Planted Tank Help

SevenOFour

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So I've had my Axolotl, Luna, for almost a year now. I'm looking to start a planted 40g tank for her, and I have a general idea of what I want to do, but looking for a bit of guidance:grin:. More specifically, on substrate that wont cost me an arm and a leg.
What will plants do to things such as pH?
Do axolotls have a habit of eating plants?
What plants would be best?
substrate?
Thanks for your help!
 

SevenOFour

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ooh also, I forgot to add that i would like to add a thick carpeting plant if possible.
 

elustig

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Maybe look into a dirt substrate with a thick sand cap. You would certainly want to let the plants grow in so they hold the substrate together, and then the axolotl would have a harder time to disturb it. You probably will have better luck with plants that get nutrients from the water column, versus from the substrate. I tried an aquarium with dirt and a sand cap, but I used too much dirt. The first couple of months had really good plant growth, but then the dirt basically went bad and I think it polluted the water.

Another cheap option for substrate is probably sand, but there are no nutrients in sand. So if you used only sand, you could add fertilizer tabs at the base of the plants, but that wouldn't be good for a carpeting plant.

I don't think axolotls eat plants, but the problem is that some of them are pretty destructive and pull them up out of the substrate. So really allowing them to grow in and get a solid root system going would be super helpful!

Do you think you would try to do the dirt and sand cap? Or take an easier route and just do sand?
 

SevenOFour

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I might just skip the carpeting plant and do little glass pots with substrate over them, or plant tabs. Or maybe I should just get a really good substrate so I dont have to worry about it:grin:. I know theres a couple plant substrates out there that wont cause impaction such as Flora Base by red sea, so maybe that?
 

elustig

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I might just skip the carpeting plant and do little glass pots with substrate over them, or plant tabs. Or maybe I should just get a really good substrate so I dont have to worry about it:grin:. I know theres a couple plant substrates out there that wont cause impaction such as Flora Base by red sea, so maybe that?
I haven't personally used Flora Base, in my fish tanks I have Fluval Stratum, and I think it does really well in there. I do not use the Fluval Stratum in with my axolotl, so I don't know if it would cause impaction or not. If you go this route, one thing you should watch for when you use active substrates is that they can cause an ammonia spike, certain brands do so more than others, so getting the tank setup and cycled properly before you put the axie in is important. A good thing about the Flora Base and Fluval Stratum is that it will help lower the pH, and with a lower pH, any ammonia that happens to be in there won't be as toxic as it would be at a higher pH.

If you are concerned about price, you could do what you are saying and just keep plants in the pots with Flora Base substrate. You could probably also do a layer of the Flora Base with sand on top, or just use the Flora Base in the areas you want plants. In any case, eventually the plants will use up all of the nutrients in the substrate and you will either have to supplement with root tabs, or tear down the tank and add new substrate :/ It looks like Flora Base lasts at least 6 months, but there are certainly people out there who get a longer life span out of it!
 

SevenOFour

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(sorry for the mass amount of questions) would you happen to know of any safe plant tabs for axolotls?
 

elustig

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After reading more about axies and fertilizers, it sounds like they are really sensitive to fertilizers, though I read that some people had success with it. I think the problem is that most fertilizers have too many chemicals and metals in them. Unfortunately I could not find the name of any specific root tabs.

What kind of plants are you planning on putting in there? If you are feeding your axolotl every few days, it sounds like they produce plenty of waste/plant nutrients so that you shouldn't have to supplement with ferts. :) I am doing research for my own tank as well!
 

SevenOFour

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After reading more about axies and fertilizers, it sounds like they are really sensitive to fertilizers, though I read that some people had success with it. I think the problem is that most fertilizers have too many chemicals and metals in them. Unfortunately I could not find the name of any specific root tabs.

What kind of plants are you planning on putting in there? If you are feeding your axolotl every few days, it sounds like they produce plenty of waste/plant nutrients so that you shouldn't have to supplement with ferts. :) I am doing research for my own tank as well!
I’m planning to do some different types of java fern as well as some hornwort. Completely eradicates the issue of substrate since hornwort doesn’t need to be planted and Java ferns grow on just about anything ?. It’s super cool you’re doing one too! What kind of plants do you plan on?
 

elustig

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Java fern and hornwort should do well! I am considering those too. I have also been thinking about jungle Val, Java moss, anibius, bucephalandra, rotala, watersprite, hydrocotle japan and some sort of lily. Plus floating plants, which I think I'm going to do red root floaters or salvinia. I don't expect all of the plants to survive, either due to the low light or low temperatures. I currently live in a basement so the tank is usually around 60 degrees.

I recently made a thread here showing the start of the build if you want to check it out! ?
 
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