Aquatic Plant Forum banner
1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
I use the FireFox browser and was only able to pull up the first pic until I switched back to Internet Explorer.

As you can see, things still have some growing-in to do so the tank is definitely still a work in progress, probably always will be. I haven't been doing this long so I'm learning more and more each day. The aquascape is still sort of haphazard and cluttered, but I'm working on it and have some major changes in mind.

In keeping plants my main adversary has been the hardness of the water rather than the mbuna themselves (i.e. no L. pantanal or A. reineckii :(). I've been pretty surprised at some of the supposed 'soft water' plants that have adapted well to 14-16 dKH water. I've got Cabomba furcata and Didiplis diandra that are doing just fine. In my mind the reason why so many people have problems with plants in African cichlid tanks is algae. If any of the plants have algae growth on them, the fish will go after it. Mine seem to be pretty gentle for the most part though. Most of them are dwarf mbuna so they can't do much major damage once the plants get well-rooted. Digging is always an issue so I've created a sort of 'sandbox' in the tank behind the large piece of wood in the center. Given some open gravel to dig in, the mbuna tend to dig there, rather than going to all of the work it would take to rip out the ground cover to get to the substrate. So far so good anyway :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
plantbrain said:
I've grown those two plants, A reineckii espeically in harder water.

Why do you have such hard water(is the tap hard)?
AF rift fish are fine at 5-9 ranges of GH/KH's.

They might live in harder waters, but the GH can be quite high and not bother any plants.
Tom,

Thanks for the advice, I assumed that my water was the cause of these plants' demise, when it is was likely just my beginning plant-keeper's mistakes that did them in. That's good to hear because I would love to keep Pantanal. I'll have to try it again now that I know a little more about what I'm doing.

My water is hard (12-14 dKH) because I buffer it with sodium bicarb to bring the pH up to around 8.0 before injecting CO2. This way I can maintain good CO2 levels (25-30 ppm) while also keeping the pH from going below 7.2. I know a 7.2 pH is low for Africans, but they're doing great so far, still breeding like crazy, good appetites, great coloration. They really show no signs of adverse effects. It's sort of a trade-off between what's good for the fish and what works for the plants. Would you suggest trying something else?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Thanks for the compliments everyone! I'm really glad people like the way things are turning out :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Carlos - it's funny you mention that about the Rotala because I'll be putting both R. macrandra and R. sp. Nanjenshan in tomorrow. Since that pic of my tank was taken about three weeks ago I've been on sort of tear, adding a lot of plants to my tank that I had previously been afraid to try due to the hard water. I had such good luck with the Cabomba that I put in some P. stellata last week and it appears to be to doing just fine so far. Tomorrow I'll be adding R. macrandra 'Broad Leaf', R. sp. Nanjenshan, Limnophila aromatica, Micranthemum umbrosum and a few others, including some of Dr. Prescott's new crypts. This should be a good test of what I can expect to be able to grow :) I'll be keeping an especially close eye on the Rotala after what you've told me. Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Well I think I've finally got the plants that I wanted in place. Now it's just time to wait and watch to see how things go. I removed most of the right side and put in Pogostemon stellata 'Broad Leaf', Rotala macrandra 'Broad Leaf', Rotala sp. 'Nanjenshan', Cabomba furcata, Limnophila aromatica, Micranthemum umbrosum, and Ludwigia glandulosa. I also switched most of the lighting to 10000K CFs. I still have about 150w of 6700K but not quite as much of a yellow/green cast to things I think (although it's hard for me to tell for sure because I'm red-green color-blind). Here are a few pics of things as they stand:







Hope all of the images come through OK :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
You're right. There's too much red in one place, isn't there? Sometimes, unless things are bright red, I have a hard time seeing how red they really are. It probably sounds sort of strange, but with red-green color-blindness my eyes really only see the true primary reds and greens with the shades being a little hard to tell apart. Great advice, thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
:) I love the Ammania. It is about as forgiving as anything I've got in the tank and, given plenty of light, grows straight up with some minimal branching. Those stems that do branch end up looking a lot like a saguaro cactus because the branches curve around to grow straight up too. It grew fairly well without CO2 but, once I started supplementing, it really took off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Here's a shot of the Ammania sp. 'Bonsai' as is looks today. It's really starting to get comfortable and has taken on a much richer green coloration than it previously had. Note the tiny 1/2" Ps. demasoni fry hovering in front of the C. wendtii 'Tropica'. He uses the stand of Ammania as cover from the large predatory male mbuna :)



And here's a shot of the stand of P. stellata that sits above and to the right of the Ammania. It really seems to be doing well in my hard water.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Raul - thanks! I am using a modified form of Tom's Estimative Index dosing with weekly 50% water changes. I find with my Africans I rarely need to dose NO3 as the levels remain fairly constant due to fish waste. I've been keeping phosphates around 1.0 ppm or a little above to help bring out the reds and reduce the algae on my Anubias leaves. I've been doing a lot of changes to the tank lately (I guess it's constantly in flux :)). Here's a shot of the full tank I took on Christmas night to give you an idea of how it looks now:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Thanks, I'm glad you guys like it :oops: Sorry it took me so long to reply, my gmail account has been acting sketchy lately and notices of posts to threads on APC haven't been coming through.

I don't know much about entering tanks in competitions Raul, and I'm not sure my tank is at a point yet where I'd even want to. When is the ADA this year? I know the AGA is at the end of the year (November?) so I figure I've got plenty of time to grow some plants before then.

I just put some Java Fern in on the right side of the tank a few days ago. Standard, Windelov, and Narrow-leaf to see which ones look best. The left half of the tank is basically where I want it but the right half still needs work. At least that's the way I see it. I'm still experimenting with what types of plants will work in my tank because of the fish and the hard water and have had to scrap and redo plans several times because something just wasn't working.

I'd like to thank cS for sending me so many cool species to try out even when the plants that I sent in return ended up getting lost in the mail and taking seven days to get there, which wasn't pretty. cS sent me some Lobelia cardinalis 'Small Form' which should be arriving today, so I'll be adding it to the aquascape. I'm getting a bit tired of the monthly rebuilding the Riccia requires and may replace the Riccia on the left side as suggested. There's a really pretty C. blassii trying to grow up from behind it anyway :)

I'll post some more close-ups when I get some good ones. Thanks again guys :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Here are three top-down shots of the right half of my tank, moving left-to-right. The Java fern obviously has some growing to do, but I hope this gives you an idea of the layout of the plants from an AGA layout-type perspective. I would love to hear any ideas as I'm not settled on how I would like things to look. Thanks :)





 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Thanks guys :) I will make a point of noting the sex of the fry as they mature. I was not aware that there was a pH/sex relation with FW fish but it sounds very interesting. The tank really isn't very crowded given its size and the current size of the fish living in it. At any given time I've usually got two to three Ps. demasoni and/or L. caeruleus holding. The demasoni seem especially prolific and the number of surviving fry has reached or exceeded the number of adult fish of the species. Every day things seem to get more interesting :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Neil - this tank really started life about 6 1/2 months ago as a lightly planted mbuna-specific tank. I wanted to keep a few plants around the rocks to add some color. I had the right lights to begin with but I found out quickly that algae would be a real problem unless I added CO2. That's when things really got interesting :) I realized that I could keep just about anything that would tolerate hard water and I've been cramming in new species almost weekly since then. I'm fighting collector-itis very hard right now and set up a second 30G tank just for the overflow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
commandantp - J'ai les cichlides d'Afrique a Malawi :)

Bavarian - I keep mainly mbuna so I can't really tell you how haps or peacocks might react, although I know someone who is having good luck with peacocks and plants. My rules are: keep the smaller mbuna that don't have a proclivity for digging; keep your plants algae free (mbuna are algae grazers); and feed your fish well so they don't seek out alternative food sources. I can't really say what the secret is, but those three rules have worked for me :)

I would suggest starting out with some hearty, fast-growing plants if you've got a lot of lighting: Java ferns, Hygrophila (just about any kind), Ceratopteris thalictroides. Later on you can add in all sorts of other plants, cryptocorynes are one of my favorites, and I've never seen my mbuna touch them. Don't be hesitant to try new plants once you get CO2 running either. You'd be surprised what you can keep alive in an African cichlid tank. Good luck :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Diatom/brown algae will usually disappear in a few weeks time. It is symptomatic of the conditions often found in newly set up tanks. With high lighting, my first advice would be to get CO2 supplementation running. It is the best and easiest way to give your plants the edge they need to out-compete the algae that will thrive under the lighting. You'll very likely need to supplement nutrients as well. There are a bunch of great threads here on APC about nutrient dosing if you run a search.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Some new pictures I took today. Over the last couple of weeks I've added some incredible plants that cS sent me: Isoetes japonica, Myriophyllum matogrossense, Microsorum pteropus 'Windelov', and dwarf-form Riccia fluitans. I am still amazed at the perfect condition of these plants when I received them. I will do my best to make sure they stay as healthy as they were when I put them in cS. ;) Also pictured: some Pogostemon stellata 'Broad Leaf' that is really starting to take off, a large Nuphar japonicum v Formosa lily that has recently started putting out a lot of new growth, and a stand of Limnophila aromatica in the background that is about ready to grow out of the tank.







 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Wow, thanks. You can't go wrong with L. caeruleus in a planted tank. I know your tank is fairly limited in the species you can keep but if you get a 55G or larger I would highly recommend trying Pseudotropheus demasoni. They have a reputation for aggression (rightly so) but kept in a larger tank this is much diminished and is, IME, strictly conspecific. They are (again IME) harmless to plants and don't get large enough to do any serious re-arranging of the aquascape. Also look into Labeotrophues fuelleborni. They are very docile and eat enough algae to put your SAE's to shame :) Hope to see some pics!

I would also love to hear your experience with the zebras in your planted tank. I've held off trying them as I've seen what they can do to a tank when they put their mind to it :razz:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
jcolletteiii said:
What is that goldish broad leaved plant left center w/ the really long petioles and ruffled leaves?
Sorry I missed your question. That is a Nuphar japonicum var formosa lily (actually two bulbs together). It took several months before it became comfortable in my tank but really took off after that, producing up to six leaves per week. I've since moved it out of the tank as it had gotten too big for even a 125G. I think one of these would look great in a taller tank, but in a 20" high tank they hit the surface, start spreading laterally, and (even though the leaves are somewhat transparent) start shading about 3-5 square feet of tank floor. I have to admit I knew this species got large but I didn't bargain for just how large it would grow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Raul, it has changed quite a bit in the last year. If anything there are more plants and certainly a lot more Africans (hard to keep them from breeding :p). I will try to get some pictures this week and post them.

Nymph, I think you're looking at Limnophila aromatica (the reddish plant in the back on the left side?).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
I took some full tank pictures last night. The aquascape is still not at a mature state, but I think I've got things where I want them and am now just letting it grow in and trimming as necessary.

A shot of some Riccia from above with a Ps. demasoni floating over it:



A full tank shot:



And an oblique angle shot:

 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top