AquaticLife CO2 Regulator
freshwater plants -
wow this is a whole different world. Please gimme some time to work on this page
Aquarium Plants Basics We believe there are Five critical components to a fully planted aquarium...
SUBSTRATE, LIGHTING, NUTRITION, Carbon Dioxide (CO2) & WATER QUALITY.
Substrates: Common mistake made by beginners is to get the cheapest gravel they can find and a month later we ask ourselves why the plants are not growing well. Of course, quality substrates are a bit costly but they will pay off. Trust me. All plants need a supply of Iron (Fe) to grow. While each of these products can be costly per bag to buy, it provides you the best start to growing nice plants. Some plants "will" grow in your average gravel but the size of the gravel is very important. It needs to be a finer grain in size and it will also need to be fertilized to provide the nutrients to the plants. If it is disturbed and allowed to enter the water column you could create "nuisance algae" problems. If you must use sand or gravel, go ahead and use the "EheimTorf Pellets" as the lowest layer then a layer of "Laterite" as second layer then gently add the gravel on top of it all. This will help supply Iron (Fe) for the plants roots to absorb and use. There is debate on the depth of substrates. Many people will tell you about about 3-4 inches, here at CP we recommend at a minimum of 2" to a max of 6" depending on the type of plants. Plants with long roots such as the "crypts" will definitely like the thicker substate depth while Anubias will not.
CP uses and recommends these following substrates: ADA Powersand Special, ADA AquaSoil Amazonia, Seachem Flourite/Dark/Red and CaribSea Eco-Complete. These are probably the best on available to the U.s. market.
Lighting: One of the most underrated components to the successful planted aquarium is the ever important lighting. A rule of thumb is 3 to 5 watts per gallon. This hold true for most lighting especially regular t-12's, regular t-8's and power compact lighting. In our experience this hold true for most aquarium under 24" height. The next wave of lighting recently is the use of High Output (HO) t-5's. Depending on the type of plants you can probably get away with 2 to 5 watts per gallon. Because of the intensity of t-5's with the use on reflectors, they are an awesome lighting decision to go with. Anything about 24" more than likely you probably like Metal Halide (MH) if you are using foreground plants. If you are willing to spend a little more and have your foreground plants growing horizontally along the bottom instead of growing vertically trying to get light, invest in lighting. Please check out our tanks here at CP, there all run MH's, t-5's ....these tank looks awesome!
CP use and recommend the following lighting depending on aquairum of course: Aquaticlife t-5's, Coralife t-5's, Aqueon Double/Triple t-8's and pretty much any MH units... except Odyessea Units ( none of this crap, please keep away)
Nutrition: The necessary nutrients for the planted aquarium are Macro and Micro Nutrients listed below. Of course, stronger the lighting you have, your plants will be need more nutrients to grow and be awesome looking. If they lack any specific nutrients you may find yellowing leaves, stunted growth, spindly stems, etc., all of which are signs of a nutrient deficiency. Also,
many plants (Swords,Crypts etc.) feed primarily through their root systems and need to be fed accordingly there are root fertilizers sold on the market in tablet form which get pushed into your substrate at the root base of the plant.
- Macro Nutrients include Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sulfur, Calcium, Carbon, Oxygen and Hydrogen.
- Micro Nutrients include Iron, Manganese, Chlorine, Zinc, Boron, Nickel, Copper, and Molybdenum.
Thats alot of mixing and trying to find the right mix of nutrients if your a chemist. Lucky for us there are great products available to the plant aquarist. CP uses and recommend Seachem Line we have everything, another plus is that CP carry the whole plant line in different sizes, ADA Liquids, and various other lines. Personally I would go with the Seachem Flourish Line or ADA Liquids. As to the substrate fertilizers (crypts, swords etc.) we definitely know the Seachem Floush Tabs rocks!
I am still working on the rest...DAvid
A few fine examples of live planted aquariums.