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A Question About My Substrait


Jon

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Ok. I'm going to convert my 55 gallon tank to live planted. I'm going most likely get java fern, java moss, and anubias. All these plants like to be attached to wood or larger rocks. since my gravel has pieces that are 1 inch to 3 inches, i was wondering if i could attach the plants to my gravel.

also another question, I might be getting some anacharis. Will this do ok in my larger gravel?

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Guest Obninsk

Fp:

since your were kind enough to respond to my post in photo's the least I can do is share with you my plant experiences.

The short answer is yes, you can "attach" some plant material types to 1"-3" gravel...but if I may, let me induldge you for a moment.

First, 55g will be sweet for this. I may be making some assumtions about what you do or do not know so if I'm off base, forgive me as I'm tryring to "read" into your post some things you may want to consider. That is, I'm just offering and sharing my experiences.

Java fern's root's are of a rhizone type, they send off shoots which the forms more off-shoot that in turn create other leaves or branches if you will. They are somewhat different than "rooted plants". I tend to think of these plants like "tubers" sorta of like an iris bulb. So...tying them off to larger rocks will be ok...you can use monofilimet, light gauge fishing tackle which won't harm the fish or h20 quality. I think driftwod is nice too and small plecs such as bristlenose's will love you for it. (compatible too w/ GF)

Perhaps more important is the substrate, lighting and C02. Depending on your tanks population the community of critters in 55g will not yeild enough C02 for the plants whom are in turn giving off 02 during they day through photosynthesis. Substrate is one thing I learned ago that was a vital component to successful plant growth for a number of reasons. There are trace elements, nutrition and other compunds for healthy root growth. The other is finer material is what roots tends to grab on to and send finer root folicles to serach for food (nutrients) and create a "root ball"...with gold fish here is where the problems begin. As you know, GF are scavangers and with small granular material they may just inhale this stuff which can cuase digestive problems or worse. With your gravel being the size it is this would be an excellent top cover to a sound substrate. As well, your gravel is too large for roots to take hold, you might as well treat them like floating plants. If all you used was this 1"-3" gravel it may limit your choices of plant types in the future as well. Eco-complete is an excellent substrate materail and there are other as well. I have read that some people use a layer of sand, then an eco-complete or a Vermiculite & Laterite and gravel on top of that. This does get into more "planted tank" typology but at 55g and with good lighting, you and most of all, your fish will benifit. I know there are those whom are "barebottom" tank types, but I ask you this; Have you ever seen a wild fish such as GF themselves, trout, or even native environs for tropicals with a "bare bottom"? It's not natural. A planted tank will make your fish happy or even happier. Of course taking care of the fish, the plants and the water is well, maintinence. Actually once set up, just like one did when cyclying thier tank, it is only a matter of reagular H20 changes and with plants, a little prunning.

Lighting is must at the appropraite levels and C02 can be debated. Me?, I'm a firm beliver in infusing C02 and got tired of messing with DIY generators. For well under 2 bones ($200) you can get a fully automated system, that has a tank, regulator, needle valve, bubble counter and diffuser as well as a solinoid to turn it off with the lights at night. Now, this is well beyond the scope of your thread but couldn't resist to add my 2 cents worth...only becasue it was like getting ones first tank...it was never big enough and lord knows how we learned that lesson...plants are no different, one you start you want to be successful. Just as important is, who wants to keep pulling out dead plants or adding funky synthetic iron tablets to decoy the plant to thinking there is enough trace minerals and elements to survive?....talk about potentially creating a H20 nightmare.

Mussings from the great lakes....

good luck

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Thank you.

Under my gravel is finer regular aquarium gravel. about an inch down.

Since i dont have a rich substrait, I probally wont be getting an anubias. As for the others, they should be fine. I dont have a bright light but the fern and moss dont require a bright light. the Anacharis on the other hand does, but my tank is near a window, plus i will be upgrading my lights in a few months.

Also, since I'm going to make the tank lightly planted, I wont need a co2 thing right?

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Guest Obninsk

FP:

I do not think to start off without C02 means ones is doomed to plant failure. Not even close. You just have to see how the plants develop as lightiing and substrate are more key. As far as the substrate, I think you you can do a little tweaking and you'll be fine..what I mean is this; the fine gravel underneath can suffice especially over time with the colonization of bacteria and other waste that gets trapped in the lower layer of your tank. What I might suggest is rather than buying a boat load of vermaculite or the such, what i did for example is just place some planting substrate under the area where I planted only. It's a cheaper approach and less disruptive if you have a tank already up and running.

Here's where my expertise (i use this word cautiously ;) , runs thin....1) I don't know the number or size of fish that can sufficiently respirate enough to provide C02. 2) I don't know, but would guess that benficial bacteria does contribute to C02 levels. I have read that to sucessfully grow most plants, lightly planted or otherwise, one should have 15ppm - 25ppm of C02. Further I've read that you can calculate this by testing water hardness and pH and that there are formulas that would give you a rough indication of what the C02 level is. Of course there are "C02" monitors out there as well.

You bring up a great topic as it makes me want to go back to my LFS which is quite good and further study thier planted tank set up that I buy from....Thier lighting is excellent, excellent substrate and two larger fish, I mean large (don't know the species) and, their plants are great...even so that they pearl..which is you can see the 02 on the leaves...rather amazing. But honestly I have never noticed if they're infusing C02 or not. Next time I'm there, I will look and ask and from what I learn, I'll pass it on.

I suppose in short, if you start out as you've stated, and the plants look healthy and gare rowing then it is working...as they say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"...one can always make adjustments later. As I enjoy gardening, especially roses and rhododendrons, There are a ba-jillion theories out there...my neighbor does very little in terms of feeding, soil amendment and she has got some roses that are a knock-out....as Mies Van Der Rohe (architect) once said, "Less is more".

Have I wasted your grey matter here with all this? hope not, sounds like you've been well around GF & aquariums long enough to follow the first rule: instinct and intuition! Just the fact that you seeking out information and opinions, I doubt that you'll make a drastic mistake. Finally, if we all knew everything from the go, what fun would it be?...otherwise we would the one's writting books and owning a GF & plant store :D

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