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Strictly South American plants?

chris1805

Active Member
5 Year Member
I am kinda wondering what you guys think about this. We try to immitate the natural environment of the fish by adding dead leaves, drift wood and such type of things. But do you guys also care about the fact that your plants are only from South America? I mean i like sword plants and use them often, but i also see the use of Anubias and Java fern which can't be found in South America, so what do you guys think about this?
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
I think it really depends on what you want to achieve. Do you want a natural biotope tank? Then you should use plants from the same biotope. If you only want a tank that encourages breeding and (relatively) natural behavior, then any plant, or none at all, will work.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
I am kinda wondering what you guys think about this. We try to immitate the natural environment of the fish by adding dead leaves, drift wood and such type of things. But do you guys also care about the fact that your plants are only from South America? I mean i like sword plants and use them often, but i also see the use of Anubias and Java fern which can't be found in South America, so what do you guys think about this?
I don't worry too much about where the plants are from. If you want a biotope you can just use Pistia stratiotes as a floater, without any other plants.

cheers Darrel
 

chris1805

Active Member
5 Year Member
I just want a nice looking tank that provides enough cover for natural behaviour. I like working with plants since i really feel that they help keeping a stable tanking and providing enough oxygen in the water. I like placing plants on the driftwood but there seems to be no South American option for this. In my opinion my fish doesn't notice the difference between a sword plant or a javafern. It's a place to hide for him and that is what counts right?
 

gerald

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Correct. They don't "care" if their plants come from Asia any more than they care that their brine shrimp come from Utah or Canada.
 

Drayden Farci

Active Member
If you want your fish to be happy, get the best plants for the job. If you want to be specific about your tank, get the right plants. I tend to do "loose biotopes", with plants, wood, substrate, and fish that come from the same general area (for example, Peruvian tank as opposed to Rio Nanay near specific city). I like the extra flexibility it gives me to buy fish that I either want to keep or can afford/find locally.
 

ButtNekkid

Active Member
Hi all, I don't worry too much about where the plants are from. If you want a biotope you can just use Pistia stratiotes as a floater, without any other plants.

cheers Darrel
Would that be enough for a say, 60 gallon tank. If these would be the only plant, should it cover the whole surface?
 

gerald

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Never let floating plants get TOO dense, or fish may suffocate if you lose power for a day. I'd advise keeping 10-20% of the water surface open.
 

Bart Hazes

Active Member
Never let floating plants get TOO dense, or fish may suffocate if you lose power for a day. I'd advise keeping 10-20% of the water surface open.
That has not been my experience. Many of my tanks have 100% cover of floating plants, and no circulation pump either, without signs of oxygen limitation and with breeding apistos. I do like to have some open spots for feeding or areas where more light penetrates to the lower substrate, but I think the idea that floaters block oxygen exchange is a myth.
With cories it is IMO a good idea to keep some open spots as they like to go the surface occasionally. The story may also be different if you keep rheophilic fish that are used to current and higher oxygen levels.
 

chris1805

Active Member
5 Year Member
That has not been my experience. Many of my tanks have 100% cover of floating plants, and no circulation pump either, without signs of oxygen limitation and with breeding apistos. I do like to have some open spots for feeding or areas where more light penetrates to the lower substrate, but I think the idea that floaters block oxygen exchange is a myth.
With cories it is IMO a good idea to keep some open spots as they like to go the surface occasionally. The story may also be different if you keep rheophilic fish that are used to current and higher oxygen levels.
I agree with Bart that it depends on the species.
 

ButtNekkid

Active Member
That has not been my experience. Many of my tanks have 100% cover of floating plants, and no circulation pump either, without signs of oxygen limitation and with breeding apistos. I do like to have some open spots for feeding or areas where more light penetrates to the lower substrate, but I think the idea that floaters block oxygen exchange is a myth.
With cories it is IMO a good idea to keep some open spots as they like to go the surface occasionally. The story may also be different if you keep rheophilic fish that are used to current and higher oxygen levels.
Have you kept Otocinclus in such tanks?
 

Bart Hazes

Active Member
Not in a 100% coverage tank but I have otocinclus in a 80-90% coverage 90 gallon tank but that one has a circulation pump. This is also my only tall tank (60cm tall), all others are 25 to 40cm tall and thus have large surface to volume ratio. They also don't have bacterial filters that are a drain on oxygen supply.
 

gerald

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Years ago I lost most of the fish in a 70 gallon tank during a 2-day power failure. The tank had a solid thick mat of Frogbit, Salvinia, and probably Duckweed; zero open water surface. The fish that died were N. Amer. shiners, dace, and madtoms, all rheophilic species and mostly 3-4 inches. With no aeration and no light, I'm pretty sure that oxygen depletion is what killed them. Had I been home when the power failed I would have thinned out the plants, but alas I was out of town. This kind of disaster is less likely to happen with smaller non-rheophilic fish like most Apistos, but it was an enduring memory and I'm now careful to thin out floating plants before they reach 100% coverage.
 

chris1805

Active Member
5 Year Member
Years ago I lost most of the fish in a 70 gallon tank during a 2-day power failure. The tank had a solid thick mat of Frogbit, Salvinia, and probably Duckweed; zero open water surface. The fish that died were N. Amer. shiners, dace, and madtoms, all rheophilic species and mostly 3-4 inches. With no aeration and no light, I'm pretty sure that oxygen depletion is what killed them. Had I been home when the power failed I would have thinned out the plants, but alas I was out of town. This kind of disaster is less likely to happen with smaller non-rheophilic fish like most Apistos, but it was an enduring memory and I'm now careful to thin out floating plants before they reach 100% coverage.
Without lights your floaters do probably not generate enough oxygen due to the lagg of photosynthesis?
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
......The tank had a solid thick mat of Frogbit, Salvinia, and probably Duckweed; zero open water surface.
I try and keep about 1/3 of the surface floater free, with worries about gas exchange being one of the main reasons, but I think there is a difference between the floaters mentioned and Pistia.

In Pistia the leaf rosettes don't lie flat on the water surface, so there are are air filled interstices between the plants.



cheers Darrel
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
.....They also don't have bacterial filters that are a drain on oxygen supply.
I'm not entirely sure, but I don't think that the presence of a filter will make any difference to the oxygen balance of the planted tank system.

The reason I think this is that the same amount of microbial activity will take place in either scenario, because you have the same bioload.

In a planted tank, without a filter, that microbial activity will take place in the upper levels of the substrate and the rhizosphere of the plants, with <"Ammonia Oxidising Archaea (AOA)"> and <"Nitrospira"> being the predominant organisms involved in nitrification.

My suspicion would be that in a planted tank, with a filter, that is still true, but with some proportion of that microbial filtration occurring in the filter media. I think the filter media provides the combination of suitable surfaces (sponge, sintered glass etc.) for <"biofilm adhesion"> and access to dissolved oxygen and CO2.

There is discussion of the pathways for CO2 incorporation in <"Ammonia-oxidizing archaea use the most energy-efficient aerobic pathway for CO2 fixation">

cheers Darrel
 
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Bart Hazes

Active Member
Ammonia uptake by plants does not require oxygen and plants, if submerged, are net oxygen producers. Ammonia conversion to nitrate in the filter takes up oxygen by the nitrifying bacteria. What I don't know if the oxygen drain by the filter is a small fraction of the total oxygen cycle in tanks or a substantial fraction that, by switching to plants as filter, makes a real difference.
 

gerald

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Agree with Darrell that Pistia might have been less disastrous than my Frogbit/Salvinia mix, due to leaves being more erect. However, my indoor-grown Pistia stays small and tends to lie flatter and denser (like Frogbit) than it does growing in my outdoor tubs (where it gets much bigger and erect). Plants can indeed uptake ammonium in darkness, but they can't produce oxygen in the dark. Without light or water movement, a solid mat of floating plants (leaves laying flat) isn't much different from a sheet of plastic layed across the water surface. Not much oxygen can diffuse in.
 

Bart Hazes

Active Member
Is anybody using Eichhornia crassipes as a floater. I bought one that multiplied to 5 over the past winter and I'm getting more new rosettes right now. They won't do well in tanks with a hood, glass covers, or with lights close to the tank but I'm now moving all LED lights in my tank racks about a foot above the tank surface for more even lighting and ability to keep taller floaters like the water hyacinth. I'm curious to see if fish will start spawning in the very dense root system that looks like the ultimate natural spawning mop. One of these in a 10-15 gallon tank may be all you need to absorb fish waste as they are one of the fastest absorbers of nutrients, at least in eutrophic waters. They won't block the surface as much as smaller floaters and won't stick to your arms.
 

ButtNekkid

Active Member
Is anybody using Eichhornia crassipes as a floater. I bought one that multiplied to 5 over the past winter and I'm getting more new rosettes right now. They won't do well in tanks with a hood, glass covers, or with lights close to the tank but I'm now moving all LED lights in my tank racks about a foot above the tank surface for more even lighting and ability to keep taller floaters like the water hyacinth. I'm curious to see if fish will start spawning in the very dense root system that looks like the ultimate natural spawning mop. One of these in a 10-15 gallon tank may be all you need to absorb fish waste as they are one of the fastest absorbers of nutrients, at least in eutrophic waters. They won't block the surface as much as smaller floaters and won't stick to your arms.
I tried one. It was not a success. Finally it just rotted away. It was really beautiful and I agree about the roots.
 
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