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Some thoughts on Live Plants in the Axolotl Tank.

This is a discussion on Some thoughts on Live Plants in the Axolotl Tank. within the Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Short answer: Yes, Do it. A lot of folks have the impression that Aquarium Plants need Tropical Tank temperatures to ...

Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate Discussions on tanks, temperature, filters, gravel, lights etc.

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Old 4th August 2016   #1 (permalink)
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Default Some thoughts on Live Plants in the Axolotl Tank.

Short answer: Yes, Do it.

A lot of folks have the impression that Aquarium Plants need Tropical Tank temperatures to live. This is just not true. Oh, sure, some do but the wider majority do not.

You may have seen my tank in the gallery[here]. It looks for all the world to be a tropical fish tank. It is, however, a pleasant chill at 67-68 degrees F.

You can find lists online of TEMPERATE aquarium plants to choose from but I have a few favorites...

Pretty much any Anubias! The fact is you can even acclimate anubias to live well in SALT water. They are about as hardy as it gets folks! Just remember not to bury their roots (they will rot and the plant will die).

Java Ferns are another plant that looks great and does well. I use the darker and frillier variety (forgot the name, sorry) but if you look under Java fern in Google Images you will be purely in awe of how many types and all the ways they can be used!

Like Anubias, you cannot bury the roots in soil. -- I should mention I have a soil substrate tank... Anubias and java ferns can certainly have their roots under gravel!

If you have a soil tank or want to pot and fertilize...
Hornwort and Eludea are excellent for a read planted screen. Cobomba is excellent if you want a more of a fairy-fern sort of thing...

My absolute favorites should already be obvious if you've ever kept or considered a pond; Lilies!

Tiger Lilys, Banana Plants and the like are beautiful and send up leaves to the surface where they get light... and they shade your Axolotls' lidless eyes!

Another favorite of mine is the dwarf red lotus. These grow exactly like the lilies but are, as noted, red. The leaves provide some nice contrast to the tank.

On the topic of light screen... how about adding water lettuce or a similar floating plant... maybe even riccia fluitans [Crystalwort]?

Pros:
Live plants add nutrient and trace elements to the water as well as O2 at night.
Your animals will likely enjoy laying about the leaves of your plants.

Cons:
You will have to account for the lower light and temperature... You should add a CO2 releasing plant supplement (Flourish Excel for example)
You WILL get some algae and the plants too will get it. Not much, the cold is not really algae friendly but know that it is going to happen. Frankly, it looks normal and a little maint once a week and a once over on the glass with a scraper once a month will more than take care of it.


Not exactly a Con but you should also not expect the plants to grow as fast as they might in a tank with bright light and a CO2 rig. So don't be afraid to get larger specimens when you buy them.



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Old 5th August 2016   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Some thoughts on Live Plants in the Axolotl Tank.

A couple of months ago I moved from silk plants to live plants in my axolotl tanks and I'm happy to say that my gang seem to prefer the live plants. They seem to find it easier to swim through them, and I really like the look of the plants.
I kept my basic sand substrate and just went with java fern and various anubias tied to the decor, very low maintenance. It is quite warm here, so my tanks have mesh lids, and the plants seems to be surviving (and growing a little) on just the ambient light in the room.
I have a tank of 3 mature males, and had a nother tank of 3 juveniles. Over the past few weeks the juveniles have matured and they are also all males. I have ordered a large tank and plan to house all 6 together. As you have mentioned banana plants, which I have in my fish tanks, I may transfer some of the larger specemins over to the new axolotl tank (when it arrives). However, you also mentioned lilies, and I would love to grow some of them in my new tank. Are they in pots or planted into your substrate? Do your lilies flower? I would love to have some flowering plants in my tank, and any advice would be very welcome.
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Old 5th August 2016   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Some thoughts on Live Plants in the Axolotl Tank.

@Donna...

I have a soil substrate. I can only highly recommend this to you if you really want to grow rooted plants - the Banana and Lillies. Cryptocornia will do well also in cooler water - some even flower but don't count on it.

Frankly, I would eschew your LFS on the plants if you want something that flowers and go right to a Pond Store. You would leave your tank open top (the axolotls are not really likely to get out and you can just keep the water level down a bit from the rim. You can have lilies, maybe some taller rushes of other... before you build the tank you should really go and see what is available and plan it out. You may end up with a really beautiful mini ecosystem in a glass box -- the brass ring in my way of thinking.

Just remember to ask about possible toxicity... I am no plant expert but sometimes Nature has a laugh at our expense... so ask.

Come to think on it... I think I will be doing exactly this too... I just did a quick search in Google on Pond Flowers... and I will post the results... but there are some things to consider;
You will want to hang a pretty strong light above the tank so the plants get good light.
In that case, you will also want to ensure you get a LOT of top floating plants. This will diffuse the light sufficiently so that you do not hurt the eyes of your Axies.

Again, plan it out.

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Old 6th August 2016   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Some thoughts on Live Plants in the Axolotl Tank.

Thank you so much for the advice and information.
I have some aquatic soil left over from when I planted my fish tanks, and the LFS where I get the live food for my dwarf puffers and the worms for my axolotls also has a pond section which sells quite a lot of plants, so I'll start looking there, then have a search online.
I have plenty of time to plan as the tank is on order and expected to be delivered in October. My current 200L tanks are not full, and they have mesh lids, so I'll do the same in the new tank.
I was looking forward to getting the big tank, but now I'm thrilled at the thought of possibly being able to put together a lovely ecosystem that my gang will enjoy.
Also thanks for the reminder about toxic plants and I hope I can get something to flower at some point in the new tank.



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