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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It all depends on how much light he is pumping into the system and if he
is using CO2. Some plants are considerably easier by just having better
equipment.

Plants I would recommend for the plant neophyte with a 10g, though:

Anubias barteri v nana
Anubias barteri v coffeefolia
Sagittaria subulata (dwarf)
Marsilea quadrifolia
Cryptocoryne wendtii var.
Java Fern
Java Moss
Echinodorus tennellus
Rotala indica
Lysimachia nummularia
Bacopa monnieri
Bacopa caroliniana
Hygrophila polysperma
Ludwigia repens
Hygrophila difformis
Myriophyllum mattogrossense 'green'
Limnophila sessiliflora

No swords as they get too big!!

After a few months of good experience and good lighting/CO2 (for 10g):

Glossostigma elatinoides
Didiplis diandra
Hemianthus micranthemoides
Micranthemum umbrosum
Ludwigia arcuata
Ludwigia ovalis
Potamogeton gayi
Lobelia cardinalis 'small form'
Rotala wallichii
Rotala sp Nanjenshan

Plants I would recommend not to try first for any size tank:

Nesaea sp. 'Red Leaved'
Rotala macrandra
Eusteralis stellata
Nesaea pedicellata
Tonina sp
Tonina fluviatilis
...but most of these are out of reach of most beginners anyways due to
availability.

Carlos
 

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Are all of the plants in the first group fast growers? I hear you are supposed to use fast growers first so that algae doesnt get a foothold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nope. Everything from Echinodorus tennellus to Limnophila sessliflora
are the fast growers. The Anubias, mosses, ferns, and crypts are not.

Carlos
 

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What plants should a Newbie consider/avoid?

One plant that is an excellent candidate to initiate new tanks with, and one which is also cheap, easy to find, easy to grow, plus fast growing and a nutrient sponge to boot is; Ceratopteris or Water Sprite.

It comes in several varieties -- cornuta, a wide leaved type that really prefers to float, plus thalictroides and/or siliquosa; two narrow leaved forms which are more at home in the substrate.

However, all three species can be planted in the substrate, tied to driftwood and/or otherwise weighed down -- plus they can be also be used as floating plants -- either mid-water level or on the surface.

:idea: By taking advantage of the fact that Water Sprite need not be rooted directly into the substrate, one can easily and cheaply fill a tank with a massive amount of plant growth at all levels during the initial breaking in period, a regime recommended by most experts -- after which it can be easily removed and replaced with more desirable species; all without disturbing the substrate in the least.

Ceratopteris is not at all difficult to coax into its emergent growth form where it may easily be cultivated in the quantities needed to pack an aquarium of any size.

Sincerely, Your humble moderator,

Bob Olesen
 

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After helping James Hoftiezer through starting up his first tank I can say now that there are no plants that I wouldn't recommend to a beginner. There are some that I'd recommend more highly, but the desire to keep "difficult" plants is the perfect motivation to do things right from the start.

Best,
Phil
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wouldn't say that James Hoftizier is your typical "newbie," though. :)

Most just aren't willing to invest that sort of effort without having any prior
experience with what the hobby is like, if they like the hobby, etc.

Most newbies don't start off with a custom tank, DIY plumbing, flourite,
pressurized CO2, and a massive amount of light wattage.

Carlos
 

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They should though. Even forgetting the DIY and custom stuff, they can get the equivalent from commercial manufacturers and have just as much success. All he did was plan well, and everyone should do that.

Best,
Phil
 

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I'd call James "a model newbie" back then. All of us more experienced hobbyists would be proud that he chose to make the right investments of money and time upfront to plan his planted aquarium. He can begin with almost any plant and have success.

I would suggest two other categories of newbies: the researcher and the low-effort.

The researcher will be reading this post and all other posts. He will read books and ask questions. He may or may not be willing to put forth the needed investment to do it completely right, but he's at least learning BEFORE setting up the tank.

The other is the low-effort person. They are buying themselves or their kitd a new 10 gallon aquarium and noticed the pretty plants at the pet shop. They have a cotton filter, a flourescent strip light and colored gravel. The bubbling treasure chest may or may not be included depending on whether the kid noticed it at the store or not..

It is this later category of newbie that I was referring to. IMHO, I always tell newbies, especially low-effort ones, to stay away from mosses, riccia, glosso and fine leaved plants. Algae is likely to overcome these plants during their care. I think Bobo's recomendation to use Water Sprite is awesome! It is easy to care for and will grow quickly.

The point is to help these newbies get past those first months where if algae takes over they will never get "hooked" by the hobby.
 

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What about lighting requirements

I have bought several plants from the local pet store, but had no luck on growing them in my aquarium, they last for a month or so and that is it.

I have a 20 gal tank with plain gravel, some rocks a carbon filter and air stones to keep my guppies happy.

I am not sure if it is the quality of the plants I have bought at the LFS or my tank conditions that are causing this... could it be a lighting issue? I have the light bulb (fluorecent) that came with the tank.

Out of the list of recommended plants, are there any that do not require very bright lighting?

Great web site... actually the top ranked on aquarank on the plants category!

~Benicio
 

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Re: What about lighting requirements

bms said:
I have bought several plants from the local pet store, but had no luck on growing them in my aquarium, they last for a month or so and that is it.

I am not sure if it is the quality of the plants I have bought at the LFS or my tank conditions that are causing this... could it be a lighting issue? I have the light bulb (fluorecent) that came with the tank.
~Benicio
A few years ago I had success with plants and then had problems trying to grow them later. I attribute my later difficulties with two problems.

First is lack of light from old flourescent tubes. The light output from flourescent lights drops-off with age. Most people recommend replacing them every 6 months or so.

Also, I found yeast CO2 made a huge differenc in my plant growth.

Some sort of fertilization would also be a good idea.

I would recommend making sure you have a good bulb, doing yeast CO2, and a liquid fertilizer. Anything else would likely require a fair amoutn of investment or tearing down the tank, or both. If you really want to ensure success, it might be best to make more drastic changes, but I think success is certainly possible with the minor modifications above.

I'm not the expert most of the people on here are, but I like to do what I can with less.

Also, I had good luck with Cabomba and it is cheap, available at most places, and grows quickly.

Jason
 

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It depends on how willing the newbie is to read, study, and take to heart. That was what made James unique. He learned quite a lot before even starting, and all along the way he had the input of people from my forum. He posted the whole tank chronology as it happened, and was very involved in the forum. The average newbie gets info overload very quickly.

I tell most newbies to start with the easiest plants, either those that are the host hardy, not needing much light and able to take abuse, such as java fern and Anubias, or those that are the most prolific growers like Hygrophila, Myriophyllum, or Rotala indica. Once a person has some experience with these plants and is willing to learn about C02 and nutrients, and how to deal with or accept algae, then they are ready to experiment with other plants.
 

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Re: What about lighting requirements

Sauce said:
...lack of light from old flourescent tubes. The light output from flourescent lights drops-off with age. Most people recommend replacing them every 6 months or so.

Also, I found yeast CO2 made a huge differenc in my plant growth.
Thanks Jason, I am definitely going to get a new light tube.
~Benicio
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Benicio,

I'm afraid you will need more light to grow plants than just the single standard light bulb that comes with the aquarium. Even replacing this old one with a new bulb will not be enough.
I'd recommend obtaining at least a second bulb, so that you have two 20w tubes over your 20g. That will give you about 2 wpg.
Some plants that are excellent for these conditions include Cryptocorynes (wendtii varieties, undulata, walkeri, lucens), Java Fern, and Anubias. You may also have enough light to grow some stem plants like Bacopa monnieri (moneywort) and Bacopa caroliniana (mint bacopa). Hygrophila difformis (wisteria) should also work o.k.

Carlos
 

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Benicio,

Like Carlos, I would recommend the commonly available Cryptocorynes, anubias, and Java fern. I know that pet stores around your way would have those available. However, water sprite, vals, and other fast growing plants may also be a good choice.

If you are handy, throw away the plastic hood your 20 likely came with and make yourself a wood one. Instructions for making a simple one can be found at Aquarist Hobbyist Supply. If you have the budget, I would purchase one of their do-it-yourself Power Compact kits. Shoot for around 2-2.5 watts/gallon. If you want to go cheaper, you can remove the flourescent wiring from the plastic hood and connect it to your new wood enclosure. It is simple to add a new flourescent from Home Depot or Lowe's. Let me know if you need help.

This should get you enough light. Now focus on what to feed the plants. What are you using?

Lastly, I would suggest you buy enough plants to cover 70%-80% of the substrate.
 

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I've got around 2 watts/gallon on my 33 and I've got vals, wisteria, anubias, java fern, Crypt wendtii, Aponogeton crispus(it won't stop flowering, I must be doing something right :) ) and Rotala indica. I have 85-90% flourite substrate as well. I'm using Seachem Flourish, Flourish Trace and Flourish Excel. Everything seems to be going well for me.

You do have to be careful with plants that you buy, some aren't aquatic plants. Most of these plants are bog plants that can live underwater for a short time, but die after that. They call them aquatic I guess because they die slowly(up to 12 months they can last).
HTH
 

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about Tonina sp. its not that difficult. they are still very popular in Asia now. KH is most important. it should be at 2 or less. if u have RO unit, they will be fine. light is moderate - high. pH is 6.8 or less. the only problem is they are little bit hard to get in the U.S.

anyone has red Tonina? i heard my friend said they are pretty easy to grow!
 

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Art,

I am not adding any fertilizer to my tank, what do you recommend? I am going to buy some water sprite to begin with and may add java fern I can't believe they are charging around 4 bucks for a smal jave fern at my LFS, compared to around 1 for water sprite.

thanks!
~Benicio
 
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