FOR BEGINNERS: From unpretentious take Valisneria spiral, lemongrass, cryptocarin, you can still Rotalu, Hygrophilus, Ludwig in the background, Echinodorus tender in the foreground.
Having laid the soil at the bottom of the aquarium, begin to plant the plants.
For convenience, you should not immediately fill the tank to the top, it is better to pour 1/3 of the water.
Plants that reach a greater height are located at the rear wall of the aquarium, and lower-growing ones are in front of them.
When planting plants, the behavior of fish should be taken into account, leaving enough space for their free movement and creating nooks for privacy.
Thickets of Wallysneria and floating plants — richia, pemphigus, water-red, and salvinia — are useful for fry; in them they can hide from large fish in the first days of life.
It is simply impossible to describe and even list the huge number of plants grown in aquariums.
Therefore, we restrict ourselves to listing the most common ones, grouping them by the temperature of their environment.
- Water-paint, water moss, bacopa, canadian elodea, ludwig, coin box, cirrus leaves, hornwort, richia, core, arrowhead.
- The dwarf Amazon, Wallysneria, geterantera, lagarosiphon, gear elodea.
- Ambulia, aponogetone, giant wallisneria, aquatic fern, hygrophil, cabomba, cryptocoryne Griffith, cryptocoryne Neuville, Hertel's cryptocoryne, pemphigus, Salvinia eared, grassy Amazon, narrow-leaved Amazon, South American water-grass.
In addition to higher plants ( all of the above are related to them ), lower ones are also present in the aquarium - algae .
A lot of trouble is delivered by blue-green algae.
With excessive lighting, they cover the surface of glass, stones and plants, interfering with normal nutrition and respiration of the latter.
Therefore, light should be sufficient only for normal photosynthesis in higher plants. A 40 W fluorescent lamp is enough for an aquarium with a volume of 200-300 liters
Many amateurs ask if live plants are needed in the aquarium.
Most professionals are inclined to what is needed.
And here are seven reasons for this:
- From a purely aesthetic point of view, they decorate the aquarium, turning it not only into the home of your fish, but simply into a beautiful piece of furniture.
- Plants can be used to test water quality. Knowing what specific plant species grows well in a given water, you can understand what kind of fish it will be suitable for.
- Plants are a refuge for fry and small fish.
- Plants inhibit the growth of algae, clinging to the walls of the aquarium.
- Plants serve as a spawning medium for many species of fish.
- Plants serve as food for fish.
- Plants help fish acclimatize in the aquarium.
Guide "How to choose plants for the aquarium"
1) Plants perform many important functions. The most important of them is the implementation of phototosynthesis. during which carbohydrates form. The most famous carbohydrates are glucose, fructose, lactose, sucrose, starch, glycogen. In fact, green plants breathe all the time, day and night. During breathing, they inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. However, in the light they also photosynthesize (an independent process, different from breathing). In the light, both processes run parallel to each other. While the lighting conditions are quite high. at the same time, carbon dioxide absorption and oxygen production during photosynthesis occur. As a result, the carbon dioxide content in the water decreases, and the oxygen concentration increases. When darkness falls, photosynthesis stops, but breathing continues. as in the daytime. Since carbon dioxide is not absorbed now, and oxygen is not released and is only consumed for respiration, the concentration of oxygen dissolved in water drops at night and, accordingly, the level of carbon dioxide increases until day comes and photosynthesis begins again. Anyway. plants cannot be considered as the only suppliers of oxygen in most home aquariums. Regardless of. how densely planted the aquarium is, additional aeration must exist in it.
2) In addition to oxygen production, aquarium plants carry out a number of other necessary functions. It was noted that under equal conditions, the fish contained in a well-planted aquarium are less sick compared to those that live in an aquarium without plants. It is believed that plants are able to remove not only salts from water, but also significant amounts of various organic substances. Some experiments have also shown that aquatic plants can indeed reduce the population density of a number of bacteria that are harmful to fish. For example, Lemna spp duckweed is capable of producing antibiotics. The presence of plants ensures the best quality of water and the well-being of the fish.
3) Beginning aquarists, buying plants, often encounter a number of problems. It is very important to find a good seller of plants. Before buying, you should think carefully about what types of plants are suitable for you, given the features of your aquarium, lighting, the presence of a CO2 installation. Do not forget to take into account that over time the plants grow and, based on this, you should correctly plan planting. In stores, when buying plants, pay attention to aquariums. where do they grow. The aquarium should be clean and well maintained. There should be no signs of disease on the leaves of plants. The seller must pack the plant of your choice in a special bag, pump oxygen.
4) The choice of healthy plants: leaves should not have holes; yellow, brown, or transparent patches. Yellow areas indicate a lack of iron or other substances. Brown patches, holes indicate the poor condition of plants. But, remember that, for example, Cryptocoryne species has brown leaves in nature. During transportation, transparent areas on the leaves of plants may occur, damage. If the leaves are not severely injured - in a couple of weeks everything will return to normal and the plants will begin to grow back.
5) When buying, pay attention to the roots of plants. Very often, plants are sold without roots. because of which the plants do not take root and die in a new place. Before planting, you need to carefully inspect the roots, stems, leaves and remove damaged areas. Then the roots should be straightened and buried in the soil of the aquarium as follows. so that the growth points are not visible.
There are a number of magnificent flowering aquatic plants that grow from bulbs. Unfortunately, they are often so large that they are not suitable for growing in a home aquarium and are more often used in external ponds, for example, in Koi fish ponds.
Example: Water Lily, Aponogeton.
Planting: The bulb is planted in the soil only partially, with the crown should stick up. When the bulb grows, it itself begins to split off the small bulbs. You can take them and plant them further.
Among the least expensive are the so-called "plant bunches." These are rooted cuttings. Tied together with an elastic tape. Lead or aluminum strip or wire. Many types of plants and their varieties are sold in bunches. Which make it possible to create a beautiful interior at a modest price.
An easy way to plant bunches is to lightly tuck the base of each of them into the ground so that the tape or metal strip is hidden. Although this method sometimes works. There is a risk that the plants can be damaged. When the plants are tied together. Especially if they are tender leaves and stems. damage can occur. Damage will cause decay. In this case, it is better to remove the tape. Cut the damaged tissue and then plant each stalk separately. The gaps between the shoots will reduce the risk of fungal infection.
PLANTS WITH AN OPEN ROOT SYSTEM.
Next in the row of aquarium plantings are plants that sell with roots but are not planted in pots. Many plants can be sold in this way. But the main ones are different types of echinodorus. Cryptocoryns are some types of aponetones. Bulbous plants. Anubias.
Example: Anubias, African fern.
Planting: attach to a tree (snag) or plant a plant in a hole previously excavated in the ground. In the soil should be only the roots, but not the rhizome.
These pots do not contain soil or organic matter. But only inert material. Such as mineral wool. The pots are small in volume. Have slots or holes everywhere. Allowing water to freely pass to the base of the shoots.
Potted plants can be of any type (more often with roots). Real aquatic stem plants. Such as Elodea. Cabomba and the like. They often plant unrooted cuttings in pots and get roots. Before releasing the plants for sale. . Separate plants. Including various species of Echinodorus. Which are sometimes sold with an open root system. They are often rooted before sale. Stem ground and transitional plants are often planted with rooted cuttings. And then settled in pots. Covered with water. They give leaves. Hell aquarium surface.
Although the plants in the pots can simply be pressed into the extract, they are sprinkled. Many aquarists take them out of the pot and plant them as if they were of the previous type. It doesn’t matter if many of these plants give cuttings (horizontal shoots with rudimentary plants at the ends) and multiply in this way. despite a pot or rooting medium.
Some plants, most often aquatic ferns, such as pterygoid microsorum. They are also Thai fern (Microsorium pteropus) or Bolbitis Hedelo (Bolbitis heudelotii) mosses, including Dubey vesicular or Javanese moss (Vesicularia dubyana). And more recently hepatic moss is riccia floating (Riccia fluitans. traditionally sold as a floating plant). as well as various types of Anubias. are now sold attached to driftwood or stone. First, the plants are attached with an elastic tape or fishing line. But starting to grow. They stay on the ground or base with their roots (which are not roots in essence. A. In the case of mosses and liver mosses. Special modified formations). Since the production of attached plants is more laborious. then they cost a little more than the rest.
Attached plants have another advantage in addition to attractiveness: attached to snags or stone, they can be moved to any place in the aquarium without harming the plant.
Some plants floating on the surface of the water are actually not floating, but only surface. It is very easy to distinguish them. Floating plants have leaves. Shoots. Flowers are above or near the surface of the water. When the roots hang freely under the water. Not being attached to substrate. On surface leaves. stems. flowers can also lie on the surface or above it. but the roots are necessarily fixed in the substrate. Eichornia (Eichornia crassipes) - water hyacinth is a real floating plant. whereas water lilies (Nymphea spp. and their variety s) - poverhnostnіe. Floating plants can be sold in single copies (large plants). Or "portions" (small). Pre-packed with a little water.
To properly plant plants in the aquarium, you need to follow a few rules. Firstly, the soil used for planting plants should not strongly compress the roots. Pure gravel or coastal sand is ideal for this purpose. No matter what plants you purchase, the planting method will be approximately the same. Aquarium plants do not plant a bunch. Arrange the plants so that the light reaches the bottom and the lower leaves do not turn yellow and do not die. The distance between plants depends on the size of their leaves. Not all plants require planting; there are floating ones, and some need to be fixed on stones or wood. For example, a Thai fern (Microsorium pteropus) can be attached to stones or a tree with a fishing line, in the future its roots will be fixed in this place. And Javanese moss (yasicularia dubayana) floats freely until it finds a reliable support. As soon as the plants are planted in the aquarium, it is necessary to start lighting the aquarium at least 12 hours a day, simulating sunset and dawn. Take care of your plants and do not stress them, do not forget that they definitely need light.
Example: Richia, Azolla fern (Azolla filiculoides)
Landing: No need to plant, just let it float on the surface of the water.
The roots of the rosettes develop below, in the soil layer, and the leaves of the crown grow directly from the rhizome. Rosettes propagate by the release of antennae, from which new rosettes appear, similar to how strawberries propagate. Many sockets, by the way, have flowers and inflorescences.
For example: Amazon Large (Amazon Sword Plant) or Archerleaf (Sagittaria)
Planting: Depends on each specific plant. Some people feel better when the crown base is not covered by a substrate (soil), while others prefer to be buried deeper in the soil.
This type of plant is a stem from which leaves grow, and other stems, if you pinch off the top of the main stem. The roots of the plant develop under a layer of soil. Leaves can be single, double or multiple, they grow from thickenings in the stem. Some of the stems grow their leaves from each thickening in the stem, others from intermittent thickenings. These plants are sometimes also called tufted because they are usually sold not in separate branches, but in bundles of stems.
Most stalks grow quite quickly, because of which they often have to be pruned so that they do not grow above water level and cover the surface with their leaves. As the tops are trimmed, the stems give rise to new branches from which the leaves grow and if they, in turn, are also trimmed, they will also branch out. Sometimes, roots begin to stretch out of separate branches, and this sometimes looks very impressive.
Stem propagation is very easy - just cut off the top and stick it into the ground. It will take root and will grow up.
Examples: Ludwigia, Pennywort
Landing: Dig the bottom of the stem into the ground so that the roots are not visible. Do not bury the roots deep, these plants feel better at shallow depths. They should be located away from each other, with the aim that the light can fall on the lowest petals.
Why are there plants in the aquarium?
Perhaps a similar question has a right to exist, but I will not argue that plants participate in the life of the biosystem of the aquarium, absorbing the waste products of fish and releasing oxygen ... A well-equipped aquarium may well exist without plants, and can wonderful live fish. But often it is the plants that give the tropical aquarium the unique charm of a corner of wildlife.
An aquarium with plants is not so static - every day or several days new leaves grow, new twigs or young plants appear. In the "Dutch" aquarium (the name comes from the name of the country), the main task is to create an underwater garden from plants of different sizes, shapes and colors. Fish in such an aquarium are of secondary importance. Creating a classic Dutch aquarium is quite difficult, it requires serious care, but in most cases an aquarium with abundant vegetation and fish can make a stronger impression than just fish.
So, we want to create a tropical aquarium with fish and living plants. What do we need? Of course, you can get by with a couple of echinodorus bushes of different sizes, and it will be quite interesting, but photos of the works of Takashi Amano (a famous Japanese aquarium designer) or an acquaintance’s aquarium where there are a lot of plants, and they are all of different sizes, shapes, once haunted and flowers, and I want to at least slightly bring my aquarium closer to this.
Choose the aquarium itself.
The choice, of course, is a matter of taste and the ability to install indoors, but it is better to take the aquarium wider in order to be able to create an underwater landscape on a large bottom area. Creating a landscape in a narrow aquarium-screen is quite difficult - there is no place. Now think about the height. Too high aquarium for plants is useless. Standard medium-sized aquariums are likely to have a height of about 40-50 cm. For plants, this is already a lot, because It’s difficult to create decent lighting at the bottom of the aquarium even at a height of 40 cm. If the aquarium is tall, then you will most likely have to be content with a simple set of plants such as various types of giant wallisneria, Thai krinum, etc., which have long leaves that can absorb light at the top aquarium without deterioration of the decorative appearance at the bottom. You can create illumination in a large aquarium only with the use of complex and powerful light sources. Such options need to be thought out in advance, because equipment (fixtures and their cooling) require additional space for placement.
As a soil, it is better to use chemically neutral fine gravel with a fraction of 2-5 mm. There are different opinions about the faction, but this option is the most universal. The more uniform the soil fraction and the better it is rounded, the less it coalesces, and no stagnant zones form in the soil. Actually, anything can be used as soil - from small glass balls to branded ones made of polymer-dyed sand - the main thing is that it suits you and meets the requirement of uniformity. Usually in planted aquariums a layer of soil with a thickness of 3 to 7 cm is used. With a smaller layer, there is nowhere to develop a root system, with a larger layer without additional tricks, the formation of stagnant zones is possible.
Good results can be achieved through the use of hydrocables. The effect of their use is not only, and perhaps not so much heated, as in the creation of streams of water in the soil (ascending warm above the cable and descending cold between the cables), which prevents acidification of the soil. If you decide to use the hydrocable, you should take care in advance, because it will be extremely difficult to place it in an aquarium with plants. The cable is laid out along the bottom of the aquarium (labor facilitates the presence of suction cups in the kit) and is covered with soil. Cables come with power from 220 V, and with power from a step-down transformer. The second option in case of cable damage is safer, but also much more expensive. In general, for safety when working in an aquarium, all electrical equipment should be turned off.
Since we are going to plant our aquarium densely, we will have to use nutrient soil. Those. the first layer of soil that the roots of the plants have reached must be rich in nutrients. Ready-made solutions from leading manufacturers can be used as nutrient soil: gravel enriched with clay, laterite. More carefully (this can be advised only by experienced aquarists) it is worth considering the use of land. It is better to experiment with the earth only if you know exactly what you are doing. Subsequently, dressing can be applied to the aquarium soil in the form of dried balls made from clay, possibly mixed with laterites or other types of dressing.
The use of liquid fertilizers, as well as nutrient soil, is advisable in the case of tight planting of plants in the aquarium. In this case, the micro and macro elements contained in the water will be quickly absorbed by the plants, and then ... the growth will slow down and stop, or even the disease and plant degradation. Why? Often floating plants such as pistols, hornwort, etc., grow well in a new aquarium, but after a while their growth stops. This means that there are few nutrients left in the water! Therefore, when using liquid fertilizers, it should be remembered that they are well absorbed by plants, and their "supply" must be replenished in a timely manner. Plants with a full root system in some situations are more competitive. Liquid fertilizers should be started when the plants have adapted and started to grow, otherwise you will simply feed the algae. A source of nutrients for plants is the replacement of water. Therefore, do not forget to regularly change the water in your underwater garden. A more frequent substitution of water or "duct" allows you to do without the use of liquid fertilizers or use them in smaller quantities. It depends on what is being poured from the tap in your area.
Light is one of the main factors when growing aquatic plants. When buying an aquarium, you should pay attention to the light source. In most aquariums, both imported and domestic, a standard light source is sufficient for keeping fish (most often it is unprincipled), but insufficient for growing plants. Therefore, it is worth paying attention to the possibility of installing additional lamps and reflectors in the cover. The reflector in most cases increases the lighting efficiency by one and a half times or more.
Typically, fluorescent lamps are used as a light source in aquariums. It is better to use specialized lamps, they have improved spectral characteristics. Currently, in addition to conventional fluorescent lamps (T8), T5 fluorescent lamps have appeared, which are more powerful, smaller and more effective at a temperature of about 30 ° C (ordinary T8 lamps lose some of their efficiency due to the high operating temperatures under the aquarium lid). Currently, T5 lamps are equal in price to conventional T8 lamps, which makes their use in the aquarium very attractive. Many famous companies produce pendant lights or aquariums with standard light on the T5.
Fluorescent lamps require a ballast (ballast or ballast) to start. Ballasts are conventional (throttle and starter) and electronic. Electronic ballasts allow you to extend the lamp life (aquarium lamps also cost money) and increase light output. Lamps worsen their performance as they operate, their light output decreases and the spectrum changes, so the lamps should be replaced without waiting until they burn out. Lamps with conventional ballasts change after about 6 months, with electronic ballasts less frequently.
Metal halide (MG) lamps (not to be confused with halogen ones, which are an improved version of an incandescent lamp) are used as a light source all the more often. This is a powerful light source that allows you to create a high level of illumination even in a relatively deep aquarium. They are usually used in open aquariums, as they are quite hot (although less than incandescent lamps). Specialized MG aquarium lamps and fixtures are currently available. Unfortunately, this solution in the form of a finished lamp is still quite expensive. For deep aquariums, this is perhaps the most appropriate solution.
So, when buying an aquarium, it is worth asking about the possibility of modernizing regular lighting or using a pendant lamp. In the first case, it is worth taking an interest in the company where you buy the aquarium, the ability to immediately solve the problem with the light.
Plants need a stable daylight, so you will also need a timer to automatically turn on and off the lighting. A similar device can be bought at an aquafirm or at a home goods store for very modest money. In most tropical plants in their natural habitat, daylight hours last up to 12 hours. With a sufficient level of lighting in the aquarium, you should adhere to a similar length of daylight. With a low level of lighting, daylight hours can be increased. From the appearance of some plants, one can understand what duration of daylight hours at a given illumination is sufficient for them. If they stack leaves in the evening, then the lighting is sufficient. Excessive daylight hours provokes the growth of algae.
CO2 (carbon dioxide).
In a plant aquarium, supplying CO2 can solve many problems at once - from plant growth to algae control. The latter, in fact, is a consequence of the first, because well-growing higher plants do not leave algae nutrients. For most plants, an increase in carbon dioxide in water leads to a significant increase in growth. When using CO2, the issue of CO2 control should be considered in more detail, as in soft water, you can greatly lower the pH, and a carbon dioxide content of more than 40 mg / l becomes dangerous for fish. The optimal concentration can be considered 5-15 mg / l. To supply CO2 to the aquarium, you can buy branded units, you can assemble it from more affordable components, and in small aquariums you can use tablets produced by some companies, or even the fermentation process.
In principle, in most cases, the optimum temperature for an aquarium with plants and fish will be 24-26 ° C. But sometimes you have to keep an aquarium at a temperature of 28-30 ° C (for example, if there are discus, altum, etc.). At elevated temperatures, plants can also grow. The temperature limits indicated in the reference books are not extremely possible for the plant; these are the temperature limits that are found in the natural biotope, where it grows in natural conditions. Most plants can also grow in a "flycatcher" at 28-32 ° C. But in this case, all processes are much faster, so the plant needs more light, more CO2, more nutrition. Moreover, with a lack of any of these factors, the plants wither and die. But if they are constantly provided with everything necessary, then the result may be even more interesting than at lower temperatures. At high temperatures, the solubility of gases in water decreases, and the plant's need for CO2 increases, on the contrary, so the supply of carbon dioxide is likely to be required. Yes, and fertilizers will have to be applied regularly, for which an automatic fertilizer dispenser can be useful, which will help you automate the process.
There is an opinion that plants that grew in bright light, fertilizers and with the supply of CO2, fall into other conditions, die. I do not agree with this statement; in my personal experience, plants that fall into more modest conditions simply grow more modestly (as usual). Moreover, densely planting an aquarium without applying top dressing is simply unrealistic, in the end they have to eat something.
Actually the plants themselves.
Here, too, it is worth paying attention to what to buy. Many plants that you can purchase can be imported or simply grown in very different conditions from your aquarium. You need to be prepared for the fact that some copies of the plants you have acquired will require a period of adaptation, or even rehabilitation, perhaps completely discard the leaves and acquire new ones. If the acquired plant has weak, rotten roots, you can tie it with a thread or elastic to a pebble, which can be buried in the ground. If the plant is alive, the roots will grow. The plants that grew in similar water and were sold shortly after they were taken out of the original aquarium are the easiest ones to take root. But this does not mean at all that you cannot buy imported plants in pet stores, just some of them will need to be treated more closely.
When choosing plants, you need to understand that many of them in nature grow at a depth of not more than 30 cm or in general in moist soil, sometimes flooded with water. Accordingly, you will not be able to grow everything in a deep aquarium, or you will have to apply all the technologies that we talked about.