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plant care in an apisto tank

fyrefish

Member
Messages
54
Hey,
I have now mostly solved my filter problem. It only leaks when the power is off and the taps are unlocked. My solution for this is to drill a small hole in the intake just below the water level, so if the power goes out when I'm away the siphon will be broken before heaps of water leaks out.
I'm planning on getting plants soon, and my current list is:
-Jungle val
-Anubias
-Java fern
-Amazon swords
-Crypts (whatever variety/s my lfs has)
Now, I am definitely planning on using root tabs for the swords, val and crypts as I have heard there is no downsides and they are very good for plant growth. As far as I know, root tabs should be fine in an apisto tank? They would also help the plants establish while the tank is cycling as there won't be as many nitrates. Another thing I was wondering about was fertilizer. I'm pretty sure all of these plants are just fine without fertilizer, and its not necessary at all. I was just wondering if anyone here uses fertilizer in an apistogramma tank, and if it would be worth it at all with these plants?
Also, I have cyanoacrylate superglue gel, which I have heard is good for gluing epiphytes to rocks and wood. Would this be a good idea? (I have the Gorilla Glue type).
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,339
Depends what type of apisto; as some require blackwater, other are fine with clearwater and then there are whitewater fishes. Also I'm not a fan of 'glueing' plants; for anubia and java fern i either set on the substrate or in nooks in the wood. While i have to admit that sometimes the anubia break free and have to be reset i find that java fern will readily grab the hardscape and require not much help over time. If you have fishes that require extremely soft acidic water i'd be a bit careful with how much fertilizer you use as that can impact water chemistry.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
2,744
Location
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
I'm planning on getting plants soon, and my current list is:
-Jungle val
I haven't got on very well with Vallisneria in soft water with low nutrients. It does fine in hard water with low nutrients, so I assume it is better in harder water.
Now, I am definitely planning on using root tabs for the swords, val and crypts as I have heard there is no downsides and they are very good for plant growth. As far as I know, root tabs should be fine in an apisto tank?
Personally I'd keep away from root tabs, it looks like they are much less <"controlled release"> than they should be.

1637654278207-png-png.182056

I was wondering about was fertilizer. I'm pretty sure all of these plants are just fine without fertilizer, and its not necessary at all. I was just wondering if anyone here uses fertilizer in an apistogramma tank, and if it would be worth it at all with these plants?
The simple answer is that plant growth is like <"a car assembly line">, you need all fourteen essential mineral nutrients or you don't get a "car".

I use sand (with a nominal amount of leaf mold and clay) as a substrate and just feed the water column. I use the <"health and leaf colour of a floating plant"> as an indication of when to add nutrients.

cheers Darrel
 

Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
Messages
564
Location
San Francisco
Personally I'd keep away from root tabs, it looks like they are much less <"controlled release"> than they should be.
Do the plants care whether they are controlled release? Most of what I’ve read about crypts says they prefer the fertilizer in the substrate, though I haven’t done a 1:1 comparison.

I'm pretty sure all of these plants are just fine without fertilizer, and its not necessary at all.
In my hands, that’s true of the java fern. For the other plants, it depends on your water, as @anewbie says. Anubias is really tolerant, but I have noticed deficiencies in very soft water.

-B
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
2,744
Location
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
Do the plants care whether they are controlled release?
No probably not, the issue would be more that you could get an ammonia dump. Anubias barteri would be plant that <"doesn't like high ammonia levels">.
...........The entire tank surface was covered with Limnobium, with leaves at least twice as large as normal, and all the plants looked much larger and lusher than normal, with the exception of 2 large Anubias "nana", which had totally melted.........
Most of what I’ve read about crypts says they prefer the fertilizer in the substrate,
I'm dubious, but I'm not after optimal plant growth.
In my hands, that’s true of the java fern.
Bolbitis heudelotti does much better for me than Microsorum pteropus. I think Java fern is better in water with more nutrients and possibly a bit harder (dKH) than I offer.

cheers Darrel
 

Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
Messages
564
Location
San Francisco
No probably not, the issue would be more that you could get an ammonia dump. Anubias barteri would be plant that <"doesn't like high ammonia levels">.
Yes, that could be an issue with osmocote, but not for the root tabs that contain nitrate instead.

I'm dubious, but I'm not after optimal plant growth.
Same. If you're seeing decent growth in your crypts without the root tabs, maybe I'll stop using them as well.
 

fyrefish

Member
Messages
54
Ok, so it seems like val is out of the picture. I gave it a quick search and it seems like crypts are very reccomended for apisto tanks, while anubias, java fern and swords will do fine. Any other plants you would reccomend? I would try floaters but my spray bar would push the around constantly.
 

Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
Messages
564
Location
San Francisco
Highly recommend floating plants. If you search for "floating plants corral" you can find some really cheap ways to protect them with airline tubing. I think Darrel runs powerheads on his tanks, and his floaters do fine.

I also like having some kind of moss, subwassertang or java moss. They not only help with structure, but also as a substrate for infusoria.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,339
This is my tank with ph 7; gh 6 kh 3:
tb.jpg

You haven't indicated your target chemistry or species of apisto you will be keeping so it is hard to advise.... What you need for peblos is different than what you need for cockatoo is different than what you need for eremnopyge.

Before you go further I think you should indicate your water condition and target water condition for the fish you wish to keep.
 

fyrefish

Member
Messages
54
Alright. The tank is for my apistogramma panduro. I've heard that in the wild, they like a ph of 6.5, but I believe the ones I have were bred in captivity. While replicating natural habitat is desirable, it will much easier and more stable to keep my tank around 7, as if I get it to 6 or something similar, It will be hard to maintain and probably fluctuate with water changes. I have been keeping them in around 7, and they have seemed happy and laid eggs a few times already. Should I be keeping the ph lower than this? I have heard elsewhere, using discus as an example, it isn't always best to constantly keep their ph low if it will fluctuate a bit, because they were probably bred in normal tap water, and the constant instability can stress them out. I don't know though.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,339
If you intend to breed panduro the ph will need to be below 7 and water some what soft but not blackwater; if you don't care if the eggs hatch then ph 7 is fine.
 

fyrefish

Member
Messages
54
Yeah, breeding isn't my biggest priority. Seeing them lay eggs is cool, but I'm not up for raising fry at the moment.
Update: The lonely anubias
IMG20220303184137.jpg

The tank already looks a lot better with even a single plant. This guy was actually from the old tank, he was floating around with no place to latch onto and getting covered in algae. I scrubbed most of the algae off the roots, and followed a YouTube tutorial on gluing epiphytes, and I think I did ok. I glued the rhizome in a crevice so there's space for leaves to grow, but also plenty of nooks and crannies for roots to grip. I also did a decent water change to clean off some biofilm and remove some of the old water. The result is a lot less tannins, but they should return when I add some leaf litter. Also about the val, I'll probably avoid it for now and introduce crypts, more epiphytes and maybe swords and see how they do. Just one last question about crypts; my lfs always seems to be selling them in small pots. I don't have any pictures, but maybe someone has seen this before? Do you remove the plant from the pot or just bury the pot itself in substrate? I made a lot of mistakes with plants in my last tank, and I want to make sure I know what I'm doing.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
2,744
Location
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
but not for the root tabs that contain nitrate instead.
Yes nitrate (NO3-) is a lot safer as a "fixed nitrogen" source. Potassium nitrate (KNO3) is the one aquascapers usually use, but most terrestrial fertilisers use ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) because it gives you more "bang for your buck".
I think Darrel runs powerheads on his tanks, and his floaters do fine.
<"I do"> and they do .
I also like having some kind of moss, subwassertang or java moss. They not only help with structure, but also as a substrate for infusoria.
I'm a <"massive moss fan"> as well.

lid_up_zpsf2edd702-jpg-16073-jpg-79241-jpg-jpg.107193


cheers Darrel
 

fyrefish

Member
Messages
54
That's good! I'm assuming larger floaters would be best, because I'm going to drill a hole in the filter intake just below the water to avoid it flooding in a power outage. So there is a chance things like duckweed could get sucked into my filter, which would not be good. I guess I could cover it with a filter bag or a sponge though. Also with the root tabs, I will do some research to see which ones contain just nitrates. I have heard a lot about moss, but my local fish stores never seem to have any, so I might have to order some. You can glue moss to wood right? I could probably use it to hide some of the sharper edges of the wood.
 

Blacksheep1

New Member
Messages
17
Small floating plants like duckweed can get sucked into your filter, although if you don’t want a full floating plant mass don’t choose duckweed ! It has it uses but the stuff over takes everything and reproduces so fast.

Red root floaters are pretty and are slower spreading.

Water lettuce is my favourite but doesn’t do well in strong flow in my experience , it has longer, bushier roots so that’s your choice to decide if you like that look or not , or if it’s a good fit to your tank as I know you asked about a power head.

Of course you can use the method recommended above where you make a ‘ring’ to corral your floaters to a specific space with air line tubing or similar to keep them in the space you want them to be.
 

fyrefish

Member
Messages
54
Another Update
Got some more plants from a nearby fishstore! Swords and crypts.
IMG20220304151556.jpg

(Sorry for blurry image, idk why it looks so bad)
I was going to get more crypts than swords, but the swords had a discount when you bought 3, so I got three. The crypts also looked to be in poor condition at the store, but I got one of the healthiest ones (it split into 2 plants. It also was in a pot, I removed most of the stuff it was in. I actually kept the little ceramic pot, because there were actually snail eggs and baby snails in it! Don't know what kind yet, but I was actually hoping for this as a snail population will eat some of the algae and diatoms that inevitably show up. Maybe it also had some beneficial bacteria on it. And no, unfortunately, I couldn't get any more hardscape because I went to a chain pet store, and they only have plastic rocks and wood. The plants are looking a bit scraggly, but in a finer substrate (they were in coarse gravel at the store) with some root tabs (which I also got) they should look good eventually.
Also, can anyone ID this crypt? it came as 'assorted crypt'. for some reason I can't attach another image so
i'll put it below.
 

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