Re: tetra environment plants

> From: "David K. Drum" <ddrum at mail_coin.missouri.edu>
> Tank Description:
> 	55 gal
> 	H.O.T. Magnum filter
> 	auxillary powerhead for circulation and venturi aeration
> 	traditional heater
> 	2 40W fluourescent tubes running on electronic ballast
> 	1 9W actinic Mini Might fluourescent, unless I am dissuaded here
> Tank Contents: (at least at this stage of planning)
> 	a school of tetras, one or maybe two varieties
> 	a few bottom-feeders to keep things clean
> 	plants
> 2) The Dupla laterite (DuplaRit G) is recommended in another FAQ.  Are 
> there significant differences in composition between it and the 
> Buschke terralit product?  Is the DuplaRit G really worth four times as 
> much?  Is 1/2 kg really enough for 50 gallons?  Should I do something 
> completely different with respect to substrate additives?

You didn't mention CO2 injection or micro-nutrient supplementation.
Without CO2 and with the moderate lighting, I don't think laterite is
going to make a big difference in your application. Comparing it with
terralit is a value judgement. I don't know if anybody has attempted
to quantitatively compare substrates; there are a heck of a lot of
variations on that theme. We've discussed at length the theories about
why particular substrate additives work. You can get success with
gravel with fertilizer tablets and possibly, laterite like additives
of several kinds with most commercially available plants if you take
care of the other factors. There are many different types of substrates
which are suited to different sorts of plants; generally we are trying
to strike a happy compromise.

> 3) I want plant varieties that fit with the pH and temperature range of 
> tetra habitat.  One variety I am definitely interested in would be 
> something short, like a ground cover, such as micro saggitaria.  
I don't 
> have anything else in mind, except that vallisneria is RIGHT OUT.  
I have 
> 200 gallons of it at home, and am sick of looking at it.  So can 
> list some hardy plants that fit these criteria, and where could I find 
> out more about them?

I like "Aquarium Plants Manual" by Scheurmann (1993); it's cheap and
has good pictures, general information and specific information about
common plant species. With your current lighting, I'd suggest Amazon
sword plants, Echinodorus varieties, Bacopa, Cryptocoryne wendtii,
Aponogeton crispus, Hydrocotyle leucocephala (pennywort), Java fern, 
Java moss. I'd stay away from Cabomba, Myriophylum (Milfoil),
Ludwigia repens and other red plants which often want higher light
intensities. For foreground small plants, you could use Lobelia and
Echinodorus tenellus. If you have CO2, bump your lighting up, there
are many plants you can keep in a 78F 6.8pH soft water tetra tank.