty of posts on Dirted tanks here to look through. :)

 

2. Sand will not necessarily run down your impellers. If you keep the impeller up off of the substrate enough and turn the filters off to do your WCs, then you won't have to worry about sand being sucked up. 

3. If you have any surface agitation, you'll have issues keeping free-floating floating plants. A good way to prevent this is to float the plants in something, such as a collander or other container that will allow the water to circulate underneath but contain them on both the sides and the bottom. And since goldfish will eat all of the duckweed, you will need to keep them contained so that you can keep them for more than a day.

 

4. please see #3.

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3. If you have any surface agitation, you'll have issues keeping free-floating floating plants. A good way to prevent this is to float the plants in something, such as a collander or other container that will allow the water to circulate underneath but contain them on both the sides and the bottom. And since goldfish will eat all of the duckweed, you will need to keep them contained so that you can keep them for more than a day.

Are there any sort of clear mesh-like things that could hold together some guppy grass..and still have it look flow-y? I was originally holding it in some clear boxes...but I hated the look of it. 

I actually wasn't worried about the duckweed being eaten because... Antares doesn't eat it (But i guess the two new goldfish might like to eat plants  :yikes )

 

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Yep, gotta worry about your newbies too! ;) They likely could teach him to eat it as well.

 

You could always create something yourself to hold the duckweed. Maybe stretch some hose over a shallow plastic box that you have cut into a frame shape? This part is all aesthetics, so there are almost endless possibilities.

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Yep, gotta worry about your newbies too! ;) They likely could teach him to eat it as well.

 

You could always create something yourself to hold the duckweed. Maybe stretch some hose over a shallow plastic box that you have cut into a frame shape? This part is all aesthetics, so there are almost endless possibilities.

Do you think that maybe wrapping some pairs of the grass together (with fishing line) and attaching them to the tank with some suction cups would work? 

I think that would give me the best "flow" with the plants, I'm just worried about the fishing line potentially harming the plants when they grow. 

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I know you want flow, but I would also be concerned with them eating the guppy grass.

 

I hate to say it, but it's going to be trial and error and you're going to find out quickly if you can even have those plants or not unless you keep them contained away from the fish.

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To be honest if it doesn't wind up looking the way I want it, I'd probably be okay with them eating it anyway because I'm so picky (and I already know I don't like the look of it in a container at all) 

For now, the only floating plant I KNOW for sure they don't like to go for is anacharis, because I have a bunch of stems floating around the tank already that have remained untouched ~1month or so. it's somehow been kept alive despite constantly moving around the tank, getting stuck to the filter, etc.  

The one thing that makes me think they might like to eat plants is the fact that they chew the roots off of the bamboo.... but Suna did that too, and never ate plants either. 

I wish I could just go up and ask them if they're gonna eat my plants or not.  :rude:

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If you're going to plant into the substrate, dirt is good. You'll want to cap it though. I know one person that keeps a rainbowfish tank with exposed dirt, but he doesn't recommend it as it's very easy to disturb. If you want a dirt only tank, I would look at something like ADA aqua soil or any of the other aquatic dirts. Some do have an initial nutrient/ammonia dump though, which is a tad annoying if you're not cycling.

If you're not going to plant, I'd just stick with the sand. It's easy to clean, looks nice and easy for the fish to forage in.

And if you're really after some free floating plants, look at bigger varieties. Duckweed tends to get blown about, but plants like amazon frogbit, water lettuce and even giant duckweed tend to tolerate currents a bit more. In my experience canister filters pose less problems for these sorts of plants than a HOB. With the latter you really need a little plastic ring under the waterfall to ensure plants aren't sucked in and pushed under.

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I love guppy grass also. Since my fish have gotten older, they don't try to eat the plants. Thank goodness. This is what I've done to keep the guppy grass in place.

I've placed the GG between the hob filters.

image.jpg5_zpscix0tjx0.jpg

image.jpg1_zps3uac4zry.jpg

I use air line tubing to keep the GG in place. This is a top view pic with the tubing. The plastic piece there is to baffle the air bubbles from the lighting. Anyway, I string the tubing across and the drape GG over the tubing like spaghetti noodles.

image.jpg2_zpsjkz0klsn.jpg

Notice the ends of the tubing are taped to the filters.

image.jpg4_zpsr2sjhhfo.jpg

image.jpg3_zpskhoaci9w.jpg

The GG stays in place during water changes. I take out significant chunks of GG at each change because it grow sooooo fast.

I put duckweed in this http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000255O2W?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00

I only do this for feeding. I grow the duckweed in my shrimp tank and then put some into QT for five days before putting into the feeding station.

Edited by LisaCGold
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