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Hello everyone! I have a 5 gallon heated, filtered tank that houses one VT betta and hopefully a couple ghost shrimp in the future. I originally planned to use live plants in his tank, but when I went to the pet store the guy there discouraged me from getting them, saying that they were difficult to care for and that I needed a whole load of stuff from air pumps to huge bags of CO2 and fertilizer and...ugh.

I'm not going to go all natural all at once, but I would like to replace a couple of my silk plants with a live one. I have heard that wisteria and java ferns don't need to be rooted and can be anchored to a decoration with fishing line or just left to float freely. I really don't like the way soil looks, and it seems like it would be difficult to clean... but I want a plant because it's good for the fish. I love plants, and don't want to accidentally mistreat one. (even though they aren't sentient...I anthropomorphize things frequently)
What are your opinions and experience? And what plants do you have in your tanks?
 

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I have Crypts and Wisteria in my 5.5 and they are growing no problem. the key is to do reserch and find plants that don't require those things. none of the plants I have need CO2, I use root tabs in the soil and that's it. In a simulare tank (a 10 though) I have an amazon sword growing as well.

Reserch which pants need soil fertilizing, get some iron rich substrate and some root tabs and go to town! I enjoy all my plants because I can't seem to grow land plants for anything, but do well with aquatic plants.
 

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I have a dirt substrate 5 gal tank, capped with 2-3mm size gravel. It's not completely a NPT, as I'm still relying on my filter but I'd say it's a very low-tech tank.

My experience so far has been great, even though this is my very first tank (first in everything, not just plants!). I don't gravel vacuum, as my snails keep the ground clean (it's their only food) and waste adds nutrients to the dirt. It's lit by LEDs and has no added ferts or CO2. After the first week I barely have any algae. I grow a bunch of low/medium care plants in it. When I work in the tank it's relatively clean, if you line the edges with gravel first it looks as if there's no dirt in it! The only thing is that I don't dare to move my heavily rooted plants, since they are deep in the substrate.


No dirt here... or is there?

My heavy rooters do best in it, all are shooting out lots of leaves weekly:
- Amazon Sword
- Banana Lily
- Tiger Lotus

My stem plants do well, they took a little longer to catch on:
- Ambulia
- Bacopa
- Elodea/Anacharis
- Water Sprite
- Water Wisteria
- Brazilian Pennywort

My slightly more demanding Hydrocotyle sp. Japan grows slowest, but stays healthy and green- it's my carpet plant. All of my floating Frogbit and Duck Weed hasn't been doing well, I'm not sure why though. Duck Weed completely died off, and there's few Frobit plants left. Java Fern is a new addition to the tank- but as a low light plant I highly recommend it.
 

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Whoever told you that is silly! Of course certain plants will require special care, and those do require Co2. The bit about the air pump- I've got no idea what he's talking about. Many members around here grow their plants without co2 and all the fancy stuff. They usually just add nutrient supplements like fertilizer tabs, liquid fertilizer, or fish poop. ^Assuming there's an adequate amount of light. (If you wanna see what Co2 does, you can see umar's store in the classified section- everything is very vibrant and beautiful! I don't know any other examples of co2 users on the forums that has pictures up, sorry! :c )

The -least- caring plant I've encountered personally is anacharis. It literally just doesn't care what you give it (Speaking for myself, not sure about others experiences!). I have mine floating in a 5g on the floor with no nutrient supplements aside from fish poop. No dead leaves/depressed-plant-look at all. The only light it gets is the sun illuminating the room. Plus, it is very easy to propagate- cut off a bit a few inches long and add water. It grows suuuuper fast with med light/supplements c: I love it!

Amazon swords are nice, but they aren't really enjoyable to look at unless they're given root tabs, good substrate, and good lighting. Mine initially was at low lighting with no supplements, river rock substrate- it survived. However, it just looked.. sad. translucent leaves/no vibrant color.

Anubias are a great low light plant for me. All mine does is sit in a 1g near a window that is covered by a curtain. It just gets fish poop and is growing just fine. It's a very slow growing plant in general.

Wisteria is a fussy plant to me. It gets root tabs/ liquid ferts with med light and still doesn't want to grow pinnate for me unless it feels like it! It certainly will grow fine under low light settings, though I can't guarantee the type of growth you will get. I never tried attaching it to something, so I don't really have anything to say about that c:

I never really liked java ferns as the roots just started floating around all messy-like. Didn't want to trim them either because I'm lazy so I just have it floating in a 5g ( The same one on the floor, lol!) It's a good low light plant if you attach it to something.

^Just my opinions ^.^
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I would rather not put soil in my tank, so if I got some anacharis and anubias would I be able to attach it to a decoration? Also, what kind of fertilizers do they need? I have heard about Seachem Flourish. I only have one fishy in there so I don't think his poo would be enough to fertilize properly.
 

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You could attach anubias, java fern, java moss (and any other moss) to pretty much anything as long as the surface isn't super smooth (the roots latch on to the ornament/rock/wood). Depending on how many and which plants you put in, you fish waste may or may not be enough. The three plants above are very hardy and easy to care for plants, they don't need substrate, are low light and aren't demanding.

Anacharis is a stem plant (it grows in one long line towards the surface), it can grow floating but doesn't look great if you do that. I haven't heard of anyone attaching it to decorations though, but it can do well in gravel.

If you put in a lot of plants or notice that they aren't doing so good you can use liquid fertilizers like Seachem Flourish.
 

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Seachem Flourish is a good all around fertilizer that you dose twice a week.

Anubias, Anacharis, Cabomba and Java Fern are great choices and easy peasy.

You can use plant weights to keep Cabomba or Anacharis down but, personally, I like the way it look when they floats. If you do want to plant, let stem plants float until you see roots forming and then plant. I plant weight mine in one corner and let the tops float over the surface. A plus for them is they are fast growing and out compete algae for nutrients.

There are small, easy-to-keep Swords (like 'Pinwheel') that would need root tabs as they are what are called "heavy root feeders." You could try attaching to rocks or driftwood with fishing line and see how they do with just the Flourish.

Forgive the LFS guy. People with high-tech tanks can be fanatical and for some reason people like the LFS guy don't think you can be successful without injected CO2. :) We are very lucky on this forum that those with high tech tanks aren't that way and are very helpful to beginners and high-techs alike.
 

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I agree with everyone above me on plant choices. I don't agree with the LFS guy saying you need CO2 for a sucessful planted tank. I do recommend CO2 for planted tank, but it's not mandatory. The reason I recommend it, because it adds more to the table then non CO2 set ups. I would start off slow with low tech tanks. Then gain some confidence in your self growing beginner plants.
 

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I agree with everyone above me on plant choices. I don't agree with the LFS guy saying you need CO2 for a sucessful planted tank. I do recommend CO2 for planted tank, but it's not mandatory. The reason I recommend it, because it adds more to the table then non CO2 set ups. I would start off slow with low tech tanks. Then gain some confidence in your self growing beginner plants.
Yep, I be referring to you. :)
 

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Plants do not have to be high maintenance!

I run a 5 gallon bare-bottom tank with a sponge filter, housing 2 snails and a male betta. I have had the best luck with Nana anubias -- I have an enormous Nana that basically canopies the entire tank about 6 inches high. It's tough, and i anchor it with twists of cotton cheesecloth to a stone. I also have a pretty nice Afzelli Anubias that is taller (maybe 8-10 inches), although not as verdant, also tied to a stone. My Cogensis anubias is pretty sad looking, but always has been (compared to the ones I see at the store), but I think that is partly because the Nana anubias blocked all the light.

I've not had great luck with narrow-leaf java fern -- I keep a bunch anchored to a stone or other decoration, and I have to completely replace it every few months. I've had better luck with Tropica Ferns (another kind of Java Fern), which are attached to suction cups on the walls of the tank.

I float a good amount of wisteria at the top, and I have to replenish it every few months, but it seems my snails like to munch on the wisteria. Also, wisteria tends to "shed" a lot of debris on the bottom.

I have the 5 gallon hex tank by MarineLand, and I replaced the bulb with a ZooMed florescent attached to a timer that is on 10 hours per day.

Overall, I would say the good sized anubias are tough as nails and look lovely, and are very easy to keep.
 

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Northrenlights, you just named every single low maintenance plant that are slow growers. Some plants grow fast, while others grow slow. It also depends on what look you want your plants to look like. Stems and carpets are a prime example. I literally have to trim my jungle vals twice a week, or it chocks out my other plants for light. Other good example is hygrophila polysperma(which is what I have) is sort of high maintenance plant. It's a stem plant, so it got really leggy and ugly without being touch. It's very easy and it grows extremely fast. What I wanted to achieve was a bushy look. Trimming it really hard and replanting the stems gave me that look I wanted. I can't wait to get my red tiger lotus. This is other plant I'm going to trim very hard on, so I can get that bushy look. I have 2 anubias nana in my tank, it's true I never touch it in over a year now and very low maintenance plant.
 

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Tony,

Wisteria is not generally considered a slow-growing plant. I've seen people report Java Ferns being fast growers under certain conditions (and some friends of one have a bunch of windelov java fern that really does grow like a weed). My Nana anubias also grew pretty fast, until it reached its current size.
 

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Tony,

Wisteria is not generally considered a slow-growing plant. I've seen people report Java Ferns being fast growers under certain conditions (and some friends of one have a bunch of windelov java fern that really does grow like a weed). My Nana anubias also grew pretty fast, until it reached its current size.
I was referring to anubais and java ferns. I have full tank of water wisteria. I don't even use ferts besides DIY root tabs and it grows mad crazy.
 
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