View Full Version : The Effects of Plants on Filtration.

07-04-2010, 04:33 AM
Just thinking about how I want to set-up my currently empty 55 gallon tank and what I want for plants. This got me thinking about the effects plants may have on your water quality and filtration. By that I mean the plants that get their nutrients from the water will take some of the stuff (like ammonia produced by fish) out of the water which your BB would also need to grow and feed on. These types of plants would become a part of the tankís overall filtration system just as algae would.

For example, if you have a heavily planted tank with plants that take their nutrients from the water combined with a moderate stocking level of fish for that size of tank, and you remove all the plants, would you get a mini cycle? I think it would stand to reason that you would as you have just removed a part of filtration system.

Would anyone agree / disagree ?

07-04-2010, 04:55 AM
I completely agree. Because a heavily planted 55gallon would mean over 100 USD spent on plants. Removing that much filtration would impact your ecosystem tremendously.

07-04-2010, 02:28 PM
Plants will certainly contribute to the filtration of your aquarium, but they are far from a hindrance and are less prone to "breakdowns" than most filtration systems.

As for causing a mini-cycle, you would have to have a massive sudden die-off of plants for that to happen. The real question is why the sudden die-off or why remove all the plants?

As for the $100 in plants ... not really. Buy $15-20 and let them grow, they're plants after all! Also, you want your plants to be growing constantly to have the best "filtration" possible. Plants that have "maxed out" and have stopped growing won't consume as much N/P from the water.

07-04-2010, 02:56 PM
Thereís been no sudden die-off of plants. Iíve been thinking about trying some different plants in my 55 gallon tank when I set it up. Iíve been checking out a lot of the plants at one of our LFS. They look really good now, but Iím not 100% sure about them should they grow. I was thinking that if I didnít like them, I could always take them out as they are really cheap. But then that got me thinking about how that would affect the tank.

I guess Iíll just wait until I find plants that I really like and are different from my current tanks.

07-08-2010, 05:23 AM
Plants do more than just help with the ammonia, they also lock up other nutrients and in doing so can be a big help in preventing algae problems. I've always found it easier to maintain water quality when I have a lot of plants. Currently I only have one tank that's only lightly planted, and it's the tank that gets the problems. I've had good luck mixing fast growers in with the show plants - although it requires a lot of regular trimming back it sure is nice to not have to fight algae!:ssmile: You can grow a plant of some kind in anything - java moss will grow just floating around the tank, and hygro will grow on a slow moving fish (!) - just kidding about that one but it's not a big stretch! IMHO, anytime you can get a photsynthetic plant in the tank it helps maintain your water quality.