Aquarium Plant Growth Plant growth is affected by a long row different factors among which the most important

are listed below. Water The first consideration would of course be the water in which the plants will grow. The kind of water you that you have and the temperature in you aquarium all play an important part in your plant life. Most aquarium plants found in marshes do well in warmer temperature, and 75 degrees Fahrenheit is usually the ideal temperature for most tropical plants. It is seen that plants flourish even better if the heat generated is from the bottom so that their roots get enough heat. This can be achieved by placing a submersible heater right at the bottom of the aquarium where the water meets gravel. Another way to keep your plant life healthy is by leaving their roots undisturbed. When you are cleaning your aquarium or changing water, care must be therefore be taken that the roots do not get disturbed. The reverse is true in case of the leaves. Plants seem to do well when their leaves move more. Therefore, regularly aerating your water using bubblers is a good idea. Just like fish, plants also need fresh supplies of water frequently. This is one more reason for making frequent water changes, but keep in mind that you should only change small parts of the water at a time. Lighting Since photosynthesis takes place in the presence of light, light is a necessity for healthy plants. Natural sunlight is made up of a number of light waves that have different wavelengths. The plant pigment chlorophyll will absorb only certain light waves. Sunlight will promote the growth of algae. Long exposure to sunlight will also heat up the water. Artificial light is therefore more advisable for plants growing in an aquarium. Full spectrum or broad spectrum fluorescent light is best suited for plant growth. Aquariums usually need about 1.5 watts of light per gallon of water and about 12 hours of light per day. Of course, if your aquarium is deep, you may need additional wattage, and need to keep the light on for longer hours. Using light colored gravel is a good way to create a light bottom for a deep aquarium. The wattage of light required for healthy growth in plants is also species dependent. Some plants, like the Anubias, Java Fern and Java Moss, require only low to moderate lighting. So, a single fluorescent tube will give enough light for these plants. The Water Wisteria, the Indian Fern, the Water Lily, and the Waterweed are some plants that need bright light. These plants will require at least one additional fluorescent tube to survive and flourish. Some species like the Bacopa and the Cabomba require extra strong light. These plants are of course not very suitable for beginners. Plant Substrate In nature, plants are continuously receiving nourishment from their surroundings. Aquarium plants derive nourishment from the substrate. There are different varieties of substrate available now, but for the beginner a substrate that is low maintenance and stable is the ideal choice. A substrate that needs constant watching and gets messy is not recommended. Similarly, a substrate that is capable of changing the water chemistry is also something to keep away from. This kind of substrate will require constant monitoring of the water. Organic substrates, rich in nutrients, will mess with your water quality and give out excess nutrients. Since the substrate lies at the very bottom of your aquarium, it is difficult to change it once the aquarium has been established. So, in many cases you are stuck with your substrate for a long time. That is why you need to be wise when you choose it. Ideally, you should select a substrate that is inert and that will not alter your water chemistry. The perfect substrate will also have a high Cation Exchange Capacity. The Cation Exchange Capacity refers to the ability of the medium to absorb nutrient ions. Simply put, this means that your substrate will hold on to the nutrients and make them available to plant roots.

In this respect, sand is a very poor substrate. It has none of the qualities described above. It can be used only as an anchor for your plants. Gravel will usually also have a very low Cation exchange Capacity and some types of gravel will alter the water chemistry. Fluorite is a great substrate. Though it is a bit expensive, it is very nice looking and nutrient rich. It will not get soft when in water. It also has iron and other trace elements that are good for your plants. Vermiculite is a soil additive that is very rich in nutrients, but it is also very light and needs to be placed below a layer of heaver material. Otherwise, it will start floating around and make your water cloudy. Using suitable additives in your substrate will be beneficial to plants. Commercially available products help to induce plant growth. Some of these are to be mixed in with water, while others need to be pushed in near the roots of the plant. You will find more detailed information about plant nutrients later in this e-book. Do NOT use peat moss, bagged potting soil or compost in your substrate. These will decay after some time and prevent root growth in plants. A soil that has only a little organic matter and has a higher concentration of fine clay particles is best suited for plant growth. Plant Nutrients Both micro and macro nutrients are required by plants for growth. Macronutrients include nitrates, sulfates and phosphates. The plant requires these in large quantities. If you introduce a lot of macronutrients to your aquarium, it can lead to an undesirable 'algae bloom'. Micronutrients are nutrients required in trace amounts. Nutrients like iron, copper, zinc and calcium are some of these. Excessive amounts of these can prove harmful for the plants. Carbon Dioxide is the most important nutrient that a plant needs. Sometimes, fish alone are not able to provide the optimum levels to support adequate plant growth. Carbon dioxide injections for your plants are an easy but pricey way out. Carbon dioxide levels in your water should be between 5-15 Mg/l. If you go any higher, your fish will be harmed. Using commercially available tablets that dissolve in water and provide a lot of nutrients for your plants is also a good idea. Unless you feed your fish a lot, they will not provide all the nutrients that your plants need. And even if the fish produce enough nutrients, these are available to the algae and other microscopic organisms too. Plants can have a hard time getting it. That is why using additives in the substrate as well as tablets in the water really assist plant growth. When using additives, take special care that they are not harmful for your fish. The use of aerators is also a factor in the growth of your plants. Constantly keeping your air pumps or bubblers on will deplete the carbon dioxide levels in your water. On the other hand, you need the aerators to keep your water rich in oxygen. The easy way out is to turn on the bubblers only for a few hours a day, preferably at night. This will provide enough oxygen for your fish while not depriving your plants of the vital Carbon Dioxide. Keep in mind that plants require oxygen too. Plants will suffer when there is a deficiency in the nutrients. A deficiency in nitrogen and sulfur is indicated when the leaves turn yellow faster than usual. If the leaves seem to be very brittle, you probably need more iron in your aquarium. Over fertilization may lead to problems too. The leaves getting yellow spots can indicate an excess of iron, zinc or copper. Filtration Almost any kind of filtration system will do for plants. Only a few things have to be kept in mind. Constant use of aerators should be avoided. Use a filtration system that will filter out floating particles. These particles will block sunlight and also form a deposit on plant leaves. The filtration should not produce too much of water disturbance, as this will deplete Carbon Dioxide levels. On the other hand, the filtration must create some currents in the water, as this will help easy circulation of nutrients.

How to grow & care for aquarium plants Lighting Different plant species have different requirements when it comes to lighting, and researching the species you are interested in is therefore really important. Many aquarists claim that planted aquariums are really difficult to keep, since they purchase plants that look good without putting any effort into learning how these plants should be cared for. It is not hard to understand why these plants rapidly wilt and die in the aquarium, and why the aquarist believes that planted aquariums are “impossible” to keep. Strength As a rule of thumb, planted aquariums should get 0.5-1.0 watt of fluorescent light per liter of water. Generally speaking, a 50 liter aquarium with standard dimensions will therefore require 0.5 watts x 50 = 25 watts. This rule has to be modified if you keep really high demanding or low demanding species, if your aquarium is very deep, or if your aquarium is really densely planted. Incandescent or fluorescent? Incadenscent lighting is still quite common, especially among beginners. There are many low demanding plant species that will do well with nothing but incandescent lights, but the problem is that incandescent lights tend to become really warm. This will affect the water temperature in your aquarium. Incandescent lights also consume a lot of energy and do not last very long. Investing in fluorescent lights can therefore save you money in the long run. Color temperatures When purchasing fluorescent lights from a well stocked lamp store, you may stumble over a wide range of different color temperatures. Different color temperatures are good for different purposes. If you are a novice plant keeper, stick to bluish (white) and yellow (warm) lamps. Day length Try to mimic the natural day length in the environment from which your plants hail. Many popular aquarium plants are tropical species and are therefore used to 12 hours of light per day. If you keep temperate species, give them at least 14 hours of light each day during the summer and no more than 10 hours per day during the winter. Keeping the lights on 24/7 will only aid algae growth and may also disturb your fish. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Without carbon dioxide, plants cannot perform photosynthesis, the process where they turn light energy into energy that they can use (sugars). Most plants will do well with the carbon dioxide produced by breathing fish and other animals in the aquarium, but there are of course exceptions. Some aquarists use CO2 injections to promote plant growth. This can produce wonderful results when balanced with sufficient lighting and necessary nutrients. Even plants that would survive without any additional CO2 can start growing much more rapidly when they receive extra CO2. CO2 can come from fermentation or from a gas cylinder filled with liquid CO2. Fermentation Producing CO2 through fermentation is actually quite straightforward and can be carried out even by aquarists on a limited budget. You will need a 1.5-2.0 liter plastic bottle.

Poke a hole in the cap and let an airline tube run through it. (The attachment must be airtight.) The airline should ideally have a non-return valve. Fill half of the bottle with water. Shake in ½ cup of sugar and ½ teaspoon of baking yeast. Secure the cap and wait for the fermentation process to start. It should be up and running in no time, just like when you bake a loaf of bread. When gas starts to evaporate through the airline, attach an air stone to the tube and place it in the aquarium. The fermentation process will normally provide the aquarium with plenty of carbon dioxide for at least two weeks. Nutrients Just like terrestrial plants, you aquarium plants need nutrients to survive. Macro nutrients: Nitrogen, Phosphate, Potassium Other nutrients: Boron, Iron, Nickel, Zinc In addition to the elements mentioned above, plants need trace elements of many other elements as well. If you fail to provide your plants with all necessary nutrients, it can lead to stunted growth, yellow leaves or even prove fatal. So, how can nutrients enter the aquarium? Nutrients are present in tap water and well water. Nutrients are present in fish food (and will therefore also be excreted by fish). Nutrients are present in potting soil and aquarium substrate. You can purchase special fertilizers intended for aquarium use. Before you decide on using fertilizers, keep in mind that simply filling your aquarium with a lot of fertilizers will not aid plant growth. Fertilization must always be balanced with light and carbon dioxide. It is also very important to purchase a special aquarium fertilizer, since fertilizers for terrestrial plants contain too much nitrogen which will cause algae growth and injure the fish. Substrate Some aquarium plants must be planted in the substrate or in pots, while others grow attached to rocks, driftwood etcetera. There are also floating plants and plants that can grow in several different fashions. If you want to keep plant species that need a substrate to grow in, ideally chose a substrate where the particles are 1.5-3.0 mm. There are naturally exceptions to this rule, but many plant species can not tolerate finer substrates since their roots cannot handle anaerobic conditions well. When the particles are 1.5 mm or bigger, it is easier for water to circulate which prevents clogging. When it comes to substrate depth, the requirements vary a lot from species to species. The popular Amazon Sword (Echinodorus bleheri) will for instance grow quite big and need to be rooted in at least 8 cm of substrate. Preventing disease Only buy plants that look healthy.

Do not buy plats from aquariums where the fish seem unhealthy. Plants can carry malicious microorganisms and infect your fishes. If you want to be even safer, sterilize the plants before you place them in your aquarium. You can for instance use a dilute solution of potassium permanganate (provided that you have plant and fish species that can handle traces of potassium permanganate). Keeping a plant in potassium permanganate for 10-15 minutes will kill most malevolent microorganisms. Remove all damaged leaves before planting. It is better to remove a lot of leaves than allow them to decay and pollute the water. Do not panic if most leaves die, turn yellow or dissolve after planting. The shock of being repotted can make plants lose their leaves, but they will grow new ones.

How to Grow Beautiful Aquarium Plants (cheap)! or How to Build a Soil Substrate Aquatic plants receive carbon dioxide (CO2), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca) primarily from the water. They can also receive nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), sulpher (S) and several other trace nutrients (Fe, Bo, Mn, Cu, Zn, Mo) from water however these can also be absorbed by roots in the substrate. Retaining phosphate and iron sources in the substrate helps to limit availability of these nutrients to algae. This is the secret to growing beautiful plants without serious algae problems! In fact, most aquatic plants grow much, much better when they get nutrients from the substrate. In order for iron to be available from a substrate, you need to use a clay, soil or iron containing substrate additive together with a small amount of organic material such as peat. The organic material provides nutrients for anaerobic bacteria to reduce insoluble iron (ferric) to soluble iron (ferrous). It also releases humic acids which are natural chelator chemicals which lock onto positively charged chemical ions like Fe++ and make it available in the water. These humic acids also help to buffer the pH in your aquarium to a good value. The downside is that humic acids interfere with many test kits which measure CO2 and carbonate hardness. This method shows you how to achieve adequate CO2 and carbonate hardness without relying on test kits. Substrate Here is a substrate design which is highly effective for me. Bottom layer, iron rich clay, Micronized Iron or subsoil. This may be mixed with sand. (New) About 2% Micronized Iron by weight is probably plenty. Iron fertilizers containing iron sulphate such as Ironite are not suitable. Pottery clay is a bit difficult to mix with other materials unless it’s in powder form so chop it into bits and soak it in water for a week stirring often until its nice and soupy. I like subsoil, it's easy, probably as good as anything and cheap. I sometimes add a little F-T-E, fritted trace elements; (New) about 10 small granules for each square foot of tank bottom (2" depth) are about right according to the suggested usage on the package. Be careful because it's easy to use too much. 10 small granules of F-T-E weighs about 0.12 grams (120 milligrams). That's about 1/70 of a teaspoon! Middle layer, (New) 1 inch depth of mixture of garden soil mixed 4 parts to 1 part of fluffy sphagnum peat moss by volume. Since garden soil is about 20 times heavier than peat moss, this is a ratio of 1.25% by weight. This should be one inch deep NO DEEPER!! (see notes). Mix a handful of Micronized Iron with this if you have it to ensure that the soil has sufficient iron. Iron is present in most soils especially if the soil in your garden is good for growing plants. You can also mix the soil with sand if it seems to be too rich. Top layer, 1 inch depth regular 2-3 millimeter aquarium gravel.

I suggest between 2 to 3 watts per gallon of tank capacity of either fluorescent or metal halide lighting. you can reduce the frequency of water changes. It will stay cloudy for several hours. If you have used a rich organic material or a rich soil then you may need to be concerned about high levels of nitrate. SKIP this if your tap water is over 4 GH general hardness. Plant your plants after the water level is a few inches deep. siphon the waterout and refill again more carefully. Each time you change water.Put a large plate or flat plastic on the bottom weighted by a rock and slowly fill the tank with water allowing the water flow to gently flow onto the plate. HINT: mix the calcium carbonate with a jar of water and add this at night around lights off time. add 1 tsp of this for each 5 gallons of water you replace. Later as the peat releases less humic acids. Change 25% of your tank water frequently on initial set-up. On startup. Use fast growing plants initially. Add the following and stir until dissolved: 1/4 cup of potassium sulphate 1/4 cup of epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) 1/8 cup of potassium nitrate (salt peter) Put this into a 750ml bottle and keep in a cool place. Add 1 tsp of this for each 5 gallons of aquarium water on startup. you will get a lot of cloudiness. These are provided primarily by your soil. dose with fertilizer according to the volume of water you drain off and replace. Over time a over-rich aquarium substrate will become manageable especially if you remove the excess algae and growth from fast growing plants. I think there's enough nutrients to last several weeks especially if you add some NPK fertilized clay balls once or twice a year. Plant densely. If you disturb the water during filling. Note that the fertilizer contains no trace nutrient additions. phosphate or ammonia initially. add 1 tsp of calcium carbonate for each 10 gallons of aquarium water you replace. Watch the ammonia concentration closely for the first month because ammonia tends to be released from rich substrates. add 2 tsps of calcium carbonate for each 10 gallons of aquarium water. Water change frequency can be much less often then. Activated carbon filtration will also reduce the yellow color and help to remove excess iron from the water. Sometimes crystals may form if it’s in the fridge so I add a half tsp of muriatic acid and store it on my shelf. The peat and iron substrate can release enough iron to cause minor problems with algae for the first few months. Initially the peat will release a lot of humic acid and this will color the water yellow. A light layer will also be deposited on the plant leaves but this dissolves slowly by the action of dissolved CO2 in your water. SKIP this if your tap water is over 4 GH general hardness. See notes on GH. CO2 . Fertilizer For fertilizer heat 3 cups of water to boiling in a large jar or measuring cup. A high quality iron test kit may also be useful. Good lighting and plenty of plants are important to the success of an soil substrate. At each water change. Nitrate and phosphate test kits are handy but not essential. That's why regular water changes are a good idea. Each time your change water. If you do.

you should use about 3 watts/gal. I'd aim for 1 bubble every 8 seconds. I use this measure because there are test kits available which give readings in GH.CO2 injection is VERY important for the success of a high light tank. 4-6 seconds per bubble is adequate. Spectrum and intensity may affect the coloration of some kinds of Crypts.9 mg/L of CaCO3. either yeast method or compressed tank with regulator and micro-flow metering valve. One degree of GH is the equivalent of 17. or a few clay fertilizer balls is all you need to induce a tremendous boost of growth even with your existing lighting (assuming that you've met the watt/gallon guidelines) Please visit the Krib for TONS of information about lighting! Remember. I like a sponge filter on the powerhead inlet and no other filters to disrupt the water surface. you should use about 1. I'm not going to repeat the excellent information already available elsewhere on the world wide web about CO2 and lighting. Each ball of clay will have about 70 mg of nitrogen which is the equivalent of 300 mg of nitrate and about 70 mg of phosphoric acid (P2O5). See the Krib for more information on CO2. See the Krib for more information on lighting. For small tanks of size 27 gallons or less. See the pictures of powerhead CO2 injection in the Hallway of Pictures. I use the MH systems because of their convenience and because I don't have to build or buy a hood. you won't need to add any calcium. It takes about 1/2 a teaspoon of clay to make a 10 mm (1/2") ball of clay. Expressed as calcium concentration (what really matters) this is equivalent to about 30 mg/L Ca. Dry these until hard and place 1 or 2 into the substrate near the roots of heavy feeders. strong lighting is not essential for growing Crypts and beyond a certain point. Often a dose of calcium. Lighting Sufficient lighting is VERY important for the success of a high growth tank. Other sources suggest that 1 tsp of CaCO3 / 50 L should give about 40 mg/L so it may be that the sample I weighed is heavier because it has absorbed water from the air. Use CO2 injection. prepare 1/2 inch clay balls with about 10 granules of 14-14-14 fertilizer. The powerhead helps to introduce current into your water which exercises the fish and greatly improves the rate of CO2 transfer to the plants. Sources for chemicals: . CO2 injection. or potassium in the water. the watt per gallon rule is a good indication. For Crypts and Swords. Repeat as necessary if growth rates become low (about 6 months). Crypts also have a tendency to melt in very strong lighting however I have found that regular additions of calcium seem to help Crypts to resist melting! This may be especially true if peat or leaves rich in humic acid are used in the substrate. light and CO2. Thus if you have close to 70 mg/L or 70 ppm of CaCO3 in your tap water. The examples of aquariums on my web pages typically are more strongly lit than is necessary or optimal for algae management. For larger tanks. Try to get 1 bubble per 4-6 seconds. 1 tsp for 50 litres of water gives you 80 mg/L. If cost of operation is a concern and you want to keep the extra heat to a minimum.7 grams) Notes GH or general hardness is a measure of the amount of calcium and magnesium found in natural water. One level teaspoon (5 ml) of calcium carbonate weighs 4 grams. For faster growing plants. For a typical 18" deep aquarium. More light does not translate into more growth especially if the available nutrients are limited.5 watts/gal. I like to inject CO2 using a powerhead. I suggest you use efficient T8 lights such as GE-SPX-50 together with electronic ballasts designed specifically for these lamps. Check back at a later date for more info. Enriching the Substrate To enrich the substrate fertility for heavy feeders like sword plants or large crypts. I prefer stronger lighting and CO2 because I want the plants really actively growing in order to maintain the dynamic balance between nutrients. does nothing to increase growth rates. a teaspoon weighs about 5. I'm not going to repeat the excellent information already available elsewhere on the world wide web about CO2 and lighting. (Estimates based on 113 granules per teaspoon.

Echinodorus. Drug stores carry epsom salts and can order many kinds of chemicals for you. The best dirt for your first try is stuff you dig up out of the ground from a well drained location where there's been grass growing for years. (New) The bagged soils which you purchase at garden centres are NOT suitable. If you really want large crypts and growth. If you have hard water and are not adding the initial dose of calcium carbonate. I take precautions to ensure that filamentous algae are not introduced into my aquariums. Ammonia is also released from very fertile substrates for about a month after submergence. If you feel that the local soil is simply not suitable and you decide to use a packaged soil despite the high fertility. See the PMDD section of the Krib Sources for F-T-E and Micronized Iron The use of Micronized Iron together with peat should be considered experimental as the iron is concentrated and in a highly available form. If you keep logs like this I would appreciate the information if you are willing to share it.Bigger gardening centers carry many of the chemicals and things like Micronized Iron and F-T-E fritted trace elements. we don't have good information on how to repeat the successes. Regular water changes also helps to prevent a build-up of humic acids and humic chelated iron in your water which may occur in the first few months. phosphates and iron concentration will also be very informative. It will be well leached of soluble nutrients. Although we know people have been using soils of all kinds. use it sparingly. See the Krib bleach information at: http://www. copper. nitrates. Saggitaria.html Organic material and fertile soil is only used in a thin layer (1") close to the surface because a deeper layer will receive less oxygen diffusing from the surface and will become too low in reduction (redox) potential thus creating toxins by the action of anaerobic bacteria. Aponogeton crispus. This article is intended as a detailed procedure on how to safely setup a productive soil tank. Hydroponics supply stores carry all the fertilizer chemicals. Sometimes a local soil may entirely lack a mineral like manganese. Less is better than more. molybdenum. practice regular water changes to ensure enough calcium. Your local gardening experts will be able to tell you if the local soil needs a trace nutrient supplement. Notes on regular measurements of ammonia. Soil and/or peat substrates have been in use by many folks for extended periods since the beginning of aquatic plant keeping so I consider them proven. then you should mix this with a larger volume of sand. I've been successfully using a variety of soil substrates for 3 years. If you use Micronized Iron. Refer to the technical article on substrate materials for further discussion of redox potential. Note that the fertilizer contains no trace nutrient additions. When is a soil too rich? I do not recommend you use any compost or soil treated recently with manure or other fertilizer within the last year. Rotala. In these cases a small amount of Fritted Trace Elements (a tsp) well mixed into the bottom layer should be safe and sufficient. Bear in mind that soils do vary in composition somewhat. Pottery supply outlets carry large bags of calcium carbonate See your yellow pages for chemicals. boron or zinc but these soils are very rare. Paul Krombholz has been using soil and peat preparations for several years. Peat soaks up calcium. A one inch layer is sufficient to provide enough reduction potential to ensure a long-term supply of reduced and soluble iron. Hygrophila polysperma. Heteranthera zosterifolia) do not show indications of iron toxicity. These are provided primarily by your soil. Bacopa.thekrib. I suggest using ordinary soil first without Micronized Iron. . they are too high in nutrients and organic material. My experience over a 4 month period indicates that humic chelated iron is being released from the substrate but not at a level to create serious algae The plants which I grow (Cryptocorynes. It is always a good plan to keep careful notes and measure the quantities of materials you use for later reference. you can use more fertile mixtures but you may have to deal with algae problems.

Drain the soil well before mixing it with the peat and Micronized Iron .1 ppm of chelated iron when dosed as directed. The peat can also be treated by the same method to reduce the levels of humic acids released during the transitional period. you should probably fill the tank with water and drain it once before refilling and planting since the wet soil and peat will contain nutrients which would be released quickly. precautions and other substrate materials. 1 tsp of chelated trace element mix should be added to the mixture (3 cups of water). . I maintained these planted aquariums in a way that achieved results that were both cost effective and simple. so my experience with these methods is more limited. Some soils also contain calcium carbonate or calcium sulphate as well as magnesium. Refer to my detailed substrate article for more information on soils. This is amount will produce approximately 0. What I am not is a planted aquarium "Guru". Calcium levels over 50ppm (as Ca) should be very similar to what is now called the "Walstad Method". for the first two months. phosphates and iron. Much of what is contained in this article is based on my observations and methods I used as well as learning from others in forums. The mineral nutrient method described above can still be used if the substrate does not contain iron and organic material. you can skip the epsom salts in the fertilizer. such soils should not be a problem since the humic acidity of the peat will provide a stable pH and help to absorb excesses of soluble calcium and magnesium. etc. which in the end is what pleased my clients. but based on my emails and other communications much of what is contained in this article will help at least 80% of readers and the others may still glean helpful insights from reading this article and many outside resources. Chelated iron is lost from solution by the break down of the chelating compound however EDTA and DTPA are the most stable chelating compounds. For a more information on chelated trace nutrients and sources see the PMDD section of the Krib at http://www. With peat. The mineral nutrients do not need to be dosed frequently since these nutrients are not lost over time. and outside research. What was not desired by most of my clients were the high tech methods that were more time consuming and more expensive (if only for the cost of time). The same is true for nitrate (+10ppm) and potassium (+10ppm). Initially. Such soils are more prone to lack iron. A little background to this article. In this case. You can test a sample in water for pH or using the acid test for fizzing.If you know your tap water contains over 10 ppm of magnesium. Some of these problems can be avoided by keeping the soil sample in a 5 gal bucket with water for a few weeks to release the majority of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients. Weigh the peat when its dry since it is the dry weight ratios which are important. however I do provide outside resources for these methods too. some soils will release a significant amount of nutrients such as nitrates. It may be necessary to prepare a separate solution of chelated trace nutrients (mainly iron) which are added more frequently according to the PMDD methodology. When using such wet mixtures. Nutrient release is highest at 4 weeks and declines rapidly until it is nearly stable after 10 weeks. These are limestone soils and are quite alkaline. Your gardening center experts can also advise you on this condition.thekrib. My experience in keeping planted aquariums is based many successful planted aquariums I maintained for my aquarium maintenance clients. AQUARIUM PLANT CARE (Planted Freshwater Aquariums): By Carl Strohmeyer OVERVIEW This article is intended as a basic to advanced article for Freshwater Aquarium Plant keeping with SEVERAL outside references for more in depth information (such asLighting) that I strongly recommend reading for advanced plant keeping in particular. ammonia. This can cause a few problems with algae such as green spot algae on plant leaves.

Please see further in this article as per the "Walstad Method" and Aquarium Chemistry as it pertains to: Basic planted aquarium water parameters. As per the "Walstad Method" (basically a twist on was known by old timers as the "German Method"). as there are many filters that will work. So what you want is a filter that will keep ammonia and nitrites at absolute 0 while preserving some bio available minerals. basic water circulation may be all you need if following this method. For this reason Wet/Dry. This filtration capacity must occur even when organic wastes may suddenly spike (such as due to plant deaths. ferts. parameter.Please follow links to outside reference for further explanations of more in depth information such as Advanced CO2 Systems. Algae. HOWEVER. Wet/Dry in particular will strip CO2. over feeding. this depends upon your fish. the facts of low CO2 stripping along with high aerobic bio filtration volume and response to sudden spikes placed these two filter types ahead of others. While other filters may work fine (for those of you questioning this who have other filters). As well we provide links to excellent online places to purchase plants (these are not affiliated with us in any way. I found Quality Sponge Filters and Fluidized Filters met the requirements of aerobic bio filtration that best fit a planted aquarium environment. fish deaths. Back to Filters: Based on my head to head controlled tests in the 1990s. etc. etc. more than others. . etc bio load versus the amount of plants. many HOB. however as you read further in this article you will see that some filters can and will effect chemistry. thus having a positive or negative influence on your aquatic plants. My personal experience and knowledge of aquarium chemistry suggests that at least a simple Sponge or more advanced FB Filter should be used for best results if using the "Walstad Method". and even many canister filters are not always the best choice for planted aquariums (especially for the "Walstad Method").). FILTERS (Filtration): Admittedly "best" is a loaded word. Lighting. temporary blackouts. we only provide these resources as a reader service & because we believe these businesses are worth while visiting) For healthy plants you will need. In a heavily planted aquarium with a low bio load. this method depends upon the plants to do most of the work for maintaining the aquarium chemistry (as for as the Nitrogen Cycle ONLY) while the aquarium keeper only provides circulation and cleanings ONLY when necessary. nitrates and CO2. as will many canister filters (although proper set of your canister filter products such as Matrix or Purigen along with limited water spray in return can help). etc. shrimp.

Unlike most all other filters. Purigen. A relatively new water pump "Type" is the propeller pump. The Sponge Filter is especially worth considering if you have shrimp in your aquarium as many planted aquarium keepers often do. the smallestTMC Fluidized Filter. This design provides a much softer widespread flow versus the more common high focused current of popular power heads. however this does not mean you cannot keep a very successful planted tank without these filters. Consider too that most of the natural environments we are duplicating with our planted aquariums (which often include fish such as Discus or Cardinal Tetras) do not have constant heavy circulation. just not as readily IMO). As well this design will not drive out CO2 as much as other pumps if positioned lower in the water (although traditional power heads can be optimized as well. propeller pumps or traditional power head pumps MAY not be a good choice for planted tanks . Contrast a planted/Amazon River aquarium with a reef aquarium which should have much more water current. Please reference these articles: *Sponge Filtration. whoever some filters provide more than others and circulation many not be fully adequate with some filters (such as a Fluidized Filter). As a side note. and the many professionals/hobbyists that use these with top notch results. not a powerhead. Filters *Freshwater Aquarium Filter Suggestions *Do Bio Wheels Filters work as Claimed? Water Circulation is a related aspect of your planted aquarium. and similar South American fish). however a high volume Hydro Sponge #5 will compare reasonably well without some of the draw backs (the Hydro Pond #2 or a stacked Hydro Sponge #5 will actually out perform the before mentioned canister filters). the sponge filter cannot "suck up" juvenile shrimp. I have had better experience with these aquariums by providing many "dead" spots with little (or even no) water current. for added chemical filtration (Purigen can be used to remove water yellowing tannins if necessary). Throwing the better yet for planted aquarium Fluidized filter into the comparison. the model #600 will easily outperform the before mentioned and similar canister filters. By default most filtration also provides circulation.It is also important to compare apples to apples if you are considering a sponge filter over say a canister filter. An Internal Filter (or two) such as Multi Stage SunSun HJ-952 can be added to compliment your Fluidized Filter (or Sponge filter). Discus. which is my choice for planted aquariums (especially with Ram cichlids. The Sponges in most such as the HJ-952 can be removed for adding carbon. If a sponge filter is used with shrimp present. I suggest the air powered method. Facts & Information *Aquarium Filtration. etc. Similar comparisons can be also made to many HOB filters as well. Obviously I am pushing Sponge and Fluidized filters. effect on water parameters. For instance a low quality sponge material Lees #13390 Sponge filter is not going to come close to say a SunSun 402 filter for a 60 gallon aquarium. nothing could be further from the truth if this is assumed from this article. as it is possible for the power head to accidentally become disconnected and then be a danger to the shrimp (an air pump also provides a more gentle vertical current that is better for shrimp). What I am saying is to consider these two filters. their simplicity.

Taken together. As well useful light energy is something that is often missed and is an area where new generation LED light cannot be beat. 425 and 525 watts respectively (pictured to the left and below in a photo shop example of placement)! Honestly for any aquarium plant keeper who is remotely handy in DIY projects. The watts per gallon is part of the lighting equation as stated above. For MUCH more expanded information about lighting (including more in depth explanations of the above subjects). Lumen Focus and Restrike is an area that the LED and Metal Halide are the kings of with almost all light energy directed where the light needs to be. I recommend using a timer as well for more reliable lighting on/off time. Information & Facts” Time: Generally around 12 hours per day of lighting is best (if multiple lights are used.with shrimp. • PAR (often easiest determined by Kelvin output). especially since juvenile shrimp can get sucked into the intake screens. however it is still a reasonable starting point as long as the other important factors are considered as well Although with high end LED lights this lighting parameter is basically useless (please note I mean "high end" LEDs such as the AquaRay. Many in the aquarium hobby industry still go by this outdated generalization which leads me scratching my head with all the advances in lighting technology. Suggestions for Lighting your Planted Freshwater Aquarium: The relatively new SHO (Super High Output) CFL use 65. the first FOUR points (plus Watts Per Gallon) are the most critical. this is an area of lighting along with "Useful Energy" where the old "watts per gallon" rule/guide really falls apart. time on and off can be staggered such as 12 hours for half and 10 hours for the other half of lights). not the cheapie LEDs such as Rio Mini Sun or Marineland Double Brite as well as many others) Besides watts per gallon these other factors are also quite important: • Lumens per watt. but no one of these should be a sole determiner of the lights. the SHO lamps are hard to beat. please read this article: “AQUARIUM LIGHTING. • Lux. • Lumen focus & Restrike • Useful Light Energy (not wasted in yellow/green light spectrum that green plants and zooanthellic algae reflect) • Output in relation to bulb length (this is where LEDs and to a lesser extent T2s and T5s excel). . & 105 watts however these awesome bulbs put out the equivalent of 325. especially for tanks over 50 gallons. especially with modern LED lights. *PROPER LIGHTING: 3-4 watts per gallon is a VERY basic principle for which modern lighting technology has out dated. The “watts per gallon formula” was based on older T8 & T12 lights. 85. however it is highly inaccurate when taken by itself. many of which were not of optimum PAR/Kelvin and are severely lacking in the area of lumens per watt. although the new generation T2 and to a lesser degree T5s are also relatively strong in this area. Many in the Green house industry have already discovered this lamp for its plant growing capabilities. in your aquarium. which for the price there is simply no equal for planted aquariums (the aquarium hobby/industry is much slower to catch on in so many technologies and this light is a major example of this)! Bluntly this is the lamp that should be used by any serious planted freshwater aquarium keeper. I generally only consider this parameter in deeper planted freshwater aquarium to determine if I am getting the proper light where it needs to be.

This shows four lights. Multiple T2s can be interconnected for larger aquariums so as to require just one outlet so that for instance you could have four 13 Watt 6400K T2s for a 60 gallon with medium light requiring plants. there are other excellent planted aquarium light choices as well. The PAR 38 LED Light pictured here has a newer generation CRee emitters and is placed over one end of a 40 gallon planted freshwater aquarium and is simply installed into a standard incandescent light fixture. the T5 is still vastly superior to most available T8 and T12 lights still available. The negative is these lights are not as consumer ready for applications and require some DIY to install either incandescent sockets or a pendant. although T5 technology is not quite as good as T2 in lumens per watt (they are a slightly older technology). The new generation T-2 lamps/Fixtures are also great plant lights with over 70+ lumens per watt.For example in a 5-6 foot long 125-150 gallon aquarium. without as much potential of unwanted algae growth due to the over use of blue emitters by some competing LED Lights. the 50. The Colour Plus brings out the color of fish and plants better than any other LED available. mixed with GroBeam). It is noteworthy that not all PAR 38s are created equal as per newer generation CRee emitters at exacting 6500K daylight. Another option in LEDs for those looking for plant capable output is the PAR 38 self ballasted screw in lamps. *The TMC Colour Plus for low to medium light planted aquarium or high light when used 1 to 1 or 1 to 2 with the GroBeam. two lights is generally adequate (only one light for 2 feet or less in length). the lowest wasted light energy and the highest focused lumens and you have a real top notch planted aquarium light that requires only . Better yet is mounting via a reflector Before I seem to be over hyping the relatively new SHO technology. For instance just two GroBeam 600 Strips can create enough light for a 60 gallon low/medium light planted aquarium (I would add 3-4 GroBeam 600s or 2 GroBeam 1500 Ultimas for high light plants). but this picture is meant to demonstrate the output of just one of these PAR 38 LEDs.6 watt per gallon for high light requiring plants! My personal recommendation is a GroBeam “Natural Daylight” or a combination with the “Marine White” LED Fixtures (for deeper aquariums. The picture to the above/left shows a 60 gallon aquarium hood with (4) 6400K T2s and (4) GroBeam LED Lights on the top and a 40 gallon with JUST ONE GroBeam 600 LED (please click to enlarge for a better view) . Please click on the picture above to enlarge for a better view of the diagram displaying approximate SHO lamp placement in a planted freshwater aquarium. Obviously two are necessary for this size tank (36" in length). Both these light types come highly recommended for planted aquariums . The advantage of this light system besides high lumen and PAR light output is the low set up cost compared to most other lighting systems. For example two 13 Watt 6400 K T2s are excellent for a 20 gallon with high light requiring plants. four 85 Watt 6400 K SHO staggered in four separate incandescent single sockets will provide ample light in the correct PAR for healthy plant growth. The newest technology yet would be the LED light such as the newest technology TMC Aqua Ray with latest generation (patented) CREE XB-D Power LEDs. Finally for reasons of simplicity and economics the CFL lights are also an excellent choices for low to medium light planted freshwater aquariums. Although initial cost is high (but much lower than they were a year prior to this update). I would also stagger the time on/off time for half these lamps with two on for 12 hours and two on for 10 hours. Other "high end" LED options include: *A single Mini 400 is excellent for "high light" planted aquariums under 20 gallons. Couple that with the highest lumens per watt. I should also note that there are also many excellent T5 fixtures available for planted freshwater aquariums.000 hour lifespan and lowest energy usage pays for these lights in the long term. although for aquarium 4 feet or less in length. lower wasted light energy (less wasted than SHO & other CFLs) and very compact size.

although some recent experiments of mine suggest this will destroy valuable organic nutrients.under 45 gallons. as well adding additional nutrients would obviously be necessary at some point (although one can use Baylee’s Substrate and then add Plant Grower Bed or Flourite later) . For an old DIY method I have used for a substrate on a budget. The sand that is left is what you mix with your plant roots. although this will not affect mineral nutrients). it looks nice (since it is primarily rock). Flourite or similar. Onyx Sand. The disadvantages is the amount of nutrients is lower than the use of the before mentioned plant grower substrates. that is often promoted by advocates is that these sands provide nutrients necessary for plant roots. There is a lot of mis-information both pro and con as to the use of these sands for planted aquariums. please note that although an inexpensive route to go. (See "Aquarium Cleaning") Other sands for use as a substrate for planted freshwater aquariums Pool Filter sand and “play sand” are commonly recommended and used for planted aquariums as well. For healthy plants I would suggest any of the following. Not all substrates are light but many are. and it is simple to use with many nutrients already added. *SUBSTRATE. The total depth of sand. however nothing is further from the truth as silica sand is 99. one can substitute Eco Complete or similar with a DIY sandy top soil/compost. by preparing the soil thus. this product is carbonate rich with high amounts of Calcium and Magnesium and is specially suited for plants that prefer large amounts of these minerals such as Anubias or in tanks that are supplied by a water source that is very mineral poor (the use of Wonder Shells and Buffers can help as well). this ‘homemade plant substrate is not as good as Flourite or similar substrates. a substrate of #1 sand mixed with Flourite. plant substrate or any combination there of should be about 3-5 inches for most rooted aquarium plants.0-99. This is provided by a good sandy base and careful cleaning so as to not disturb this. To start with these sands are primarily silica sandwith play sand being more dusty. The advantages of this product are. The roots are support symbiotic bacteria that aid in Nitrate assimilation and other processes. Please be careful when vacuuming with many plant substrates as it is easy to suck these up vacuums and many will mistake these often lighter than gravel substrates as waste (this is especially common with inexperienced aquarium keepers. This combination works well for plant roots. The second aspect of the use of these silica sands (the con).9% SiO2 and is considered "totally insoluble" in water according to the US MSDS. I then will let it sit in the open for a few days (A 10:1 bleach solution can be used. ease of vacuuming the top layer ONLY (where plant roots are). This is similar to my method of using #1 sand mixed with clean compost or #1 sand and/or #3 gravel mixed with Azoo Plant Grower Bed. This is definitely not true as well and is NOT a reason to use pool sand or play sand as already stated these sands are primarily SiO2 and do NOT have other minerals such as iron that are important to plant roots! Please reference this article: Pool Sand Composition *Another method is to use product that is already a primary gravel/sand substrate such as the use Baylee's Better Bottom substrate. Some have stated that silica sand is unsafe for use in either freshwater or saltwater. Another substrate suggestion is SeaChem Onyx Sand. inexpensive. The fact is that your aquarium glass is made primarily made from this ingredient and would also be dangerous to your fish if this were true. or maybe Eco Complete about 3-5 cm deep with a layer of #3 gravel on top about 2 cm deep or simply mix with #0 sized sand. adding a nail or similar to this compost as it ages can add some iron). sadly many of these inexperienced aquarium keepers make statements at Yahoo Answers or YouTube that this substrate represents a "dirty" aquarium often confusing others that do not know better). so extreme care should be exercised with these light substrates such as "kinking" the tubing from the vacuum bell or simply avoiding areas of plant substrates. then add water then rinse and strain to remove large debris until the water runs relatively clear (do not over rinse or you remove nutrients). Gather aged compost mixed with a sandy top soil (although not good a source of iron. ADA Aquatic Substrates. and for better bio filtration.

) are not going to be similar in your aquarium as where his plant was uprooted (without much care I suspect too). and basic ferts as well as simple natural CO2 generation methods will produce at least 70-80% of the results of much more advanced methods! As well. the key is bio available. I measured 20 drops and this was equal to a ¼ tsp. For more information about Flourish Excel from a Sea Chem question and answer fact sheet. my experience as well as others experience with Flourish Excel has been mixed. if your intension is only low to medium light plants. CO2 and a Proper Gas Exchange: Gasses such as Oxygen and CO2 are added/ subtracted from the aquarium via surface agitation. The environment (pH. So at this rate you will go through a ounce in 24 minute. In fact. water environment. Add the correct dosage for your aquarium size then add the water (RO or DI water is best to mix with Flourish). Extreme shock and sterile gravel are going to play havoc with the initial transplant in to the aquarium. but usually nothing more be added in a healthy aquarium eco-system for these plant types. However. please follow this link: SeaChem Flourish Excel FAQ Flourish Excel Drip System Example: Another way to utilize SeaChem Flourish Excel for bio available carbon (CO2) in a better staggered way than all at once is a calibrated drip system. filtration. at most I have found only liquid products such as Flourish Excel to be necessary. light conditions. There are 6 tsp in one fluid ounce. While this might be the way to go for certain hobbyists. This is where there is a lot of misunderstanding. from my experience (as well as other experienced pros) many of these time extensive and expensive methods do not have a big payoff with results when time and costs are factored in. as a generalization just utilizing good lighting. KH. after this period the plant will eventually start to grow new leaves and begin to grow. Generally speaking it is oxygen that is added and CO2 that is subtracted. This why I find Flourish Excel CAN be a useful product as this is bio-available organic carbon when used in conjunction with good lighting and ferts (fertilizers). Liquid CO2: You can add to the bio available carbon/CO2 as noted above through a product calledSea Chem Flourish Excel (probably the most simple way in my experience) or a CO2 generator/system. *BIO AVAILABLE CARBON. In this experiment I was able to get 20 drops per minute.Transplant: Transplant is an important consideration in keeping healthy aquarium plants. Example: For a 50 gallon planted aquarium you would add one capful (5 mL) Flourish Excel. So 4 minutes would equal 1 tsp. this product is hard to beat (use with a drip system is also a consideration). with SeaChem Flourish Excel rating a 6 on scale of 10 when compared to a professional CO2 injection system at a 10 in his scale. Often many "Hands On" advanced aquarium keepers will utilize the most advanced Pressurized CO2 system (as well as complicated Fert delivery). etc. This shock can last a long period of time (this varies by plant. However for those who want a simple way to boost CO2 without the hassles of any type of CO2 system especially with low/medium & even high light plants. GH. which vary greatly in cost and CO2 delivery. nutrient mix. then depending upon how long you would like to . CO2 is organically (naturally) added via fish respiration or other biological activity/decomposition. and transplant method).

You can tell if aquarium plants are photosynthesizing by observing the plants. When small bubbles form on the leaves of plants it is a sign that photosynthesis is occurring. For this example I would suggest 20 oz. Natural CO2: CO2 is also provided by fish and other aquatic inhabitants through respiration. or a more advanced CO Reactor system I personally do not care for the yeast based CO2 system as they are often no more effective than the Fizz Tabs or Floramat with a lot more hassles. For a more advanced system with a reactor. not CO2. To Increase CO2: • Add a CO2 system such as the basic Jungle Fizz Tabs. however true nitrifying bacteria use carbon dioxide (CO2) for their source of carbon thus depleting CO2 in the aquarium (please reference this article for more: “Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle”). Often this above chemical reaction is naturally occurring in planted aquariums with little aquarist intervention. DIY yeast. • Cut back on surface agitation. Slow acid production with Pillow (Frog) Moss. as long as the aquarium is well balanced with alkaline & acid buffers both natural (such as Pilliow Moss for Acid) and added (such as SeaChem Alakline Buffer for Alkaline). If ample acid buffers exist. Keep in mind that circulation is still necessary just watch the surface agitation where CO2 is exchanged for oxygen. Hagen. Generally I use a quart of water with the variable being higher amounts of Excel and Ferts in this mix as per the aquarium size and plant demands (see also the "Ferts"/Nutrients section of this article). . • Utilize bicarbonates or carbonates such as SeaChem Alkaline Buffer. • Add Flourish Excel Flousish Excel can be quite simply dosed along with other liquid "Ferts" (fertilizers/plant nutrients) by figuring your weekly dosage mixed with water and adding to upside down soda or water bottle with an air line that has a control valve so that you can regulate the speed of the drip into your aquarium. of water to mix for 8 hours of drip (24 minutes per ounce x 20 ounces water/Flourish Excel solution). longer dosing times can be achieved. or Driftwood can also be used to stabilize pH & counteract the KH Buffers and produce CO2. This is commonly referred to as pearling. Floramat System. With larger containers. from my experience I would suggest 8 hours for best results (keeping mind that CO2 is not utilized after dark). Baking Soda or similar KH Buffers. These however can be set to go on at night by using a timer when plants use oxygen.stagger the drip would determine the amount of water. however even though Flourish Excel can remain active for 24 hours. diffuser. Please see the picture above for an example of this DIY Organic Carbon Drip System.+ (H3O)+ >2(HSO4). The result renders the use of CO2 generators or products such as Flourish Excel unnecessary. Below describes the production of CO2 when Sodium Carbonates (KH Buffer) are combined with Sodium Bisulfate to produce CO2: >NaHSO4 (Sodium Bisulfate).+ (CO3)2. then either allow for SeaChem Acid Buffer (which utilizes proprietary bisulfate salts which are superior to methods that utilize phosphates) to immediately stabilize pH & counteract the KH Buffers and produce CO2 as part of the chemical reaction. Peat. Almond Leaf.(Carbonate)-----> ? >CO2 and H2O will be formed. Na2CO3 (Sodium Carbonate/Baking Soda) >(HSO4) (Sulfuric Acid) + H2O -----> (SO4)2. especially power head venturis or air stones. a Pressurized CO2 is the next step up. often just the additoin of an Alkaline (KH) Buffer will react with the Acid Buffer and produce CO2.

this can be deadly to fish when photosynthesis of plants ceases. With high end systems combined with high end lights such as SHO (Super High Output) Lights I recommend running have the lights for 12 hours and the other half for 8-10 hours. Adding Peat or Almond Leaves can help with this aspect of biogenic decalcification. A number of species of aquatic plants (such as Elodea/Anacharis) can absorb the bicarbonate ion. Thorough and regular water changes are a must for more reason than this alone. adding yeast (or tablets such as the Jungle system) early in the day should allow for enough time for CO2 generation to cease by late in the day. As well many bio filters such as Wet/Dry can "wear off" your CO2. I would either physically turn of the CO2 at night or purchase a valve (similar to those use in irrigation) that closes the valve on the CO2 canister using a timer. Fluidized Sand Aquarium Filters(or both) is advised in planted aquariums utilizing additional CO2. They tend to live in crowded conditions where there is not much flow-through of water. these too should be set to no longer add bubbles of CO2 to your aquarium after your light go out. so here are a few suggestions: • Whether or not you add CO2 to your tank. They often precipitate calcium carbonate on their leaves. Effect of Aeration (air stones etc. and excrete hydroxide. but depending on your yeast based system. the light can harm your aquarium plants such as rough deposits on the leaves known as biogenic decalcification. Effect of light on CO2: • If the light is very intense and there isn't a corresponding larger amount of CO2. • For high end CO2 units. For this reason the use of Sponge Filters or better yet. and poorly maintained Wet/Dry & Canister Filters). and can also harm your fish (fish will be gasping at the surface due to poor oxygen/CO2 ratios in the aquarium). so if these filters are creating too much aeration that drives off CO2 during the day. For the High end DIY CO2 system pictured below. I would NOT recommend placing a filter on a timer as this can cause destruction of nitrifying bacterial colonies. • Some bio filters can add to organic build up (Under gravel. • For more basic CO2 units such as the Floramat (or Jungle). HOWEVER this can also “drive off” important CO2 that you are adding to your tank for plants via a CO2 generator or even via normal respiration of fish. I would suggest changing the configuration until your CO2 levels are where you want them and then use an air pump to regulate CO2/Oxygen levels. Aeration whether it be air stones and/or breaking of the surface tension via the splashing effect of a HOB filter is essential for fish to provide necessary oxygen. in good light. set your pressure valve to diffuse some CO2 after the first lights turn on and then open further after all lights are operating (the amount of CO2 needed will need to be determined by testing and trail and error). At the same time. they can raise the pH to 10. keep the CO2. simply only diffuse CO2 into the “mixing chamber” early in the day so that it is depleted or if using the bubble method.) on CO2. and.• Be careful of organic buildup that can deplete CO2 via nitrification. • Too much CO2 without a corresponding amount of light will affect your aquarium plants ability to photosynthesize. CO2 Time The other problem is since plants themselves use oxygen at night. . Further Biogenic Decalcification Information: Biogenic decalcification is also problem in systems with high carbonate hardness where there is insufficient CO2 in solution. as well cut back (but do not eliminate) sources of minerals such as Ferts of Wonder Shells. Yeast based CO2 systems are more difficult to regulate in my experience. in heavily planted aquariums the addition of a timer for the control of an air pump running one or more air stones that is set to turn on when the lights go out can help greatly with this problem. the air pump used here can also be on a timer. • A balanced tank will generally have more plants than fish.

As a positive. this system is popular with many plant keeping aquarists. The Water-Plant CO2 system with Disposable cartridges is a definite step up from the previously mentioned CO2 systems and DIY methods. As with the Floramat. Probably the best choice for all but the most die-hard of advanced planted aquarium enthusiasts. There are many ways to produce CO2 via the use of yeast and sugars which includes a another method that utilizes Jell-O (Gelatin) for CO2 production. or a CO2 bottle unit. a DIY.CO2 GENERATORS. DIY. there are many ways of going about this. a store bought CO2 generator/ reactor. the limewood (or ceramic) air diffuser is placed inside a sponge (as pictured in the Diffuser/Reactor Section following this section) This method of diffusion can be used with the Jungle Fizz tabs too. Better though is to utilize the Sponge Pre-Filter method shown in the next section which works well with the Fizz Tabs. and top notch diffuser as with many pro systems. *Hagen Natural Plant CO2 system. although it generally diffuses better than with a traditional diffusion bell/chamber by the manufacturer Further Information about the Gelatin Method. With these yeast methods the traditional method of diffusion utilizes air line tubing and a limewood air stone or ceramic air stone and for even further/better diffusing of the CO2. these steps tend to clog with algae and even small snails in some instances. this type of DIY diffuser could likely be added to the Hagen CO2 system in place of the ladder/steps and although expensive when compared to DIY yeast methods. however that does not mean that this CO2 system does not work either. agitating water under the pure CO2 bell will increase the rate of CO2 absorption. this system uses fizz tablets instead of the CO2 canister as in the Sanders Floramat. This system has a pressure regulator. yet without the hassle and expense of the professional CO2 systems. Please see this pdf download: Gelatin CO2 Method For a DIY yeast powered CO2 Unit: DIY Yeast CO2 Advanced CO2 Systems. as it does. . For newbie’s (and even advanced aquatic plant hobbyists) I find the Sanders model the most foolproof (although currently unavailable due to aerosol shipping restrictions). but is much simpler. In my opinion this is a more gimmicky device (the ladder that is) and is not as reliable in CO2 delivery. although I have not used a different diffusion method such as the DIY method noted later in this article. however (in my experience/opinion) this system is over rated & over priced (for a yeast method). *Jungle Fizz CO2 System. Professional: As for CO2 generators. The "steps" used in the diffusion process of the Hagen unit do not increase CO2 absorption any more than the other basic CO2 kits/systems such as the Sanders Floramat or Jungle system (especially if the DIY diffuser noted in the next section is employed with the Jungle Fizz or even a homemade yeast method). As well. Basic. the Hagen yeast packets are quick and simple (but then so are the Fizz Tabs by Jungle too) *Homemade Yeast Methods. Entry level Planted Aquarium Co2 Systems include: Sanders Floramat CO2 Generator .

While as of this article update. Further Commentary as per CO2 Systems: CO2 Generators can greatly improve your planted aquariums growth and over all plant health. however system for those who desire CO2 System that are not affiliated with us. as with many devices in aquarium keeping (such as UV sterilizers or Protein Skimmers) these are a useful tool. healthy Redox. This is the same arguments against UV Sterilizers (which I can boldly say I have researched VERY extensively). This product is sold with this website. You then connect a relatively slow pump such as the Rio 200 (138 gph) to what would normally be the pump pick up. Some plants such as Rotala Macrandra are nearly impossible to grow without CO2 Units. of 2011 (after a similar method reminded me about this and I thought I would put one together myself). limewood airstones. CO2 . or in my friends case a fully pressurized CO2 tank with a regulator. This utilizes a Filter Max #2 Pre-Filter. gelatin. and “unnaturally clear” water with UV Sterilizers. then an airline check valve as close to the airline control valve as possible. as well as DIY gravel vacuum conversions or converted Pre Filters as pictured here. pumps with a venturi and filters such as a canister filter. I would go with an Advanced CO2 reactor that utilize pressurized CO2. I would not use a yeast based system. with the only difference being this DIY diffuser. CO2 bells/chambers. with a small hole drilled to add a Lees air line control valve. One argument against these CO2 units is that running CO2 on planted tanks is not “natural”. From the check valve the airline goes to the source of the CO2.Professional CO2 Systems: For more advanced/Pro plant aquarists (especially larger aquariums over 100 gallons). diffusers. CO2 reactors. whether a Jungle Fizz Tablet Bottle (which is what I used to give it a try). the flow is directed downward so as to trap the CO2. I have not used this method of much consequence. CO2 DIFFUSERS/ REACTORS There are many ways to diffuse CO2 into your aquarium from ceramic air stones. but in this case. my friend has and has noted marked increases in his CO2 using the same generator method. but I forgot about it until Sept. The aquarium is a closed environment and in this environment it sometimes necessary to use artificial means to achieve certain results such as strong plant growth with CO2 units or disease prevention. What is frustrating to me is the misinformation though both for and also against. Yeast CO2 generator. Please click on the picture to the left for a better view of such a system. This Sponge Pre-Filter method was introduced to me by an aquarium plant enthusiast friend in 2007. is a top of the line professional planted freshwater aquarium by a company not affiliated we recommend this type of COs a more advanced plant keeping sold by this website or those The CO2 system to the left system for advanced keepers. However I also do not want beginners to feel these are a must.

Another advantage of CO2 units (of any type) is that they will help with weaknesses in other areas of plant care such as low organic carbon and other nutrient availability. 17. but they are not essential. Also the Jungle CO2 Fizz Tabs is a reasonably good CO2 unit for beginners to intermediate plant keepers.3) For conversion of KH. One more note. The bottom line is I recommend them (or at least a supplement such as Flourish Excel). Please note that the presence of ANY phosphates will make this calculation fail. as levels over 30 ppm should be avoided! 3 ppm of CO2 is standard (as an established scientific fact).higher) form a PH of 7. not KH!) Another way to test CO2 is with CO2 test kits (as well as droppers discussed below). try products such as Flourish Excel and follow some of the tips earlier in this article as to raising CO2. 10-25 ppm CO2 is considered optimum for the use of CO2 Units.9 ppm = 1 dKH. If you are a beginner and these devices seem overwhelming. not by kH or pH) using this formula: CO2 (in ppm) = 3 times KH (as measured in degrees of carbonate hardness ONLY. or if you use products which are high in phosphates (like phosphate plant fertilizers. which have phosphate buffers): The Drop Checker by Walter Reed For a balanced discussion about CO2 generators. not Phosphates!) times a factor of 10 deviation (+ lower/ . pH will climb during peak photosynthesis. A KH of 1 with a pH of 8. pH-up or pH-down. This of coarse is a subject of ongoing especially in tanks with low hardness (yes hardness.3 (1 * 3 * . Example: a KH of 1 with a pH of 6.Units also help with “flattening” plant growth within the aquarium where otherwise some plants grow only to the surface with thin stem to seek out CO2 in the m CO2 Drop Checker. MORE ABOUT CO2 Of coarse there are dangers as well of diffusing too much CO2 into your aquarium. I recommend this group: Everything Aquatic *PROPER NUTRIENTS OR ‘FERTS’ (including minerals): . which can be dangerous to your fish.csd.10 = . however for really serious planted aquarium keepers the CO2 Reactor systems (many BETTER systems can be DIY) are hard to beat. *10-15 ppm (mg/L) at 5 dKH (90 ppm KH) *15-30 ppm at 10 dKH (180 ppm KH) *30-40 ppm at 15 dKH (270 ppm KH) Here is an interesting CO2 Chart and Calculator for the relationship between KH and pH as it relates to CO2 in planted aquariums: From http://www. Here are the recommended levels for a planted aquarium with different KH levels. here is an outside article discussing optimum CO2 levels: The Krib: CO2 Concentration You can calculate CO2 levels (which can only be controlled by adding or subtracting CO2 produced by your CO2 unit. Here is an excellent article about another more accurate method of checking CO2 when your aquarium water column has other sources of alkalinity such as high phosphates.0 would produce a CO2 level of .0.0 would produce a CO2 level of 30 (1 * 3 * 10 = 30).

KH Buffers (very important) *CO2: 20-25 ppm. Some trace elements including calcium. “during photosynthesis.10 to . Plants such as Rotala and Ludwigia will often not display red colors when iron is lacking (clay/laterite substrate can help in the case of these plants). Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) *K+ (Potassium): 10-30 ppm. important for good CO2 assimilation. fish food (adequately fed) *PO4: 1. Here are basic planted aquarium water parameters (and some suggestions for these elements/nutrients): Let me first note with the popularity of the "Walstad Method" method of aquarium keeping. for this consider products such asPhos-Zorb or NPX Bioplastics (which must be used in a Fluidized Sand Bed Filter) *Fe (Iron): 0. but not too much for high algae growth.5 ppm. and iron are also essential. water changes. SeaChem Flourish *Nitrates. SeaChem Equilibrium. I observed a pH of 6. . Supplied by Azoo Plant Grower Bed or similar. See: Aquarium Chemistry. This misconception often leads to depletion of essential KH Buffers and equally if not more important Positive Mineral Ions. but just as important potentially dangerous pH upward swings can occur if your GH is much below 50 ppm during plant peak photosynthesis. Without the addition of KH Buffers and mineral supplements your fish' health WILL BE COMPROMISED.4 in the afternoon when GH is low or almost non-existent. *KH: 50 – 100 ppm. Plant nutrients include nitrogen and phosphorous from fish food and waste and potassium that we add through the addition of nutrients or "ferts" as many planted aquarium hobbyists refer to these nutrients as. Sea Chem Flourish Excel *NO3: 5-30 ppm. while higher nitrate levels will encourage algae to out .15 ppm is the general consensus for nitrate levels in a planted freshwater aquarium so as to allow for adequate nitrates for plant growth. an acid buffer is often not necessary in planted aquariums due to natural buffers already present. Deficiencies in Calcium can cause leaf curling or growth deformations. Symptoms of iron deficiency in plants can be chlorosis (yellowing) of the tissue between veins and short and slender stems (most often in new growth). Please see the link lower in this section for a University Study about the subject of GH/pH stability during photosynthesis. Nutrients (Ferts) can be added to the substrate water or both. Wonder Shells.2-0. Fish waste/food and proper aquarium maintenance procedures. Please note. too much in the water column can and often will cause algae problems (I prefer Iron to more available in the substrate. Plant tablets such as Jungle.8 in the morning and then a pH of 7. *Ca: 100 ppm +. Not only do plants need many of the minerals found in “GH”. Although I have not performed controlled tests. that there is one mistake/misconception is that the plants in a closed environment will sustain all chemistry with maybe a water change a few times per year. or best by specific iron supplements such as SeaChem Flourish Iron. For example. This is an often misunderstood aspect of aquarium plant keeping as so much anecdotal information that is out of date with more current aquarium/plant bio chemistry information. my observations are that too low of nitrate levels will stunt plants and possibly even encourage certain algae (such as Green Spot). In the case of Iron. a rise in pH can occur in low alkalinity water (20 to 50 mg/L) or in water with moderate to high bicarbonate alkalinity (75 to 200 mg/L) that has less than 25 mg/L hardness”). *GH: 100 ppm or sometimes higher (this is more important than many realize for planted aquariums. I recommend Sea Chem Alkaline Plant Buffer in combination with Sea Chem Acid Buffer for use in planted aquariums that tend towards low KH. Sanders Floramat CO2 Generator and diffuser or other CO2 unit. despite claims of some (read a Aquarium Chemistry and Aquarium Redoxfor a better understanding of WHY). magnesium. SeaChem Flourish .0-2.Brief Overview.0 ppm Anything higher can feed algae more than plants.

rather provide a few suggestions as well as an excellent outside resource. In the case of trace elements. See this much more in depth article: Perpetual Preservation System Further. Deficiencies in Magnesium will inhibit the plants ability to produce Chlorophyll causing pale leaves. Generally establishing the drip rate is the most difficult aspect of this method and I usually experiment 4 to 5 pounces of plain water (one days worth) until I get it about where it is empty in a day. (2)Liquid Nutrients. For simplification. Alkalinity and Hardness Also KH (Carbonate Hardness is important for proper assimilation of CO2 as I have observed in many of the aquariums I have maintained. These provide most important nutrients directly where most plants with established root systems need them. etc. especially when using multiple specific nutrients/ferts as well as Flourish Excel. (1)Many nutrients can simply be supplied by products such as Flourish Root Tabs (or other brands). (3) PPS Pro (Perpetual Preservation System). however I recommend more complete buffers such as Sea Chem’s Alkaline Plant Buffer. Calcium and Magnesium which are both found in GH are very important to plants. Although. this system is very easy to use and is designed especially for aquascapers who want a system that is performing well. Baking Soda can be used in a pinch here. it is important for plants as well. Potassium and their bio availability: Ions. a simple dosing system where by figuring your weekly dosage mixed with water and adding to upside down soda or water bottle with an air line that has a control valve so that you can regulate the speed of the drip into your aquarium. however this is modified by an adequate GH level. Nutrition and all that “Scary” Chemistry For more about Calcium and Magnesium. The picture/link to the left gives an example of a control valve I use As an example for a 60 gallon aquarium using Regular Flourish & Flourish Excel. More in Depth Explanation of Aquatic Plant Nutrients & Methods: *Maintaining a moderate level of GH (100 ppm >) is not only important for fish. these can be the simple regular dosing of Flourish (which as with root tabs is a non specific basic over nutrient supplement) or a bit more complicated with individual nutrients such as Flourish Iron. ELECTROLYTES. does not need much testing and tweaking and also works with all lights and substrates. I would 5 ml of Flourish and 40 ml of Flourish Excel to this quart of water. Magnesium. It has also been shown that carbonates produced by plants during hours of peak photosynthesis can raise pH substantially which can be harmful to fish present. Source: Interactions of pH. When the KH has dropped below 50 ppm (3 dKH) Carbon Dioxide use goes down which results in retarded plant growth (an often increased algae growth). this article has good information about the very misunderstood topic of positively charged minerals such as Calcium. Carbon Dioxide. little or no water changes and large water changes.perform plants and take over an aquarium. Potassium. Wonder Shells can be a simple source. not directly about aquarium plants. I personally think this dosing system works as well as any other system and is worth while at least giving a try. then establish a drip rate for one week. as well as KH. Methods to Introduce Nutrients to your Planted Aquarium: There are many such methods and so I will not provide anything close to an exhaustive list. AND MAGNESIUM IN AQUARIUMS” or for more information about the often misunderstood relationship of . Generally I use a quart of water with the variable being higher amounts of Excel and Ferts in this mix as per the aquarium size and plant demands. please read this article:“CALCIUM.

GH to other aspects of water chemistry. A planted tank will also tend to consume more of your KH due to bio decomposition and the resulting acid production. The Fluidized filter (as well as a Sponge Filter) do not strip CO2 as many bio filters can. Also do NOT rinse your bio filter media such as sponges as thoroughly as you would in a non-planted aquarium as again this will aid in necessary nitrate production. Try and leave some organic mulm behind for eventual nitrate production. please refer to our Algae section further down in the article. For more about nutrients. or no water changes). less cereal. where by many do not understand that many planted aquarium methods/traditions require different. little. Please see this in depth article for a much better understanding of the positives and negatives of activated carbon use: Aquarium Answers. What ingredients are needed for proper fish nutrition. especially wet/dry filters. This is an often controversial subject. growth and health. For this reason I have found the Fluidized Sand Bed Filters followed by Sponge Filters to be about the best filters to use for planted freshwater aquariums in part due to lack of these problems while supplying adequate nitrates to plants. Alkalinity and Hardness *I need to emphasize that feeding a proper fish food (one based in aquatic ingredients. please read this article: Quality Fish Food (Proper Aquatic Nutrition). so keep a close check on this parameter (GH is not depleted as readily. but still gets used by plants and de-composition) *Filtration & Nutrients/Ferts: Some filter types also effect nitrates and in the end plants. Carbon Dioxide. do NOT over vacuum (this differs from a non planted aquarium despite some rather uninformed YouTube comments I have read. and less "by products") will help in that there will be more minerals and other nutrients available for the plants after the fish is through with digestion. For more about quality fish food ingredients. . however the simple facts are that only chelated nutrients such as iron or minerals that have lost their positive charge can be removed by activated carbon. please read this outside source: Interactions of pH. including photosynthesis. A good example is Spirulina 20. Fluidized Filters are about the most efficient aerobic bio filters bar none without some of the side effects of some bio filters such as UG Filters or even wet/dry of increasing DOC or organic mulm. When cleaning your planted aquarium. Activated Carbon *Cleaning. *Use of Activated Carbon and its possible effect on plant fertilizers.

aids in nitrogenous waste removal (they are literal "nitrate sponges". • Bleach used in a 20 parts water to 1 part bleach for 2-3 minutes for delicate plants and 4-5 minutes for broad leaf plants. In the Tropical version (which is not commonly available) this plant is . followed by a quick dip in sodium Thiosulfate or other de-chlorinator/ water mixture.Easy to grow fully aquatic plant. This is effective for algae. • Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demerson) . This plant can be either floated or planted (weights are useful for initial planting). *NEW PLANT DIPS: It is always a good idea to dip your plants prior to addition to your aquarium to prevent addition of strains of algae.5 and 7.*OTHER FACTORS: *Good water circulation is important for gas exchange (CO2. • Flourish Excel which contains aldehydes can be used in a 20 minute dip at 20 ml. • Potassium Permanganate in a solution of water and enough Potassium Permanganate to turn you water pink for 20 minutes is also effective for many algae. The one negative with this plant is that the Hornwort commercially available is not a true tropical plant and needs to be adapted slowly for aquarium use. This said too much surface agitation can drive off necessary CO2. disease. *A pH of between 6. This is especially important if your aquarium has a CO2 system that continues to add CO2 at night which can be poisonous to fish at night as the plants will not use this CO2. many diseases and somewhat for snails. Oxygen). and unwanted snails. per 40 L (10 gallons). Hornwort prefers neutral or alkaline waters. diseases and usually snails. Water circulation is also useful to avoid stagnant spots. However often a timer is recommended that turns on an additional air stones at night when plants will use oxygen and NOT CO2. I recommend Otos for small or community tanks or Plecostomus for larger aquariums.8 works best in my opinion. *I also recommend algae eating fish to control the inevitable algae. POPULAR AQUARIUM PLANTS (Some to have and NOT to have).

The thinner this plant is spread over rocks and driftwood. low light plant.considered a strictly a floating plant. growing in temperatures between 64 . The needles of this plant are usually too spiky for the goldfish to eat • Java Moss (Vesicularia dubyana) . *Low to moderate light requirements This is also a plant that MAY be kept with Goldfish as goldfish tend to not bother this plant. tropical (from West Africa). Java Ferns reproduce by daughter plants that are born on the edge of the leaves of the mother plant and grow off of this. needs no soil. The Java Fern is quite undemanding and simple to cultivate. but rather placed on rocks and driftwood. leaving its roots loose in the water column.0 .8. *Lighting Requirements low *Anubias Nana have wide tolerances. prefers low light. This plant should not be buried in the gravel (which also makes them ideal for UG filters). As in all Anubias species. tropical (from SE Asia). A little goes a long way.6 • Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) – Easy to grow.Easy to grow. The Java Fern is also an ideal plant to use in aquariums that have burrowing fishes. Dwarf Anubias is one of the easier plants to grow. even doing well without extra nutrients or Carbon (CO2). any light.86 F (21 .86 F (18 . they are grown from a rhizome (horizontal stem of a plant that often sends out roots and shoots from its nodes). Dwarf Anubias needs very little light and isn't very specific about water conditions.0 • Dwarf Anubias (Anubias nana) . Another possible plant for goldfish .8. tropical (from SE Asia).Easy to grow. as these fish will usually not bother this plant. This can take over your aquarium substrate in particular. growing in temperatures between 70 .30 C) & very wide pH between 5. *Low to high lighting requirements (high is necessary for strong growth. especially if used in breeding environments or Amano tanks) *Java Moss has wide tolerances as well. the better it will root itself and the healthier it will look as it grows on your decor.0 .30 C) & pH between 5. This plant is so hardy that it can even survive out of water. prefers a rich soil (sand) base. The only negatives are that they grow quite slowly and are vulnerable to beard algae.

tropical (from Tropical Regions).8. A great plant for removing excess nutrients in the water. This plant does well in both cold and warm water and is excellent for livebearers. does well in average light and simple substrates (sand/ gravel). Needs regular trimming to stay looking nice. growing in temperatures between 64 .0 .86 F (18 30 C) & pH between 5.0 • Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides) – Easy to Grow. but thrives in moderate to high light • Anacharis/Elodea (Egeria densa) – Relatively easy to grow plant that is a good beginner plant. *Will survive in low light. new leaves unfurl from the base of the plant into lacy fronds. under optimum conditions this plant will grow rapidly and added much oxygen during hours of photosynthesis. The Anacharis does best in moderate lighting with added nutrients and added CO2 (Flourish Excel is often adequate). The Anacharis has branching stems covered in bunches of linear. slightly curled leaves. but it grows fast. Be aware fish love to munch this plant.*Low to moderate light requirements (depending upon the species of Java Fern with the common Microsorum pteropus requiring only very low light while the Philippine version requires moderate lighting) *As with Java Moss. although caution should be used with goldfish as they often will nibble at Elodea/Anacharis. Java Ferns have wide tolerances as well. The Anacharis can be anchored in the substrate by its roots or will also grow when floating freely. • Amazon Sword (Echinodorus amazonicus) .

although plant soils such as Azoo Plant Grower bed can be added to the area around the bulb to aid in nutrients for the sprouting plant. Amazon Swords require high lighting and rich substrates (such as Azoo Plant Grower Bed ). To achieve strong growth the substrate should contain iron and with strong lighting less of a factor. Red (Cryptocoryne wendtii) . Often these Lily bulbs are sold by stores such as Walmart as Assorted “Aponogeton Bulbs” (usually dry) and many will never sprout (usually anywhere from 1/5 to ½ may not sprout).Easy in grow (from South-east Asia). tolerate soft to very hard water. • Dwarf Lily (Nuphar stellata) . Use of products such as Flourish Root Tabs is an easy and reliable way to provide a healthy substrate with proper nutrients. Also Plecostomus do NOT do well with lilys (they will usually eat them faster than they can grow.. They have large root systems that can overwhelm other aquarium plants. • Narrow Leaf Sagittaria (Sagittaria Subulata) . and very wide pH range 6. These plants originate from South America & the Eastern U.Sagittaria Subulata is an easy to grow rosette plant that will thrive in most planted freshwater aquariums. in an aquarium) and in aquarium gravel. These are actually better to keep under low to moderate light. Narrow Leaf Sagittaria will grow quickly and propagates via runners which will form a dense grouping producing 2 .S. otherwise you will end u with large green common lily that looks more appropriate in a pond than an aquarium.0 . These bulbs should not be planted. Amazon Swords can be potted (like house plants. These plants are relatively hardy and take root easily once they adjust to the new tank. as both ways work very well.3 leaves and one runner per month. including brackish aquariums. These are excellent beginner plants that only require low light. These are usually sold as bulbs as there are true lilys that have leaves that vary from green to brown to shades of red. * Sagittaria Subulata will thrive in a wide range of pH and water hardness.0 – 9. The growth of these plants parallels Banana Plants (which is another type of Dwarf Lily). • Wendtii.Easy to moderate difficulty to grow (patience is required for these).Moderately in difficulty to grow (from Brazil). The plant typically grows to a height of 8 inches (up to 16 inches in high light aquariums).

A good plant for the beginner or serious hobbyist. This plant spreads its roots very far. Usually an easy plant to grow and to take care of. Laos. please see this outside article: “Planting a fish Tank with Unusual Plants (Terracotta with Terrestrial) . but recovers after a couple of weeks. Without CO2 these plants will tend to send thin stems to the surface and never really fill out. be careful to not pull it too hard or you will may destroy the root structure. CO2. so if you remove it. hardness. Any terrestrial plant adapted to aquariums (plants that can't be grown submersed indefinitely) such as Mondo Grass. Many have had success with this plant in regular gravel. As noted earlier. • Plants I generally recommend not to have. Banana Plants send leaves up 8-12 cm high approximately every 4 to 5 days it will also grow replica plants. and pruning to thrive and look their best in aquariums. • Cryptocoryne lutea ( “Giant Mother Plant”) – Moderate difficulty to grow (from Southeast Asia). Rotala Macrandra requires strong light. • Rotala Macrandra – Moderate to difficult to grow (from the Far East. Aluminum Plant or Peace Lilies. ECT). One more exception would be the use of Dracaena (Dracena) when properly prepared and potted. Crypt Lutea tolerate wide variances in temperature. Crypt Lutea may go through a period of die-off when first planted. Banana Plants require moderate to high lighting with no special substrate requirements. I will make the exception that the above plants make excellent bog plants when the roots are kept under water (absorbing nutrients for better tank health) while the leaves are out of the water. transplant & ferts are the more difficult aspect of this plant.• Aquarium Banana Plant (Nymphoides aquatica) . pH and lighting which makes this plant easy to grow in many different tank environments. Purple Waffle. Vietnam. soft water (pH 5-7).Easy to moderate grow (from SE USA). Needs to be planted and fertilized. Do not make the mistake of burying these plants too deep. Banana Plants adapt to most water conditions.

Iron.11%. however I believe this is only partially correct and based on some false assumptions. if algae grows out of control as soon as added carbon is removed. there are likely other problems contributing to this.. however any suggestions and why are welcome!! ALGAE CONTROL: When it comes to algae control in a planted tank this is also noteworthy as even though added carbon (CO2) will often help plants out compete algae. *Poor substrate for healthy plant growth (only certain plants!). Make sure your substrate is rich in Iron (Fe). favor Hair algae.. Adding only PO4 does not bring these macronutrients into balance and even though many claim this solved their problem. Available Phosphate. if over dosed.07%.0004%.. Liquid iron will.01%.Other plants I do not recommend are Cabomba as these non-tropical plants have high light requirements and tend to be difficult in warm aquarium environments which often results in this plant breaking apart and causing a mess. Sulfur. What is happening is that algae are much better equipped than higher plants to compete in conditions of low nutrients. PLACES TO PURCHASE LIVE PLANTS ON LINE: We now currently no longer have any website we can recommend to order plants online from.. Regular Wonder Shells. Sodium. Here are a few sources: Sea Chem Flourish.. however the addition of these nutrients allows much better competition. Not all these sources have all the required nutrients many can be mixed as you find your own success. Jungle Plant Tabs .07%. Copper. not ppm as stated earlier in the article): Potassium (often available as Soluble Potash).32%. Nitrogen.. It can be added through tablet Iron rich fertilizers and through substrates like Azoo Plant Grower Bed . Boron. this only gives the algae more time to out compete plants! . Calcium.. Magnesium... Much has been published lately about the addition of PO4 (phosphates) to control algae.. your tank substrate should contain a reasonable amount of Iron.009%.. they have not run a control group to see if this was only part of the equation.Poor lighting that does not allow plants to compete with algae..0007% Molybdenum.37%. Here is a list of important nutrients (listed in recommended added solution. thus retarding unwanted algae growth.27%. PO4 along with NO3 and Potassium are important Macronutrients that need to be in balance. Nitrogen.0009%. including. PMDD .. Laterite and Fluorite *Important! .0001%. *Unusable/ unavailable nutrients (micronutrients and macronutrients).13%.. I do not agree with the method of darkening a tank for a few days as plants often have higher light requirements than algae (in part due to their complexity). Iron is the most important trace element. Zinc. Cobalt. I have found that simply changing water will (assuming proper mineralization of new water) will control algae by adding all these macronutrients. Although when more light is added more nutrients including CO2 are needed.14%.

So for the best plant growth with the lowest green algae growth. For plant baths. I recommend diluting with about 5 parts water with 1 part Flourish Excel. *Dip your new (or even established plants. such as Cory and Oto Catfish. *High or too low Nitrates. I would recommend using the Flourish Excel mentioned earlier as although not as effective for killing the algae. * Aquarium Cleaning Frequency. As well for certain algae I have simply controlled using other methods noted here or in more depth in this article: Aquarium Algae *Improper GH and KH levels (or mineralization. this is best at a rate of 2 oz. decaying. *Algae Eating Inhabitants Red Cherry and Amano Shrimp (among others) can reduce many types of algae (including BBA). this product can be used as a quick dip solution (about 30 seconds) for plants to kill algae. of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide per 10 gallons. it is also much less harsh on certain plants or fish either. which is a fertilizer for aquatic plants. Nitrates should be above 15 ppm for plants. Hydrogen Peroxide can also be used as a dip/bath (or even added directly to the aquarium). When added directly to the tank. although this will cause a temporary shock to established plants) in Sea Chem Flourish Excel . or algae covered leaves.5 5. about a 5 to 1 solution of Hydrogen Peroxide applied by basting the plants with the solution (this solution can be increased if results are not satisfactory). Too low and plants will starve for this important macronutrient. including Brown. As well many fish are sensitive to Hydrogen Peroxide. As well Corkscrew Vallisneria are sensitive to Peroxide and killed. It is claimed that it provides a bioavailable source of carbon for higher plants that is not available to algae. the algaecidal effect of glutaraldehyde kills most algae at concentrations of 0. For a 30 second dip. In part this improves the macronutrient balance as discussed above (as well as improvements in Redox and lowering DOC). this can be especially effective for the control of BBA (Black Beard Algae) & Cyanbacteria. Often increasing the frequency (even twice or tree times per week) will improve conditions in the aquarium so as to allow plants to out compete algae. See the section further in this article about algae eaters. however I have not established an exact dilution as of yet. This forces plants to generate new and healthy leaves that will often do better at out competing algae. This is much like pruning in your garden. but not above 40 ppm as I have seen in many aquariums with excessive algae growth (although high nitrates is rarely a problem in tanks with healthy plant growth). HOWEVER this is best done without shrimp (such as Cherry Shrimp) present.As well poor or low lighting encourages Brown Diatom Algae and too much actinic light can encourage the growth of BBA algae of plant growth.0 ppm. of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide for approximately 30 minutes. for algae. Though not marketed as such due to federal regulations. Please see this outside article for more about the use of Hydrogen Peroxide as an algaecide: The Krib. so any feedback from readers is appreciated. Flourish Excel contains a polymerized isomer of glutaraldehyde trademarked aspolycycloglutaracetal by SeaChem and is the active ingredient in this product. especially GH). etc. *Trim plants of dying. It is noteworthy that strong blue light will cause plant growth to be more compact and bushy and will also tend to promote algae growth. it is best to balance 2/3 red to 1/3 blue light emissions. I would recommend about 4 oz. I however do not recommend increasing the amount of water changed. Finally Oto Cats and many different algae eating fish such as Bristlenose Plecostomus are excellent for some types of algae. As well Nirite Snails are excellent for many types of algae. Also the dosing of Flourish Excel in your aquarium can be effective for algae control as well. Here is a quote: “The release of carbonate converted from bicarbonate by plant life can cause pH to climb dramatically (above . Hydrogen Peroxide as an Algae Treatment As well please read this article for about the use and risks of Hydrogen Peroxide:Hydrogen Peroxide If you have any questions/reservations to the use of Hydorgen Peroxide as a plant dip/bath. even if this removes much of your plants. as this will generally kill them. so my preferred use is as a dip/bath.

however I have observed vastly better algae control (all sorts of algae) in ponds where the Redox is stable.Neocaridina denticulata sinensis . and pH (although these algae will also grow in alkaline.9) during periods of rapid photosynthesis by dense phytoplankton (algal) blooms. that are low in minerals.” Source: Interactions of pH. Alkalinity and Hardness *A poor Redox Potential which is often improved by better and more frequent water changes and proper mineralization such as Calcium. For further reading in the subject of algae. Picture is of a "berried" female carrying eggs. As stated above. The use of Sea Chem Flourish Excel has been shown to be effective for some in control of this algae. Also the addition of UV Sterilization Here is a common algae in Aquariums Black beard algae is a form of "red algae" in the genus Audouinella that commonly attaches to edges of plant leaves or drift wood and is more common in low CO2 water conditions. Please see this Aquarium Answers Article (post): “Aquarium Answers. This rise in pH can occur in low alkalinity water (20 to 50 mg/L) or in water with moderate to high bicarbonate alkalinity (75 to 200 mg/L) that has less than 25 mg/L hardness. I will finally add that most true algae (not Cyanobacteria) compete with plants for the same nutrients and light. so it is of great importance that the aquarium they are in has been established and cycled for a while. however from my experience with ponds in particular it is often a war than cannot be totally won but certainly can be checked by keeping nutrients away from algae (such as substrate nutrients) while providing them to plants and understanding that algae are more simple life forms than plants and have less complicated needs. Red Cherry Shrimp are fairly easy to care for. although this can also be a much more difficult task). they are very sensitive to ammonia and nitrite.such as cherry shrimp. For more Cherry Shrimp information. so battling algae is often very difficult. so addressing the more complex needs of higher plants will allow them to out compete (sometimes this is as simple as removal of as much algae as possible to give the plants a foot hold. Carbon Dioxide. carbonates. Magnesium and sodium as stated above. Most pH ranges suitable for aquarium fish will also work well for the Red Cherry Shrimp. many good aquatic husbandry methods will aid in combating this algae Physically removing rocks and wood that have these algae on it and then scrubbing it off will also give plants a better chance of utilizing nutrients and over coming these algae. Aquatic Algae” I also recommend this outside article: Aquarium Algae POPULAR PLANTED AQUARIUM ALGAE EATING INHABITANTS. As with most shrimp. I recommend reading this article: Cherry Shrimp . This admittedly is only a theory at this point. This shrimp is one of the better fresh water algae eating shrimps. high pH waters as well). The Red Cherry Shrimp (also known as cherry red) is a popular shrimp in the aquarium hobby. The reason behind this is that Flourish Excel formula is Aldehydes based which are effected by oxidation which is another indicator of the importance of VERY regular but often small water changes (as much as 5-10% per day) to bring about a healthy Redox (among other methods of Redox control). They prefer water around 70°F-80°F but it is reported that they can survive in water as cold as 50°F (not recommended). * Shrimp.

This why I know more in the Aquarium Service community that use Azoo Plant Grower Bed over Eco Complete as this is an un needed gimmick not to mention Azoo Plant Grower Bed is cleaner and more complete (although the complete statement itself in anecdotal based on mine and others in the service communities experience). please see this site:Various Freshwater Snails SUMMARY: Please be careful as to anecdotal and faddish advice in the care of aquatic plants and this is an area of aquarium keeping (along with reef keeping) that has a lot of advice floating around that is based more on opinion than facts or true research.5 and prefer a temperature between 68 to 82 F (20. This page has a video of Oto Catfish being caught in the wild: Aquatic Videos Snails: Apple Snails Apple Snails can live together with most fish species and they can be used to keep the aquarium clean of algae. For more about snail identification. Oto Catfish tolerate a wide pH range of 5. this is ONLY ONE ingredient in healthy plant growth (and algae control as well). ALSO as to CO2 or carbon. that is my point there are many successful ways of keeping aquarium plants. they will not hatch unless you provide brackish or marine water which keeps these snails from over populating.5” (4 cm). This point is often missed even well funded terrestrial plant studies have shown that added CO2 will not increase plant growth without proper nutrients. I would recommend you keep them in water with a pH above 7. Even if these snails lay eggs in your freshwater tank. A Better choice for planted tanks: Nerite Snails Nerite Snails are an easy snail to keep. Also nitrifying bacterial cultures do NOT survive in liquid form at room temperatures well at all.28 C). Nerite Snails almost exclusively eat algae and do not seem to harm plants at all and can clean up very heavy algae growths in a month or two.*Oto Catfish (genus Otocinclus) Popular non destructive algae eating catfish that usually mixes well in a planted community tank.2-7. Added carbon in the form of SeaChem Flourish Excel will also improve the effectiveness of a CO2 injection system or eliminate the need altogether (depending on other variables). Otos grow to 1. This is also not to say this article is the only way to keep plants. Not all apple snail species are a good choice for aquaria as their voracious appetite for aquatic vegetation will often result in your aquatic plants being decimated.0 and a GH over 150 ppm is best for these snails being that these are snails that breed in marine or brackish water (Wonder Shells are good for this). . substrate and light (the importance and what constitutes good Aquarium lighting is often misunderstood). just be careful of statements such as yeast based CO2 generators are the only way to go when in fact less glamorous methods such as Floramat works quite well (and is used by many in the aquarium maintenance community where it is more important uses economical methods that work over “popular” methods).

Simple matter of photosynthesis: plants can only utilize light that is absorbed. I have spent many years of research about Redox and its effect on fish and the aquatic environment in general. & simply incorrect remarks about Redox. with "brightness" being at a maximum in the green spectrum (middle of visible spectrum. inflammatory. so while I still think his site is useful for plant care. Bright light is essential yet only a portion of this white light is used for photosynthesis.aquaticplantcentral. It is true that 'full spectrum' bulbs are referred to as bulbs between 5000 Kelvin (K) and 6500 K and are considered to be best for planted Lighting for a planted tank should not be chosen on color temp alone. a person (many consider a Guru) made ridiculous. Visible light is on a scale in nanometers (radiated wavelength) from 400nm (violet) to 700nm (red). my opinion of his other aquatic knowledge has taken a major hit and I would advice others to be wary as well. diseases and disease prevention). Yet this does not indicate what wavelength in nanometers the bulb is actually emitting. The blue and red zones of the visible spectrum are the most beneficial to plants.html As noted in the "Overview" section of this article. UV Sterilization. but this is a well written and educational article): *www. filtration. Most people choose lighting solely based on the Kelvin temperature of a bulb. How "bright" a light appears has more to do with how much light is output in a given area visible to the human eye.FURTHER READING: Here is an excellent article about a CO2 drop checker: *The Drop Checker by Walter Reed Recommended Forum for Plant Keepers: *Everything Aquatic Here is an interesting Blog I recommend reading: *Aquatic Eden Another excellent resource (I do not agree with 100% of the conclusions. Green plants appear green because it is reflected light. It was brought to my attention that he has made rather anecdotal and misinformed statements about this subject rather than engage in informed debate (typical of the aquarium industry to shoot itself in the foot this way). That said. or around 550nm). plant care is not my aquarium specialty (my expertise is more in Aquarium electrolytes. Lighting Spectrum and Photosythesis The most common mistake people make with planted tanks is to not understand photosynthesis and the visible spectrum of lighting that affects plant growth. This tells you very little about what type of light within the spectrum is being emitted and at what strength. If you want to optimize plant leaf development (blue light) and stem elongation and color (red light) you need light in both the blue and red spectra .

This is a shorter wavelength than red light and is used by both plants and algae. You need a mix of blue and red for your plants. Redcolored light will enhance the reds in your fish. Thus the lumen measure is defined in such a way as to be weighted by the (bright-adapted) human eye spectral sensitivity.for photosynthesis. For green plants the lighting peaks that are most important: Chlorophyll-a: 430nm/662nm Chlorophyll-b: 453nm/642nm Carotenoids: 449nm/475nm Red pigmented plants use more light in the blue area of the spectrum. the photosynthetic pigment used by plants traps blue and red light but is more efficient with red light at 650 – 675nm. From a color temperature standpoint. which is slower and absorbed more quickly. Lumen is a measure of flux. The shorter wavelength blue light penetrates water better and more quickly than red. but just the energy with wavelengths capable of affecting the human eye. Beyond choosing lighting that is optimal for photosynthesis. The lumen measure does not include all the energy the source emits. So. as above. because plants don't use light in the green spectrum for photosynthesis. Blue is used at the same rate as red because it is more available for reasons mentioned above. If your lighting looks extremely bright and your plants seem ultra-green. As light passes through water the intensity decreases. don't obsess about color temperature beyond how you want your tank to look. and green for you (brightness as perceived by humans). Green-colored light will make the tank look bright to humans and enhance the green color of your plants. They stress the amount of energy in the green band to which humans are most sensitive – not plants. you should choose lighting with the color temperature that best suits the aesthetic goals of your tank. and any red plants. Sunlight peaks in the blue spectrum at 475 nanometers (nm). Artificial light sources are usually evaluated based on their lumen output. They are both defined in terms that are meaningful to human perception of light – not plants. . blue-colored light will enhance blues in your fish. Chlorophyll. or how much light energy a light source emits (per unit time). Do not equate this with good lighting for your plants. Lux is lumens/square meter. it means that you have lighting that outputs strongly in the green spectrum. so they are similar.

The Kelvin scale is more of how your tank will look to you/us and is totally subjective. Yet if you add some other lighting such as a Philips 6500K the effect is more pleasing to the eye and still beneficial to the plants. Here's a rough scale: . but when you use them you have to keep in mind what they mean. It is true that the lower Kelvin ratings like 3000K will have more red light and a 10. Lumen is a rating weighted entirely towards human perception. I find that the GroLux along with a GroLux wide spectrum (89 Color Rendering Index) has a great effect for use as dawn/dusk lighting. I have found it best to provide a mix of lighting to a planted tank. told me it was best to use both together. The Kelvin rating is an indication of color temperature. Compare the lumen ratings for cool white and GroLux bulbs of the same wattage and you will see what I mean. while lamp B provides more useful light for plants. the more blue the light. The big difference is because GroLux lamps provide very little green light and cool whites provide a lot of green light.) Kelvin rating and lumens does not equate for plants.000K will have more blue light. The higher the temperature. Lumens are meaningless for plants. The GroLux bulb is perhaps the best plant bulb available but it has very little green light so the visual effects of your tank will look dim and purplish. It has little to do with the value of a light for either growing or viewing plants. as green plants do not utilize green light for photosynthesis.Lumen ratings are usually available. (A Sylvania rep. Lamp A can have a higher lumen rating than lamp B and appear brighter to you. a 40-watt GroLux bulb (not the wide spectrum) is way lower at 1200 lumens. A higher lumen rating at the same wattage often means greener light. A 40-watt cool white bulb is rated at 3050 lumen.

It will. For example..000K . color temperature is not what you should use to determine useful light for growing plants. The less efficient red carotenoid pigment must rely on blue and some green light as well as more intense lighting. Lighting that has a higher color temperature. The emitted wavelengths of light for two bulbs with the same color temperature could be wildly different. however. It is expressed in "number of photons per second". The standard measure that quantifies the energy available for photosynthesis is "Photosynthetic Active Radiation" (aka "Photosynthetic Available Radiation") or PAR. We see this in red-leaved plants that turn green if the lighting is too low. especially when trying to compare a linear fluorescent with a CF or MH. the sky has a color temperature of 10. which is a good thing.Reddish/Yellowish Endpoint Incandescent Light: 2700K Daylight: 5500K Blue Sky: 10. This is why some 5000K bulbs look yellow and others white.000K and looks blue.Blue Endpoint – Don't be fooled by color temperature as an indication of what wavelength of light may or may not be present. some green leafed plants produce red foliage when closer to the light source or with overly bright lighting. not enough blue and/or green light. This. This is where Kelvin ratings of bulbs can fall prey to marketing schemes/hype. The reason for expressing PAR in number of photons instead of energy units is that the photosynthesis reaction takes place when a photon is . The Kelvin color designation of a particular bulb is not always true to the black body locus line on a CIE Chromaticity map. and enhance blue fish. It accounts with equal weight for all the output a light source emits in the wavelength range between 400 and 700 nm. in turn. There are some plants that that are able to change the pigment they use for photosynthesis depending on available lighting. Alternatively. PAR also differs from the lumen in the fact that it is not a direct measure of energy. just means that it will activate green plants in the blue range. give you an idea of how things in your tank will look. indicating that it is bluish. does point to the fact that blue wavelengths are dominant. Red photosynthetic pigment is less efficient at utilizing light and requires stronger light as a result. Therefore.

which contain Phycocyanin and absorb light heavily in the low 600nm (orange-red). . It has a 7500K color temp and a 90+ CRI. Two bulbs with the same Kelvin temperature but different CRI ratings can produce very different appearances. If you live somewhere with frequently hazy or overcast skies then you may be accustomed to "natural" light having a color temperature near 7000K. So. Strong blue light will cause plant growth to be more compact and bushy and will also tend to promote algae growth. no matter what the photon's wavelength is (provided it lies in the range between 400 and 700 nm). Plants will grow with ordinary bulbs as they tend to have both some blue and red emissions. Other bulbs produce a lot of green light and don't render either blue or red very well at all. the amount of photosynthesis that takes place is exactly the same as when the same number of red photons is absorbed. When CRI is over 90 the color temperature shouldn't make much difference.000K seems more natural. The tanks’ appearance can be compensated (balanced) with blue light and some green light for brightness to the human eye. The 80 CRI bulb is very bright. which is unfortunately present in most standard fluorescents. It depends in part on what you're used to. In the case of the Philips PL-L 950. This is why it is so important to get the spectral output of a bulb before deciding if is a 'good plant light'. If you want a high K lamp that does render colors accurately then you might try finding the Philips C75. In the planted aquarium artificial light should ideally peak (or be stronger) in the red area of the spectrum. The problem is that they also have wavelengths between 500 and 600nm. There is an additional term called "Photosynthetic Usable Radiation" or PUR which takes in to account blue and red light only. Whether or not a bulb looks "natural" to you is totally subjective. It could be hard to find and a bit pricey. If you live somewhere with clear skies and infrequent cloudy days then your natural light might have a color temperature closer to 5000K. colors rendered accurately will always look about the same regardless of the Kelvin rating. so it has pretty good color rendering properties. You may need to add/mix bulbs to get a lighting that has good visual effects for the human eye and proper light for plants because 'plant bulbs' tend to be purplish. but it renders greens with a distinct yellow cast. In any case of actual natural light the light will render colors pretty well. If you are used to north skylight then maybe a color temperature close to 10. which algae likes. Green algae and green plants use the same pigments for photosynthesis (chlorophyll a/b & carotenoids). So remember to balance 2/3 red to 1/3 blue light emissions. The 90 CRI bulb is dim. Compare a 5000K that has an 80-something CRI with a 5000K that has a 90something CRI. That is usually not the case for fluorescent lamps with a high Kelvin temperature rating. Many bulbs render red and orange colors poorly and give you a look with very flat color contrasts. CRI or Color Rendering Index is an indication of how close the light is to daylight (full spectrum) on a scale from 0 to 100 with respect to how it makes objects appear. but it renders rich colors across the whole spectrum. The algae that are different are the blue-green algae (cyanobacteria). the CRI is 92. No lamp renders color correctly or looks natural unless its Color Rendering Index (CRI) rating is very high.absorbed by the plant. I don't understand why people insist on distinguishing between lamps on the basis of their color temperature. In other words if a given number of blue photons is absorbed by a plant. light that helps one helps the other. If you only see the world under cool white fluorescents then that is probably what looks natural to you.

There are a few specific things that cause algae. mostly including excess nutrients (phosphate. Fluorescents lose efficiency over time.Bulbs sold as generic plant/aquarium bulbs usually have OK energy in blue and not much in red. Algae need a long and uninterrupted lighting period to function properly. many of these graphs are measured in relative power on the Y-axis rather than a known reference like watts per nanometer per 1000 lumens. creating a ‘siesta’ period in the middle of the lighting period is effective at curbing algae. CF bulbs haven’t caught up with linear bulbs in the ability to offer light (tri -phosphor type) in the proper areas of the spectrum. intensity of the lights. Fix the water chemistry and you should be able to get rid of the algae without impairing the total light available to your plants in areas of maximum activation for photosynthesis. don't be fooled by nomenclature and packaging (marketing hype). etc.some bulbs may only suffer 10% drop in output. if possible. Linear fluorescent tubes should be changed out every six months and compact fluorescents every year. Create an hour dawn/dusk lighting period at the start and end of the lighting period to simulate natural lighting with the ‘siesta’ period in the midd le of the intense lighting period. depending on your application. So. Sunlight From Wikipedia. try to find the graphs/data for spectra output. Therefore. Unfortunately. the free encyclopedia "Sunshine" redirects here. rated life and output decay over time. You can put any fluorescent lighting on your tank and do OK. A bulb sold as a generic "sunshine" bulb may or may not have some useful red. Aquatic plants quickly respond to changes in light conditions and are more highly evolved than algae and are able to regulate photosynthesis more quickly than algae. However. . Fluorescent bulbs marketed for aquaria are often more expensive and not necessarily better than generic versions. it's best to compare lighting options and. nitrate) combined with light that is useful for photosynthesis. For other uses. which are biologically less advanced. depending on the bulb. The less the drop over time. Some lose more than others . but if you want to maximize plant growth. Many bulbs offer spectral output graphs. Plants are able to start photosynthesis once there is sufficient light. All that 'relative power' lets you know is that 100% is the highest peak at a given nanometer and all other peaks are relative to this. size tank. Intensity and duration will also be detrimental to algae growth. They are also not necessarily marketed correctly. the less you have to replace them. see Sunshine (disambiguation). The point of this is to say that algae prevention is not a black art that involves estimation of color temperature. while others may drop 30% or more in the same time frame. Duration depends on many variables such as type of lighting.

000 and 170. On Earth. visible. it is experienced as diffused light.For natural lighting of interior spaces by admitting sunlight. sunlight isfiltered through the Earth's atmosphere. The total amount of energy received at ground level from the sun at the zenith is 1004 watts per square meter. with most of the extra UV consisting of biologically-damaging shortwave ultraviolet. see Sunlight (disambiguation).000 years to leave the sun's interior and then be emitted from the surface as light. For other uses. see Insolation. On average. and is obvious as daylight when the Sun is above the horizon. Sunlight is a portion of the electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun. see Daylighting. pyranometer or pyrheliometer. Sunlight takes about 8. particularly infrared. When it is blocked by the clouds or reflects off other objects. When the direct solar radiation is not blocked by clouds. which is composed of 527 watts of infrared radiation. At the top of the atmosphere sunlight is about 30% more intense. Bright sunlight provides illuminance of approximately 100.3 minutes to reach the Earth. The World Meteorological Organization uses the term "sunshine duration" to mean the cumulative time during which an area receives directirradiance from the Sun of at least 120 watts per square meter. 445 watts of visible light. [2] [1] Direct sunlight has a luminous efficacy of about 93 lumens per watt of radiant flux. a combination of bright light and radiant heat. [3][4][5] . Sunlight may be recorded using a sunshine recorder. with more than three times the fraction of ultraviolet (UV). For solar energy available from sunlight. and 32 watts of ultraviolet radiation. giving rise tocrepuscular rays. and ultraviolet light. Sunlight shining through clouds. it takes energy between 10.000 luxor lumens per square meter at the Earth's surface. it is experienced as sunshine.

these super high energy photons are converted to lower energy photons before they reach the Sun's surface and are emitted out into space. Owing to absorption by the atmosphere very little reaches the Earth's surface. It is also greatly absorbed by the atmosphere. infrared. The Sun does. and Light The spectrum of the Sun's solar radiation is close to that of a black body with a temperature of about 5. and along with UVC is responsible for thephotochemical reaction leading to the production of the ozone layer. This spectrum of radiation has has germicidal properties. as mentioned. Extreme UV and X-rays are produced (at left of wavelength range shown) but comprise very small amounts of the Sun's total output power. This band of significant radiation power can be divided into five regions in increasing order of wavelengths:  [8] Ultraviolet C or (UVC) range. visible light. and is used in germicidal lamps. [edit]Composition and power Solar irradiance spectrum above atmosphere and at surface. Although the Sun produces Gamma rays as a result of the nuclear fusion process. and hence is used in cosmetic artificialsun tanning (tanning booths and tanning beds) and PUVA therapy for psoriasis. See also: Ultraviolet. emit X-rays. these rays make up only a very small amount of the power output of the Sun (see spectrum at right) and will not be discussed further. a process vital for many living beings on Earth. and even radio waves.  Ultraviolet B or (UVB) range spans 280 to 315 nm. As a result.Sunlight is a key factor in photosynthesis. which spans a range of 100 to 280 nm. The term ultraviolet refers to the fact that the radiation is at higher frequency than violet light (and.800 K.  Ultraviolet A or (UVA) spans 315 to 400 nm. . hence also invisible to the human eye). [7] [6] Although. This band was once held to be less damaging to DNA. Infrared. the solar corona is a source of extreme ultraviolet and X-ray radiation. It directly damages DNA and causes sunburn. however. the Sun does not emit gamma rays. The spectrum of nearly all solar electromagnetic radiationstriking the Earth's atmosphere spans a range of 100 nm to about 1 mm. The Sun emits EM radiation across most of the electromagnetic spectrum. ultraviolet.

The solar illuminance constant (Esc). As the name suggests. corrected for the elliptical orbit by using the day number of the year (dn). dn=2 on January 2.However. and is able to cause cancer. a measure of flux density. corrected for the attenuating effects of the atmosphere is given by: 3 where c is the atmospheric extinction coefficient and m is the relative optical airmass. [edit]Calculation To calculate the amount of sunlight reaching the ground. 6  Infrared range that spans 700 nm to 10 nm (1 mm). it is this range that is visible to the naked eye. is given by [10] [5] [4] 2 [3] where dn=1 on January 1. and 32 watts of ultraviolet radiation.033412 is determined knowing that the ratio between the perihelion (0. The direct normal illuminance (Edn). etc. the closest approach to the Sun and therefore the maximum Eext occurs around January 3 each year.  [9] Visible range or light spans 380 to 780 nm.000 nm Infrared-C: 3. per square meter. [edit]Solar constant Main article: Solar constant The solar constant. and the remainder infrared. is equal to 128×10 lx. both the elliptical orbit of the Earth and the attenuation by the Earth's atmosphere have to be taken into account. The extraterrestrial solar illuminance ( Eext). and by energy fractions to 44% visible light. At ground level this decreases to about 1120–1000 watts/m .400 nm to 3. is the amount of incoming solar electromagnetic radiation per unit area that would be incident on a plane perpendicular to the rays. UV A is now known to cause significant damage to DNA via indirect routes (formation of free radicalsand reactive oxygen species). 2 Sunlight in space at the top of Earth's atmosphere at a power of 1366 watts/m is composed (by total energy) of about 50% infrared light. 3% ultraviolet (with the Sun at the zenith. The value of 0. because in modern times Earth's perihelion. dn=32 on February 1.400 nm Infrared-B: 1. is about 527 watts of infrared radiation.01671033 AU) squared should be approximately 0. and 10% ultraviolet light. at a distance of . but less at other angles).000 nm to 1 mm. with the sun at the zenith. It is responsible for an important part of the electromagnetic radiation that reaches the Earth. In this formula dn-3 is used. 40% visible light. It is also the strongest output range of the sun's total irradiance spectrum.935338. 445 watts of visible light. It is also divided into three types on the basis of wavelength:    Infrared-A: 700 nm to 1. Thus.98328989 AU) squared and the aphelion (1. sunlight's composition at ground level.

ocean. [edit]Total (TSI) and spectral solar irradiance (SSI) upon Earth [3] Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) – the amount of solar radiation received at the top of the Earth’s atmosphere – was earlier measured by satellite to be roughly 1.366 kW/m². Different bodies of the Solar System receive light of an intensity inversely proportional to the square of their distance from Sun. 40% visible. and probably more complicated fashion. biosphere. A rough table comparing the amount of solar radiation received by each planet in the Solar System follows (from data in [1]): Planet distance (AU) Solar radiation (W/m²) . not just the visible light. with earth's climate responses than earlier assumed.361 kW/m² is more realistic.366 kilo⁠watts per square meter (kW/m²). continuing today with [16] This “discovery is critical in examining the energy budget of the planet Earth and isolating the climate change due to human activities. and about 10% ultraviolet at the top of the atmosphere. and Earth’s climate”.361 W/m² as compared to ~1. troposphere. This radiation is about 50% infrared.366 W/m² from earlier observations. [15] [11][13][14] but most recently NASA cites TSI as 1. [17] [edit]Intensity in the Solar System Sunlight on Mars is dimmer than on Earth. This photo of a Martian sunset was imaged by Mars Pathfinder. fueling broad avenues of new research in “the connection of the Sun and stratosphere. The "solar constant" includes all types of solar radiation. but recent recalibrations of the [12] relevant satellite observations indicate a value closer to astronomical unit (AU) (roughly the mean distance from the Sun to the Earth). based on results from a series of NASA and ESA satellite TSI monitors the ACRIMSAT/ACRIM3.” Furthermore the SORCE Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SIM) has found in the same period that spectral solar irradiance (SSI) at UV (ultraviolet) wavelength corresponds in a less clear. [11] varying slightly with solar activity. SOHO/VIRGO and SORCE/TIM observations. Its average value was thought to be approximately 1.

666    715    492 Jupiter  4.Perihelion Aphelion maximum minimum Mercury  0.04      3.382  1.7282  2.3075  0.7184  0.272 Venus  0.321 Mars  1.8     45.000 lux.4667 14.47 The actual brightness of sunlight that would be observed at the surface depends also on the presence and composition of an atmosphere.647  2. [edit]Surface illumination The spectrum of surface illumination depends upon solar elevation due to atmospheric effects.08      4.39 Neptune 29.77 30. Even on Pluto the sunlight would still be bright enough to almost match the average living room. sunlight on Saturn is slightly brighter than Earth sunlight at the average sunset or sunrise (see daylight for comparison table). and as can be seen in the pictures taken by the rovers.576 Earth  0.048 10. with the blue spectral component from atmospheric scatter dominating during twilight before and after sunrise .446  6. To see sunlight as dim as full moonlight on the Earth. [18] Sunlight on Mars would be more or less like daylight on Earth wearing sunglasses.950  5. there are only a handful of objects in the solar system known to orbit farther than such a distance.44      1.54      1. The actual illumination of the surface is about 14.9833  1.9 Saturn  9.4 Uranus 18. For example Venus' thick atmosphere reflects more than 60% of the solar light it receives.12     16.7     13. comparable to that on Earth "in the daytime with overcast clouds". For comparison purposes.413  1. there is enough diffuse sky radiation that shadows would not seem particularly dark. Thus it would give perceptions and "feel" very much like Earth daylight. among them 90377 Sedna and (87269) 2000 OO67.017  1.38 20.458     55. a distance of about 500 AU (~69 light-hours) is needed.

the ground and other objects depends on the absorption (electromagnetic radiation) of the electromagnetic radiation in the form of heat.and sunset. If we assume the solar radiation power P as a constant over time and the solar irradiation given by the inverse-square law. but not at all in winter near the poles. and Insolation On Earth. The amount of radiation intercepted by a planetary body varies inversely with the square of the distance between the star and the planet. This is during daytime. but the redistribution of energy between summer and winter does strongly affect the intensity of seasonal cycles. we obtain also the average insolation as a constant. See diffuse sky radiation for more details. [edit]Climate effects Further information: Solar variation. "preferential absorption of sunlight by ozone over long horizon paths gives the zenith sky its blueness when the sun is near the horizon". According to Craig Bohren. the integration over the orbital period (also invariant) is a constant. combining the perception of bright white light (sunlight in the strict sense) and warming. sometimes forming a nearly perfect circle. and at other times stretching out to an orbital eccentricity of 5% (currently 1. [20] For example. The total insolation remains almost constant due to Kepler's second law. Such changes associated with the redistribution of solar energy are considered a likely cause for the coming and going of recent ice ages (see: Milankovitch cycles). . solar radiation is obvious as daylight when the sun is above the horizon. and red dominating during sunrise and sunset. But the seasonal and latitudinal distribution and intensity of solar radiation received at the Earth's surface also varies. and also in summer near the poles at night. Because changes in winter and summer tend to offset. The warming on the body. Solar dimming. it is experienced as sunshine. The Earth's orbit and obliquity change with time (over thousands of years).67%). That is. [19] where is the "areal velocity" invariant. the change in the annual average insolation at any given location is near zero. When the direct radiation is not blocked by clouds. These effects are apparent in natural light photography where the principal source of illumination is sunlight as mediated by the atmosphere. respectively. at latitudes of 65 degrees the change in solar energy in summer and winter can vary by more than 25% as a result of the Earth's orbital variation.

by consuming their products or by consuming other heterotrophs. Most autotrophs. They used animal skins for warmth. peak oil). using sunspots for the past 400 years or cosmogenic radionuclides for going back 10. petroleum and natural gas are modern extensions of this trend. 208 years (DeVries cycle) and 1. These fossil fuels are the remnants of ancient plant and animal matter. Fields devoted to crops were enriched by inedible plant matter. either by consuming autotrophs. Animals which had previously only provided humans with meat and tools once they were killed were now used for labour throughout their lives. the domestication of plants and animals further increased human access to solar energy. providing sugars and nutrients for future harvests. These skills allowed humans to harvest more of the sunlight than was possible through glycolysis alone. releasing stored solar energy. use the energy of sunlight. combined with carbon dioxide and water. Because the stored energy in these fossil fuels has accumulated over many millions of years. such as plants. 88 years (Gleisberg cycle).000 years.g.000 years (Eddy cycle). fueled by grasses inedible to humans. As the amount of fossil fuel is large but finite. to produce simple sugars—a process known as photosynthesis. Heterotrophs. and giving the heterotroph the energy required for survival. During the Neolithic Revolution.[edit]Past variations in solar irradiance Space-based observations of solar irradiance started in 1978. The more recent discoveries of coal. alternative fuels. for example. These sugars are then used as building blocks and in other synthetic pathways which allow the organism to grow. Malthusian catastrophe. new urbanism. such as animals. formed using energy from sunlight and then trapped within the earth for millions of years. In prehistory. [21][22][23][24] These studies show that solar irradiance does vary with distinct periodicities such as: 11 years (Schwabe). This process is known as cellular respiration. they have allowed modern humans to massively increase the production and consumption of primary energy. When going further back in time. It varies with the 11-year sunspot solar cycle. and various theories exist as to what will follow this stage of human civilization (e. this cannot continue indefinitely. humans began to further extend this process by putting plant and animal materials to other uses. . or wooden weapons to hunt. one has to rely on irradiance reconstructions. Such reconstructions have been done. use light from the sun indirectly by consuming the products of autotrophs. [edit]Life on Earth The existence of nearly all life on Earth is fueled by light from the sun. These measurements show that the solar constant is not constant. The sugars and other molecular components produced by the autotrophs are then broken down. and human population began to grow.

the whiter it gets. CFL’s are energy-efficient and cost-saving tools which produce the same amount of light at one-quarter of the energy consumption. offices. it does not mean it will be “brighter”. To make things even more confusing. LUX. CFL’s with higher Kelvin temperatures produce a whiter. PAR. Warm light is preferable for most indoor living areas such as dining rooms and bathrooms because it is more flattering to skin tones. A chromaticity or color temperature of 2700-3600K is recommended for most indoor use and task lighting applications. LUX. yellow-red colors are considered warm and blue-green casts are considered cool. industrial. most intelligent choice. IE The higher the Kelvin. We recomend 5000K CFL’s for hotel room bedside lamps. if you’re still confused. LUMENS. higher Kelvin temperatures(3600-5500K) produce cool tones of white. Cool light is preferable for rooms in which visual tasks are performed such as warehouses. some of this info pertains solely to CFL style lamps.” In other words.KELVIN AND LUMENS04. library or kitchen.” A 26 Watt 2700K CFL will be a warm tone and put out up to 1800 lumens. the more brightness is perceived in a given space. Priority Lighting has an energy-star logo approval indicating that its lighting products have gone through strict performance standards testing so are far superior to the CFL’s found in the “big box” stores. Most people assume that the brighter the light bulb appears to be.11 To make the best. just as the 26 Watt 5000K CFL will product the same amount of lumens at up to 1800 with a daylight color. commercial. Call today to get help choosing the energy-efficient bulbs for your retail. In reality. the more lumens it must put out and the less energy efficient it is. brighter light than standard incandescents at a greater cost savings. In fact. By convention. AND PUR JULY 18. IE The higher the Kelvin. or residential needs. twists.04. this is not the case when talking about CFL lamps. However. call us today and one of our knowledgeable sales team members would be glad to assist you in choosing the correct light for your space! Definition: “A lumen is a unit of measurement that describes how much light is contained in a space or the brightness of a light source. and energy savers. The whiter the white. while lower color temperatures(2700-3000K) produce warm colors. PAR. the whiter and brighter (higher lumens) the lamp will produce. The Kelvin(K) (absolute) temperature scale describes the color temperature or the “whiteness” of incandescent lamp light. Of course. AND PUR . 2012 BY ORPHEK LEAVE A COMMENT UNDERSTANDING KELVIN. offices. outdoor spaces. a 100 watt incandescent bulb is equivalent to a 23 -26 watt CFL. and fabric rooms areas for furniture stores. The best way to choose the right CFL for a particular lighting need is to remember this rule of thumb: ”Divide the wattage of a current incandescent by four. 1 800 709 1119 UNDERSTANDING KELVIN. LUMENS. spirals. CFL’s are referred to as pig tails. a consumer should first be aware of the importance of Kelvin and lumen measurements in determining which light bulb to purchase. a studio. When looking for LED’s a higher Kelvin Temp will ussually increase the lumen output.

plus red and blue LEDs of the correct wavelength are considered to be the best as they emit peaks in the chlorophyll A and B range which is very beneficial for plant growth.000 to 10. Saltwater absorbs slightly more light energy than freshwater due to the higher density (specific gravity) of the water and in this regard. 6500K normal output fluorescent lamps are not a good choice for SPS and LPS corals kept more than twelve inches from the surface.000K lamps generally produce very good growth rate for soft and LPS corals but slows down growth of SPS corals. The 14. This is the spectrum that PAR meters are generally calibrated to as well as the spectrum which aquarium lighting falls into.000K lamps are noticeably bluer than the 14. Visible light is electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye and is responsible for our sense of sight. This lamp choice is recommended for tanks 15 to30 inchesin depth providing the intensity is there to achieve a good PAR level. Supplemental actinic (420-480nm) are often used with these lamps to provide a more pleasing appearance of the corals and fish and to fill in this needed spectrum. Orphek’s LED technology 14K white For freshwater plant growth. The visible light range is located between the invisible infrared which is found at longer wavelengths. The 14K lamps also provide excellent growth for SPS and LPS corals. Visible light has wavelength in a range from about 380 nanometers to about 740 nanometers. This is why 18. Black bodies with temperatures below about 4000 K appear reddish whereas those above about 7500 K appear bluish. these are available in the form of LED lighting fixtures but not available from every company that produces LED light fixtures.000K lamps which are popular with metal halide and LED lighting will penetrate the water better than the above lamps and still provide a good PAR level for all corals including SPS. thus producing true colors. For this reason. Fortunately. and the invisible ultraviolet which is found at shorter wavelengths. The 20. Color temperature is important in the fields of image projection and photography where a color temperature of approximately 5600K is required to match daylight film emulsions. The drawback is that when used alone. The 9. these lamps should not be used as the only lamp in reef tanks if one wishes to keep SPS corals. Orphek’s LED technology has proven that 14K white.000K lamp which is also violet/blue in appearance. Color temperature is based upon the principle that a black body radiator emits light the color generated at the temperature of the radiator.KELVIN The descriptor Kelvin is often used as a measure of color temperature of light sources. A 20. SPS growth will be slowed or even stop completely. For our purposes we are interested in the visible light which falls between 400 to 700nm. Violet Indigo Blue Green Yellow Orange Red 400-420nm 420-440nm 440-490nm 490-570nm 570-585nm 585-620nm 620-780nm Color comparison with nanometer range . freshwater plant growth. It is interesting to note that Kelvin is in direct opposite of nanometers as far as color is concerned.000K lamps and will bring out all of the fluorescent pigments found in many corals.000K lighting that can provide the spectral range (PUR) needed by corals is most desirable.000K lamp appears violet/blue whereas a lamp that peaks at 425nanometers (on a scale of 400-700nm) would be very close to a 20. Nanometer wavelengths differ from Kelvin as the nanometer is the term used to measure the visible light of electromagnetic radiation and not color temperature.

This will allow you to view the wavelengths of which a PAR meter will actually measure. The difference between Lumens and Lux is that the Lux takes into account the area over which the luminosity is spread and for our purpose.Do not confuse the color a lamp or LED emits with a particular nanometer range as light in several nanometer ranges can be used to develop a specific Kelvin temperature lamp. Without the presence of Zooanthellae these animals would die as they produce 90% of the food requirements these animals require. Most photosynthetic life do not utilize the full spectral range that PAR covers but respond best to light in the PUR (Photosynthetically Useable Radiation) range. This is the range that is needed by plants and symbiotic Zooanthellae algae which live in the tissues of corals. Some studies have shown that the minimum light intensity should be no less than 3. This is one reason why it is very important to view a spectrograph of a lamp or LED fixture before purchasing. This can still be a useful measurement for freshwater plants and some corals in reef aquaria. Lux on a tropical reef has been measured to be between 110.000 to 25.0929 lumens per square foot. . A common misconception with many hobbyists is that they will say “my new LED light isn’t as bright as my old metal halide light”. LUX/LUMENS Lux is a measure of the intensity of light.000 one meter below the surface. I personally feel it should me much higher than that and somewhere around 15. It does not appear bright to your eyes because of the wavelength. If the same 1000 lumens were spread out over ten square meters it would produce a dimmer luminance of only 100 Lux. A PAR reading of 300 and higher isn’t as good as it appears if this reading is derived from wavelengths produced throughout the entire PAR spectral range (400-700nm) as much of this energy is not needed by photosynthetic animals and is wasted energy. is a more desirable rating than lumens. LED fixtures tuned to the PUR wavelength use wavelengths of light that are the least sensitive to our eyes in terms of brightness even though these wavelengths are intense to corals and other photosynthetic life.000 Lux. clams. One must keep in mind that a Lux reading only measures light intensity to which the human eye is most sensitive (green) and a Lux meter will not measure wavelengths over 580nm.000 and 120. This is equivalent to: 1 lux = 0. PAR/PUR PAR is the abbreviation for Photosynthetically Active Radiation in the spectral range of 400 to 700 nanometers. 1 lux = 1 lumen per square meter. A PAR reading of 150 at the deepest part of a tank will promote growth of all but the most light loving corals provided the lamp or LED falls into PUR range stated above. A lux reading on inexpensive lux meters available for the aquarium hobby can be converted to Lumens by use of this formula.000 Lux at the deepest part of the aquarium. Photosynthetic invertebrates respond best to light that falls into wavelengths between 400-550nm and 620740nm which is the PUR range.000 at the surface and 20. This is a good example of why you do not want to look directly at a UV germicidal lamp. but the damaging rays are very intense and can have a negative impact on your vision. and other photosynthetic life. This can be confusing to many as there are light fixtures and lamps that are advertised as high PAR systems but do not provide a spectrograph to see the spectral range at which the PAR level was derived at. much the same as 1+3 and 2+2 both equal 4. anemones. one Lux is equal to one lumen per square meter. Many manufacturers will do this to provide the necessary wavelengths needed for coral growth while still maintaining the desired color temperature. A flux of 1000 lumens concentrated into an area of one square meter lights up that square meter with a luminance of 1000 lux.

4 de febrero de 2006 This article was wrote about March-2005 and translate to english from original in spanish by Monica. You can see all images here. .The Apogee MQ-200 Quantum Meter is a good tool for measuring PAR. The outside tank (article . If you have a sizeable investment in your reef tank. Editors note: Orphek LED lighting products have fulfilled all of the above requirements in each and every one of their products and can demonstrate this with spectrographs and Lumen output. this meter is a worthwhile purchase as it will indicate when lamps need to be replaced and is a useful tool for coral placement in the system to insure that a particular coral is getting the required amount of light.english) Sábado.

Instaling the tank . or nitrates built up. Taking advantage of this fact. I decided to install a base for the tank in the area of my house’s courtyard with the longest hours of sunlight. it was due to lack of light. or a plant did not become red. When there was no more room on the lid of the tank to attach fluorescents tubes. my persistent question became: how to increase the amount of light that my tank received? During the summer I had dismantled my tank. and I took the tank outside. I have considered light as one of th e most fundamental and limiting factors for plants’ development. Limited space or economic constraints always meant that I could never have as much light for my plants as I wanted.The outside tank Introduction Vista general del patio Since I grow aquatic plants. and still light was insufficient. If algae grew.

I am aware of the fact that the concentration of nitrates might be excessively low. Lowering the levels of nitrates meant nutrient deficits for the plants. The water filtration system is an engine at Fluval 104 filled exclusively with Perlon. I watch out for the appereance of clorosis in the plants. I have used and I still use this system regularly. the hours of “effective” sunlight is restricted from 9am to 5pm. This temperature rises to 26ºC when sunlight hits the tank directly. I have entrusted both plants and substrate to do the chemical and biological water filtration. Since the installation of the tank. fosfate so to get a concentration of 2-0. I keep the levels of CO2 as high as the tank fauna allows me to. roots and other organic rests. I usually test the concentration of nitrates and phosphates. at the very least (in December). I soon realised that this power was insufficient to avoid that water temperature fell to 15-18ºC overnight. which allows me to keep water at a temperature of 22ºC overnight. This way.4. The substrate is a mixture of little gravels used in previous tanks.The dimensions of the tank are 100x30x40 cms. I adjust the levels of water lost by evaporation (around 3 litres every day) with reverse osmosis water. Later on I added some litres of Flourite Seachem. From time to time I have observed the presence of some Odonatos’ larvae and some earthworms. To input CO2 I use a CO2 bottle connected to an electrovalvula AZOO plus a digital temporizer. the filter dissolves the gas into the water completely. just before changing the water of the tank. it has a general hardness of dGh 24. Due to the orientation and situation of the courtyard and the surrounding buildings. I use ordinary tap water to fill the tank. In the attached diagram it is possible to observe the light intensity the tank received during the month of January. This way. Sulfate – P. Until now. It is situated in an area of the courtyard that receives. . it is enough to add 1ml of Flourish Iron every 2 or 3 days. Water temperature was initially kept stable with a 100 w thermostat. To do this. which probably come from the old substrate where I introduced them.25/l. I fertilise with a homemade solution of Potasium nitrate – P. However. Phosphate concentration is calculated so to avoid the appearance of spot algae. although I have not observed particular benefits or damages from its use. I aim at keeping low input of iron and microelements fertilisers.1-3 mg/litre. two hours of direct sunlight. the results of these tests have been practically the same: nitrates 0 mg/l and phosphates 0. The latest chemical analysis done by the water supplying company (to which I had access to) showed a complete absence of nitrates and phosphates (data for 2001). when I have increased the concentration. The gas is dissolved by using a ceramic diffuser situated next to the source of water supply. 6 Rasbora heteromorpha and 6 Otoncinclus. along with (10-12) Apple snails (Pomacea) and other spontaneous animals. to avoid clorosis. My aim was to introduce the nutrients through the pipe. dKh 8 y ph 7. Plants and fish The tank fauna is made up of a dozen of Tanichthys Albonubes. but according to the latest tests. humus. Every 30 or 40 days approximately I change completely the old material with new one. Currently. To measure the amount of fertilizers. Currently. I use a 300 w thermostat. these algae emerge. green algae has started to appear almost immediately. The tank is exclusively kept with sunlight. Water quality and hardness vary slightly during the year. Fertilising With the help of a dispenser. the filter only works as a mechanical filter. However. with some clay. I put a pierced pipe at the bottom of the tank. when I decrease the levels of phosphate levels. I change around 20 litres of the tank’s water every 7 to 10 days. When installing the tank. I nevertheless consider the tank to have 100 litres. This means a total volume of around 120 litres (31 gal). in order to avoid both the water column and the algae. Every two or three weeks.

”Nanjenshan” – Tonina fluviatilis Meadow – Bacopa caroliniana – Eleocharis acicularis – Glossostigma elatinoides – Hemianthus callitrichoides “cuba” – Hydrocotyle verticillata – Lilaeopsis brasiliensis – Marsilea drummondi – Micranthemum micranthemoides . In all.The number of different plant species is quite large. the plants are the following: Floating – Eichornia crassipes – Lemna minor – Pistia spp – Riccia fluitans – Salvinia minima Stems plants – Althernanthera reineckii – Crassula helmessi – Cryptocoryne Balansae – Cyperus helfferi – Didiplis diandra – Echinodorus tenellus – Potamogeton stellata – Hemianthus micranthemoides – Heteranthera zorestifolia – Higrophila corymbosa angustifolia – Hydrocotyle leucocephala – Hygrophila polysperma “Roseanervig” – Juncus repens – Limnophila aquatica – Limnophila aromatica – Ludwigia verticillata inclinata “cuba” – Lugwigia repens – Lysimachia aurea – Micranthemum umbrosum – Myriophyllum aquaticum – Nesaea crassicaulis – Rotala rontudifolia “green” & “red” – Rotala sp. there are around 30 species that grow or have grown in this tank. Nowadays.

the ending of the winter has meant that this problem has started to resolve by itself. there was another temperature-related problem that caught me by surprise: bad water circulation in densely thicketed areas. From the beginning I have aimed at keeping stable levels of nutrients. I observed that the stems had not only rooted onto the substratum. Sifoneos when changing the tank’s water also helped. This was especially the case at the bases of the stems of the Micranthemum umbrosum and the Potamogeton. which. All floating plants. but particularly noteworthy has been the growth “explosion” experimented by the Lilaeopsis and the Eleocharis. was caused by lack of light. Plants’ density in some areas of the tank was so high that it was significantly difficult for water to circulate. I have avoided creating any peaks in macronutrients excess or deficit by fertilising daily and keeping a high density of plants. Glossostigma. Cultivating plants I set up this tank on 1st October 2004 with plants coming from a tank previously dismantled. but for situations like this they may be useful. Ludwigia repens. On one occasion I had a short sprout of cyanobacter on the stems of the Micranthemum umbrosum. Problems Whereas troubles with surface temperature were expected. Algae So far I have not had any critical problem with algae. which only lasted for 6 or 7 days. it is important to pay especial attention to improving water circulation in the densely thicketed areas of the tank. Other species that have shown an excellent growth rate have been the Myriophillum. The brown algae started to disappear as soon as the plant population started to increase. as temperature outside water dropped to 6ºC-7ºC overnight. Probably only Salvinia minima and Lemna could have survived the temperature contrast between the tank water at 22ºC and the outside water temperature at 6ºC. It was possible to feel the different temperature simply by submerging one’s hand. Bacopa caroliniana. the Riccia grew better when being tied up and kept submerged than when it floated on the surface. Being already aquatic plants. . This has obliged to frequent trimmings so to avoid overgrowth. This problem was resolved by improving water circulation in the area. these two species have shown the most spectacular change in their growth rate if we compare them with how they did in an artificially lighted tank. had a bad time when winter arrived. The Hetheranthera and the Micranthemum umbrosum have grown healthily from the beginning. but the roots had overgrown and looked like wanting to “escape” upwards. including the Riccia. funnily enough. Potamogeton y Limnophila. An auxiliary engine may be a solution for this problem. with success in almost all cases. I do not particularly like ground heating wires. The Pistia and the Eichornia would have died if I had not transferred them to an indoors tank. Also. their adaptation period was short and they started to grow well from the first day.I have previously grown all these species in indoors tanks with 1 w fluorescent light per litre. I realised of this when replanting some Potamogeton stellata stems. Juncus repens. One month after setting the tank I had a small brown algae’s attack. This meant that there were areas of the tank with a water temperature considerably lower than the rest. Particularly. Undoubtedly. In any case.

but as soon as the plant has grown tall it has replaced them with thicker and rounder leaves. I introduced two stems of this plant. Light and fotoperiodo: plants’ changes Graph of insolation hours Undoubtedly. the plant started to produce new round-shaped leaves. Periodically. This plant came from a previous tank where it developed in the “normal” way: thin stems that bend near the surface. Didiplis diandra . where they tend to grow horizontally. as all stems without exception end up blossoming. they fall off in the form of little “hairy” balls. When in the tank. Once the tank was ready. it developed straight and thick stems that not only did not bend near the water surface. which barely measured 4-5 cm. they carried on growing for about 10-15 cm over the surface and then they flowered. they started to change their recognisable “head of hair -shaped” leaves with other leaves identical to those that the plant develops when cultivated outside water. Almost without delay they started to grow astonishingly. As soon as the Limnophila aquatica began to enjoy the sunlight. Occasionally. Once they reached the water surface. before I set up the tank. but came out the water easily. and particularly with the Rotala rotundifolia. there are some filamentosus green algae in the densest area of the tank. almost identical to those that it grows when cultivated outside water. What it was initially a surprise it has turned out to be a bit of a hassle. one of the most surprising changes happened with the sub-aquatic species. where water circulation is worse. in the new tank. and long and slender leaves that become orangecoloured when the stems grow tall. I kept the Limnophila aquatica floating in a sink in a shady spot for a couple of weeks. Also. a replanted stem has reproduced slightly longer and thinner leaves.Currently.

I ignored completely the extent to which it could alter the appearance of some plant species. but so far it seems evident that.With another limnophila the situation has been quite different. I put it down to the difference of temperature between the tank water and the outside. Once they have reached the lighted areas. particularly in the case of some species such as the Rotala. Everything seems to point at the fotoperiodo as the main trigger for these changes. it grew much better when tied up and underwater than when floating. As I said above. However. Initially. changed its leaves slightly and then it stopped from growing further. The Riccia fluitans’ growth slowed down considerably during the winter months. I have replanted its stalks. This Limnophila aromática was planted at the end of December. I am currently transferring some plant species to indoors tanks with longer fotoperiodos. limited to some millimetres each week. Detalle superior It is a well-know fact that the fotoperiodo is an important factor to trigger the flowering and the development of cultivated species. the combination of light intensity with a different fotoperiodo changes substantially the plant’s morphology und erwater. The Nesaea craussicaulis was planted at the end of January. despite the fact that the minimum temperatures have only slightly increased (from 6-7ºC to 9-10ºC). However. I await for the summer months and for more hours of light to confirm this observation. Aquarium Carpet Plants (1-10 cm) Pygmy Chain Sword (Echinodorus tenellus) Dwarf Hairgrass (Eleocharis parvula) . Indeed. once the winter has ended and there are more hours of light. which have grown until coming out from the shady areas of the tank. in order to observe how these plants developed. From then on it has kept stems sticking out from the water and it is in continuous flowering. its growth has shot up. their growth is almost non-existent. In mid-February it stood out 10-15 cm from the water surface. Immediately it grew quite a lot.

Glossostigma (Glossostigma elatinoides) Hemianthus 'Cuba' (Hemianthus callitrichoides) Brazilian Micro Sword (Lilaeopsis brasiliensis) Crystalwort (Riccia fluitans) Willow Moss (Fontinalis antipyretica) Java Moss (Vesicularia dubyana) Small Aquatic Plants (1-20 cm) Dwarf Anubias (Anubias nana) Afzeli Anubias (Anubias afzelii) Green Wendtii Crypt (Cryptocoryne wendtii 'green') Brown Wendtii Crypt (Cryptocoryne wendtii) Undulated Crypt (Cryptocoryne undulata) Willisii (Nevillii) Cryp (Cryptocoryne x willisii) Water Hedge (Didiplis diandra) Needle Spike Rush (Eleocharis acicularis) Pearl Grass (Hemianthus micranthemoides) Whorled/Marsh Pennywort (Hydrocotyle verticillata) Baby Tears (Micranthemum umbrosum) Windelov´s Fern (Microsorum pteropus 'Windelov') Nanjenshan Rotala (Rotala sp. 'Nanjenshan') Water Cabbage (Samolus parviflorus) Medium Aquatic Plants (15-30 cm) Giant Anubias (Anubias barteri) "Coffee Leaf" Anubias (Anubias barteri 'coffeefolia') Blyxa Echinosperma (Blyxa echinosperma) Blyxa Japonica (Blyxa japonica) African Water Fern (Bolbitis heudelotii) Cyperus helferi (Cyperus helferi) Porto Alegre Sword (Echinodorus portoalegrensis) .

Eusteralis (Eusteralis stellata) Broad Leaf Flame Ivy (Hemigraphis colorata 'broad leaf') Brazilian Pennywort (Hydrocotyle leucocephala) Lobelia (Lobelia cardinalis) Golden Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea') Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) Whorly Rotala (Rotala wallichii) Dwarf Sagittaria (Sagittaria subulata) Lizard's Tail (Saururus cernuus) Tall Aquatic Plants (31+ cm. thin) Lilacina (Alternanthera reineckii var. lilacina) Bog Scarlet Hygro (Alternanthera sessilis var. rubra) Pink Ammannia (Ammannia gracilis) "Hairy" Bacopa (Bacopa lanigera) Dwarf Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) Green Cabomba (Cabomba caroliniana) Chinese Ivy (Cardamine lyrata) Elodea (Egeria Densa) Stargrass (Heteranthera zosterifolia) Dwarf Hygrophila (Hygrophila polysperma) Sunset Hygro (Hygrophila polysperma 'Rosanervig') Dwarf Ambulia (Limnophila sessiliflora) Needle Leaf Ludwigia (Ludwigia arcuata) Narrow Leaf Ludwigia (Ludwigia repens x arcuata) Creeping Red Ludwigia (Ludwigia repens) Red Ludwigia (Ludwigia mullertii) Tilted Red Ludwigia (Ludwigia inclinata) Oval Ludwigia (Ludwigia ovalis) Glandular Ludwigia (Ludwigia glandulosa/perennis) .

) "Corkscrew" Val (Vallisneria spiralis var. wide) Madagascar Laceleaf (Aponogeton madagascariensis) Orchid Lily (Barclaya longifolia) Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides) Broad-Leaf Water Sprite (Ceratopteris cornuta) Eichhornia (Eichhornia azurea) Amazon Sword (Echinodorus amazonicus) Ruffled Amazon Sword (Echinodorus martii (maior)) Ozelot Amazon Sword (Echinodorus x. tortissima) Large Aquatic Plants (31+ cm. 'Ozelot') Giant Hygrophila (Hygrophila corymbosa) Water Wisteria (Hygrophila difformis) Red and Blue Water Lily (Nymphaea stellata) Rubra Water Lily (Nymphaea sp. "rubra") Small-Flower Water Lily (Nymphaea micrantha) Banana Plant (Nymphoides aquatica) Tape Grass (Val) (Vallisneria spiralis) .Madagascar Lagarosiphon (Lagarosiphon madagascariensis) Mayaca (Mayaca fluviatilis) Brazilian Milfoil (Myriophyllum aquaticum) Western Milfoil (Myriophyllum hippuroides) Red-Stem Milfoil (Myriophyllum matogrossensis) Southern Waternymph (Najas guadalupensis) Gayii (Potamogeton gayii) Mermaid Weed (Proserpinaca palustris) Dwarf Rotala (Rotala rotundifolia) Giant Red Rotala (Rotala macrandra) Tonina (Tonina sp.

) Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum) Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) Aldrovanda (Aldrovanda vesiculosa) Azolla (Azolla filiculoides) Floating Watermoss (Salvinia natans) Eared Watermoss (Salvinia auriculata) Asian Watermoss (Salvinia cucullata) Glossostigma elatinoides Crystalwort (Riccia fluitans) Fissidens fontanus Hydrocotyle tripartita .Floating Aquatic Plants Duckweed (Lemna sp.

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