Live Plant Tips
- Carbon Dioxide
- Plant Safe Algae Eaters
- To learn more about live plants call (717) 299-5691
Lighting is crucial for proper plant growth:
8-10 hours/day; any more than this will simply promote algae growth and not help your plants.
1.5 watts per gallon: Low Light Plants ONLY! (Java and Anubias sps.)
2-3 watts per gallon: Most Plants (Echinodorus sps.)
4-5 watts per gallon: High Light Plants (Ludwigia and other Reds)
(Darker Green plants generally require the least amount of light, while light greens and red require the most).
MORE INFO ON PLANT LIGHTING
Florescent lighting is the most readily offered and used lighting system. Fluorescents can be used, but you must meet wattage requirements in order to successfully keep your plants! VHO, power compact or even metal halide lighting can be installed if florescent lighting is not offering your system enough wattage. Generally, incandescent bulbs are not sufficient.
The proper spectrum is something to consider. Most plants will need bulbs around 6,500K (Kelvin). These full-spectrum bulbs offer the plants the widest range of necessary reds and blues.
Most plants will need to take root somewhere in your aquarium, so your choice of gravel is vital. Large, coarse stones do NOT normally provide a secure enough base for plants. Choose a finer-grain gravel, or even freshwater sand, to keep your plants firmly in place.
Some gravels already have beneficial nutrients in them, but supplements may need to be added later. There are substrate supplements that will release iron and other important elements for the roots to absorb. There are also liquid-based supplements that can also be absorbed.
Plants use nutrients in relation to the amount of light they receive:
If your plants are NOT exposed to MORE than 2 watts/gallon, extra nutrients may very well lead to algae blooms!
Carbon Dioxide is the most notable gas involved with keeping healthy aquarium plants. Levels of CO2, used by plants in photosynthesis, need to be conserved within the aquarium. Keep surface agitation to a minimum (canister filters can often be used to combat this) as this will limit lost CO2 to the atmosphere. Do NOT aerate the tank with an air stone.
Plant Safe Algae Eaters
NOTE: CO2 levels should be most closely monitored in heavily planted tanks (70% or more).
Despite the best efforts, algae may grow and compete with plants for light and nutrients. The following species are ideal for consuming nuisance algae but NOT plants:
Otocinclus Catfish (Otocinclus sps.)
Japanese/Amano Shrimp (Cardinia japonica)
Siamese Algae Eater (Crossocheilus siamensis)