Plants for high flow pleco breeding tank

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EmilyD
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Plants for high flow pleco breeding tank

Post by EmilyD »

As above, really. I have a lot of current in my L199 tank and plants are struggling. Tried vallisneria, which I'd seen suggested for high flow tanks, but it's not doing as well as I'd hoped. I have very soft water, and apparently that's an issue with some species of val? I have no idea what variety it is, since the LFS only labeled it as generic vallisneria.

What plants would work here?
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Re: Plants for high flow pleco breeding tank

Post by bekateen »

Hi Emily,

Myself, I'm not much of a planted tank person, but I do have some Crypts in a highflow tank. The plants are potted, and some are emergent (others are under water). The emergent plants do much better than the submerged plants.

Good luck, Eric
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Re: Plants for high flow pleco breeding tank

Post by fishguy1978 »

As mentioned crypts do well in soft water and once rooted into the substrate would donjust fine. You could also try anubius, bolbitus, or java fern. These all can be attached to rocks or wood and will grow roots that that will hold them on. Initially I use either gel type super glue or acrylic yarn or fishing line. You don’t need to tie them super tight just snug enough that they stay in place.
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Re: Plants for high flow pleco breeding tank

Post by Bas Pels »

While Vallisneria likes harder water, Sagittaria subulata looks a lot like them, prefers soft water and might be precisely what you are looking for.

Frankly, they are hard to tell apart. This tapered shape of the leaves under water is common in Sagittaria. Sagittaria means arrow, but this refers to the leaves above water, and not for all species. They even reproduce vegetatively identical

They like a lot of light, but they can do with far less. I used to have a tank full of them, measuring 150 * 70 * 30 cm, with 1 TL tube of 120 cm.
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Re: Plants for high flow pleco breeding tank

Post by dw1305 »

Hi all,
Same as the others really, Cryptocoryne spp. are good. Any of the C. beckettii forms will do. Potamogeton gayii is also good in a current, but maybe difficult to find.

Bolbitis heudelotii is an epiphyte (so needs gluing to a rock or wood), but likes soft water and high flow. Most epiphytes are good, Anubias barteri, Bucephelandra spp. or Schismatoglottis prietoi would all do.

Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) doesn't like very soft water, but does like some flow.

cheers Darrel
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Re: Plants for high flow pleco breeding tank

Post by Narelle »

What are the other conditions in the tank? What are your lights and substrate like?
Vallisneria americana (jungle val/generic val, likely what you have) occurs in hard to low end brackish water, so soft water could be your issue, yes. It does best with root tabs, so you might see better growth if you use some, if you aren't already.

I have a cool, soft water hillstream setup that I have grown Bolbitis heudeloti and some moss in (Edit: According to My Aquaria, it's Vesicularia sp. "Thai"). Both prefer high flow, but I don't recall how important temperature is for B. heudeloti. Its done very well for me in this set up though, so definitely worth considering.
Mosses tend to like cooler water but they are undemanding and can do well in tropical tanks. Most important for them is flow, which you have. I've grown moss in tanks with a single Ancistrus cf.c cirrhosus, but never with lots of plecos. I haven't had issues with my A. cf. cirrhosus damaging moss, but I couldn't say if lots of little rasping mouths would be an issue.
The tank I'm referencing doesn't have fishes that are rough on plants, so these work in the type of setup you have, but if the pleco species you are breeding is the type to spend a lot of time rasping heavily on leaves these might be a bit delicate for you.

Crypts are an excellent suggestion. They are hardy, undemanding plants and quite a few species occur in fast water environments. Like the vals, they are heavy root feeders and will do best with root tabs, if you don't have a very high nutrient soil in the tank. For a similar look to the vals, you could grow Cryptocoryne spiralis or C. retrospiralis. There's lots of beautiful species that you can choose from though that grow in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors if you want some diversity in the tank. I've seen gorgeous tanks that grow different crypt species exclusively.
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Re: Plants for high flow pleco breeding tank

Post by dw1305 »

Hi all,
Narelle wrote: Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:15 pm......I have a cool, soft water hillstream setup that I have grown Bolbitis heudeloti ...... but I don't recall how important temperature is for B. heudeloti. Its done very well for me in this set up though, so definitely worth considering.
It grows well at the temperatures you would keep Hypancistrus spp at.

This tank had a juvenile Ancistrus sp(l100) and some juvenile Hypancistrus debilittera (L129) (and a large Bolbitis plant).

Image

There are pictures of it growing in the wild in the DRC (in a waterfall) in the <"New plant Zongo"> thread on UKAPS.

Image

cheers Darrel
Last edited by dw1305 on Wed Dec 02, 2020 4:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Plants for high flow pleco breeding tank

Post by JenMorri88 »

I faced the same problem, but when I covered the bottom with stones and just different water plants, the problem disappeared) I don't know why, but now everything is ok b-)
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Re: Plants for high flow pleco breeding tank

Post by EmilyD »

Thanks for all the suggestions!

@Narelle,

The temperature is 25/26C. I have a sand substrate and in addition to the four plecos, the other inhabitants of the tank are C. pygmaeus, C. habrosus, a couple C. carlae, Aspidoras spilotus, two bamboo shrimp, and two vampire shrimp. I'm running a Fluval Aquasky light. The plecos don't rasp the leaves (to my knowledge...I've never caught them at it), but they dig under stuff. I had a java fern and an anubias in there at one point, but they got so withered and pathetic looking that I gave up on them. The plecos were constantly digging huge caverns under their rock or log, and I presumed that the roots were being damaged in the process (I have java ferns and anubias in other Hypancistrus-free tanks, and they look great). Stopped using plants that attach to hardscape. Plecos don't dig up planted plants, though, so that's not the issue with the val.

I like the grassy looking ones -- suits the aquascape -- so I'll have a look at some of those crypts and Sagittaria.
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Re: Plants for high flow pleco breeding tank

Post by Narelle »

Definitely try out some root tabs under the vals (very deeply buried) if you don't have any issues with your substrate getting disturbed and you're using sand. They might do better for you that way, and the crypts and sag would as well. (Can't recommend crypts enough, they are my favorite aquatic plants by far and are ridiculously easy to keep.)

With the java fern and Anubias, by any chance were the rhizomes under any rocks or substrate? Perhaps the plecos kicked some up on them? They are generally super hardy plants, but if the rhizomes are too buried they rot and you'll lose the whole plant. I keep both with my Ancistrus and have never had experience with the plants being bothered, but again, I don't breed plecos so I couldn't say if lots of little plecos would interact with the plants differently.
If you figure out the issue with the java ferns and decide to give them a try again, there are quite a few nice varieties in the trade with nice grassy leaves, like needle leaf and trident, that you might check out as well.

(And thank you for clarifying on the Bolbitis, dw1305!)
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Re: Plants for high flow pleco breeding tank

Post by TwoTankAmin »

Here is the problem being ignored. Most plants need to developed a bteer root system when planted in the substrate. This takes some time. Those roots are what will keep the plant from being removed by current. When I first began planting my high tech pressurized CO2 added tank, the return from the Eheim canister kept blowing some plants out of the substrate. The closer they were to the return, the greater the issue.

I did some rescaping, but I also had to redirect my spraybar and turn down the flow a bit for about 2 weeks to allow the plants to get a better grip in the gravel.
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Re: Plants for high flow pleco breeding tank

Post by EmilyD »

Got myself a couple crypts today. I'll see how they handle the tank.

I'll give root tabs a shot. I've been putting Seachem Flourish Comprehensive into all my tanks with water changes. Do some plants prefer root tabs?

I have a big longfin Ancistrus in my 240L tank, but she doesn't dig holes with the same intensity and enthusiasm as the Hypancistrus (rather, she waits on the glass and glares angrily at you if a courgette isn't forthcoming). There are a few anubias and java ferns in her tank, and they look quite happy. However, that pleco just scurries around eating algae. She's not hell bent on aquascape destruction. I'm not 100% sure why the java ferns and anubias didn't survive the 125L tank, but reckoned that the hole I could stick my hand into underneath their rocks/logs had something to do with it. :)
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Re: Plants for high flow pleco breeding tank

Post by Narelle »

Yep, the main method of nutrient uptake varies by species. Generally speaking, plants that invest heavily in a strong and extensive root system like crypts and vals are going to be most efficient at absorbing nutrients through the roots. Stems, mosses, and rhizome plants tend to do well on absorbing nutrients from the water column. Since you are using an inert substrate, root feeders won't be able to make the best use of the nutrients you're supplementing currently without a little extra substrate supplementation.

You might see improvement in water column feeding species as well if you expand your fert regime - Flourish Comprehensive is a micromineral supplement, so it doesn't really supply sufficient macrominerals. The name is super misleading. Supplementing the macros - nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium - will likely give you an additional boost, though it will be limited by the CO2 levels available in the water column and the light intensity. (Plant growth relative to a balance of these three factors, whichever is lowest limits the use of the other two - in tanks that don't have supplemental CO2 that's going to be the limiting factor.)

That's all dependent on the effort you want to expend on it though, with your current set up it sounds like additional water column ferts should be optional for you. I personally prefer to keep my tanks low effort so I avoid water column dosing entirely and just stick to undemanding plants. (Mostly those that can handle getting nutrients from the substrate because that's set and forget - in most tanks I either have nutrient-rich or nutrient-storing substrates or use a root tab every few months, depending on the type of tab and its projected longevity.)
Sticking to just the micros like you're currently doing will still show a boost in growth, just not as much as a balanced fert regime would.

Other than Sagittaria, Schismatoglottis, and Potamogeton , I've grown all of the plants listed in this thread thus far in tanks without any kind of water column supplementation successfully (the latter two exceptions because I've never tried to grow them), so they should do fine with whatever fert regime you choose to use (with substrate fertilization for the root feeders). Of course, plants that make good use of water column ferts don't always get quite as lush in my tanks because of this, but that's the price I pay for being lazy with my plants. ^^;;
Dwarf sag did okay in one of my low effort plant tanks, but got long and stringy. Not necessarily a bad thing, but not the short grassy look that most are seeking when they try to grow it.
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Re: Plants for high flow pleco breeding tank

Post by Bas Pels »

Narelle is right in pointing out that plants need various inputs in order to grow, and quite often light is the limiting factor.

However, CO2, phosphates and nitrates are wasteproducts from animals, and fish prefer to have low levels of these. Fish generally are no fans of excessive lighting, and this is for catfish even stronger the case.

Therefore, please don´t try to boost the plantgrowth. I mentioned Sagittaria, and I´ve grown them always without any artificially added stuff.

I kept them in grow out tanks, which were rather heave fed.
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