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Old 03-29-2013, 04:13 PM   #1 
Blue Fish
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Why do some plants float and others need to be "rooted"?

Okay, I have what may seem like a really stupid question... :) But, I've never done aquatic plants before, so I'm new at this. :)

My question is, why do some plants need to have their roots buried in the substrate?
I know with regular plants they are getting minerals and moisture from the ground...but I wouldn't imagine that there is much to get from my gravel?

Also, how deeply do they need to be buried? I've got a fairly light substrate level.

One more, I'm having trouble getting the plants to *stay* buried, their roots are shallow and don't seem to want to stay-put in my gravel, is there a trick to this?

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:17 PM   #2 
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rooted plants should be rooted, even in gravel, since the roots can and do get nutrients there, from uneaten fish food and fish poo which sinks in between gravel bits, thus why non-live-planted tanks need gravel vacuuming. with live plants you may still need to vacuum up the excess (more likely if you have more fish than plants) but it's often discouraged as it can be damaging to your plants, especially delicately-constructed ones like hornwort and rotala which can be torn to bits by a careless swipe of the siphon.
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Old 03-30-2013, 02:58 AM   #3 
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Ahh, I'd wondered how vacuuming was going to go. :( Ugh, I've only got a couple of plants per tank right now. Should I just vacumn around them, staying pretty far away from the plants themselves?

Also, so you don't vacumn a fully planted tank at all? And at what point do you know that you have enough plants to NOT vacumn? My tank is cycled so my readings always come out correctly (even if I miss a water change), so how do you know?

Again, these are probably stupid questions, please forgive my ignorance. :)
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Old 03-30-2013, 04:53 AM   #4 
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most plant can be floated. the majority of stem plants take nutrients from the water column and therefore will do just fine floating. however root feeders like crypts and amazon swords prefer to take nutrients from the substrate and teredore should be "planted". they should still survive floating however, lol.
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:39 AM   #5 
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also, stem plants have a tendency to warp and become unattractive if they float too long (i've had several wisteria cuttings that floated as canopy plants for too long, they've now got roots coming out of both ends, and leaves in the middle, and stems nearly twisted into figure eights.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:42 AM   #6 
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Ahh, so *that's* why my wisteria looks like that! I had it planted originally, then it came loose but seemed to be doing fine floating so I just left it. But I had noticed it was now more of a "mass" of tangled leaves and roots than an actual plant. :) Thanks for the information guys, big, big help! :)
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Old 03-30-2013, 11:05 AM   #7 
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Ahh, so *that's* why my wisteria looks like that! I had it planted originally, then it came loose but seemed to be doing fine floating so I just left it. But I had noticed it was now more of a "mass" of tangled leaves and roots than an actual plant. :) Thanks for the information guys, big, big help! :)
yeah, if it doesn't have a clearly defined 'up' and 'down' wisteria just starts growing into a disorganised mess...they'll be great as canopy plants, but useless for actually planting unless you do some heavy, careful trimming.
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Old 03-30-2013, 04:19 PM   #8 
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Ahh, I'd wondered how vacuuming was going to go. :( Ugh, I've only got a couple of plants per tank right now. Should I just vacumn around them, staying pretty far away from the plants themselves?

Also, so you don't vacumn a fully planted tank at all? And at what point do you know that you have enough plants to NOT vacumn? My tank is cycled so my readings always come out correctly (even if I miss a water change), so how do you know?

Again, these are probably stupid questions, please forgive my ignorance. :)

Blue Fish,

There are never stupid questions. I just learned some new things as a result of your questions, so thank you!
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:13 AM   #9 
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Blue Fish,

There are never stupid questions. I just learned some new things as a result of your questions, so thank you!
LOL! No problem, and glad that someone else got something out of my questions as well. ;) I figure even if the questions are completely obvious to others, if I don't know, I'm still going to ask. :)
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:16 AM   #10 
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yeah, if it doesn't have a clearly defined 'up' and 'down' wisteria just starts growing into a disorganised mess...they'll be great as canopy plants, but useless for actually planting unless you do some heavy, careful trimming.
Right now I'm okay with it just being a jumbled pile of "stuff" at the top corner. It was definitely prettier before, but I'm really interested in the plants for their cycle properties (tanks are all cycled, but plants never hurt!) more than their aesthetic value. And, one of my guys is currently hanging out in it, so apparently he likes it that way. :) (Which relieves me of the scary notion of having to trim it!) :) At this point, I'm just so glad it's alive that I'm afraid to do much with it. ;)
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