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Old 09-17-2005, 09:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question New Planted Aquarium

Hi. I just finished building an in-tank wet/dry filter for my 10 gal. tank (why do you get experience after you need it?). What are some of the best plants to accompany java ferns? I was thinking about using a small bed of Hemianthus callitrichoides, but I'm not sure what else to put near and around the rocks. I was going to get either an otto or algae eater and a small school of black or penguin tetra. I suppose I should change my bulb from 10000K/Actintic to 6500K/10000K as well.
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Old 09-18-2005, 02:31 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to APC!

I'm guessing you have enough light as I think I see some DIY CO2 bottles under the tank? How many watts do you have?

If that's the case, lot's of plants will go well with ferns. Check out the PlantFinder on this site.

Two initial comments on your setup:

- You need LOTS more plants.
- Replace the rubber bands with either thin fishing line or black cotton thread.
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Old 09-18-2005, 05:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes the rubber bands need to go. Not only because they are unsightly but they deteriorate very quickly in water. They may break up only after a week and the Java Fern will float.

If your filter is wet/dry it may create too much contact of air and water which will lead to CO2 loss and the plants will not grow very well. Algae may take the opportunity and develop. But from what I see on the picture it seems that your filter is not a true wet/dry and it does not expose the biomedia to air (the water just flows through the filter without dripping on it)so you should be fine.

I haven't read about Actinics being bad for a planted tank although they are meant to stimulate algae growth. I actually had a low light tank with 50/50 10,000K and blue actinic for some time and I had no algae in it. Still it is better to change the bulbs to be on the safe side.

About the layout; If you want to combine HC and Java Fern you will end up with a tall plant - the Java Fern - and a very low foreground - the HC. You must add a mid ground plant - something that will be taller than the HC but lower than the JF.

Personally I'd group the Java Fern stones that you already have and move them to the middle (but offcenter) and closer to the back of the tank. Also I'd put small Java Moss covered stones around that group - the dark green plant on the bottom of this tank. And add a some Echinodorus tenellus (a 2" tall grass looking plant that sometimes produces purplish-red leaves). Adding some bare stones of the same kind like the ones you already have will help too. Imagine trying to make a tank that looks somewhat similar to this one but with Java Fern on the big stones, tighter grouping of the plants, and a nice carpet.

HC is pretty demanding for CO2 and nutrients. You may try to use some Glossostigma instead - the carpet plant in the last link.

--Nikolay
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Old 09-18-2005, 04:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you for your suggestions. I'll get started on re-scaping the tank very soon. I'll post more pictures when I get a chance.
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