Advice on Easy Plants

DarrenMT10

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16 Jan 2020
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Nuneaton Midlands
Finally finished Hardscape and added Tropica Aquarium soil.
What Plants would you recomend and where in tank? Im a complete beginner when it comes to plants but have had a fair few aquariums over the years. Its going to be a low tec tanks.
Regards
Darren
IMG_20200204_153919.jpg
 

Wookii

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13 Nov 2019
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Thanks guys looks like i got lots of research to do and planning yet.

As Darrel says I would stick to the Tropica 'Easy' plants - particularly those rated for low light and low CO2 - it'll make your life a lot easier, and you can also try more difficult plants once your aquarium is established, if you fancy it.

For higher stem plants, personally I can recommend taking a look at Bacopa caroliniana, or for a really nice easy red plant Ludwigia Palustris, or for somehint a little more unusual Hygrophila polysperma sunset which has also grown very easily for me.

For the midground Cardamine Lyrata is a lovely delicate plant that has grown very easily for me, Bacopa Compact is also one that grows easily and low in lower light, and Staurogyne repens is a nice low bushy plant also, that is fairly undemanding. Crypts are a good option also if they fit with the design style you are going for - just expect to remove most of the leaves as they will melt to start with - I recommend planting them with a decent root tab, as mine have done really well on that basis, and have come back really bushy within a few weeks after their melt. Personally I'd always go with decent sized potted Crypts - I've had zero success with in-vitro Crypts. You might also want to check out Schismatoglottis prietoi - I got this recently, and it is a beautiful little plant - like a cross between an anubias and a bucephalandra, but can be planted in the substrate.

The foreground/carpet is more difficult is more difficult, though if you look in the 'Journals' sections there are a number of low tech tanks that have great carpets. Though my tank is high tech, the carpet is fairly heavily shaded in many parts, and I also didn't want to have be constantly trimming it, so I went with Marsilea Crenata. It takes some time to establish and mature, and grows slowly, but I really like the look of the mature dark green leaves, and it should suit a low tech tank.

Finally, as you have a fair few rocks, you might want to look at epiphyte species like anubias and bucephalandra species. For the anubias, you might want to go with smaller species with petite/mini/bonsai in the name, or Pangolino - the standard nana species can have quite large leaves, which might not work with the scale of your layout. On the bucephalandra species there are quite few to choose from, and they are beautiful plants, but pricey - but a decent quality pot will normally yield two decent small plants for you to place.

Also a couple of tips from mistakes I've made. Firstly stick to reputable plant suppliers like Aquarium Gardens, and Aquasabi etc - eBay sellers might appear better value, but they're not really, their plants are just smaller and lower quality. Also Tropica plants offer the highest quality in my view - certainly for in-vitro plants - so where there is a 'choice' in brands choose Tropica (or possibly Dennerle), with Aquafleur a close second for potted plants.

Secondly, the Tropica soil (which I have also) leaches a fair amount of ammonia in the first few weeks - I was seeing over 5ppm from the soil powder. If you are going to plant from day one before adding water, I'd recommend frequent large water changes (at least several per week) until the levels start to come down.

Finally, make sure you have your fertilizer regime sorted ready to start as soon as the plants are added. I'd personally recommend EI dosing - it's fairly straight forward, cost effective and easy to implement - you might need to look up whether the standard dosing needs adjustment for low tech tanks.
 

Simon Cole

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25 Dec 2018
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Some ebay sellers like k2aqua and planteklab offer distinct advantages over foreign vendors.
Firstly, they are grown in the UK and minimize packaging. This is both good for the environment and for the UK industry. If we do not invest in UK labs then all of our plants will be foreign imports forever.
Elena at planteklabs in Wales sends a page of information about each plant you get with every order. You end up with a portfolio of the plants that you keep, and an expert on the phone who will help you.
UK labs do not have to be shipped and imported the costs are far lower.
I have noticed considerably larger quantities and better quality plants if you choose UK labs. They are always fresher than foreign imports.
The reason that people like Elena, and her wonderful business, are forced to sell on ebay, is simply because of brand loyalty. It is not a reputation issue. She survives by growing better quality plants and distributing them directly from the lab within hours. If you choose a retailer, as mentioned above, then they take a cut and hold plants in storage. The labs just send the plants straight to you, cutting out the middle man.
You also get ebay protection, and the whole premise of ebay is feedback as demonstration of customer satisfaction.
You get zero customer feedback when you order from a vendor or retailer. They don't grow the plants.

It is very hard for me to prove to you that you get larger packages when you buy in-vitro plants off ebay. But my tanks are packed full of UK in-vitro plants. There is no size difference because in-vitro plants are meant to be small at POS.

I have yet to find a UK lab that has disappointed me. If other vendors are scared of ebay then so be it. I'm just glad there is now real competition in the industry.
 

Wookii

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Joined
13 Nov 2019
Messages
1,021
Location
Nottingham
Some ebay sellers like k2aqua and planteklab offer distinct advantages over foreign vendors.
Firstly, they are grown in the UK and minimize packaging. This is both good for the environment and for the UK industry. If we do not invest in UK labs then all of our plants will be foreign imports forever.
Elena at planteklabs in Wales sends a page of information about each plant you get with every order. You end up with a portfolio of the plants that you keep, and an expert on the phone who will help you.
UK labs do not have to be shipped and imported the costs are far lower.
I have noticed considerably larger quantities and better quality plants if you choose UK labs. They are always fresher than foreign imports.
The reason that people like Elena, and her wonderful business, are forced to sell on ebay, is simply because of brand loyalty. It is not a reputation issue. She survives by growing better quality plants and distributing them directly from the lab within hours. If you choose a retailer, as mentioned above, then they take a cut and hold plants in storage. The labs just send the plants straight to you, cutting out the middle man.
You also get ebay protection, and the whole premise of ebay is feedback as demonstration of customer satisfaction.
You get zero customer feedback when you order from a vendor or retailer. They don't grow the plants.

It is very hard for me to prove to you that you get larger packages when you buy in-vitro plants off ebay. But my tanks are packed full of UK in-vitro plants. There is no size difference because in-vitro plants are meant to be small at POS.

I have yet to find a UK lab that has disappointed me. If other vendors are scared of ebay then so be it. I'm just glad there is now real competition in the industry.

I'm afraid, based on my own experiences, I have to disagree on a number of your points. Whilst I have no experience with Planteklab, I have purchased a number of plants from K2Aqua. Their in-vitro portions are notably smaller than you get in the likes of Tropica 1-2 Grow pots, which are almost tardis-like in terms of the number of plantlets that expand out of the pots. The quality of the K2Aqua plants is also notably lower in my experience particularly in the in-vitro plants (which are delivered in bags incidentally, already decanted), with the longer terms growing and survival rates being notably higher in the Tropica/Aquafleur plants from the samples I have tried.

Don't get me wrong, the K2Aqua quality is fair - nothing to directly criticise as such - and the service is good, and matches the price you pay - so I had nothing to complain about as such with my purchases - but if you want more consistent results, with a similar cost for the amount of plant mass - Tropica is the better option in my opinion.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for British produced items - I run a British manufacturing company myself after all - and I will certainly take a look at Planteklab (though their website shop seems to show most items as being out of stock?). However my experience certainly doesn't match yours if you feel K2Aqua are representative of the same quality as Planteklab.
 

Simon Cole

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^ You must mean Tropica.
My point is I just want to save the world. That is where I see the added value. Those tardis-like pots and all that packaging will be my children's problem. I have spent my life dealing with landfill issues and trying to minimize my carbon footprint.
Your point was about reputation. K2Aqua have a 100% positive feedback score with 19,017 positive and only 1 negative feedback in the last 12 months alone.

Once the plants grow Darren will begin dividing them and end up with just the same number of plants. He will just have a little bit more money in his pocket to spend and enjoy. And possibly some warm feeling that he did the right thing.
 

Wookii

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Location
Nottingham
^ You must mean Tropica.
My point is I just want to save the world. That is where I see the added value. Those tardis-like pots and all that packaging will be my children's problem. I have spent my life dealing with landfill issues and trying to minimize my carbon footprint.
Your point was about reputation. K2Aqua have a 100% positive feedback score with 19,017 positive and only 1 negative feedback in the last 12 months alone.

Once the plants grow Darren will begin dividing them and end up with just the same number of plants. He will just have a little bit more money in his pocket to spend and enjoy. And possibly some warm feeling that he did the right thing.

Your pointing about minimising packing and saving the world via reduced carbon footprint is a valid and important one - though a hobby that requires 24 hour water heating, 6hr plus per day high intensity lighting, and hundreds of litres of water usage per year, is probably not the best choice to achieve that. You also assume the lower weight bags used by K2Aqua are a better environmental choice than pots - however I would assume that the former cannot be recycled, whereas the pots and their cardboard packaging likely can.

My point wasn't about reputation, my point was about product quality - I used K2Aqua because of that online feedback reputation, and that reputation was deserved for the service they provided and the apparent quality of the plants delivered for the price. My point was simply that the Tropica in-vitro plants offered a higher quality and a greater quantity (so the price difference was negated).

You are assuming that Darrens plants survive and grow, for him to be able to divide and replant them - but I have had to repurchase and replant a number of the K2Aqua plants that didn't grow, but withered away. I've not had that issue with any of the Tropica plants I purchased, so if I had purchased them in the first instance, I may* have been financially better off. (* - I stress 'may' as there are far too many other factors to be certain).
 

Simon Cole

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25 Dec 2018
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Buckingham
I'm not that interested in ordering retailed foreign plants that are already available in the UK.
I cannot argue every point - but I have given the idea a fair shout among members.
 

PARAGUAY

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13 Nov 2013
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1,838
Location
Lancashire
An easy plant slightly it seems out of favour with aquascapers seeking perspective and detail is hygro_ polysperma as mentioned. Great for giving a new aquarium a good start and can be trimmed to create a nice bushy effect. Nice to see members have slight difference of opinions but discussing in a respectful manner Well done chaps:)
 

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