Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fresh Water Plants for Your Aquarium

Adding aquarium plants to your aquarium can be a good idea because these plants use nitrates which may be troublesome to your tropical fish if your nitrate levels are high enough. Live plants do more than that though, they simply look nicer than their plastic counterparts.

Some are easier to take care of than others. The more hardy aquarium plants include the Java Fern, Hygrophila polysperma and Vallisneria spiralis.

You will need to check out a couple of things before embarking on your live plant adventure.

Water Parameters Plants are just like your tropical fish when it comes to water parameters. Different aquarium plants require different water conditions. Be sure to find out the required water conditions for the plants you want. You need to know things like ph, hardness levels and lighting levels for each plant.

Good Substrate You will need to have a good substrate in order for your plants to survive. There are clay planters you can get to place your plants in or you can even place some plants directly into the gravel. If you place your plants directly into the gravel you will need to use an iron supplement for your aquarium water since these plants won't be getting the nutrients they need from the iron fortified clay.

Good Lighting
Different aquarium plants require different levels of aquarium lighting, usually measured in watts per gallon. If you want your plants to thrive you must pay attention to this measurement in order for photosynthesis to take place. CO2 is also required for photosynthesis. CO2 can come from the fish respiration process going on in your tank. However, if you have a heavily planted tank, you may want to get a CO2 injector for your aquarium because you won't be getting enough CO2 from your fish.

Fish Compatibility Certain fish species will make aquarium plant keeping a nightmare. For instance, Silver Dollars really enjoy nibbling on live plants. Likewise, Oscars and Goldfish will enjoy uprooting any aquarium plants you place in the tank. If you already have fish, do some research on your particular species before embarking on your live plant journey.

Save yourself some money and dead plants by researching the plants you want to get before buying them so that you can determine their exact needs and whether or not you can meet those needs.

Here's some common plants for your fresh-water aquarium:

Amazon Sword Plant
Grows better in softer water than hard water. Optimal growth may not occur if the water is too hard. Plant in a loose substrate and supplement with an iron fertilizer.

Vallisneria spiralis
A good plant for the beginner because of its ability to handle a wide range of water parameters. This plant looks good planted in the back or along the sides of aquariums.

Cabomba does best when grown in nuetral water under moderate lighting. Provide at least 2 watts per gallon of full spectrum (5000-7000K) lighting. Water temperature between 72°-82°F, an alkalinity of 3-8 dKH and a pH of 6.5-7.5 is ideal for proper growth. These plants do not tolerate frequent trimming and transplanting. Leaves dropping from the plant are usually a sign of poor water conditions or CO2 deficiency.

Cryptocoryne, also known as Wendt's Cryptocoryne requires a substrate that is fertilized with an iron-rich fertilizer. Regular pruning and thinning will keep it looking its best. Cryptocoryne requires stable water conditions to prevent rotting of the stems and leaves. Provide at least 2 watts per gallon using full spectrum bulbs (5000-7000K). Water temperature should be between 75° and 82°F, with a dKH of 3-8 and a pH of 6.5 to 7.5.

Corkscrew ( Vallisneria americana)
Vallisneria americana also called Corkscrew needs a moderate amount of light in the range of 2 to 3 watts per gallon, using full spectrum (5000-7000K) bulbs.

Java Fern
Java Ferns will do well if planted in moderate light as well as in a shaded area. It is amphibious, meaning that it will grow either partially or fully submersed. Provide at least 2 watts per gallon of light supplied by full spectrum (5000-7000K) bulbs.


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