By Rajiv Sharma *
Keeping aquatic plants aquarium is popularizing day by day. A planted aquarium creates a complete environment system for our aquatic pets. They feel safe in planted aquariums. Growing plants is also a pleasure for the hobbyist. We are keeping aquatic plants from years. In early days, the aquarists collected plants directly from water bodies. It is really difficult. These plants also bring some algae, pests, disease etc. in aquariums. Later, some people commercially started to grow aquatic plants in farms. The disease and pests are controlled but sometimes, farm grown plants still come with unwanted animals, algae, disease etc.
But now, aquatic plants are grown in laboratories. These plants are grown in sterilized environment and they are almost pests, algae, disease free. These plants in laboratories are grows through a new technology called “Tissue Culturing”. Now days, Tissue Cultured aquatic plants are very popular in hobby.
What is tissue culture?
Tissue Culture is a method to use a part of plant to grow new plants in artificial environment. The tissue culture is sometimes also used to do genetic alterations in plants. An organ of plant like as shoot, leaf or root is used for culture process. Tissue cultured plants are also known as Vitro plants. It is a typical and complex process and needs sterilized environment. It needs lots of care. There are several phases in the process of tissue culturing plants:
a. Tissue culture process requires a medium to grow plants. First of all the medium is prepared from nutrient mixture, sugar, Agar etc.
b. Take the tissue of desired plant and sterilize it to prevent the presence of any micro-organism.
c. Introduce the tissue in the medium. The pots should be sterilized using alcohol.
It is not easy for an average aquarist to start tissue culture process at his home without in-depth knowledge and sterilized environment. Temperature also plays an important role in the process.
Preparing plants to introduce in aquarium.
Tissue cultured plants are easy to use in comparison to farm grown plants.
1. Remove plants from the cup.
2. Wash these plants carefully. Do not destroy the root system. Remove the medium used to grow the plants.
3. Separate these plants into small bunch.
4. Push small bunches into soil. Tie the rhizome plants over rocks or woods.
Benefits of tissue cultured plants
There are many benefits of using tissue cultured plant in comparison to farm grown plants.
1. They are 100 percent pest free.
2. No chance of nuisance algae in aquarium through plants.
3. These plants do not introduce any disease in the aquarium.
4. Easy to transport.
5. Easy to adopt the environment of aquarium.
6. Can be stocked for weeks without any extra effort.
7. Require small space to keep in the cups.
Disadvantage of tissue cultured plants
1. Require a specific temperature to stock these plants.
2. Expensive in comparison to farm grown plants.
3. The potted plants are more robust in comparison to tissue cultured plants.
The author Rajiv Sharma is founder of online aquarium forum www.aquapetz.com, an aquarium hobbyist and planted aquarium designer. email id: firstname.lastname@example.org, Ph. 9958075234