New to planted tanks — substrate suggestions/opinions?

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apenhow

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Nov 28, 2020
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Thank you both for the feedback!! This is my updated list:
- Vallisneria torta (is this one too tall???)
- Philippine mini java fern
- Java fern needle leaf
- Flamingo cryptocoryne
- Anubias nana petite
- Possibly one (cladophora algae ;)) moss ball

I guess my next question is which websites should I order from, and when? I remember you mentioning, fishorama, that spring is a better time to order plants. Should I put my temptations to rest and wait out the winter (lol) or should I try ordering them now? As for websites I’m assuming most places are pretty good, but I guess it’s good to know if there are any specific suggestions! Any opinions on buceplant.com, aquariumcoop.com, aquariumplantsfactory.com, etc?
 

dougall

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Mar 29, 2005
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I'm a big fan of buceplant, if you search around you can often find done discount codes.

For shipping, it depends on your local temperature, and if the selle and will use heatpacks or whatever, also check on their DOA policy too.

As for the moss ball, go big, I have a few myself (maybe 30?) They just trap waste and get dirty if you don't keep them clean, if you are close to Northeast PA or North Jersey you would be welcome to a few.

And I don't have personal experience with the Val, but Buceplant says 6-20" which would be way too big for me to put into an aquarium so small. Could I interest you in chainswords instead? I'm a fan of Vesuvius.


Hope that helps.
 

fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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I haven't heard of val. "torta" ...I assume it's the same as "Italian val" or "spiral val", really v. asiatica. It's nice & the right size for your tank & hard water, 6-12 inches (with luck) tall, more in the 8 inch-ish range...20 inch might be a different kind...& too tall. Ask the seller &/or do some more research, there are many vals but some are more common than others

dougall & I disagree about Vesuvius, he likes it, I was disappointed & gave it away. I'm not sure I'd call it a "chain sword". To me those are an inch or so tall...my vesuvius was taller & did weird high plantlets...dougall's did not...
 

dougall

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Mar 29, 2005
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Chain swords, the genus Helanthium (formerly a part of Echinodorus) pretty much have leaves 4-6" long, height will be less than that, but depends on the amount of light.

I have had chain swords that had runners that left the substrate of a number of species but in my experience nowhere near as often as a regular sword.

As for vals, there are some species that stay short, most are > 2 feet it allowed to grow. They are also obligate aquatics, so don't grow out of the water but rather food over at the surface which can look nice but blocks light too. I wouldn't personally be looking at plants that get more than about 6" long. If you are sure it will stay small (some do) then give it a try.

There are no right and wrong answers... Just what will work specifically for you. I think your plant choice is good if the vals stay small...
 

apenhow

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Nov 28, 2020
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I'm a big fan of buceplant, if you search around you can often find done discount codes.

For shipping, it depends on your local temperature, and if the selle and will use heatpacks or whatever, also check on their DOA policy too.

As for the moss ball, go big, I have a few myself (maybe 30?) They just trap waste and get dirty if you don't keep them clean, if you are close to Northeast PA or North Jersey you would be welcome to a few.

And I don't have personal experience with the Val, but Buceplant says 6-20" which would be way too big for me to put into an aquarium so small. Could I interest you in chainswords instead? I'm a fan of Vesuvius.


Hope that helps.
Okay! Wow, you have a lot! Unfortunately I'm up in Minnesota, so it's a bit far. But thank you so much for the offer! Our average temperature has been 20-30s so far so I'm assuming heatpacks will likely be needed. I'll make sure whomever I purchase the plants has appropriate shipping.

I was a little worried about the val's height. I would be interested in chainswords though! I will have to check some of those out and report back. I don't mind the Vesuvius, I'll definitely look into that one more too.

Yes, that did help a lot. Thank you dougall, I really appreciate it!!
 

apenhow

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Nov 28, 2020
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I haven't heard of val. "torta" ...I assume it's the same as "Italian val" or "spiral val"
I believe that the val torta is another type of corkscrew val. I read somewhere that the val torta is similar to val spiralis but just with a smaller and tighter spiral. For the torta I saw it said it ranged from 6-20 inches. So if it's small that would be great, but it is gets up to 20" that is definitely way to large!

my vesuvius was taller & did weird high plantlets
Hmmm that's weird. I'll definitely have to look into it a little more before I decide.
 

dougall

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Mar 29, 2005
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I grabbed a hundred or two of them a couple of years ago.

They didn't quite work out how I planned, I've given a bunch away and I'm now trying to break down the tank with something better looking.

Anyways, I hope you find something thats a good size for your plan. :)
 

apenhow

AC Members
Nov 28, 2020
23
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1
Chain swords, the genus Helanthium (formerly a part of Echinodorus) pretty much have leaves 4-6" long, height will be less than that, but depends on the amount of light.

I have had chain swords that had runners that left the substrate of a number of species but in my experience nowhere near as often as a regular sword.

As for vals, there are some species that stay short, most are > 2 feet it allowed to grow. They are also obligate aquatics, so don't grow out of the water but rather food over at the surface which can look nice but blocks light too. I wouldn't personally be looking at plants that get more than about 6" long. If you are sure it will stay small (some do) then give it a try.

There are no right and wrong answers... Just what will work specifically for you. I think your plant choice is good if the vals stay small...
So I just came across this website (https://www.tankarium.com/vallisneria/) and one of the vals listed was called Vallisneria Fortifolia. The website said it grows from 6-8 inches which has a much better height range than the torta. However, I tried searching it up, but I don't see anything else about it! Have you heard of that species before?? The only thing that shows up for me is the tortifolia val since the names are so similar.

That genus helanthium is a good suggestion too. I think I will most likely replace the val torta with a chain sword or some smaller val and then I'll be pretty much set with my choices!
 

apenhow

AC Members
Nov 28, 2020
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I grabbed a hundred or two of them a couple of years ago.

They didn't quite work out how I planned, I've given a bunch away and I'm now trying to break down the tank with something better looking.

Anyways, I hope you find something thats a good size for your plan. :)
Ah, I see. I've heard that bettas enjoy them which is one of the main reasons I've been looking at getting one. Otherwise I wouldn't have too much interest in incorporating them either. Hopefully I'll find a good option and everything will go smoothly (and not explode in my tank! Haha!!)
 

dougall

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Mar 29, 2005
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Tortifolia is a variety of Valisnaria Spiralis from Dennerle.

As it's a val, and therefore obligate aquatic, it cannot be tissue cultured and I think they import anything else.

So I wouldn't count on finding it, but it is possible, I'm pretty sure there are a couple of other varieties of V. Spiralis that you should be able to find.
 
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