Aquatic Plants

What plants do for your tank

Plants do more than adding an amazing look to your aquarium. Their vibrant colors can add so much to an aquarium, if they are taken care of properly. They also act as very important biological filters. Beneficial bacteria in your filter turns ammonia into nitrite and nitrite into nitrate. But the what happens to this nitrate? This nitrate builds and is the reason why weekly/biweekly water changes are necessary.

Plants, however, use nitrate as a fertilizer, in order to grow. In this way, live plants are really a biological filter for your aquarium. This decreases the maintenance you need to do on your tank. Remember, you need to preform water changes when the nitrate levels get to dangerous levels. Therefore, with live plants, you have more time between water changes. Plants also help give your tank a natural look. Plants give your fish a natural environment, that they will appreciate. some plants even provide a natural source of food for some snails.

Live plants simply complete the ecosystem of your tank and really enhance the fish keeping enjoyment.

Plant fertilizer

Plant  fertilizer
This is one of my favorite fertilizers. It is safe for snails, and contains no copper.

What you need

Live plants are not high-tech and only have a few requirements: they need micro- and macro- nutrients, good lighting, and carbon dioxide. Combined, these factors can really help plants, and increase growth. However, if even just one of these factors is limited, plant growth will really be inhibited.

Micro- and Micro- Nutrients: Most of the time, fish wastes and minerals in water changes are enough to supplement the plants. However, in heavily planted tanks, or tanks with very little fish, aquatic fertilizers should be added. There are many commercial products to choose from. Look for something low in phosphate because it can cause algae blooms. Also, keep in mind that if you have snails, copper should be avoided, because it can poison and kill them.

Good Lightening: For plants to grow, they really need adequate lightening. The simple light you might get with a kit. Good lighting is at least 1 watt/gallon. Better would be 2-3 watts/gallon. Investing in a better light fixture with more bulbs is really worth the money.

Carbon Dioxide: Carbon dioxide is essential to aquatic plant growth and can be added in DIY methods to help. See the CO2 tab in order to learn more about this.