water discus

What They Don't Tell You About Plants

So I don’t know about recently, but  I know a couple years ago when I started an aquatic garden in a fish tank, there was basically minimal help for growing them. Sure, some sites all gave the same advice, good beginner plants, and how to set up CO2 rigs, or it would be full of way too MUCH information, down to each individual plant, which isn’t helpful when you don’t know what you’re getting yet. But there are a lot of things that no resource ever told me, and instead I had to learn myself and from my very experienced uncle. So I thought I would give a little quick guide to things that you may not hear as often as you need to when thinking of aquarium plants.

1)      Some Aquatic plants aren’t aquatic. Bamboo, for instance, isn’t actually meant to be in full water all the time. It can survive for a while, sure, but a betta can “survive” in a bowl, too. A lot of other plants are sold as “aquatic” like mondo grass, when in fact they are drowning in the tank. If you’re shopping for plants, especially in a chain store, be sure to either know what you’re looking for, or take a smart phone with you and google the scientific name. The first Wikipedia page will usually say in the first paragraph if the plant is fully aquatic or not. A lot of beginners feel like failures because their plants died or sometimes “melted” and they don’t know what they did wrong, but in reality it’s because they tried growing a plant that wasn’t meant to be in a tank.

2)      Pruning is an art; and there are a lot of different ways to do it. Just because one person prunes their plants in-tank with cool tools doesn’t mean that’s the only way to do it. Plants will survive a little pull out and trim before putting them back in the tank ( I recommend this for tanks 10 and smaller, theres not much point making a mess in such a small tank when you can pull them out, trim them and return them). The most basic thing to remember when trimming is to do it how you like it—it’s your tank and as long as it doesn’t kill the plant, you have artistic license.

3)      Plants don’t have a really good sense of direction. If you see a plant with roots growing upward and in a huge tangle (sword plants, I’m looking at you) then there is no harm in trimming those off. If there is an excess of something, they can afford to lose a few to stay neat.

4)      You don’t have to trim all the damn time. Some holier-than-thou planter articles make it sound like pruning is this huge, all consuming thing. It can be, if you want it to. I do, because I enjoy it, and I like my plants more than my fish in all honesty. But you don’t have to. Trim when you need it, not on some air-tight schedule that can’t be defied. If you have a huge tank, trimming days will take a while. But if you trim right, you won’t have to do it once a week. Once a month is probably average, but more or less is fine.

5)      Don’t be afraid to be the Weed Wacker. I’ve had a lot of people tell me that they’re afraid of hurting their plants. I’m probably going to make a huge guide for pruning with pictures this week, but for now, let’s just generalize a few things: a) there are a few different kinds of plants, and each one grows differently, and therefore needs to be trimmed differently. In general, if something is brown, cut it off. It’s not doing the plant any favors, and your leafies will thank you for removing it. If you handle your plants for pruning, run your hands around the plant gently—if something pops loose, chances are it needed to come off. If you are unsure whether or not to pull a leaf off, give it a gentle tug. If it comes loose easily, it needed to be removed. If something is brown at the base, even if the leaf is green, it’s most likely dead, and fine to remove. B) another thing that I get a lot of people worried about is the roots. If it is say, a sword plant, or other plant that is all root, trim those bitches. I mean it, these things take 2 weeks and they look like medusa. They don’t need all of them, and they grow more pretty damn fast. I had a 3 inch plant take over half my 5.5 gal in 2 weeks in the roots, and you don’t notice until you pull it up. They aggressive little boogers and they will survive a trim. C) if you have a smaller tank, prune the BIG leaves. Not all of them, obviously, but when a plant is too big, snip the big boys. That way the smaller ones have time to grow, and you won’t have to prune as often. D) the more you chop, the longer you can go without pruning again. Now, don’t go overboard, leave the poor plant enough to regroup and stay alive, but you can probably trim them down pretty small if you want to.

6)      You don’t need CO2. For most plants, just having a few fish in with them is good enough. You do NOT have to spend hundreds of dollars on a system if you don’t want to. Do not let pet stores talk you into it, either. Unless you have a huge, very advanced tank, or a very large plant-only tank, chances are you don’t need one. But if you ever do decide to do one, be prepared to by the expensive stuff—just like filters and heaters, it’s better to just buy the better quality ones, even if it means a little less in your wallet. Cheap CO2 systems are just not worth the headache and they need a lot of replacing. It’s better to get the good stuff to start with.

7)      Get what YOU WANT. Now, this sounds obvious, but I feel like I need to say it anyway. Just like fish and other pets, a lot of people ask “what should I get for my first plant?” There’s nothing wrong with advice, obviously. A lot of opinions make for a lot of knowledge and help you make educated decisions. But do not let someone else say “These three plants are the only ones you can have as a beginner.” It’s just not true. Just like fish and snakes and other pets, if you don’t actually want the thing, DON’T GET IT JUST BECAUSE IT IS A “BEGGINER”.  You’ll regret it eventually if you do. Get what you want—if it’s a little more advanced, are you willing to put a little more effort into its care because it’s what you really want? If so, just get it. If you don’t like the way a plant looks, don’t get it anyway. Be self-aware about what you can or cannot handle, but in the end, it’s all your choice.

8)      Scientific names make things a lot easier. There are a lot of different names for a lot of different plants. It helps keep them from getting confused.

I hope this helps some of you who are stressing about your leaf-babies J Feel free to message me if you have any other questions or concerns, I’ll do my best to help. Plants are my babies, and I want everyone to be successful with their own.

When non-fish friends ask me if a betta would right for them...
  • What I say: Oh, betta are very easy to keep!
  • What I mean: As fish go, betta are very easy to keep.
  • What I'm terrified people actually hear: Betta are basically pet rocks.
  • What I say: They don't need a ton of space,...
  • What I mean: 5 gallons isn't a huge tank,...
  • What I'm terrified people actually hear: A 1 gallon bowl is basically spoiling them,...
  • What I say: ...they're forgiving of water conditions,...
  • What I mean: ...they don't need RO water like discus, and if your ammonia ticks to one part per googleplex, they won't keel over,...
  • What I'm terrified people actually hear: *something something, water buffalo hoofprints*
  • What I say: ...and they don't have a fancy diet.
  • What I mean: ...and they don't require live food like pea puffers. In fact, a jar of high-quality pellets is all you need.
  • What I'm terrified people actually hear: ...and that 5 year old jar of goldfish flakes in your closet will be fine.
  • What I say: If you're interested, I'd love to help you shop around.
  • What I mean: Please bring me. My multiple tank syndrome is flaring up and I'm afraid this is the only cure.
  • What I'm terrified people actually hear: I'm only offering to be nice, please don't trouble me.

anabantoidstozooanthids-deactiv  asked:

Hi! Hi hi! So I seem to have this odd problem of being able to keep every type of fish I try alive. Except for fancy goldfish. I can keep salt water, invertebrates, discus, the goldfish my turtles were supposed to eat, all sorts of things. But fancy goldfish elude me. I read, I do the best i can, I've tried four times, I just can't keep them alive. Describe to me a perfect tank for a fancy goldfish, what you would feed them, and what you would keep on hand please?

If I were starting a tank for someone who wanted to keep fancies this is what I would buy:

  • 40gal breeder tank- has great dimensions and can house a pair of goldfish comfortably for the majority (or entirety depending on the individuals) of their lives.
  • Two Fluval 306 canister filters. This is a bit overkill but it will really help. I would fill one with sponges and fine filter floss and padding to remove physical waste and fill the other with mainly biomedia such a ceramic rings or bioballs to handle chemical wastes. Run the first filter with the floss and sponges at regular speed to keep the water crystal clear, and then run the other containing most of the biomedia at half speed. This will increase the time that the water is coming in contact with the bacteria and will allow more chemical wastes to be removed for maximum efficiency. 
  • Either a barebottom for ease of cleaning, or a thin layer of sand (under a 1/2in). goldfish love to sift through sand as they are evolutionary designed to do so. This will allow them to exhibit natural behaviors as well as ingesting small portions of it which is thought to aid in digestion.
  • I would feed them a diet staple of a gel food such as Repashy Super Green. Along with generous portions of frozen bloodworms several times weekly. foods with a high moisture content (like gel and frozen foods) are digested very easily in comparison to pelleted foods and do not expand in the stomach which lessens swim bladder issues. You can feed pellets in moderation; a few other note worthy pellet brands include Hikari products, New Life Spectrum products, Grand Sumo pellets, and Omega One, I have used these all with decent success. Both Hikari and Omega one contain color enhancing ingredients. Omega One’s pellets also include ethoxyquin, which is used as a preservative to stop fat in the fish meal from becoming rancid. However all fish meal being imported into the US must be treated with a preservative, so if you’re going for a commercial brand it’s nearly unavoidable. This should not stop you from purchasing it however but it is another good reason why pellets should only be one portion of a balanced diet. New Life Spectrum makes good overall pellets, I recommend Thera A for goldies as that’s what mine seem to enjoy best. Grand Sumo pellets are actually a Flowerhorn cichlid food however I’ve found it significantly increases both wen and body growth. It can be harder to come by as it is not made in the US.
  • Some medications I would keep on hand have been covered in a previous post I made which can be read here

I hope this covers most of the questions you had! If you have any more or if I didn’t touch on something in particular please let me know. :) lanturnsandqwilfish


Sir has settled in well, but has indeed caused a riot in the tank. For being the smallest fish in there, (yes, he’s even smaller than my never growing Fred!!) he’s claimed the title of Tank Boss. Everyone is scared of him bar Blue. As you can see in the third picture Blue has been fighting back with him, but it hasn’t put Sir off trying to beat up Chen while also posing for a pic at the same time.

He’s crazy and wild and quite the little gangster! 


Top picture is Teeny when I first got him, and the bottom one is him now after a few months. 

He was going to be ‘thrown to the magpies’ by the person I got him from, for being stunted and because he wasn’t growing. He’s doing fantastic in my tank and loves to make sure the other fish know that it’s his and that he’s the boss.

Just how pretty is he?!