Thursday, February 12, 2009

Aquascaping Answers: Plant Nibblers

Each week in Aquascaping Answers, I do my best answering your aquascaping and aquascaping related questions. Just leave your question in the comments section!

Only one question from last week, and this one took a little research, so sorry about the delay! Be sure to leave your questions in the comments for me to answer next week.

I was thinking of setting up a planted tank for Spotted Headstanders. How could I help prevent them eating the plants, and what plants should I use? I want to create a jungle which is good looking and can grow back as fast as a Headstander could eat it.

I actually had to do a bit of research on Spotted Headstanders, as I hadn't heard of them until now. Apparently, they are vegetarians, snacking on algae and occasionally plants. Putting a fish in with a planted aquarium that likes to eat plants is asking for trouble, but you can minimize the damage to plants by following a few simple steps. First, choose hardy plants that fish don't normally eat. These include Java Ferns, Crypts, Anubias, and Bolbitis Ferns. They have tough leaves that can usually stand up to all but the most vicious plant eaters. You can also try very very fast growing plants, like Hygrophila polysperma, but you'll have to put a large amount in at first so the plant can "outgrow" the regular snacking. These plants also may end up looking rather tattered and beaten up with regular attacks, so that may not be desireable. Second, keep your vegetarian fish fed well. This means both conventional fish food and vegetable snacks, such as blanched zucchini or lettuce. If you keep them well fed, they will be far less likely to snack on your plants. Finally, make sure your plants have every opportunity to grow and recover quickly from any damage they recieve. If your plants are not healthy to begin with, adding a plant eating fish into the mix just compounds the issue. Good luck!

Ask a question about aquascaping, keeping aquatic plants, plant-friendly fish, lighting, CO2, fertilizing, or any other aquarium plant related question in the comments to this post, and I'll answer them in next week's edition.


  1. Hello, i found your blog yesterday and its full of intereseting information and pictures. Thanks a lot.

    I want to ask you the following question:

    I have seen a CO2 test by tetra in a LFS, I have also read its possible to measure CO2 with PH and hardness. What is the best and more accurate way of testing CO2?

  2. I have a question too.

    I have a 5lb CO2 tank. Do I need to take any safety precautions? I read the MHDS and it says that the space should be well ventilated. That is tough. What do you do? Would a carbon monoxide detector pick up CO2 before I sufficate?

  3. Algae Question.
    My 100ltr planted Cube has developed a surface film of algae, I tried the usual paper towel trick which does lift it but its back in an hour or so. I dont want to agitate the surface obviously but what else will work? I did introduce a new food recently so I'll stop that first. Any other suggestions?

  4. I have the same algae question - it happened to my tank recently!

  5. Hello,

    I am also concerned about the safety of having an aquarium with CO2 in my bedroom. Is there a deadly risk with this?


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