The care of aquarium plants is not as complicated as it may seem. And we say this because there are a good number of aquarium lovers who give up on them.
The reasons for this are usually two: either because they believe that they last a short time in perfect condition, or because they are considered to be one more requirement to add to any aquarium. Two reasons why many people choose artificial aquarium plants without thinking about something: the properties that natural plants have for our fish.
Therefore, today we want to see the care of aquarium plants. A way to lose the fear of including them in ours. And, also, the best way to fully enjoy them for a long time.
Related Article to Aquarium plant care:
- They are very difficult to maintain
- They die right away
- They turn brown really fast
- They are one more complication
- Are plastic ones better?
But the truth is that, although plants require basic care like all living beings to be in good condition, it is worth the effort to carry them out due to the great advantages they offer within the aquarium.
- They are good with aquarium filtration.
- They help us clean the water.
- They give your fish shelter.
- They are an important part of the nutrition of your fish.
6 Basics of Aquarium Plant Care
The care of aquarium plants does not really differ from those demanded by indoor or outdoor plants. The main difference is that their development takes place in an aquatic environment, in the same way, that they would in nature.
Therefore, ensuring the proper development of our aquarium plants only requires a few basic cares. Some highly acceptable, both for those who are considering initiation in aquarium hobbies and for those who have been practicing it for some time.
Before going into detail, there are two important considerations to keep in mind. On the one hand, the fundamental: how to choose plants for aquarium. A key starting point, since according to our expertise with the aquarium we can choose one or the other.
The range of aquarium plants is very wide, but there are also much more demanding than others. Therefore, it is important, to be honest, and always choose those that we know we will be able to bring to fruition.
Another important factor is knowing the benefits of aquarium plants. Because, beyond its decorative component, its presence in the aquarium can be essential for its development.
Not only do they help filter and keep water in balance. They also serve as shelter and food for fish. What’s more: there are some species that, yes or yes, demand the presence of aquarium plants.
With that said, let’s look at four aquarium plant care essential to their well-being. Four aspects that we will have to pamper so that they remain perfect.
1. The substrate, the basic starting point in the care of aquarium plants
It is the basis of the development of any plant, aquatic or terrestrial. But also, in the case of aquarium plants, it is key to their development. One of the priorities when planting aquarium plants is to encourage them to root properly. Only then will they be able to grow properly, and will be healthy to do so.
At this point, we can opt for a sterile substrate except for bacteria and any contamination. However, this type of substrate does not usually contain valuable minerals for the development of plants. Therefore, the idea is to choose a specific substrate for aquariums rich in minerals and trace elements.
2. Light, fundamental
Like any land plant, aquarium plants need light. What’s more: lighting is essential both for its cultivation and for its maintenance. And it is that, either in water or on land, they need it to be able to photosynthesize. A vital process to obtain oxygen.
In this aspect of the care of aquarium plants, we will have to give them the lighting they need. something that depends, again, on the different types of aquariums. If we have an aquarium with only plants, the ideal is to opt for yellow fluorescent light.
Lighting that mimics sunlight. However, if we have fish and plants, the ideal is to combine yellow and white fluorescent tubes. The former will help the plants grow, while the latter will enhance the color of the fish. If you have a single tube aquarium, go white. The plants will grow slower, but the fish will have the lighting they need.
For the light to be effective, it is essential that it be on between 10 and 12 hours a day. And yes: aquarium plants need a dark phase. Thanks to it, they stop photosynthesis and can take advantage of it to synthesize and store sugars. And no: this phase is not expendable. If we do not respect it, we can compromise the life of the plants.
Finally, regarding the issue of light, it should be noted that it is important that plants have two phases:
- A light phase in which they obtain energy from photosynthesis
- And a dark phase in which the rest and processes of the photosynthetic device such as the synthesis and storage of sugars take place, for which CO2 is necessary. Literally, the dark phase, prevents the chlorophyll from burning, since a continuous exposure saturates this molecule, destroys it, and prevents it from doing its job.
3. Carbon dioxide or CO2, one more food for our plants
Perhaps the most delicate point in the care of aquarium plants. And is that giving our plants the amount they need of CO2 implies being very aware of the maintenance of the aquarium with regard to the appropriate water parameters.
Aquarium plants need CO2 to be able to synthesize sugars. What’s more: the absence of optimal carbon dioxide values affects their growth and health. In general, the ideal is that our aquarium has between five and 15 mg/ml of this component.
CO2 is a serious compromise for an aquarium but it will give very positive results. Some aquarists prefer to keep the aquarium simple and use low-light plants as a cheaper, low-maintenance solution.
4. Compost, the last of aquarium plant care
As incredible as it may seem, aquarium plants also demand compost. But not at any time but, rather, when a sum of factors occurs. In other words, we can only apply fertilizer for aquarium plants when ours have the amount of light and CO2 they demand. Otherwise, the compost would not nourish our plants but it would cause the proliferation of algae.
The ideal is to opt for a liquid fertilizer, which we can dissolve in the aquarium water and which will not present any side effect on our fish.
5. Nitrogen compounds
The nitrogen cycle bacteria present in the aquarium take ammonia to convert it to nitrite and to convert it to nitrate. Well, just the opposite happens to plants: what they prefer to absorb is a nitrate, which is very little toxic, and transform it into ammonia, which is quickly used as a source of nitrogen to form molecules as important as proteins.
They do not directly absorb ammonia/ammonia as it is very toxic. For this reason, the work that plants do as true vacuum cleaners of nitrogen compounds (remember, so harmful to fish), is invaluable. Even so, the nitrate concentration in a freshwater aquarium should not exceed 70 ppm, to avoid other types of problems.
6. Trace elements
A series of elements such as Iron, Zinc, Magnesium, and even Molybdenum is vital for the correct functioning of the life of the plant; so it is essential to add some type of liquid fertilizer that includes these elements.
Aquarium plant care. following these six aquarium plant care, we can only enjoy them. Of its incredible beauty but, above all, of its leading role in the life of our small aquatic ecosystem.