Do I Need Silk, or is Plastic OK? - Aquarium Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
 
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Do I Need Silk, or is Plastic OK?

I'm looking into getting some plants for my 55 gallon community tank. Here's what I'm stocking currently. 5 Diamond Tetra, 5 Neon Tetra, 5 Red Eye Tetra, 5 Male Guppies, 2 Angelfish, 2 Blue Ram, 1 Upside Down Catfish (probably getting 2 more to help him feel more at home), and 4 Albino Corydoras.

I know that silk plants are better for fish, specifically Bettas, but I'm not sure if plastic will hurt any of the fish in my tank. I'm thinking the only ones at risk might be the Angelfish, but I'm not real sure. I'm eventually going to buy a Co2 kit and get some live plants going, but for now plastic/silk is my only option.

Here are the 3 plants that I'm looking at.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...A3O88P8V9WW2SX
Amazon.com : Marineland Multi-Pack Assorted Plastic Plants A2, 4, Tall (ML90541) : Aquarium Decor Plastic Plants : Pet Supplies
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Let me know what you guys think!

55 Gallon

2 Angelfish
4 Diamond Tetra
5 Neon Tetra
5 Red Eye Tetra
2 Blue Ram
4 Albino Corydora
1 Upside Down Catfish
3 Fancy Guppies
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 05:03 PM
 
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Re: Do I Need Silk, or is Plastic OK?

Marina makes some nice silk plants. Check here: Amazon.com: marina silk plants: Pet Supplies

I use these in one tank because I have silver dollars that will eat most live plants.

But, all of my other tanks have live plants and you don't have to have CO2 to have them thrive. There are plenty of options for low-medium light plants that will do well, such as crypts, hygros, Anubias and java ferns just to name a few. Something to consider.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
 
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So, plants that require low light don't need co2? If not, I'll go buy some low light live plants and be done with it. I do have some seachem flourish excel, if that'll work.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
 
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I'm really confused about low light setups. I have just a basic led light strip that came attached to my hood, does that provide ANY beneficial light to the plants at all or is it only bulbs that actually provide light needed.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 05:29 PM
i need another tank.
 
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Re: Do I Need Silk, or is Plastic OK?

If you do co2 then the plants will grow faster, tanks with no co2 grow slowly.

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if it's dry let it die,if it's wet make it a pet!!
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 07:29 PM
 
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Re: Do I Need Silk, or is Plastic OK?

I'm about to write an overly long post (I can feel it coming on). It'll be worth reading simplified as it is, and if you know how to make it shorter let me know.

1) Live plants are awesome and really aren't that hard. A very simple setup can get you a nice tank (see the post that will follow this).
2) Starting with the basics, *light* drives the need for everything else. If you have a lot of light you need a lot of fertilizer, a lot of CO2, and a lot of work (comparatively). More light makes everything go faster (to a point) and really cuts down your margin of error.
3) Continuing on that, less light lets you use less fertilizer, no added CO2, and a lot less work. All you need to do is be a bit of care and patience.
4) Just to put it out there, a 55 is a hard tank to decorate due to its dimensions, so don't be disappointing if it isn't a magazine worthy look on your first try.
5) Don't go in to the "OMG, phosphates are bad!!!" camp. Yes everything in excess is bad, but most things in moderation are good. In this case moderation is a very wide window.
6) I rarely say this, but your light is probably insufficient. Get us a model or picture and we can confirm. There are LEDs that will keep up with the best lights, but those don't tend to come with tank kits. A nice 2 bulb T8 fixture is probably on the lighter end of "close enough" to make plants thrive. You could also get away with a dual bulb T5HO setup. Since you have a 55, a 4' shop light from the hardware store is a good low cost way to get you feet wet while deciding how much you like plants. You could also use CFLs in clamp lights, but that can be a bit trickier for a whole host of reasons.

Some things TO do:
1) Get a generic fertilizer. Seachem Fluorish (not Fluorish Excel) is a good start. Eventually you'll develop your own fertilizer preferences, but that's close enough to get you started and readily available.
2) Root tabs, same thing. You can worry about what is "best" later, but for now "close enough" really is. Don't worry about planting them 6 inches away from the plant though, put them right in next to them.
3) Don't worry about planting your plants too deep. If you plant them too shallow they will uproot. If you plant them too deep they'll sort the issue out on their own. Anubias and java fern are exceptions in that you should never bury the rhizome. I like to use a drop of super glue (pad both surfaces dry first) to hold them to a rock or driftwood until they attach on their own.
4) Pick some easy plants. Some won't make it, but most will and you can go from there. The easy cryptocorynes (crypts) such as wendtii (any color) are a good choice. Jungle val, dwarf sag, rotala colorata (often mislabeled as indica), anubias, and java fern are also easy starters. Stay away from crypt parva as it is an extremely slow grower.
5) Do change water periodically. On the high side 80% a week, on the low side, 50% once a month. As long as the temperature is close and you dechlorinate properly there won't be any issues with "too much" water being changed. I'm always amazed how much better my plants look a couple days after a water change if I've neglected the tank.

Some things NOT to do:
1) Seachem Excel is like CO2, and you don't need it unless you need CO2. With a moderate to low light setup you are not going to derive any benefit from it, so concentrate your efforts and money elsewhere.
2) Don't remove your crypts if all the leaves 'melt' and die away. This is normal when you move those and they often grow back from the stump.
3) Don't bother to swap your substrate out right now. Personally I like sand over dirt, followed by just sand. Others like different things, but it isn't worth tearing your tank up for until you get the hang of things.
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Re: Do I Need Silk, or is Plastic OK?

As promised some I-post-them-too-often pictures of tanks. None of these use CO2. Most of them are 20 gallon tanks:




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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all that info. They all look really nice. For now, I'm gonna stick to fake plants and move on to live plants when my light system is upgraded.

So, will plastic plants be OK with my fish or should I look for silk? I like the variety of the plants I posted earlier, but will buy a silk variety if need be. Just wanna make sure my fish aren't harmed.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
 
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BTW, your plants look great!!
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 08:26 PM
i need another tank.
 
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Re: Do I Need Silk, or is Plastic OK?

I don't suppose the last picture is a 20 gallon is it? :P.

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lol now now, food is "healthy" at school now. Pigeon isn't healthy
if it's dry let it die,if it's wet make it a pet!!
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-29-2015, 06:15 PM
 
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Re: Do I Need Silk, or is Plastic OK?

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Originally Posted by DeJay126 View Post
Thanks for all that info. They all look really nice. For now, I'm gonna stick to fake plants and move on to live plants when my light system is upgraded.

So, will plastic plants be OK with my fish or should I look for silk? I like the variety of the plants I posted earlier, but will buy a silk variety if need be. Just wanna make sure my fish aren't harmed.
My plastic plant experience came to an abrupt end around 10 years ago. I never had issues with plastic plants up until then, but honestly I'm not sure I would have known what to look for.

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I don't suppose the last picture is a 20 gallon is it? :P.
No, and that's one that I really had no hand in either. I posted it because it doesn't use CO2.

The first one is a 29, although we really didn't use the top and the footprint is the same as a 20 long. The second and third ones are 20 longs. I was hoping to find a picture of my 10, but I didn't stumble across it. The last one is a relative's 240. Sadly he sold it when moving across state lines, but he did move several dozen other tanks so he isn't exactly out.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-29-2015, 07:19 PM
i need another tank.
 
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Re: Do I Need Silk, or is Plastic OK?

What's the red sword in the 3rd picture?

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lol now now, food is "healthy" at school now. Pigeon isn't healthy
if it's dry let it die,if it's wet make it a pet!!
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-29-2015, 07:23 PM
 
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Re: Do I Need Silk, or is Plastic OK?

Kleiner Bar from Ben (JRMan). I've actually seen them in LFS in the past year or two so they might be reasonable to locate now.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 12:43 PM
 
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Re: Do I Need Silk, or is Plastic OK?

My take on plants. If you can do it, you should definitely go with live plants. Besides looking good, they have the advantage of sopping up excess nutrients and keeping algae at bay. I replaced my T-5HO fixtures with Finnex LED fixture and have no problems growing crypts, Java moss, Java fern and anubias, which are all considered low light plants. I also grow floating plants in profusion, such as duckweed and Indian fern.

I have an issue with your proposed stocking. Angelfish will eventually eat your neons. Another problem is that angelfish need to be kept in groups to avoid bullying. I had 2 angelfish which couldn't co-exist in a 90 gallon tank. I had to put them in a bigger tank with 5 other angelfish to make it work.

150 - Angelfish, Geophagus, Striped Raphael Cats, Cory Metae

90 - Dwarf Loaches, Corys, Neon Tetras, Rummynoses, Bolivian Rams, BNP, Glass Catfish, Black Phantom Tetras
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 08:55 PM
 
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Re: Do I Need Silk, or is Plastic OK?

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My take on plants. If you can do it, you should definitely go with live plants. Besides looking good, they have the advantage of sopping up excess nutrients and keeping algae at bay. I replaced my T-5HO fixtures with Finnex LED fixture and have no problems growing crypts, Java moss, Java fern and anubias, which are all considered low light plants. I also grow floating plants in profusion, such as duckweed and Indian fern.

I have an issue with your proposed stocking. Angelfish will eventually eat your neons. Another problem is that angelfish need to be kept in groups to avoid bullying. I had 2 angelfish which couldn't co-exist in a 90 gallon tank. I had to put them in a bigger tank with 5 other angelfish to make it work.
A couple differing opinions on the above (although I completely agree on most of the plant stuff). Angels are usually ok alone or in groups of 2,4, or more. A pair will usually only fight if both are males (25% chance), and even then it may be ok. Avoid groups of 3 as that seldom turns out well.
Cardinals are easier than neons for a variety of reasons, but either way if you start small and provide cover the tetras will be too fast and too small to be worth chasing by the time the angels are big enough to get them. As the cards/neons age (4+ years if healthy) or you skip town for a week the dynamic will change and you may find the circle of life rolling over the tetras to the benefit of the angels.
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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2015, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
 
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I'm not real worried about the Angelfish. They both get alone perfectly fine and most everything I researched said that in a pair they would be fine.

As for the neon, I'm adding cover for them. If the angelfish do eventually eat them, as sad as that might be, it's nature... No different than buying brine shrimp for your fish to eat IMO. I'm sorry if that's not proposed as acceptable to some of you, but if all the neon end up disappearing then I'll replace them with bigger fish, or start another tank with all community fish.

Once I get my plants in order the neon will have plenty of hiding space though, so I'm not real worried about it.

I ended up buying some cryptocoryn on ebay, heading to the LFS now to get some root tabs.
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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-01-2015, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
 
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I just went to the fish store and bought fertilizer and root tabs. Are my plans going to be OK being planted in gravel or should I go buy sand or dirt
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