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A Plant Newbie In Need Of Help

Home Forums Fresh and Brackish Water Fishes A Plant Newbie In Need Of Help

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    i have a 55g tank that will eventually have corys, clown loachs, and a school of jeweled cichlids (they dont deroot plants) what are the easiest live plants to have and take care of???





    Soem bad news I’m afraid. From personal experience clowns will uproot plants and a 55G isn’t big enough for fish that can reach a bulky 12″ anyway. I have mine in a 90G (which is still tight) and the only plant that they don’t bother with is java fern.



    You could always attach the Java fern to driftwood instead of planting but as Eyrie said, eventually the clown loachs will need a bigger home to grow to their full potential, especially as they are a shoaling fish so a group of 12″+ fish will require alot of space. Are you willing to give your prized fish away or able to upgrade?
    Zebra loaches would be a better option if it’s a job you want, not the colour. What is your reason for choosing Clowns? Please dont think about Loaches as snail eradication as they wont get them all. Colour, ok fine for now but they wont erase every snail.
    Some of amazonian sword should be ok as they have good strong roots but I’d suggest planting it and letting it take hold first before adding clown loaches. You may need root tablets for these as they are heavy demanding root feeding plants.
    I’m sure others will add more advice soon



    Yeah, I’m gonna jump on this bandwagon too and possibly hope to expand a bit on the above comments… It’s an untold truth that clown loaches can reach nearly a foot in size. It takes a hell of a long time, and they aren’t often seen at that size, but if you check Google images, you’ll see a few that really are massive. Couple this with the fact that they’re an incredibly sociable species and you have a requirement for an immense amount of tank space.

    I’m sure all of us understand why you bought the loaches – they’re a stunning species – but it might be worth considering rehoming them unless you can provide them with a relatively massive tank at a later date. There are loads of other species of loach which don’t get as big and are equally attractive these guys? If so.. they’re not a schooling fish, though it is best to pick a group of six juveniles if you intend to pair them up.

    Anyway, sorry, we’ve kinda gone off topic a bit here – it might be worth discussing your stocking options in a new thread? Either way, as Eyrie says, the clowns will likely uproot everything you try and get in there anyway.



    Hi Coreycat the easiest plants for me are most types of Echinodorus (Amazon swords), Java fern, Vallisneria spiralis (Straight vallis), Hygrophila difformis (water wisteria) and H. polysperma. They’re all pretty tough to kill provided there’s enough light and food for them and can do well without any extra equipment. I suggest you put a layer of fertiliser under the substrate though



    Most rosette plants with decent roots will be alright with clowns as well as anubias and java fern tied to bogwood. Clowns will dig up stem plants all the time but if you let them establish some roots first they will generally be OK. You might just have to spend a bit of time each week replanting a couple of stems until they take.

    I have clowns in my Trigon 190 – had them in a larger set up a couple of years ago and moved them over when I downgraded. Yes they get big but it takes them an awful long time to get there especially if you don’t overfeed. 3 clowns in a 55gal tank isn’t exactly housing a redtail catfish in a 4 footer. I understand everyones caution and at some point you will need to make the decison – get rid of all your fish and just have the loaches on there own (theres the space in a 55 gal) or get rid of the clowns. or the best option – get a bigger tank, lol.



    Got to disagree with you there, Dave.

    A 55G is only 48″ long, which is nowhere near big enough for fish that should reach 12″. I had to upgrade from that size for my clowns. Three is also the very very minimum – these are sociable fish and should be kept in larger groups.



    As far a super hardy plants stick with the Anubias. There are a lot of variety to choose from (I like the nana’s and coffeefolia) and are slow growing but have super tough thick beautiful green leaves. They are a plant that prefers to grow on drift wood but I have had some even grow into the substrate as long as you keep the rhizome above ground and uncovered.


    Byron Hosking

    I’d like to offer a comment or two on this issue of clown loaches in aquaria or more directly the whole issue of maintaining large fish in aquaria that are too small.

    All the reference authors say clown loaches grow to 12 inches, and some mention 18 inches, but seldom more than 6-7 inches in home aquaria. I am not a biologist, but I suspect there is a biological reason for this. I recently read an article somewhere about stunted fish growth. I can’t seem to track it down so it may have been one of the forums to which I belong, but as best I can remember, the point was that the fact that a particular fish doesn’t grow to its normal size in an aquarium (and therefore must be “OK” in that aquarium) doesn’t solve the real problem behind the keeping of “large” fish in small quarters. The author maintained that the internal organs in fish grow as they mature, and if the external body of the fish can’t grow due to the environment the fish will in time experience internal problems that will severely affect its wellbeing if not outright kill it. I remember specific reference to issues with the fish’s immune system, not developing properly in stunted fish, with the result that the fish continually experience health problems that would not occur if it had not been stunted. An analogy to premature human babies that do not develop properly caught my attention.

    I do have the article “Fish Growth vs. Tank Size” in the then-regular TFH column “The Skeptical Fishkeeper” by Laura Muha. This was in the December 2006 issue of TFH, and this is one of those articles on which I place considerable trust because it is scientifically researched and expresses the views of ichthyologists and animal scientists and veterinarians in several US universities and institutions. To cite one paragraph:

    “All the experts I consulted pretty much do agree that there’s a grain of truth to the conventional wisdom that keeping a potentially large fish in a small tank often does somewhat negatively affect its growth. But, they say–and this is a real important “but”–it’s not a benign process that results in the creation of a perfect minature version of the species in question. Rather, they describe it as “stunting,” with all of the negative implications for the fish’s health that go along with that. Dr. Julius Tepper, a Long Island veterinarian who specializes in koi, says that in his clinical practice he’s observed that koi housed in small ponds (which he defines as a stocking density of more that three adult koi per 1000 gallons of water) are often abnormally small, and they tend to have health problems as well.” Ms. Muha mentions that many individuals advocate that it is the water volume/quality in the small tank and not the size itself that causes the problems. Experiments by many including Jack Whattley (discus) show that of the fry kept in identical size tanks, those in the tank that received a 90% water change eight times a day were at the end of one month double the size of those in the other tank that received only a 40% water change once a day. I suspect few of us have the inclination to change 90% of our tank water 8 times each and every day just so we can maintain “large” fish that probably shouldn’t otherwise be in the tank for the good of their health.

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