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planting in a stock tank?

hwscot

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15 Nov 2021
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62
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Montrose
Advice please (or a steer to existing threads). I'm setting up a tank (Aqueal Leddy 75) as a stock tank / growing out tank (mainly livebearers). I'd like as much planting in it as possible, but I'll often be catching fish from it. 'It is very hard to catch fish in a heavily planted tank', says Karen Randall, in a masterpiece of understatement. Diana Walstad talks about having rocks and bricks at one end of the tank, then when she wants to catch fish, she herds them to that end of the tank and puts in a tank divider to keep them there while she catches them, which doesn't sound like it makes for an attractive tank.
When I was preparing for the 90L cube, I grew on plants in a couple of smaller tanks and in one I used clay plant pots. When I bought my first fish, the space below the pots made great refuges, and it's easy to take out a pot for a few minutes while catching fish, but it's a utlitarian aesthetic. Still, a small pot can grow a big aquatic plant.
I've enjoyed the thread about 'are you a fishkeeper or an aquascaper' and I realise that keeping and breeding fish is very important to me, but so are the plants, and 'system keeping'. This isn't really going to be an aquascaped tank, but I'd like it to be attractive to look at and not just functional. Fish are happier with well-planted tanks, and none of the fish that interest me are big plant wreckers, but it is very easy to wreck planting with a net.
 

Wookii

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13 Nov 2019
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Nottingham
You are best going with plants that are easy to remove. Epiphytes like ferns, moss, buce, anubias etc attached to wood and rock that can easily removed are what I would go for. If you really want stem plants, then I'd grow them in pots as you suggest, so that they can be removed.

Failing that, I have found a bottle trap a much more efficient (and less stressful - on both the fish, and me) way of catching fish in an open tank, rather than netting.
 

hwscot

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15 Nov 2021
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62
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Montrose
You are best going with plants that are easy to remove. Epiphytes like ferns, moss, buce, anubias etc attached to wood and rock that can easily removed are what I would go for. If you really want stem plants, then I'd grow them in pots as you suggest, so that they can be removed.

Failing that, I have found a bottle trap a much more efficient (and less stressful - on both the fish, and me) way of catching fish in an open tank, rather than netting.
Id go for lots of epiphytes, bolbitis, java fern, anubias, attach them to smallish pieces of hardscape and then you can just lift them out if the tank when the time comes.
..I see @Wookii beat me to it, so basically what he said :lol:
Cheers, guys. Makes sense. Moving buce around while attached to small pieces wood was easy when taking plants from their growing-on tanks to the cube, but that was a very small form. A big plant on a small piece of hardscape .. I'd be concerned that moving it around it might too easily detach: maybe it's just about finding the right forms .. any tips appreciated.
I avoided Java fern in the 90L because I didn't want it getting too bulky, but maybe it's also more robust for lifting in and out of the tank. Any specific ferns you'd recommend?
Will also be going for floating plants with long roots.
Wookii .. will do some googling on bottle traps. Would appreciate any pointers to more info about them.
 

Konsa

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20 Nov 2010
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1,019
Location
Lostock Hall
Hi
another less eye pleasing option is just to use floating stems like Guppy grass( Najas guadalupensis ) or Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) or just bunch and weight them down without planting them.
Regards Konstantin
 

Wookii

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13 Nov 2019
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3,151
Location
Nottingham
avoided Java fern in the 90L because I didn't want it getting too bulky, but maybe it's also more robust for lifting in and out of the tank. Any specific ferns you'd recommend?

Any java fern works well - once is grown onto a lump of lava rock its quite difficult to remove. Any will do - I like trident or narrow leaf - they can grow quite big and stay anchored onto the rock which make moving a relatively big plant in and out quite easy.

Would appreciate any pointers to more info about them.

They're quite easy to make. Take a empty drinks bottle of the size you need - like a coke bottle - and cut the top off just after the point the conical neck transitions into the main body. Remove the lid, and then push the neck section you've just cut off, inverted inside the bottle lid end first.

It helps to add a weight to the outside of the bottle, and I'd also add some ventilation holes up near to the top of the body section if you're leaving it for extended periods. Adding some means to hang it horizontally mid-water helps with some species too.

Then just add a little food inside the trap, and place it in the tank. Fish will generally find their way inside quite quickly, and then can't find their way out, allowing you to just lift the trap out, remove the cut-off neck section, and pour the captured fish out.

I used a 330ml coke bottle trap to remove all but four of my 50 odd fish, and about 100 shrimp, from my tank when I last rescaped, in the space of a couple of days, without having to remove a single thing from the tank.

This video shows you the basic premise (but don't add the hole to the bottom of the bottle like they do, or the water will drain out before you get the fish out):

 
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