The Planted Aquarium
Aquatic plants exist in almost every biotope that we may attempt to recreate at home in our aquariums. In nature, these plants play an important role in the removal of nutrients from rivers and streams. It therefore makes sense that we utilise these benefits, and at the same time, use plants to create both stunning and natural looking aquariums.
As well as adding an element of natural beauty, aquarium plants play an essential role in the removal of pollutants that filtration and water changes alone may not provide. An aquarium full of thriving aquatic plants contributes to a healthy environment which, in turn, will result in healthy fishes as well as a visible reduction in algae growth.
Different plant species often have varied requirements such as water hardness, ph, temperature and lighting. We should, therefore, choose plants that suit the conditions of our own particular aquarium.
When selecting our plants we need to consider the following –
Some plants will thrive under low to moderate light levels. These plants will suit most aquarium kits available today without the need to upgrade the lighting systems. Others plants require more intense illumination which may mean an upgrade to T5 (high output fluorescent lamps) or even metal halide lighting.
As with garden or house plants, aquatic plants take some nutrients through their root system. The only nutrients to be found in aquarium gravel are those built-up from decomposing organic matter. This is quickly exhausted by fast-growing plants. It is far better to use a specially formulated substrate or a substrate-enricher, usually in tablet or granular form. This is a particularly useful method if the aquarium is already established.
Plants also absorb nutrients through their leaves. Essential elements such as Iron, contribute to healthy colour and vigorous growth. Liquid fertilisers can be added weekly or, in some instances, daily to ensure a constant supply of nutrients which are quickly used up or broken down.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
In nature CO2 is produced by every biological process, although in an enclosed aquarium, the CO2 produced is not nearly enough to meet the demands of our plants. Low levels of CO2 can be linked to nuisance algae growth. If the plants are not growing due to a CO2 deficiency, then algae may thrive on any remaining nutrients. CO2 fertilization has revolutionised the planted aquarium hobby. With the addition of CO2, creating the incredible aquascapes we see in books can now become a reality.
Aquatic Village are happy to cater for the plant-enthusiast’s needs and stock a wide range of associated dry goods including lighting systems, substrates, fertilizers, test-kits and Co2 sets.
As well as equipment, we receive regular deliveries of quality live plants from our growers in Holland and elsewhere. We can also obtain many other varieties on request by placing a special order with our suppliers.