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aquarium plants

November 13th, 2005, 07:58 AM
My 20 gal. aquarium looks pretty bare, have 6 guppies and a piece of driftwood, 2 plastic plants - can anyone recommend a hearty plant species?Thanks in advance.

November 13th, 2005, 11:46 AM
If you have a decent light, look for low-light to medium light plants, my amazon swords are flourishing, as is the java fern, you tie it on to the driftwood, it looks natural and does well in low light conditions, also cryptocorne species also do well in low-light conditions. Avoid red-leaved plants as they need more light than 1 bulb can provide. The bulb to use is flora-glo or aqua-life I believe, they are both good for planted tanks. Java moss is another plant that does well and also water onion, these are most of the plants I have in my 25 gal. tank. Plants that I have had no luck with were vallisnera grass, and the hygrophilia that seems to want to be a floater. I also tried a stem plant that looked like anubias but wasn't, it didn't do to well in my tank. Keep the level of iron up or your plants will begin to turn invisible. Once you put plants into your tank you'll find your tank is so much more enjoyable to look at as it looks more natural and the fish really like live plants over plastic ones. Enjoy!!:thumbs up

November 13th, 2005, 02:45 PM
Thanks so much for your expertise. Am going to Big Al's this week to purchase your suggestions. One other thing: I presently have 2-25w bulbs, do you think I need the flo-glos or aqua-life bulbs to sustain the plants?

November 13th, 2005, 07:51 PM
Hi there,
you say you have 2x 25 watt bulbs. I assume you are using either
compact flourescents, or long strip flourescents.
If the lighting is flourescent you are fine.
This gives you 2.5 watts per gallon of light,
which would be consider "medium" light. Most plants will
thrive in this lighting.
You may even consider using a c02 injector, as this will even
boost plant growth more.
There are many types of plants, depending on what you like,
and what you want, and also what type of fish you have.
There are also some tricks to plant a tank.
Start at the back, and using tall, bushy, or thick plants,
fill in the back to cover the aquarium. Use the plants to hide any
type of equipment, filter intakes, heaters, etc.
Then work your way foreward, getting increasingly smaller plants
as you go.
In a 20g tank Amazon Sword is not a very good choice, as this is
a plant that grows to around 30 inches in height, and could quickly become
you whole tank.
Try to aim at plants that mature to 14 inches or less.
A great website for information on all types of plants is:
---this is the worlds leading aquarium plant
nursery, and if anyone knows plants, its tropica.
Some good choices for your tank, that I have found to thrive, and are
easily trimmed to fit in a shorter tank that I could suggest would be:

Background Plants

Asian Ambulia (Limnophilia Aquatica)
Giant Hygrophilia
Wisteria (Hygrophilia Difformis)
Vallisneria Americana (beware this plant can become massively long)
Anubias of almost any type (a beautiful, waxy, thick leaved plant that
thrives in any light)
Java Fern

Midground Plants

Vallisneria Spiralis
Vallisneria Spiralis sp. Corkscrew
Cryptocorne Wendtii Green
Cryptocorne Balansae (could also be a foreground plant)
Banana Plant

Foreground Plants
Cryptocorne Balansae
Anubias Nana sp. "Petite"
Java Moss
Christmas Moss
Taiwan Moss
Marimo Balls
Riccia Fluitans (If you use C02 injections, under 2,5 watts per gallon, this plant would become a carpet along the bottom, and unlike the more difficult
glosso plant, is much easier to grow and propagates with little help)

If you are interested in information on how to "Aquascape" you tank,
check out this website. Takashi Amano- creator of the very famous
"Amano Style" aquascaping, creates amazing tanks that look like peices
of nature plunked into an aquarium.
I know I could never live up to him, but it gives one inspiration:

Heres another great site with beautiful tank set ups:

And of course, heres my own "Amano Style" tanks:
75 Gallon with 1.7 watts per gallon, a wide variety of plants grow
exceptionally well. No C02.

10 Gallon In progress- 4.0 watts per gallon, awaiting c02

November 13th, 2005, 10:22 PM
OMG! I thought my tank looked pretty good but wow! Those are awesome! I think I should invest in a few more things for my tank like a double bulb hood so I can add better plants and a submersible heater as well. The one I have came with the tank and it does ok, but I think the plants may be getting cold feet since I pulled up the U.G. filter. Sneaky you are a guru for sure, you are wise in the ways of the fish, let me be your padowan(?) Show me more I'm all eyes and ready to learn.

November 13th, 2005, 10:38 PM
Word of the wise- plants bring in snails!!! I got plants last summer and ended up with a huge snail problem. I bought some for a different tank a couple months ago and washed very well to make sure there were no snails and now.... huge snail problem again!! I would HIGHLY recommend keeping plants in a separate tank for a while to make sure no snails turn up. One day you will see one, next week there will be one hundred.

As for types, generally darker green plants can withstand lower light. Redish plants need higher light.

November 14th, 2005, 08:21 AM
before setting your plants in your aquarium, soak them for a day or two in salt water, just ordinary table salt, this will kill off any snail eggs/babies that are attached to the plants or roots. make sure you rince them off well before adding them to your aquarium

November 14th, 2005, 04:05 PM
Hi there,
Salt wont really work for pond snails. They are capable of handling
almost saltwater conditions and are commonly recommended for
brackish water tanks. Also, some plants wont tolerate salt very well
at all, such as ambulia or wisteria.
The best way to prepare plants is to soak in a bucket with some
Alum. This will kill the snails and their eggs, without harming the plants.
2-3 days is usually a good enough soak.