An Model Of How Energy Flows Through An Ecosystem Adding Plants to Your Aquarium

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Adding Plants to Your Aquarium

Adding plants to your aquarium is a good idea for many reasons. They are aesthetically pleasing and provide a healthy environment for your aquarium. The fish and other animals in your fish tank will benefit from aquatic plants, as plants provide oxygen by converting carbon dioxide found in the atmosphere through the process of photosynthesis. This helps in creating a balanced ecosystem in the aquarium.

By absorbing ammonia produced by fish waste, aquatic plants help prevent ammonia levels from becoming too high. Another advantage of aquatic plants is that they will compete for nutrients in the water, thus helping to “starve” the algae and keep its growth in check. Fish also benefit from finding food and shelter in plant leaves.

No two aquariums are the same, and the plants you add to your aquarium depend on the water characteristics and the species of fish that live in the tank. Spend time researching which plants are right for your aquarium. Keep in mind the overall theme you are trying to establish. You can help create the illusion of room by choosing plants for their contrast and color. But don’t go overboard, try to create a natural look that flows together without looking contrived.

The health and vitality of aquatic plants depends on nutrients, water hardness, pH level and temperature. The amount of dissolved salts and minerals in the aquarium water will determine its “hardness”. Magnesium and calcium contribute the most to water hardness. Carbonic acid is formed by the interaction of magnesium and calcium and affects the pH level of water. A pH range of 6.5 to 7.5 will be suitable for most aquatic plants. Most plants prefer hard water, although tropicals prefer soft water. Water temperatures in most aquariums range from 16 to 29°C – (60 to 85°F) and are suitable for most aquatic plants, but double check when purchasing your plants, especially if they are exotic.

When it comes to lighting your aquarium, the ideal amount is 10 – 12 hours a day. This will give the plants enough light for strong and vigorous growth, but will not allow excessive algae growth on the walls of your fish tank.

Substrate is the growing medium in which your plants are rooted. Porous gravel is the preferred medium because it does not compact. It is important to add nutrients to this substrate, especially if this is a new aquarium that has not had time to build up a level of mulch (fish waste and other organic waste) over time. A good substrate preferably consists of gravel (uncoated), granular laterite and sphagnum peat moss.

When deciding which fish to add to your aquarium, avoid herbivores for obvious reasons. The last thing you want is your well-planned water park getting used up. Finally, be sure to only add a few fish to the tank until the plants are ready. Otherwise, the fish may kill the plants before they grow strong enough to withstand the occasional crunch.

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