Keeping Aquarium Plants
Is keeping aquarium plants hard?
No, keeping aquarium plants is not hard as long as you choice suitable plant species. All aquarium plants need light, carbon dioxide and nutrients to live. If you have an aquarium with normal incandescent lighting or subdued fluorescent lights, stick to plants that have low light requirements, such as Java Fern. If you do not want to use carbon dioxide boosters, stick to plant species that will be satisfied with the amount of carbon dioxide that is produced by your fish. If you do not want to use fertilization, choose plant species that will absorb sufficient amounts of nutrients from the water.
You can find plenty of suitable species by using the search function here at AC Tropical fish. Good fish shops can also recommend plant species suitable for your particular aquarium. Some plants have very exacting requirements when it comes to water temperature, pH-value, water hardiness etcetera while others are extremely adaptable.
Why should I keep aquarium plants?
- Live aquarium plants will help you keep the water quality up by binding organic waste. (Dead and decaying parts of plants must be pruned away; otherwise the organic waste will be released back into the water.)
- Live aquarium plants will convert carbon dioxide into oxygen.
- Live aquarium plants will prevent algae infestation by competing with algae for nutrients.
- Many aquarium fish species hail from waters where aquatic plants are common. They will therefore feel more at home in a planted aquarium. Fish that like their environment are less prone to illness and more prone to be active, display vivid colors and spawn.
- Keeping aquarium plants can reduce stress in several ways for your fish. Firstly, they can decrease the amount of fighting by forming many small territories instead of one big one in the aquarium. Secondly, they will provide weaker fish with suitable hiding spots where they can avoid being bullied. (Both these functions can naturally be achieved by plastic plants too, or by other forms of aquarium decoration.)
- Keeping aquarium plants are extra important if you want your fish to spawn, since many species use plants as spawning sites. Aquarium plants will also provide shelter for egg and fry.
- Aquarium plants can be colonized by algae, rotifiers, protoza and similar organisms that serve as fish food. Such minuscule food is especially important for newly hatched fry.
- By keeping aquarium plants you allow your grazing herbivore fish to carry out natural behaviors in captivity. Choose sturdy and fast growing plant species that will tolerate some nibbling if you keep such fish species.
Planting aquariums plants
Different plants can be planted in different ways. Some plants should be planted in the substrate or in a pot. Other plants should be anchored to driftwood, rocks or similar. A third group of plants are the floating plants. Many plants can grow in several different fashions, and can for instance either be attached to a rock or left floating in the aquarium. Always research the plant species you are interested in to find out about their preferences.
Potted aquarium plants
Potted aquarium plants are quite common, since potted plants are easy to move around without disturbing plants or gravel. When the plant outgrows its pot, you simply repot it just like you would with a normal houseplant. Many species can be broken up and divided into several smaller plants.
Many different types of pots can be used in the aquarium, as long as they do not contain any substances capable of polluting the water. Plastic pots, bottle bottoms, yoghurt containers, and similar are inexpensive alternatives, while clay pots tend to be somewhat more expensive. When potting your plant, use potting soil and plenty of water. Make the soil really wet to drive out any pockets of air before you pot your plant. Fill 2/3 of the container with really wet soil and use your finger to make a small hole for the root system of your plant. Place the roots in the hole and carefully fill the rest of the container with wet soil. Add a layer of aquarium gravel on top of the soil. Before placing the pot in your aquarium, submerse it in water for a few minutes to remove air that got in while you where planting.
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