Resources/Material used in an aquarium plays an important role in growing plants. The Carbon dioxide, type of soil, lighting, fertilizers, etc. should match the requirement of plants. Some plants require a high amount of carbon, high light. Every plant has a specific requirement.
Selecting the right plant is the key to success in planted tanks. Aquatic plants provide a pleasing look to viewers, security and hiding place for fishes. Some fishes use plant leaf to lay eggs. Plants also acts as natural filters. They absorb the toxic elements from the water and consume as fertilizers. There are too many benefits of keeping plants. But a wrong selection of plants becomes a nightmare for aquarists. The requirement and characteristics of plants, available resources, water chemistry, nature of fishes, layout of hardscape should be considered. All of these factors play an important role in the selection of aquatic plants.
Resources/Material used in an aquarium play an important role in growing plants. The Carbon dioxide, type of soil, lighting, fertilizers etc. should match the requirement of plants. Some plantsrequire high amount of carbon, highlight. Every plant has aspecific requirement. They should match the available resources. Some of theimportant requirements of plants are:
Light: Light is the most important factor for the life of plants. Different plants have different lighting requirements. Plants should be chosen as per available light. For a low light tank, suitable plants are Anubias, Java Fern, Marselia Hirsute etc.
Carbon: Carbon is an essential requirement for plants. None of the plants can remain alive without carbon. Although some plants can survive in low amount of carbon, some require injecting the carbon in gaseous or liquid form. Some ferns, Anubias etc. can be grown in low carbon.
Soil: Aquatic plants use soil to position in a specific area. Some aquatic plants are root feeders. They also absorb nutrients through their roots from the soil. So soil must be considered when selecting a specific plant. Some plants do not require soil and have to attach with rocks or driftwoods.
The first criteria of selecting plants should depend up on their lighting, then carbon, and soil requirements. Selecting plants according to available resources is the first key to success.
Suitable water is the most essential component of an aquarium. Several properties of water affect the plants and animals in the aquarium. So it is best to check the water parameters before buying off a specific plant or fish. Some plants like to survive in acidic water while some plants are suitable for alkaline water. Some plants are suitable for brackish waters. Although majority of plants like to live in neutral water. Unsuitable water parameters can make a planted aquarium into a terrifying dream. It is essential to choose plants as per the available water or use RO water in planted aquariums.
Some dissolved chemicals like Nitrate, Phosphate, silicates etc. bloom algae in the aquarium. In high amount they are also harmful for fishes.Placement of Plants Aquatic plants can be divided into three categories as per their height and use in aquascapes. We also divide aquariums into different zones or layers. These zones are foreground, midground and background. To create the sense of depth, plants should be grown as per their height.
Foreground Plants: These plants stay short in height and grow up to a few centimeters. Popular foreground are Glossostigma elatinoides, Marselia hirsute, Hair grass, Cryptocoryne parva etc.
Midground Plants: Midground plants are placed in the middle zone of the aquascape. Height level of midground plants depends on the height of the tank. Some plants like Cryptocoryne, fern, etc. are popular mid ground plants.
Background Plants: Background plants are placed in the back wall of the aquarium. These plants grow tall and completely cover the back wall of the aquarium. There are many plants considered as background plants like Hygrophila sp., Ludwigia sp., Valsneria family plants.
Plants attach with Rocks/driftwoods: These plants can be tied to rocks and woods and can be placed anywhere in the aquarium according to the height of rocks/woods. Mosses, Anubias sp., Hygrophila pinatifida, Java fern, Subwassertang etc. are the popular plants tied to rocks/woods.
Floating Plants: Floating plants float over the surface of water. Their roots stay under water and the upper part remains in the air. These plants provide shade to slow growers and hiding places to fishes.
Layout of Scape
Plant selection also depends on aquascaping style. Dutch Aquascaping Style mainly requires only stem plants of different height and color. Leaf structure also plays an important role in Dutch Style. This aquascaping style requires intelligent selection of plants. All the aquascaping rules have to implement using plants.
Iwagumi Style uses low height plants like as Hemianthus callitrichoides, Glossostigma elatinoides, Hair grass etc. Plant choice is limited. Plants are used just to fill the gaps between the rocks. Iwagumi aquariums sometimes uses single type of plants.
Nature Aquascaping Style is a creation of natural scenes such as jungles, waterfalls, mountains etc. inside the aquariums. Rocks, driftwoods are used to create the illusion of natural scenes. The aquscaping rules implemented use strong hardscaping. Plant selection depends on the type of scene created in hardscape. Depth can be created using the smart selection of plants.
Some fishes have the tendency of nipping and eating plants. Some larger fish species like cichlids uproot the plants. So it is a must to select fishes carefully before releasing in the planted aquarium. Plants and fishes should have the same water requirements.
Plant selection should contain different colored plants such as red, green, dark green etc. to create an attractive aquascape. Different leaf structure brings a natural illusion in the aquarium. Plants should be kept in groups.