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    Aquarium Plants General CareSheet Part 2

    Metal Maniac
    Metal Maniac

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    Aquarium Plants General CareSheet Part 2 Empty Aquarium Plants General CareSheet Part 2

    Post by Metal Maniac on Sat 04 Apr 2009, 00:24

    Aquarium Plants General CareSheet Part 2


    Before planting the aquarium, make a rough sketch of how the tank should look. Include rocks and wood structures and plants so that there is a plan to follow.

    Plants fall into different categories as to how tall they grow and their shape:

    Foreground: Foreground plants are small, low growing species that often form carpet-like mattings by producing numerous runner plants. Foreground plants often inhabit shallow water and may require bright lighting. Plant foreground plants in front of middle ground and background plants.

    Middle ground: Middle ground plants are medium sized species that can be used behind foreground plants, but in front of background plants. Middle ground plants can block unsightly stems of background plants.

    Background: Background plants are usually tall and can be used to block out heaters, filters, hoses, and wires. Background plants are generally fast-growing species that require less light than foreground and middle ground species.

    Bunch Plants: Bunch plants are usually middle ground or background species that look good in groups of several. Bunch plants are often easily propagated by cuttings.

    Specimen Plants: Specimen plants are usually large, decorative species that are planted singly in the middle ground or background. Specimen plants are often used as a focal point and may be highlighted with a spot-light.

    Contrast Plants: Different-looking plants can be used as a contrast to the other plants in the tank. Red-leafed plants can be used as a color contrast to green plants, while plants with pointed leaves can be used as a shape contrast to those with large round leaves. When contrasting plants, place plants with similarities in color, size, or shape away from one another, while planting plants with differences closer together.

    Floating Plants: Floating plants require plenty of light, but must protected from leaf burn by leaving distance between them and the bulb. Floating plants often propagate very quickly by division and in a short matter of time, take over and aquarium and block out light. Floating plants should be kept out of the light path of plants below that require a lot of light.


    Plants have several means of reproducing. Some species reproduce amazingly fast, taking over an entire tank in a matter of weeks, while others do not appear to propagate themselves at all.
    Cuttings: Cuttings are the easiest way to propagate plants. Simple cut a lengthy (6-8") section of stalk from the plant and plant it in the gravel. Plant cuttings with at least 1" (2.5 cm) of the stem under the substrate. Remove the leaves on the section that will be in the substrate. Plant tubers and bulbs at a 45° angle in the substrate with the growing tip pointing out of the gravel. Both the cutting and the original plant should continue to grow. Most bunch plants can reproduce by cuttings.

    Runners: Many aquarium plants, especially foreground and Sword plant species produce outgrowths known as runners. These new shoots are formed on stems and usually grow along the substrate or within the substrate. Plants that reproduce by runners (daughter plants), are often prolific.

    Rhizome: The roots of some plants produce side-shoots. These plants can be propagated by cutting the rhizome into pieces. Be sure to include some leaves and some roots with the rhizome. Replant the cut sections along the surface of the substrate. These sections should root.

    Adventitious plants: Adventitious plants are plantlets that arise from the mother plant. The mother plant produces a number of plantlets with drift free of the mother plant, and root on their own. Adventitious plants will either be released by the mother plant or can be cut when the plantlets reach a suitable size. Also referred to as "division."

    Seeds: Plants that flower produce seeds only after pollination, in nature, usually be insects. In aquaria, use a fine brush to transfer pollen from the stamens to the stigmas.

    Like land plants, aquarium plants need to be pruned and thinned on a regular basis. Many of the taller, stalky species will actually grow out of the water if they are left unpruned. Other tall species will grow along the water surface and block out light to lower species if they are not trimmed. Prunings of many species, can be replanted. With leafy plants, like Swords, the large, outer leaves may need to be removed to make room for new growth. Plants with floating leaves like Nymphaea species, need to be cut back so that the light is not blocked from lower plants. Cut the upper leaves until only the lower leaves remain. When plant branches become dense, they should be thinned by removing some branches.

    Plants to avoid

    There are several plants sold as aquatic plants in pet stores that are not actually aquatic. These plants do not grow for long underwater and eventually end up polluting the tank when they die. Among some of the commonly available nonaquatic species are: Aglaonema, Brazilian Sword, Cherry Hedge, Draceana (Princess Pine), Green Hedge, Mondo Grass, and "palms."


    Almost every aquarium is plagued at some point by an "algae bloom." "Algae blooms" can be fueled by excess light, especially sunlight, and excess nutrients, especially nitrate and phosphate buildup. Thus "algae blooms" can often be prevented by regular water changes and placing the tank away from direct sunlight. There are several types of algae common in the aquarium:


    Green thread (filamentous) algae: Green thread algae forms long, green, filaments which often grow from plants. Thread algae needs abundant light to thrive. Thread algae can be damaging to the aquarium by taking important nutrients that aquarium plants require. Thread algae can be controlled by algae-eating fish or by manual removal.

    Pelt algae: Pelt algae adheres to plant leaves by a single filament an reaches a length of 0.8" (2 cm). Pelt algae usually develop in water with a high nitrate content and can cause plant leaves to die. To eradicate pelt algae, remove the filaments manually, introduce algae-eaters (Flying Foxes) or snails (ramshorn). Regular water changes slow pelt algae growth.

    Suspended algae: Suspended algae usually resembles green water and is comprised of Volvox. Suspended algae is most commonly introduced when pond foods are fed. Suspended algae can be removed by a series of large water changes, filtering with a diatom filter, or using UV light. Algicides can also be used to get rid of suspended algae.

    Green spot algae: A small, dark green algae that forms small, round spots on the leaves of plants and the tank glass. This species thrives in poor and unstable water conditions. Algae eating fish and snails can rid the aquarium of green spot algae. The stabilization of water conditions helps slow green spot algae growth.

    Green bunch algae: This algae forms bunches up to 1.2" (3 cm) long. Green algae is most prevalent in tanks with excessive lighting and fertilization. Green bunch algae can be removed by hand or algae eating fish.

    Blue-green algae: Blue-green algae form a layer that covers plants and gravel. Blue-green algae are fueled by excessive illumination and high nitrate and phosphate levels. Blue-green algae can produce toxins that are harmful to fish. Blue green-algae are often refused by algae-eating fish because of its bad taste. Apple snails can slow blue-green algae growth, but the best treatment is 5-7 days of total darkness combined with several large water changes.

    Beard algae: Beard algae forms long (up to 6"-15 cm), black to dark green, branches that are introduced with new aquarium plants and are prominent with high nitrate levels and/or carbon dioxide deficiency. Beard algae firmly attaches to plant leaves, so manual removal is damaging to the plant. Algae-eating fish can eliminate beard algae as can carbon dioxide fertilization.

    Black spot algae: Black spot algae form small, black spots on plant leaves. The cause of black algae is unclear, but excess nutrients (nitrate) and light help its spread. Control is very difficult, the best means to take is to remove affected leaves.

    Black brush algae: Black brush algae forms dark, muddy-green bunches that adhere leaves, rocks, gravel, and wood. This red algae causes leaves to die off and thrives in acidic water with a high nutrient load. Short forms can be removed by algae-eating fish, but long forms are best combated by carbon dioxide fertilization.

    Diatoms: Diatoms develop in aquaria that are poorly illuminated, have a high load of nitrate and phosphate, and a pH above 7. Diatoms forms a brownish layer on plants, rocks, and glass and can be removed by snails and algae-eaters. Diatoms die off when water conditions improve and lighting intensity is increased.

    Algicides are chemicals that can be used to eliminate algal growth in the aquaria. Algicides work on a limited range of algae including filamentous, blue-green, and diatoms. If possible, seek non-chemical means to combat algae as many algicides do have side affects towards plants.

    Trouble-shooting with Plants

    Besides algal infestations, plants can suffer other ailments, especially when the water conditions are not favorable. Water with incorrect properties can cause as much or more damage to a plant than nutrient deficiency. If plants begin to wane (i.e. prematurely yellowing and losing leaves, leaf damage), first check that the water conditions are in order. If they are, see the chart below for help.

      Current date/time is Fri 13 Dec 2019, 07:34