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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

Is there an easy way to contain plant growth? Basically, I really want to setup a planted tank but do not really care for the "jungle" look. Ideally, I'd like only some tall plants in the back and maybe a few ground covering plants in the front of the sides.

And if keeping them in pots in the answer, can I bury these pots to keep the tank looking semi-natural? Thank you for all your help.
 

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If you aquascape the tank from the beginning with a lay-out, you should be able to get whatever look you are trying to achieve. Browse through pics of other users aquariums for examples. The only reason for potting them would be for easy moving or if you have perhaps diggers or something of the sort. If you just want the pots period, well, burying them is fine or hiding them some sort of way with rocks, wood etc may be okay too. IMO- I would plant them without the pots
 

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Hi Clayton1978,
Absolutely! My first attempt with the 45 gallon did become somewhat of a forest. Shortly after I had set up my tank, GSAS invited Luis Navarro up from Texas to be the guest speaker. He gave an excellent talk about a "Green Tank". I didn't know what a "Green Tank" was so I asked. Luis explained that a "Green Tank" uses mostly non-stem plants and suggested several species such as Crytocoryne balansae, Microsorium pteroptus v. ‘Wendelov’ (Java Fern Lace), Eleocharis montevidensis (Giant Hair Grass), Eleocharis acicularis (Dwarf Hair Grass), Microsorium pteroptus (Java Fern), Echinodorus v. 'Rubin (Red Rubin Sword), Anubia species, and a few others. I incorporated his suggestions when I set up my 30 gallon but I chose to add few stem plants, just for color and leaf texture, but not so many as to cause me a lot of pruning time.
It is a very easy tank to maintain, I prune the stem plants and thin the Crypts and Java Ferns once a month and thats about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you Roy and supersmirky,

I have so many questions right now and am doing my best to read all the forems and my books but they just don't have the specific answers I need. I guess the best way to sum up my situation is I am trying to maintain a healthy yet conservative look. I am currently leaning towards a few easy to keep and low lighting requirement plants to aquascape with. Ideally leaving plenty of open space to see my fish yet looking natural with real plants, a few shrimp, snails, etc.

I really want to have a try at my wet green thumb but am trying to avoid the high start up cost of a pressurized CO2 system, 3 wpg lighting, ADA substrate throughout, etc.

Roy, I am especially impressed and curious about you using gravel. I am hoping to pull off the same feat as I want to avoid spending $100 plus of substrate. Does gravel help keep the plants from spreading? Can I get away with just using a liquid fertilizer such as Flourish once or twice a week to substiture for expensive substrate? Thank you all again for your advice and help.
 

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Clayton,
any substrate/gravel you want to use is fine. There is no need to by specialty products, many people on this forum use plain sand, or soil from their yards topped off with gravel, inert fired-clay, etc...

I would caution against using large gravel (get the smallest pebble-size you can find) because it tends to 'muck-up' in my experience. Also, plant roots have an easier time in finer textures.

If you start off with very low light (and plants that will tolerate it) you won't need any added fertilizers (I say that with some reservation) . Keep in mind that flourish alone only provides micronutrients and not N,P,K (macros) .

You might want to spend some time reading throught the El Natural area. That may be a great place for you to start if you want to save money on lighting (use natural sunlight) and ferts (soil and fish food/excrement provide all you need) .

Also, look at the gold menu-bar at the top of your page and go to the Library and find AaronTalbot's mineralized soil article. I have tried this (a modified version) with success. I found it's not necessary to wet and dry the soil repeatedly if you use soil from the yard (it's already weathered) , but you have to be careful that you aren't introducing harmful chemicals into the tank.

-Dave
 

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You don't need to spend big bucks on a fancy substrate. Clown puke gravel will do, as long as it is small grained enough. If the substrate is too large, then it becomes a problem maintaining the plants rooted in it.

I'm not sure I understand what you're after. Healthy plants = growing plants - eventually they WILL spread, even slow growers. If you're after having a couple of plants in the tank which won't require much maintenance - it's definitely doable. Get a Crypt (wendtii) and/or java fern or Anubias, and basically you're there. You won't be able to get a ground cover, though, as most of those will require higher lighting and supplementation for nutrients.

Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you. I was hoping to stick with the smallest gravel I could find which is not "clown puke" colored...lol. Actually, almost like large sand (like BB size) as while I'd love to use sand...have read that it isn't the best substrate to use.

As for what I am after...I am still learning. I guess the best way I could sya what I want is something clean looking, fairly cheap, and a good first step towards a planted tank. Thank you everyone for your help.
 

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I find that cooler water will slow plant growth way down. I keep one of my tanks at 68-70F and the stem plants grow less than 1" a week but they still look and color up great.
 
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