Jump to content

Frustrations with Plant Buying


Recommended Posts

Why, oh why, are plants categorized into foreground, midground, background, and/or carpeting? In my tank, dwarf chain sword is a midground plant. I've seen plants promoted as midground that would be hanging halfway down the outside of my aquarium. 

What is the standard height tank, that is used, for these standard categorizations?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a good question! I'm not sure what tank height is used. I went on a random website with aquarium dimensions and here's how they categorized aquariums:

  • Small tanks = 15 gallons or less, average height of 12 inches
  • Medium tanks = 20-40 gallons, average height of 16 inches
  • Large tanks = 50-225 gallons, average height of 23 inches

So my best guess is that the plant categories may be based on the tank height of 12-16 inches? Which means a background plant can reach 10 inches or taller and midground plants are 5-8 inches tall? The lighting also changes the height of certain plants where they grow shorter in bright light and much taller in low light.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see it as being a barrier to entry. Is it difficult to list a size to which a particular plant typically grows? 

I'll see a plant that I like. It's listed as being a midground plant. Then, I have to search three, four, or five websites before finding out that it grows six to ten inches tall. That's a background plant, for me. Next it's on to the next "background" plant listed for sale. Search three, four, or five websites. Then, the next plant. Search websites...

Why can't the size be listed in the description? Let me decide where it goes.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, GoldenGardner said:

I currently have my LED Bubble Wand hooked on the back bottom of my tank. So I'm not putting any plants towards the back of the tank. Is that right? I wonder if there is a guide to placing plants. 

 

I'd say it depends a little on your goals. If you want to hide cords and equipment, then fast-growing, tall, bushy plants like hornwort might be good for you. If your bubble wand is a strip that runs along the bottom, you'll still be able to see the bubbles and probably the lights, too.

If you have a good inch or three of substrate, you can try rooted plants like vallisneria. If you don't have that much gravel or you like to gravel-vac, stick to plants that feed from the water column like java ferns or anubias. In either case, my tip is to buy some plant weights which work kind of like heavy twist ties that can wrap around plants to help them sink to the bottom and look like plants, even if they aren't well-buried in the substrate.

General rule of thumb is short plants in the front, tall plants in the back, just like school picture day 🙂

Like with interior decorating, it can be helpful to find some pictures of planted tanks that make your heart go pitter-pat, then see how to reproduce the parts you like in your own aquarium. But if this is your first experiment with plants, don't worry too much. Put them wherever you think looks good and see how it goes. You can always move it around or take it out and try something else.

In general, it's easier to install hardscape and plants at the very beginning, before you have any fish to stress out or mucky bacteria to disturb, but you can add a few plants at a time basically whenever you want to get your hands wet.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, GoldenGardner said:

Oh interesting, I hadn't really thought of that. Should you keep plants away from the intake for the filter? Or the heater? I have the most wires in that area of the tank.

 

Eh, I wouldn't, like glue the plants on to the heater, but I sank some hornwort all around mine and they're all doing fine. I have sponge prefilters on my inlets. Learned the hard way from some traumatic fish death there. But there are plants all around those, too, and they do just as well as anywhere else, probably even better due to the good water circulation and gentle currents strengthening their stems and shaking any algae off.

I think you'll be surprised with how sturdy and hardy most low-light aquatic plants can be. They might look like flowy tissue paper, but they're about as tough as any leafy house plant like a spider plant or peace lily.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Frank said:

Why can't the size be listed in the description? Let me decide where it goes.

 Find a store that lists the sizes in their description, like this store for example https://www.aquariumgardens.co.uk/echinodorus-bleheri-amazon-sword-407-p.asp 

Just keep that open in a window, open a new tab and when you find something and want the info just search on that site  👌🏻

There's not a list out there I can find for plant heights but this is the best I could come up with, hope it's helpful! 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Administrators

I responded to Frank's email. However there is no good matrix for what plants grow to. It depends on light, nutrients, cultured variant and what size tank to know where a plant would go. Even the suggestion above me stating to look at a website that states the size of a plant. At 50cm their claimed max this is 19.6 inches. Well this picture below shows they can grow even larger. While I haven't measured all the largest amazon swords I've come across, I feel I've seen some creeping up on 3 feet in height. s-l1600.jpg.042e75ccab88a55109514bc8bbded868.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Trust me to pick a plant that can grow as big as a dog 😆

Apart from that bad example alot of plants can be and trimmed and thinned when you get the required height,  so it's best to treat it as a guide I suppose! As you said It depends on tank conditions and setup, in my (limited) experience some will take off and not stop growing, others just don't want to 🙂

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Cory said:

I responded to Frank's email. However there is no good matrix for what plants grow to. It depends on light, nutrients, cultured variant and what size tank to know where a plant would go. Even the suggestion above me stating to look at a website that states the size of a plant. At 50cm their claimed max this is 19.6 inches. Well this picture below shows they can grow even larger. While I haven't measured all the largest amazon swords I've come across, I feel I've seen some creeping up on 3 feet in height. s-l1600.jpg.042e75ccab88a55109514bc8bbded868.jpg

Yes. That would be useful info. 

A picture, with nothing to provide a sense of scale, is less useful. Without context, labeling a plant "midground" is useless. Is it midground in a standard 55 gallon aquarium?  

In the outdoor gardening world, plants are sold with size descriptors. They are also subject to light, climate, nutrient vagaries and variants. Growers will provide info like: typically 8 to 12 feet tall by 4 to 6 feet wide after ten years. Normally, that is shortened to: 8 to 12 feet tall by 4 to 6 feet wide. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have Val that only grows to 5-6 inches, instead of the 6 feet it can grow, due to shallow tank, high light, limited tank space, and probably some plant warfare, but for the tank it and the potomongeton gayi are still background plants:

7A5CA23B-97B3-4178-BBC9-FE7D30EC2570.jpeg.9a6450d643ef169e234a1a7277e5f706.jpeg

In how the aquarium size plays a role In how tall the plants grow, along with light strength, and available nutrients,  using background, carpeting, ect seem like a more accurate description of how plants can grow respective to your aquarium, rather than listing the max growth range.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...