Decorating with Slow-Growing Plants
Some utilitarian ways to make your aquarium look better 
  Decorating with Slow-Growing Plants Some utilitarian ways to make your aquarium look better 
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Decorating
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Different Watersprite

LA Pic
Lace plant -- the slowest growing aponogeton

Live plants have many advantages in our aquariums.  They eat up our fishes’ waste products -- carbon dioxide, phosphates, and nitrogenous wastes.  Plants also help fishes acclimate to their new homes almost instantly.  Most important, they look great.  Slow-growing plants live strange lives that even make some of them adaptable to goldfish bowls.  However, they look better in full size aquaria.  

LA Pic
Banana plants also grow slowly.  They're a mini-water lily.

Low Light.  Provide less light to slow growers.  Under high light, algae often takes over.  Algae-eating shrimps help a lot.  Decreasing the light works better.

LA Pic
Sanderianas grow very slowly in tanks.

Requirements.  Forget pH, forget special lights, forget fertilizer.  You can even forget special substrates such as laterite.  In fact, you can even forget gravel.  Many of the slow growers will not root in gravel.  They attach to wood and rocks.  In the wild, they flourish around waterfalls.  They grow out of the water in high humidity areas – such as a closed terrarium.

LA Pic
Staples secure this fern to the bog wood.

Java lance fern (microsorum pteropus) usually starts out as an unanchored sprig of just a few leaves.  It takes forever to grow.

Small Containers.  You can throw a sprig of Java lance fern in a goldfish bowl or a betta bowl and it thrives – slowly of course.  It may take a year to get a good start.  Java lance fern thrives in the light available in your room.  In fact, high light seems to slow its growth.  We’ve seen some impressive stands of this plant growing in racks of betta jars.  When you add this plant to the water, you can take longer between water changes.

Planted Aquaria.  Java lance fern looks even better in a planted tank – particularly in low light tanks.  You need to attach it to wood or rocks with fish line or a rubber band.  If you can find it already attached to wood or a rock, just drop it in your tank for instant décor.

Fish Resistant.  Most fishes – cichlids included – either dislike the taste of these plants or find them too tough to tear loose.  

LA Pic
Anubius attached to limestone.

Anubius species from Africa grow just as slowly in aquaria as the lance fern.  Most of the species grow faster in humid terraria.  You couldn’t ask for a better terrarium plant.  It needs little light and next to no nutrition.  In a terrarium you need not worry about algae covering your anubius.

In an aquarium, its bright green leaves contrast nicely with the dark green leaves of the Java lance fern.  It attaches very strongly to wood and rocks.  Like the lance ferns, most anubius species resist all but the strongest cichlids.  No plants stand up to red devils and other destructive large cichlids.

LA
Cryptocoryne starter plants look okay.

Cryptocorynes grow from an underground rhizome that burrows below your gravel and sends up attractive plants.  It hates being moved.  It sometimes takes months to recover from transplant shock.  

LA
Cryptocorynes grow to carpet your tank floor.  Not a good place for cichlids.

Once a cryptocoryne mother plant gets established, it grows nicely.  Keep your under gravel vacuum cleaners away from its roots.  Plant it in the dimmer areas of your aquarium.

LA
Took about six months for this bolbitis to anchor to the limestone.
  

Bolbitis grows on wood and rocks also.  You won’t find this fern species available often.  You need to attach it to wood or rock to grow it successfully.

LA
Here's some Java lance fern and Java moss on the same wood.  Note the bumblebees.

Java moss carpets rocks and wood.  Once established, it grows quite rapidly.  Keep it in low light or algae possesses it like a demon.  It’s tough to get out the algae without algae-eating shrimp.  

LA
Java moss colonized this sponge filter.

Java moss will grow nicely on terrarium floors. Loose blobs of Java moss make great baby savers.  Killifish keepers use it as an egg collector.

Summary.  You get better results when you grow fast and slow growing plants together.  Use the fast-growing plants to fill in till the slow growers get started.  LA.

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