26-10-2017, 16:44
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When it comes to installing a new aquarium, many novice aquarists immediately start purchasing various aquarium plants to give it a unique and sophisticated look. Of course, an aquarium with plants looks much more beautiful than aquariums that do not have them. Unfortunately, many aquarists do not realize the amount of work that may be required to successfully maintain a planted aquarium. Live aquarium plants require a certain balance of nutrients in the water as well as adequate light to develop - without this, they will lead a miserable existence and eventually die.

Nutrients for plants

Before you start planting plants in your aquarium, you need to learn about the nutrients they need for normal growth. With this information, you will be able to choose the right soil and water chemistry. The most important nutrients for aquarium plants are:

  • Nitrogen. This macronutrient is essential for the formation of protein and amino acids. It also plays a role in nutrient absorption. Insufficient nitrogen can lead to stunted growth.
  • Potassium. Helps living plants process carbohydrates.
  • Calcium. This nutrient is needed in certain amounts for the growth of roots, shoots and fruits.
  • Phosphorus. This substance, along with nitrogen, is the most important nutrient for plants - deficiencies can lead to stunted growth.
  • Iron. This nutrient plays a key role in photosynthesis and plays a direct role in the formation of new chlorophyll molecules. Iron deficiencies result in yellowing leaves, stress and can lead to plant death.
  • Zinc. This substance is an activator of an enzyme that is essential for leaf formation. Zinc in excessive concentrations can be dangerous, and a deficiency leads to “little leaf” syndrome.
  • Copper. Excess copper can lead to inhibition of root growth.

Other nutrients that are essential for plant health and maintenance are chlorine, boron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

Choosing an aquarium substrate

Now that you understand which nutrients are most important for the health and growth of your living plants, you'll be conscious about choosing the right substrate for your aquarium. Substrate not only provides your plants with a rooting medium, but it also provides nutrients. Live plants will not live long if you plant them in a depleted substrate (without nutrients available).

Some of the most popular substrates are listed below:

  • Fluorite. This type of substrate is a kind of clay gravel - it is not only lightweight, but also compact. Fluorite can easily be mixed with sand or gravel to create a natural look in your aquarium, and it never needs to be replaced. This type of substrate should be washed thoroughly before use to get rid of dust.
  • Eco-Complete. This is one of the highest quality substrate options. Not only does it contain over 25 essential nutrients for your plants, but it also adds live beneficial bacteria to the aquarium that speed up the establishment of biological balance in the tank. Eco-complete comes in several color options.
  • Aqua Soil. This type of substrate has a natural appearance. Aqua Soil can be used as the main substrate in the aquarium or can be mixed with sand. This substrate comes in a variety of colors and provides nutrients to plants for a long time.
  • Gravel. If you plan to use gravel as a substrate in your aquarium, you need to use some type of fertilizer to provide your plants with nutrients. The best gravel for aquariums is small to medium sized gravel.

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