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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone! I'm on a debate. I have Eco Complete Planted Black Aquarium Substrate. I mixed it with some gravel to add color to my tank. However, plants keep dying and I'm wondering if I should change this? Now I bought a lighting fixture/bulb to help promote growth, I also recently added root tabs to each plant. I will have to take some pictures of the plants when I get home. But my question really is, what's better to have sand or dirt substrate? Which one is easier to semi clean or vaccum? Which one works better in producing growth of roots?

I need a plant expert here!

Someone who has their npt going and thriving. Someone who has experience please. Make sure you ask me any questions you can - I'm trying to get to the root of my problem.

Haha get it - root
 

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I'm still a newbie, but what kind of plants?

Different plants require different lights (low, medium, high), nutrients (some get from root tabs, some from water column), etc.

Also, many plants will "melt" when first put into a tank, but then they start to grow back (I won't mention how many plants I got rid of because I didn't know this).

I use Eco-complete; in addition, I dose with excel and flourish, use root tabs; it is working well for me, so far, I think - lol. One tank has high light, the other 2 medium light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm still a newbie, but what kind of plants?

Different plants require different lights (low, medium, high), nutrients (some get from root tabs, some from water column), etc.

Also, many plants will "melt" when first put into a tank, but then they start to grow back (I won't mention how many plants I got rid of because I didn't know this).

I use Eco-complete; in addition, I dose with excel and flourish, use root tabs; it is working well for me, so far, I think - lol. One tank has high light, the other 2 medium light.

These are the three plants I'm working with. I'm not sure what they need. If you happen to know anything about them, let me know please. Like what type they are? How much sun light? Etc etc?

Starting from left to right, the first plant picture - I recently bought this plant. I wanted it because of the big beautiful leaves with the white stripes. so far, no decay or no issues with growing. Two root tabs are underneath him.
Plant two - Oval leaves, semi green, was a lot greener when I got him, I've had him for two weeks. No growth, two root tabs, has lost a leaf or two.
Plant three - I have had for abot three weeks, decaying, one root tab, no roots though... Can not get this plant to grow period. This is my fourth time with the same type of plant.
 

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The first plant looks like a Dracaena species which is a houseplant, not aquatic.

The second is a Amazon Sword, that plant preferably needs high lighting and lots of nutrients under its roots as it is a heavy root feeder.

The third is Anacharis, generally a cold water plant good for ponds but will do alright in the planted tank if allowed to acclimate to the higher temperature. It often melts the first time it is transfered so best to leave it floating while it acclimates and once it is done melting, it should grow a new stem off the old one.

All plants are divided into categories for light, ease of growing, how fast they grow and what kind of feeders they are. For feeders there are two main categories: Water Column Feeders and Root Feeders. Amazon swords and most other rosette style plants are heavy root feeders meaning they take most of the nutrients they need from the soil where their roots are. They still benefit from liquid ferts though. Water Column Feeders are any sort of floating plant (duckweed, frog-bit, etc.) and stem plants. Stem plants like water wisteria and anacharis both will take their nutrients from the water column so liquid fertilizers work well for these plants, they will still enjoy a root tab though. The floating plants draw strictly from the water column which makes them fantastic for soaking up ammonia.

Then onto light, there are three categories; low, medium and high. Low light plants will survive pretty much anywhere and these plants include Java Ferns, Anubias, Water wisteria, Anacharis and more. Your Amazon Sword needs high light. Light is determined by three things: how much kelvin your bulb has (color temperature), how far away it is from the substrate (height of tank) and how well it is reflected into the water. We call this PAR or Parabolic Aluminized Reflector rating, there is a special tool you can use to find out how much PAR your light is giving off but we can also just sort of guess as well.

Kelvin rating is the color temperature of the bulb, 2,000K is your average house light. The rating we want is 6,500K to 6,700K as that is what the sun is clocked at in the mid-day time, best time for growing high light plants. Then there are different kinds of bulbs, Incandescent should just be thrown away as they are useless and heat up your water too much. CFL (compact fluorescent light) is what you want for the average hooded tank, these are effecient and low heat-giving bulbs. That combined with a shallow tank should give you a a good medium-high light bulb.

If none of this makes sense so far, just let me know lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The first plant looks like a Dracaena species which is a houseplant, not aquatic.

The second is a Amazon Sword, that plant preferably needs high lighting and lots of nutrients under its roots as it is a heavy root feeder.

The third is Anacharis, generally a cold water plant good for ponds but will do alright in the planted tank if allowed to acclimate to the higher temperature. It often melts the first time it is transfered so best to leave it floating while it acclimates and once it is done melting, it should grow a new stem off the old one.

All plants are divided into categories for light, ease of growing, how fast they grow and what kind of feeders they are. For feeders there are two main categories: Water Column Feeders and Root Feeders. Amazon swords and most other rosette style plants are heavy root feeders meaning they take most of the nutrients they need from the soil where their roots are. They still benefit from liquid ferts though. Water Column Feeders are any sort of floating plant (duckweed, frog-bit, etc.) and stem plants. Stem plants like water wisteria and anacharis both will take their nutrients from the water column so liquid fertilizers work well for these plants, they will still enjoy a root tab though. The floating plants draw strictly from the water column which makes them fantastic for soaking up ammonia.

Then onto light, there are three categories; low, medium and high. Low light plants will survive pretty much anywhere and these plants include Java Ferns, Anubias, Water wisteria, Anacharis and more. Your Amazon Sword needs high light. Light is determined by three things: how much kelvin your bulb has (color temperature), how far away it is from the substrate (height of tank) and how well it is reflected into the water. We call this PAR or Parabolic Aluminized Reflector rating, there is a special tool you can use to find out how much PAR your light is giving off but we can also just sort of guess as well.

Kelvin rating is the color temperature of the bulb, 2,000K is your average house light. The rating we want is 6,500K to 6,700K as that is what the sun is clocked at in the mid-day time, best time for growing high light plants. Then there are different kinds of bulbs, Incandescent should just be thrown away as they are useless and heat up your water too much. CFL (compact fluorescent light) is what you want for the average hooded tank, these are effecient and low heat-giving bulbs. That combined with a shallow tank should give you a a good medium-high light bulb.

If none of this makes sense so far, just let me know lol.
Okay wow, makes sense. So. In that aspect, I already have root tabs and I use API Leaf Zone for water fertilizer. Now, I have the information about the type of light I have sitting on the tank, however it is at home - and I am at work. So I will have to post a reply about the status of my light. The house plant, Dracaena - now Petco said this was aquatic - however we all know petco sucks. So.... Can I still keep this plant inside the tank? Even though it is a house plant...
 

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That's alright! Get to it when you can ^_^

The house plant will eventually rot being fully submerged like that, however you can take off the top of the filter if you have a HOB filter and stick the plant into that so the roots are submerged. Dracaena's don't mind wet feet but just not fully submerged is all. At least, I'm very certain that plant is a Dracaena species, I could be wrong but there really aren't any sword plants with white lines like that one has, it also looks too thick leafed to be an aquatic plant. I've noticed that PetSmart will label the semi-aquatic plants but PetCo won't unfortunately.

As for your ferts, API leafZone is okay but I've had to use much more of that when I had it than when I use SeaChem's Flourish Comprehensive. It's a much more concentrated formula which means your plants get more bang for it's buck and you use less of it which means you won't go through the bottle as quickly. I dose my tanks twice a week with Flourish and boy do they flourish! lol

How many root tabs do you have? I suggest putting one directly or closely under the sword and then a root tab near the Anacharis. Generally you don't want to put the tabs directly under the plant because you want the plant to spread and reach for the nutrients, especially if they are carpeting plants; it helps them spread out and grow better generally. However, Swords don't spread by runners, sometimes you can split their crown if they have a baby but most of the time they end up having a nice long stalk where they grow babies off of which you can pluck off and replant them :-D So anyway, you can put a tab or two directly or closely near the sword so it can get its proper nutrients.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That's alright! Get to it when you can ^_^

The house plant will eventually rot being fully submerged like that, however you can take off the top of the filter if you have a HOB filter and stick the plant into that so the roots are submerged. Dracaena's don't mind wet feet but just not fully submerged is all. At least, I'm very certain that plant is a Dracaena species, I could be wrong but there really aren't any sword plants with white lines like that one has, it also looks too thick leafed to be an aquatic plant. I've noticed that PetSmart will label the semi-aquatic plants but PetCo won't unfortunately.

As for your ferts, API leafZone is okay but I've had to use much more of that when I had it than when I use SeaChem's Flourish Comprehensive. It's a much more concentrated formula which means your plants get more bang for it's buck and you use less of it which means you won't go through the bottle as quickly. I dose my tanks twice a week with Flourish and boy do they flourish! lol

How many root tabs do you have? I suggest putting one directly or closely under the sword and then a root tab near the Anacharis. Generally you don't want to put the tabs directly under the plant because you want the plant to spread and reach for the nutrients, especially if they are carpeting plants; it helps them spread out and grow better generally. However, Swords don't spread by runners, sometimes you can split their crown if they have a baby but most of the time they end up having a nice long stalk where they grow babies off of which you can pluck off and replant them :-D So anyway, you can put a tab or two directly or closely near the sword so it can get its proper nutrients.

So your saying API is cheap crap. Awesome. I'll have to search for some of the fert that you use.

That's lovely that petco is lazy. I wouldn't have bought that plant if I knew it was a houseplant.... I really wouldn't have.. They make me so frustrated.

I put the root tabs directly under the plants. I was not sure that they had to be put around the plants. And I put two under the houseplant and two under the amazon sword. I also put one under the one that is decaying... I thought that might help him out..
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have another question, if I took my plant out of the tank and stuck him in the filter (the house plant that is), what would that accomplish?

Would I still be able to change the filter?
 

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Yeah I know it's a pain, but we live and we learn, right?

Melting is a form of acclimating. The plant looks like it melts or like its going to die but it's just getting used to your water chemistry. Sometimes the plant actually will die if the plant isn't suited for your water chemistry, but each plant varies. In the case of Rosette plants like Cryptocorynes or Swords, the leaves will generally become transparent almost and that leaf will die off but the plant should grow a new leaf soon afterwards. In the case of stem plants the leaf may come back after a melting period but generally it's best just to pluck off the dead/melting leaves and it will grow new leaves or even a new stem off the old stem. Sometimes if the melt isn't terrible enough the leaves will come back on the rosette plants but Amazon swords do not self-heal so it's best to just pluck that leaf off so the plant can concentrate on the healthy leaves or to make a new leaf.

Here's a reference about amazon swords if you'd like to read it: http://aqualandpetsplus.com/Decor Amazon Sword.htm

For the house plant, so if you were to stick the plant into the filter it would help remove a lot of ammonia from the water. Much in the same that duckweed, frog-bit, floating water sprite, salvinia and other floating plants do, it will suck the ammonia and nitrates out of the water very efficiently, making for a much cleaner environment for your fish! It's completely up to you if you want to do it or not! I actually stick mine in the pump side of the filter, not where the filter media is so I can take out the media when I want to but again, it's up to you!

I can't find a picture right now but I can get some photos for you when I get home of my set up. Currently I have my "Lucky Bamboo" in it which is another Dracaena species (there are thousands of this species!), my Mondo Grass (Koyto Grass), and my Philodendron cutting in my little filter and it really does help out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah I know it's a pain, but we live and we learn, right?

Melting is a form of acclimating. The plant looks like it melts or like its going to die but it's just getting used to your water chemistry. Sometimes the plant actually will die if the plant isn't suited for your water chemistry, but each plant varies. In the case of Rosette plants like Cryptocorynes or Swords, the leaves will generally become transparent almost and that leaf will die off but the plant should grow a new leaf soon afterwards. In the case of stem plants the leaf may come back after a melting period but generally it's best just to pluck off the dead/melting leaves and it will grow new leaves or even a new stem off the old stem. Sometimes if the melt isn't terrible enough the leaves will come back on the rosette plants but Amazon swords do not self-heal so it's best to just pluck that leaf off so the plant can concentrate on the healthy leaves or to make a new leaf.

Here's a reference about amazon swords if you'd like to read it: http://aqualandpetsplus.com/Decor Amazon Sword.htm

For the house plant, so if you were to stick the plant into the filter it would help remove a lot of ammonia from the water. Much in the same that duckweed, frog-bit, floating water sprite, salvinia and other floating plants do, it will suck the ammonia and nitrates out of the water very efficiently, making for a much cleaner environment for your fish! It's completely up to you if you want to do it or not! I actually stick mine in the pump side of the filter, not where the filter media is so I can take out the media when I want to but again, it's up to you!

I can't find a picture right now but I can get some photos for you when I get home of my set up. Currently I have my "Lucky Bamboo" in it which is another Dracaena species (there are thousands of this species!), my Mondo Grass (Koyto Grass), and my Philodendron cutting in my little filter and it really does help out.

Well see, I was going to take the houseplant out and put it into my turtle tank's filter. Which I have him in a 29 gallon tank. It would work perfect there.

So what are some good low light, easy caring, yet big leaf plants that would be perfect for a betta to rest in or dance around?
 

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Oh yeah, that's certainly a good idea too :)

Water Wisteria is one of my favorite, it's a stem plant and grows quickly under low-medium light.

Water Sprite is another fast growing plant and can be floated or planted however it does much better being floating. It's not broad leafed but my fish always love to sleep in the floating plant! (I have some small ones for sale if you want some!)

Anubias and Java Fern are pretty fantastic as well! You can't bury the rhizome though, that's the green stick-like part that the leaves shoot from, but the roots can be buried. It can also be tied to driftwood, porous rocks or ornaments and it will eventually attach to the item and grow on it! Depending on the type, some are more broad leafed than others, Anubias Barteri would be a good one or Congensis. Many do not get very tall though minus the A. Congensis.

Cryptocorynes are generally broad leafed but they also stay low to the ground usually, the taller ones are usually more thin leafed but still great plants all around!
 
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