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Suitable plants for PDFs?

Posted by jordan_and_slippy NW USA ( on
Thu, Oct 11, 07 at 2:09

Planning a PDF tank (my White's divided-water/land tank idea has been shelved ... I'm moving on to what I've always dreamed of having, PDFs, with a much more planted tank and smaller streamlets rather than one large waterfall). The tank is approx. a 25 gal. tall (I think ... if 10 gal. is the 'standard' size tank you see in every pet store, then mine is basically twice that and a little more).

So right now my plans are such: (badly rushed Paint pictures later)

-Rock wall will have many areas for plants and hideouts, starting thin at the top and coming down to about 1/3 of the tanks with at the bottom.
-False bottom tank, water lever rather high though gravel/moss substrate will be scooped out for a small pond. Larger rocks for contrast.
-Fully planted, no plastic here
-Instead of one waterfall, and trying to go for a removable foam background (my problem with the first project), I'll instead make this one using GS on a mold, cut it off with a straight blade, and silicone it to the tank.
-It will have a few streamlets from a modified drip system connected to the pump, that will fill about three succeeding (right word?) pools down to the floor. Many pockets and a couple larger 'pots' for bigger plants.
-A couple hand-made PDF huts made from hollowed out GS $ siliconed foam chunks.

Sounds good to me, and in planning actually seems so much easier to maintain then what I wanted before. Sorry Dumpy's, but if I ever plan on buying a pair of you again I'm going to do it right with a bigger, taller tank and nice sturdy heavy plants.

With all that said, my idea of planting this would include:

Pitcher plant
various orchids and bromeliads, mostly epiphyte variaties but maybe one large bromeliad on the floor

The last plant I'm wondering about is a Dieffenbachia, "dumb-cane plant" also known as "mother-in-law plant". Poisonus, but technically it's the sap that contains oddly shaped cells that cause irritation and swelling when swallowed, can be especially harmful in small children and pets. I wounldn't think this would be a problem for the PDFs, right? Or am I oblivious to something? On that note, anyone have any experience with any dwarf varieties of this, or am I looking at something that will quickly outgrow everything else? That's the same reason I passed on any Philodendrons and Ficus (though I loved the elastica, that's actually the 'strong' plant I want for a White's tree frog tank one day).

Sorry, I type forever. Thanks for any advice. New to PDFs, but confident with plenty of research behind me and patience ahead of me that I can take great care of these little beauties.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Suitable plants for PDFs?

  • Posted by paul_ z4/5 MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 13, 07 at 14:21

Hey Jordan, glad your taking the time to do some research. I would 1st recommend that you perruse the threads in this forum. There is a search engine that you can use to narrow things down.

Having said that I fear I'm must "rain on your parade". From all it sounds like you would like to do, the 25 gal will be waaaaaaay too small.

To find a larger tank, you mght check to see if anyone in driving distance to you might have a larger tank you can have. You might also check garage sales [I got my 90 gal terr + stand for $75 that way] or even thrift stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army. Once in a while ya get lucky.

Don't know anything about Acorus, but forget about pitcher plants, and Maranta -- they both will quickly out grow you tank. There are various orchids and bromeliads that might be doable but most broms will again get waaaaaaay too big -- especially for what is still a relatively small tank. Lighting will wind up being an issue ... you'll have to research the plants you want to include with equal care.

PDF-wise, as I recall, you'll only be able to do one or 2 in a tank that size.

Finally, you might to also check with the vivarium forum. You have additional research to do there as well.

Good luck & make sure you pop back here if you find the info you needed elsewhere so you can fill us in!

Here is a link that might be useful: Vivarium forum

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