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Old 09-08-2012, 10:13 AM   #1 
SlabSided
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First Time with Live Plants

Now that I feel confident I can keep one little fish alive, I'm finally ready to add some live plants to my 5 gallon tank. However, when I read some of the posts on this plant subforum, I am extremely intimidated and overwhelmed. I want something VERY EASY that I really don't have to think too hard about. I have pea gravel substrate that I am extremely anal about vacuuming weekly so I don't intend to have any rooted plants. For now, I'm starting small. I found a couple of pretty healthy plants at Petco - a java fern and wisteria. They are the kind in the gel tubes.

So, I have questions:
1. Do I need to quarantine these plants and, if so, what am I looking for? They are supposed to be "snail free". Right now they are in a spare tank and I don't see anything worrisome. I'm terrified of introducing nasties in my tank.
2. The wisteria is just loose stems with no discernible roots - what the heck do I do with these? Just throw them in the tank? I'm concerned that they'll root themselves in the gravel and I'll uproot them every time I vacuum the gravel.
3. The java fern has a nice little root ball. I plan to tie it to the driftwood once that stops growing that hideous white fuzz - dear lord when will that stop? It's been in the tank for 2 months now, I gave it a thorough scrubbing just last week and today it looks like a slimy chia pet.
4. What kind of fertilizer should I get? Flourish? Flourish Excel? Remember, I want this to be very easy.
5. I know java fern and wisteria are low light. The light I currently have came with the tank and I have no idea what power it is but it's pretty lame - it really only lights up the area directly underneath it. I've bought another one but I'm concerned it might be too bright - it's WAY brighter than the current one. It's 26w 6500K. I'm actually more worried about blinding the poor fish.

Thanks!
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:24 AM   #2 
ChoclateBetta
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It depends do you have a lot of light technically not a plant Marimo is good it out competes other algae anarchis drift wood lowers ph if you are worried about snails assassin snails eat other snail and can rprocuce but lay few eggs and most would be eaten a 5 gallon is rather small you can actually put plants in the filter ferts with things like pottasium and iron anarchis would go nice over the surface and help get rid of algae. A Betta and a small snail like assassin so remember no algae eating fish.
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:47 AM   #3 
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It's recommended that plants be quarantined from anywhere between one and four weeks, the amount is dependant on the person and their preferences. When I QT plants I sit them in a tank in dechlorinated water and change the water every couple of days to remove any microfauna that may be harmful. Parasites and the like would need a host to survive so a period of time without a host will lead to their death, hence why QTing plants without fish is important.

Stem plants are usually sold as just that: stems. When planted (or in wisteria's case, left floating) they gradually develop roots. You can keep the wisteria floating, some people have much more luck growing it this way. It will likely sprout a lot of roots but these are great as I know some bettas feel more secure with long, dangling stems and roots to sleep in.

I don't know when the white fuzz issue you're encountering will stop, snails and shrimp usually eat that stuff apparently. I had the issue myself but gave up and removed the piece of wood in the end.

For wisteria and java ferns I honestly don't think you'll need fertilizers. With such a small amount of plants you'll likely find algae will make more use of the ferts than your plants, who will very very likely get enough nutrition from both water column and waste produced by your fish. It's a personal choice though.

What size is your tank? There is a general consensus over what wattage light you should use, for wisteria and java fern "one watt per gallon" should be sufficient with a minimum of 11watts. If your tank is 5 gallons or less then an 11watt bulb will be fine, 26watts will likely be overkill and would encourage algae growth. The kelvin rating of the bulb you chose is ideal!
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:34 PM   #4 
ChoclateBetta
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Originally Posted by SpookyTooth View Post
It's recommended that plants be quarantined from anywhere between one and four weeks, the amount is dependant on the person and their preferences. When I QT plants I sit them in a tank in dechlorinated water and change the water every couple of days to remove any microfauna that may be harmful. Parasites and the like would need a host to survive so a period of time without a host will lead to their death, hence why QTing plants without fish is important.

Stem plants are usually sold as just that: stems. When planted (or in wisteria's case, left floating) they gradually develop roots. You can keep the wisteria floating, some people have much more luck growing it this way. It will likely sprout a lot of roots but these are great as I know some bettas feel more secure with long, dangling stems and roots to sleep in.

I don't know when the white fuzz issue you're encountering will stop, snails and shrimp usually eat that stuff apparently. I had the issue myself but gave up and removed the piece of wood in the end.

For wisteria and java ferns I honestly don't think you'll need fertilizers. With such a small amount of plants you'll likely find algae will make more use of the ferts than your plants, who will very very likely get enough nutrition from both water column and waste produced by your fish. It's a personal choice though.

What size is your tank? There is a general consensus over what wattage light you should use, for wisteria and java fern "one watt per gallon" should be sufficient with a minimum of 11watts. If your tank is 5 gallons or less then an 11watt bulb will be fine, 26watts will likely be overkill and would encourage algae growth. The kelvin rating of the bulb you chose is ideal!
He said five gallon
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:43 PM   #5 
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plants are very easy. but might be hard if you OCD over how clean your gravel is XD rooted plants will make use of the gunk that collects in the gravel and make them unavailable to bad bacteria. plants do not like tanks that are cleaned too much, or continuously changing water conditions.
they are very easy to keep when you have adequet light. 13w cfl is good for a 5g. with the easy plants like wisteria, water sprite, anacharis, anybias, java fern and hornwort. (which you can float.) it is uneccessary to dose ferts.
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:46 PM   #6 
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plants are very easy. but might be hard if you OCD over how clean your gravel is XD rooted plants will make use of the gunk that collects in the gravel and make them unavailable to bad bacteria. plants do not like tanks that are cleaned too much, or continuously changing water conditions.
they are very easy to keep when you have adequet light. 13w cfl is good for a 5g. with the easy plants like wisteria, water sprite, anacharis, anybias, java fern and hornwort. (which you can float.) it is uneccessary to dose ferts.
It depends on the plant some are easy some are hard.
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:47 PM   #7 
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It depends on the plant some are easy some are hard.
im sure she wont get the hard ones XD
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:27 PM   #8 
SlabSided
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Thanks! Those were exactly the kind of answers I was looking for. Well except for not obsessing about the clean gravel. That one might be kind of hard. If the plants aren't rooted in the substrate, will they still use up/neutralize the poop buried in the gravel?
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:51 PM   #9 
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They will use anything that will escape into the water column ^___^. like ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. which essentially means, they're a natural water purifier.
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Old 09-09-2012, 03:50 AM   #10 
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He said five gallon
Oh duh, sorry SlabSided! I was tired when I was writing my response, didn't see you mention the 5 gal. An 11 or 13watt CFL would be ideal.
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