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Unhappy with plants - open to suggestions

Nautilus143

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30 Mar 2021
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South East
Hi all,
I am really unhappy with the state of two of my plants in particular. My 75L tank is low-tech, non-CO2, and has running since February. Please see pic below:
20210803_154211.jpg

The Staurogyne repens around the two rocks has never grown very well. In the beginning it seemed to struggle to take root and the leaves have stayed quite small compared to what I have seen in others' tanks. At the moment it also looks odd as my Amano shrimp have eaten all the lower leaves, leaving me with stalks that only have leaves on the top half :( thinking of ripping all these out, but don't know what to replace with. Needs to be something that stays small as I don't want my rocks to be obscured from view.

Speaking of rocks being obscured, the water sprite has gotten completely out of control. My Amanos have been eating this plant too, leaving it very ratty looking. Also, the roots are actually no longer submerged - you can't see it from the angle on the pic (I was getting serious glare when trying to take a photo straight on) but there is basically a void at the back right of the tank that just has a giant mass of floating roots. Not very attractive.

I'm thinking of replacing the water sprite with something like an Echinodorus. On the Tropica website, Echinodorus grisebachii is said to be an easy beginner plant. Can anyone confirm this?

I may add something else along with the Echinodorus to give my fish a bit more cover, but I'm not sure what. My honey gourami love spending time in the water sprite which is literally the only reason I haven't ripped it out already. I have always loved the look of spiral Vallisneria but don't know if it will look good in my current setup. Any thoughts?
 

MichaelJ

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@Nautilus143 I haven't had much luck with Repens in my non-CO2 tanks either - they seem to have a super hard time getting established in my low light environment. Stem plants can be tricky to get thriving in non-CO2 / relative low-light tanks, but your water sprite are looking good though. If you rip out the Repens it would be a good spot for some Anubias - as long as you keep them shaded.
Swords (anything Echinodorus I am familiar with) are easily kept in a non-injected tank as long as you don't pummel them with light - which pretty much goes for anything in a non-CO2 tank anyway. As for cover plants frog bit are always nice. Vallis can be nice too when they grow and cover the surface. They do require somewhat harder water (>7 GH) to thrive in my experience. Regardless of plants, they all need fertilizer. What do you do for fertilization?

That carpet looks great btw.

Cheers,
Michael
 

John q

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but there is basically a void at the back right of the tank that just has a giant mass of floating roots. Not very attractive.

You could always trim the rootball and re plant in the substrate.
I have always loved the look of spiral Vallisneria but don't know if it will look good in my current setup. Any thoughts

I don't think it would work in the far right of the tank where the water sprite is because your flow comes from the left and once it had any length to it it would just be blown into the glass. You might get away with it in between the two rocks, so back centre, at least then it would be allowed to grow and curve with the flow somewhat.

For reference I manage to grow vallisneria spiralis tiger and Vallisneria Torta (twisted vallis) in relatively low gh 3~4 and they seem to do well, thats not to say they wouldn't do better with higher general hardness.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
You could always trim the rootball and re plant in the substrate.
It really wants to be a floating plant. Unless you are happy to continually replanting it might be best to replace it.

cheers Darrel
 

John q

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Hi all,

It really wants to be a floating plant. Unless you are happy to continually replanting it might be best to replace it.

cheers Darrel
I always knew it could be grown floating but didn't realise it didn't like being planted , thanks for the heads up.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
but didn't realise it didn't like being planted
It has a strange growing pattern. If it roots it grows really well, but after a little while the original plant declines as the vegetative plantlets on the fronds grow larger, these eventually detach and some of them may re-root in a new position. If it gets to the waters surface it begins to produce aerial leaves (much more needle like), but these can also produce new plantlets etc.

cheers Darrel
 

Wolf6

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You could try lobelia cardinalis instead of the staurogene repens, it deals better with no CO2, and seeing as your carpet is growing well I suspect your light is adequate. I like the idea of swords there, or you could go for something like cryptocoryne balansae, plenty of options!
 

Wookii

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You could try lobelia cardinalis instead of the staurogene repens, it deals better with no CO2, and seeing as your carpet is growing well I suspect your light is adequate. I like the idea of swords there, or you could go for something like cryptocoryne balansae, plenty of options!

Agree with the other guys, crypts and Echinodorus all the way for me too.

@Nautilus143 I'd go with Crypt Crispatula var. balansae (Tropica) in the corner(s) as @Wolf6 suggests and let it trail across the surface. I'd get rid of the S Repens and replace with lower level crypts too, Tropica have a very nice Cryptocoryne Undulatus 'Red' in their 1-2 Grow pot range, which is good value as you get numerous plantlets in one pot - I got one recently and got about 6 separate plantlets out of it, and could likely have split them a little further too. That and maybe some Crypt Becketii Petchii (Tropica) will give you some nice contrasting shades.

To add a splash of colour check out Echinodirus Ozelot Red (Tropica confusingly refer to the red variant as just Ozelot, and the green version as Ozelot 'Green') to replace the water sprite, and maybe Echinodorus Purpurea which is beautifully coloured Echinodorus that stays smaller than most (ignore the Aqua Essentials image, its much more colourful in person than that), and would fit nicely in the middle between your rocks.

If you go this route, budget for some decent roots tabs to add before the plants (I like the Seachem ones), as they are all heavier root feeders.
 
Last edited:

Nautilus143

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Thank you all so much for the feedback! I will check out the plants listed here. I was a bit worried about Crypts as I heard they completely melt when you first introduce them into the tank - is this true? Didn't want my gourami to lose their favourite hiding spot by putting in a plant that disappears before growing back!

I currently use Tropica premium nutrition for fertiliser. Only reason I don't use the Tropica specialised is because my tap water has high nitrates (30-40ppm) already. Was a bit concerned about my fish health as I've read that high nitrate is harmful.
 

Wolf6

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Thank you all so much for the feedback! I will check out the plants listed here. I was a bit worried about Crypts as I heard they completely melt when you first introduce them into the tank - is this true? Didn't want my gourami to lose their favourite hiding spot by putting in a plant that disappears before growing back!

I currently use Tropica premium nutrition for fertiliser. Only reason I don't use the Tropica specialised is because my tap water has high nitrates (30-40ppm) already. Was a bit concerned about my fish health as I've read that high nitrate is harmful.
Crypts often melt after being moved to another tank, but not always. Maybe someone here knows why, but they grow back quite fast in my experience. I usually cut off all leaves when planting to not have decaying plant matter cause algae. You could leave some of the current plants untill they grow back?
 

MichaelJ

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Thank you all so much for the feedback! I will check out the plants listed here. I was a bit worried about Crypts as I heard they completely melt when you first introduce them into the tank - is this true?
@Nautilus143 Yes, the melting can definitely happen and for some it's quite common. I have a lot of various crypts. On several occasions I have had newly introduced crypts that would just melt away down to some naked stalks just to bounce back in a month or two. I do not know what causes this though - it can even happen if you just move the plant around inside the tank. I am sure someone around here will know or have a good idea why.

Cheers,
Michael
 

Nautilus143

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Crypts often melt after being moved to another tank, but not always. Maybe someone here knows why, but they grow back quite fast in my experience. I usually cut off all leaves when planting to not have decaying plant matter cause algae. You could leave some of the current plants untill they grow back?

@Nautilus143 Yes, the melting can definitely happen and for some it's quite common. I have a lot of various crypts. On several occasions I have had newly introduced crypts that would just melt away down to some naked stalks just to bounce back in a month or two. I do not know what causes this though - it can even happen if you just move the plant around inside the tank. I am sure someone around here will know or have a good idea why.

Cheers,
Michael

Thanks for the replies. Fingers crossed that mine will bounce back! I've just ordered:

Cryptocoryne crispatula
Echinodorus purpura
Dwarf Lobelia cardinalis
Frogbit
Root tabs

Looking forward to getting the new plants in and the old ones out :) will post an update
 

Wookii

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Thanks for the replies. Fingers crossed that mine will bounce back! I've just ordered:

Cryptocoryne crispatula
Echinodorus purpura
Dwarf Lobelia cardinalis
Frogbit
Root tabs

Looking forward to getting the new plants in and the old ones out :) will post an update

Nice one! Purpurea is really nice. The leaves look like they lay quite flat when you receive the pot, but they eventually go more upright towards the light - you can just see mine at the back here - the leaves have amazing marbled colouration:

C74B0D38-0BDA-40B5-8460-495BD4230FDA.jpeg
 

MichaelJ

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Thanks for the replies. Fingers crossed that mine will bounce back! I've just ordered:
Hi @Nautilus143 Yes, just leave them alone for a while, that is usually the best strategy.

Cryptocoryne crispatula
Echinodorus purpura
Dwarf Lobelia cardinalis
Frogbit
Root tabs

Looking forward to getting the new plants in and the old ones out :) will post an update
Those are good "easy" plant choices. I am not familiar with the Dwarf Lobelia though. Best of luck with the plants.

Cheers,
Michael
 

MichaelJ

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Nice one! Purpurea is really nice. The leaves look like they lay quite flat when you receive the pot, but they eventually go more upright towards the light - you can just see mine at the back here - the leaves have amazing marbled colouration:

View attachment 172757
@Wookii Wow, mine never really got that level of "marbling" ... and it actually stayed quite small (perhaps only a bit more than 10 cm tall). Very nice indeed.
 

Nautilus143

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Nice one! Purpurea is really nice. The leaves look like they lay quite flat when you receive the pot, but they eventually go more upright towards the light - you can just see mine at the back here - the leaves have amazing marbled colouration:

View attachment 172757

That looks absolutely stunning!

Here is my tank after ripping out the S. repens and adding E. purpurea and L. cardinalis:

20210808_163448.jpg


I adore the Echinodorus, but I'm not too sure about the L. cardinalis at the moment. The plant was a bit bigger than I expected so I wasn't quite sure where to place it. Planting it was also really tricky - the middle piece could do with going a bit deeper in the substrate but this was my best attempt.

Unfortunately, a lot of mulm got kicked up during my removal/planting. I did a 50% water change immediately after removing all the S. repens and a smaller water change after finishing planting. Hopefully I don't get an ammonia spike. I'm expecting my other plants to come within the next couple of days so will do another water change after planting those.
 

Wolf6

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Lobelia is just a stem plant, so you can replant the tops much like staurogene and throw away what you dont use anymore. Good luck!
 

Nautilus143

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Here's the tank after removing the water sprite and adding the crypt 🙂

20210816_123543.jpg


The crypt is a bit smaller than I was expecting! It should eventually reach the top of the tank, right?

The frogbit I ordered was sadly DOA - my first disappointing experience with a Tropica product. Seller kindly agreed to replace it, so I hope to get that in soon. I put a couple of the healthyish plants in as a little test, and found that they were getting stuck along the edge of the tank due to the filter flow. I don't really want them there as they won't help block the light. I've ordered a large floating ring with a suction cup and line to keep them all anchored underneath the bulbs.
 

John q

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The crypt is a bit smaller than I was expecting! It should eventually reach the top of the tank, right?

It might take a while to settle in but once it puts some solid roots down you should see some good growth. Mine took about 4 weeks before anything noticeable happened and now the leaves are about 800mm long. Adding a root tab to the substrate near the plant will help, especially if you're lightly water colum dosing.
 

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