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  L# New to aquarium plants, how do i start
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SubscribeNew to aquarium plants, how do i start
rasboramary
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Big Fish
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THanks so much, Crazy4Plants. I really appreciate the input. I have heard that Chinese Algae Eaters are real stinkers sometimes, so I do not want to end up with those. I think I have seen "flying fox" at my LFS. With your help, I am confident i can pick out the "real thing." Thanks again!
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:43Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
greenfootball
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lynn-
depends on your plants, some plants feed heavier in their roots, then you'll need the tablt form of fertilizer. just get these tablets from your lfs push them about 1/2 way down your gravel near the roots then you are set till the next time you add tablets.

if they receive their nutrients mainly from the water, then you'll need the liquid type... just pour and you are good. the liquid type however can attract algea if you overdoze it.

when buying fertilizers, you DO NOT want phosphate and nitrate in them. look for something with more iron, potassium, and other important elements (cannot remember right now)

p.s. SeaChem makes pretty good fertilizers
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:43Profile AIM Yahoo PM Edit Delete Report 
lynn
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Small Fry
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Thanks for the advice - I'll give it a go
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:43Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
divertran
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A great reply Frank. I've read it before if I'm not mistaken. It should be posted as an article or something.
The only advice I would give, And I didn't do this which is why now all my plants are plastic, is to stronly consider your lights. Great plants can be quite easy, but you need the light. certain plants need high light and some thrive in low light conditions. The easiest thing to do is find your light range now with your existing hood. Mine is .66 wpg, very low. But it should be sufficient for very lowlight needing plants. For the plants I tried putting in the tank (swords) I should have added a couple more wpg. They all turned yellow and the transparent and all died. So either adjust your lightint to your plants or your plants to your lights. (I think Frank explained it a lot better than I did, lol). Good luck.
p.s. lots of info can be found on sites like azgardens.com or plantedtank.com or sites like that.
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:43Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
longhairedgit
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id confirm the saimese flying fox thing i have three 140 gallon tanks and in all three i had issues with hair algae, 6 foxes per aquarium totally eliminated all hair algae, and the tetra flora pride and blackwater extracts certainly seem to have helped keep it away. Amano shrimp and ottos and even the tiger plec which was a hugely voracious algae eater never managed this. Although for cleaning out big coverings of green algae from large tanks id consider the tiger plec second to none.When first acquired he shifted a 1 foot square area from a piece of corkbark that was about 3 mm deep.now i have java ferns and echinodas that are several years old with individual leaves that are still not clogged and have not been trimmed back for over a year..
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:43Profile MSN PM Edit Delete Report 
TheCrow2794
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i would go with java moss because it makes micro food for fry provides shelter and grows fast so i would say about a golf ball size of it and maby get some vegitarian fish because it grows like a basket ball in 3 monthsi hope it works for u
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:43Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
CONNIE
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I had a true Siamese Algae eater (from what i could tell from the diagrams and from memory) and i had to take it back to the lfs as it was harrassing and eating the dorsal fins of my bronze loach. He wouldn't let the smaller loach eat. The SAE did grow fast and became more aggressive the bigger it got.
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:43Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
eogle
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That was awesome Frank. I learned a lot.

Can someone recomend a good book on planted aquariums for someone with no experiance in planted aquariums?

Thanks

-Eric
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
Post InfoPosted 03-Apr-2006 19:16Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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EditedEdited by FRANK
Hi,
I these are the books that I have in my library:

Plant Identification and Information:

Ecology of the Planted Aquarium (Diana Walstad)
Ecology of the Planted Aquarium, Vol-2 (Diana Walstad)
Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants (Peter Hiscock)
Encyclopedia of Water Plants (Dr. Jiri Stodola)
Aquarium Plants (Gehard Brunner)
Aquarium Plants Manual (Ines Scheurmann)

Aquascaping:

Enjoy Planting Your Aquarium (William Dewhurst M.D.)
Planted Aquariums (Christel Kasselmann)
Aquarium Designs Inspired by Nature (Peter Hiscock)
Nature Aquarium World books 1, 2, 3.
(Takashi Amano)

There are many others. Check Amazon.com for more.

Frank


-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 07-Apr-2006 05:37Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
eogle
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Thanks Frank

-Eric
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
Post InfoPosted 07-Apr-2006 18:55Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
plantbrain
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Read this site on substrates:
http://home.infinet.net/teban/substrat.htm


Hi Frank,

Steve and I have disagreed and he's been wrong every time
This goes way back.
He later started pestering me to do all this research and never wanted to do the work himself.

The references for his claims I am familar with and personally know the researchers(except Dave H). They are based for natural systems. While plants in a typical natural system may take up most of the PO4 via the roots, the reality is we have complete control of the horticulture.

It's like comparing farming/agriculture to natural system for production and methods.

Aquatic gardening is just that, horticulture, not natural ecology, but even there, we find better applied research examples, we see that good high growths are maintained as long as there is ample nutrients in the water column as well as the sediment. I argue for both locations for nutrients, not this "either or" business. That is too simplistic and does not explain much nor makes sense on a number of levels.

Steve also believes that excess PO4 and NO3 cause algae.
Evidence for the last 10 years has shown otherwise and the research also shows no correlation either, see here below:

Read this guy, he's been around and was at the lab I worked at for the MS:

http://fishweb.ifas.ufl.edu/Bachmann/Bachmann.htm

http://fishweb.ifas.ufl.edu/Canfield/Canfield.htm

http://fishweb.ifas.ufl.edu/Otherstaff/MVHoyer.htm

Read the pdf's they will give you some new ideas.


Now that group of folks and the funding for aquatic sciences and the amount of folks specifically targeting aquatic plants we actually keep and grow is enormous, far more than all the references ever supported by any aquatic plant book ever written to date.

The area of research is also specific. It examplifies the best natural conditions that one might find an aquarium tropical plant and applied research.

A lake in Demark or Minnesota that freezes every year, is very deep, has only cold water species, large turn over events 2x a year is hardly applicable to a shallow tropical planted tank don't you think?
Plants grow much faster and cycle faster at warm temps, and grow very slow at cold temps.

I've answered all of these so called questions of Steve's in aquatic plant contexts.

"problems with transition after initial submergence
suitability of substrate types for various plant types
factors contributing to H2S toxicity
factors contributing to micro-nutrient toxicity
loss of substrate fertility
other factors causing long term degradation (toxicity)
strategies for enriching substrate fertility "

Steve does a decent job putting together the more organic approaches to substrates, but the conclusions are based on his own view rather than any experimental evidence he's done himself with controls.

This is true for most aquarist, the lack of controls and seeing if X does cause Y when you test the hypothesis really needs to be done if you plan to make any sense of things.

Otherwise you base the info on speculation, even if it's supported, the question now becomes is the support applicable and is it somewhat recent?

This is beyond the newbie's scope here, but they look for help and hopeful success with plants.

I focus on both the sediment and water column, this allows both areas to be optimized for plants and most newbies just want a decent substrate for their plants and honestly want to do what the experienced folks are doing.

They just wonder How and What to do.

That's pretty easy. There are quite a few methods out there, but organic soils etc are not that easy nor suggested for newbies.

They work and are great, but there are Flourite, Eco complete, ADA Aqua soil and plain sand.
These work well and amendments maybe added if desired.

I have issues when folks do not focus on the entire whole plant for growth. There are numerous methods to do so and various mechanism that control rates, efficacy of a method etc, but a holistic approach should be done if the person wants the best chance of success.

Several methods are out there, but few focus on both the water column and the sediment together, it's this "either or" business and divisions that cause issues and conflicting info for many newbies.

Plants all grow for the same reasons (some seem to want to claim otherwise), rates of growth may change etc, and they will take nutrients from either or both locations.

Regards,
Tom Barr



















Post InfoPosted 09-Nov-2006 11:20Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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EditedEdited by FRANK
Hi Tom,
It's great to hear from you again. I've noticed you have
been posting here and there in FP.

I was not aware of Steve's background and the article was
good. Only someone such as yourself would know if it was
founded on good scientific principles or on folklore.
Do you have a suggestion for a link on a similiar article
that might be more science and lab based?

I agree with your comments on Aquatic Gardening and
horticulture. I have glanced at the links, and have
decided that it would take months and months to wade
through all those PDFs. My first job will be to read the
abstracts and then go deeper in those that seem to apply.
My educational background is in Communications Electronics
(2 years) and geology (4 years). Some of the aquatic
gardening knowledge has been self taught over 50 years
of aquariums, and reading nearly everything I can get
my hands on. Diana's book was the point at which I
was able to put much of the puzzle together and make sense
of things. I've yet to purchase the second volume. I hope
it is as well grounded as the first, and takes things a bit
further.

When reading The Ecology of the Planted Aquarium, I
realized that plants can extract nutrients from both the
water column and the substrate. Then I began to realize
that which, depended to some extent, on the particular
organic compound that the plant was trying to break apart
to extract the various elements. Carbon, for instance
can be obtained from breaking the bonds in organic
compounds, but it is much easier for the plant to break
the CO2 bonds from the injected CO2. The same holds for
the forms of Fe that is available in the tank, etc.
Thus, I had to revist my chemistry classes, and delve into
botany. All in all, it has been a time of continuous
education(mine).

As far as advice is concerned, I try to stay "generic"
when possible as the bulk of our readers are folks who
have a tank, and then decide that they want to add some
plants to make it look more natural. Some go no further,
while others, such as the folks who frequent this forum
are dead serious about their planted tanks and, like me,
want to know the "Why" along with the what should I do's.
When folks ask, then I go deeper.

Well, I'm off to read some PDFs.. Looks like I have my
work cut out for me.

Thanks for visiting.
Frank


-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 10-Nov-2006 02:13Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
plantbrain
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Howdy Frank,

Sorry about that tone of my last post, I do it to provoke discourse butn rubs more than one the wrong way. Karen Randall was talking to me at the AGa event about that
She knows I do it on purpose, not due to a mean old guy that some think I am behind the screen

Yes, it does take time to work things through. It also takes....well ......work!! Imagine that! haha

Abstracts are good.
Most folks often just read that.

I like figures as they tell so much in such a small space and can be viewed many different ways.

I honestly do not have a better link, much of the advice and suggestions are good on Steve's site though.

It's more geared towards the organic side of things.
Diana did a much better job at her arguemnts and conclusions.

I'm not aware of her 2nd book but it will be well recieved even if I have not agreed with some of the speculation she alludes too.

I'm good with both CO2 and Non CO2 tank physiology and have brought them both together in terms of algae, plant growth, rate of growth and sediment vs water column and the synergism between the two.

This puts it all together and these methods are no longer seemingly the antithesis of eachother like so many think, even with 50 years in the hobby.

I hear you when it comes to generic response.
Hard to say and judge what they want.
I give them a lot to think about but the how is kept simple and their goals with plants are always upfront.

Give those a read, even old dogs can learn new tricks
And for other folks interested in more, knock your self out, you'll enjoy them, although it is very dense reading.

I often read things like this several times.

Regards,
Tom Barr



Post InfoPosted 17-Nov-2006 22:37Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
REDPHANTOM
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A QUERY FOR THE EXPERTS...

I HAVE BEEN RECOMMENDED BY MY LFS TO SET UP MY NEW TANK WITH ACTUAL DIRT OR SOIL ON THE BOTTOM OF THE TANK, BELOW A layer OF GRAVEL AND BELOW THE UNDER GRAVEL FILTER AND THEN TOP IT OFF REGULARLY WITH GRAVEL OVER THE FILTER IN ORDER TO GROW HEALTHIER PLANTS. TO WHAT EXTENT IS THIS SOIL layer GOING TO IMPROVE MY PLANTS? IS IT A VIABLE AND HEALTHY CHOICE FOR MY TANK? IS IT A COMMON PRACTICE? AND IS IT REALLY GOING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE HAVING IT OR NOT?

THANKS FOR ALL THE INFO THUS FAR AND WOULD APPRECIATTE ANY INPUT YOU CAN GIVE ME.
Post InfoPosted 05-Jan-2007 23:59Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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EditedEdited by FRANK
Hi,
Welcome to FP!

Generally you can layer the tank this way:
First on the bare bottom you put about an inch and a half
layer of a clay. Either Laterite, or a unscented, crushed
clay (sometimes called "Speedy Dry" and used by many
mechanics to absorb oil and other fluids).
I say an inch and a half because you want the total
substrate thickness to be 3 - 4 inches deep.
Over the layer of clay, you add an inch and a half of
regular aquarium gravel. This upper layer is commonly
referred to as the "Cap layer" and is designed to keep the
clay out of circulation and to provide a layer for the
plants to root into. The problem with the layering method
is that any time you break the integrity of the upper
layer either by pouring water in too vigorously, or
uprooting plants, you pull the clay from the bottom
through the cap layer and into the water where it will
cloud the water and take days, weeks, and even months,
before the water becomes clear again.

You should NEVER use "dirt" for your lower layer.
It contains all sorts of live critters of all sizes and
all sorts of organics that, once trapped under the cap
layer, would die and decay and cause you a problem like
you would not believe!

Living where you do, you should be able to get all the
Laterite you could ever want as the tropical jungles are
the source of the iron rich clay.

If you can, get a hold of Diana Walstead's book,
THE ECOLOGY OF THE PLANTED AQUARIUM, either volume one or
two and read it. It is the best primer for folks who want
to have what is called a "Natural Aquarium" and that uses
only soil, no gravel. You have to follow the book as
outlined, or you will wind up with a septic tank instead
of an aquarium.

Here is a site about substrates that you should find
interesting and informative:

http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/plant_substrates.php

Hope this helped...
Frank


-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 06-Jan-2007 02:05Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
REDPHANTOM
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Mr. Frank,

Thank you again for your reply and information. I`ve been keeping you busy!! I appreciatte your reference to Diana Walstead`s book and have added it to my must have list.

I`ll research the information and apply it to the 50 gallon tank currently setting up.

Post InfoPosted 06-Jan-2007 04:42Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
REDPHANTOM
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I am setting up a 50 gallon tank to host the population of my current 10 gallon tank. If you are intrested and want to follow up on the status of the tank and fish, please refer to this link: http://www.fishprofiles.com/files/threads/32514.1.htm?0.9819176#

Thanks for all your help thusfar and hope to hear from you all in the near future.
Post InfoPosted 12-Jan-2007 22:32Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Robert H
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Wow I cant believe this thread is so old and still going!

I take exception to Tom Barrs rant to you about Steve Pushaks WEB site. I didn't read there anywhere where you asked for an opinion on the subject. All you did was suggest people read the articles on his WEB site. His articles have quite a bit of validity. Steven was the Technical advisor of the Aquatic Gardners association for several years... a position I don't think Tom has ever held.

Its all old history since Toms post is a year old now, but it just sticks in my craw. Tom has his own approach to everything, but his is not the only way to go!

Diana Walstad has an interesting approach that is not for everyone either. It is certainly the opposite of what Tom Barr does though. She has only written one book. What you call volume two was her second edition, second printing of the same book. It has a few changes and updates, but thats all.

A newbie should not be presented with too much technical information. You will only be over welmed and discouraged. A good understanding of the basics will give anyone satisfactory results growing plants. Lighting, C02, and nutrients are the main issues.

This is the goal I have tried to reach in writing my column "The Planted Tank" in Freshwater and Marine Aquarium Magazine. There are lots of alternatives for substrates. There are different light levels one may reach for various results, and there are different ways of providing C02 and various levels of C02 will yield different results. And while there are different methods of delivering nutrients, all plants nust have the same nutrients in order to live. In fact every form of carbon based life contains the same elements and when ground to a pulp makes good fertilizer! Each of these subjects can be discussed in great detail on its own, and perhaps they should instead of being all lumped in this conversation.

I attempted to bring basic overviews to my WEB site several years ago, and perhaps it still is of help: www.aquabotanic.com and there are many other sites that talk about these issues.

The most important thing for anyone trying to grow plants is KEEP ASKING QUESTIONS! Don't be discouraged by obstacles, or intimadated by all the "experts". Not that Frank is intimadating!


Regards

Robert Hudson
Post InfoPosted 24-May-2007 02:12Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
ScottF
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Frank, I am considering a planted tank for my new 55g. I copied and pasted your article (among the various other great posts of yours) and intend to use it as my starting guide, in addition to getting a couple books on the subject. As always, thanks!
Post InfoPosted 26-Jul-2007 04:01Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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Hi Scott,
Welcome to the world of planted tanks! Thank You for your
complements and comments.
I look forward to reading your log and seeing the
pictures as the tank develops.
I wish you luck and hope that one day you
enter your tank in the annual AGA contest.
Frank


-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 26-Jul-2007 08:23Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
H-Dub
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This post definitely has multiple tones and fantastic information. I want to thank you Frank for all of your insite
Post InfoPosted 04-Jun-2008 21:29Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
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Hi H!
Thank You, also, for reading these posts.
As you will notice, we have a bunch of folks who post
in Planted Aquaria that have become outstanding fountains
of knowledge and are backed up by their beautiful, planted
tanks. Many of the threads show their tanks from inception
through months and even years after starting.
While much of those posts contain banter back and
forth, they also contain a wealth of information, much
of which was found through trial and error,
or concentrated reading of published books and articles.

Take your time and read through them and I'm sure you
will uncover a wealth of information.

Sincerely,
Frank


-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 05-Jun-2008 16:20Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
H-Dub
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Thanks Frank! I have been! I love to see all teh different opinions on the same subject and why people feel the way they do! I don't think we can ever stop learning so I soak up all knowledge I can get my hands on!
Post InfoPosted 11-Jun-2008 06:36Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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