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Choosing plants for my tank

1283 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Salamandair
Hi, all!

I want to start using live plants in my tanks because I think that they'd look a lot better than the fake ones that I have in there now. I know that different plants needs different lighting, so I was curious as to which plants would be good for my tank.

I have a 3.5 gallon tank with LED lighting (it has red, green, blue and regular lights.) I usually keep the lights on the setting with all four of them on during the day for about 12-13 hours and I have gravel substrate. I have a Hawkeye Aquarium 180, if that helps (

I was thinking of getting some Anubias for sure, maybe some Java Fern and I was gonna get a Moss ball. Any help/ideas?

P.S: What about trimming the plants? I've been doing mild research, but I haven't learned a thing about it :(

Thank you for any help!
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You're on the right track. Anubias and Java fern are great for low-tec setups. I have those plants in every single one of my plants. Anubias grows so slowly you will probably never have to prune it. It stays small no matter what. The leaves also make good resting places for bettas. Java fern will probably need to be trimmed. It propages by making little plants on the end of the leaves; you can just pinch those off with your fingers. You can also trim it by cutting the rhizome (the thing that the leaves grow from).

Duckweed, hornwort, water sprite, and pennywort are other good plants for a low-tec setup. I use all of those except the pennywort. I plan to get some when the cold season ends. Hornwort and water sprite can be grown either floating or planted. I like to plant my hornwort and let the water sprite float. Duckweed is a floating plant only. Hornwort grows rather fast and makes a great background plant.

Oh I also like the attach anubias and java fern to driftwood because they don't like to be rooted in the substrate.
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I appreciate all your help, Kiomaiden! :)

Hornwort, as you described it, sounds like a great plant! I didn't know that the anubias had to be attached to driftwood. How would you attach it and where would you get driftwood in the first place? I would let it float, but I'm scared that it'll block the light in my tank.

Another question (I'm full of them, sorry!): What should I do as far as water changes? Should I do a 50%/week with 100% changes a month or what?
Anubias doesn't have to be attached to driftwood. It can be left to float, but I don't like doing that because anubias are a low-light plant. They can be damaged by sticking it right next to the light. I attach mine with rubber bands and thread. Once the anubias grows roots into the driftwood, you can remove them. I've seen them rooted in the substrate (without the rhizome buried), but I think they look much more natural rooted to wood. So I guess you can either bury the roots (not the rhizome) in the substrate or root it to driftwood but not float.

Where to get driftwood is another story. Some types of wood are safe for aquaria and others aren't. GRAPEWOOD IS NOT SAFE!! I have heard pure horror stories about entire tanks dieing after grapewood was introduced. Dark Malaysian driftwood is the best. It sinks immediately and can release tannins. I've seen it sold on aquabid. Some people have had luck with mopani wood; others have had similar experiences to the grapewood with it. I use it but only with caution.

For water changes, what do you normally do? My smallest tank is a 10 gal, so I'm not really well versed in small tank water changes. My thoughts would be to slightly reduce the amount but not by that much.

Happy to help!
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In some places you can buy driftwood with aquatic plants, like java moss and anubias, already attached. That stuff is generally safe to add to your tank right off. :) You can find some really cool shapes of driftwood, too - I have one like a tunnel or cave in my 60 litre tank, and I attached little java fern sprouts from my big ferns to the top. They grew quickly and now I have a green tunnel. :)

Some other good low-tech plants to add to Kiomaiden's wonderful list:
- anacharis (grows very quickly, easy to care for, to trim you just snip off however much you want, then you can plant that new bit in the gravel and have a whole new plant)
- lacefern (propogates just like java fern - keep on top of it or it will grow to fill your whole tank!)
- ambulia (very pretty)
- java moss (makes a wonderful, easy to care for carpet, and is good for fry to hide in)
- rotala (comes in many varieties - I have red rotala wallachi, which makes a nice splash of colour but is prone to hair algae)

Crypts and sword plants are also easy to care for. I have a little sword in my 5 gallon with very low light, and although it isn't really growing, it's healthy still. :)
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Just a quick interjection, whenever i have to prune the dead leaves off my swords, i just do it with my fingernails. A quick pinch and the leaf comes right off. :3
Thanks for all the help, everyone!

Koimaiden:I do a 100% water change a week, since it's a 3.5 gallon. And thanks for the info about attaching them to driftwood. I plan on getting a Kritter Keeper relatively soon, so we'll see if driftwood will fit in there or not.

Bombalurina: Crypts sounds so cool! I haven't really read anything about them, though. I'll have to check them out :)
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