Aquatic Plant Food
Nutrients For Aquarium Plants
Aquatic plants gain nutrients by two main methods. Like land plants many aquatics grow roots which act as an anchor and site for nutrient uptake. Other aquarium plants absorb nutrients through the leaves from the water. Many submerged plants will use a combination of both methods.
Root feeding plants are the most demanding as careful preparation of the substrate is required. Although some success can be achieved in plain gravel it is far from ideal. This is because the fine root hairs prefer a small particles with a high surface area.
Clay can offer plants these conditions when added to the substrate gravel. Iron laterite clays are the ideal variety because they supplement the available iron while being low in phosphorous. The low phosphor content causes fewer algae problems for a healthier aquarium. Iron laterite clays are found in very old geological zones where they have had time for most phosphorous to leach away.
Some nutrients will find their way to the root hairs through water circulation. With heavy feeding plants it is best to use fertilizers with the clay. Do not make the mistake of using ordinary fertilizer though. Not only are the minerals in a form that can not be absorbed, these preparations may kill your fish or promote algal blooms.
Purpose made commercial products are available, they may be called root tabs or fertilizer sticks. These can be added when arranging the substrate or buried later when nutrients have become depleted. You could even make your own by rolling balls of laterite clay containing some liquid aquatic plant fertilizer.
It is these liquid
foods that are used to nourish foliar feeding plants. They must be replenished more often than substrate fertilizing methods and the manufacturer’s instructions will often recommend daily or weekly feedings. Using more than required will usually promote algal blooms rather than lush green leaves.
More specialized water plants have made further adaptations for supplementing nutrient intake. Insectivorous aquatics can gain sustenance from catching small prey in the same way a Venus fly trap can.
Other aquatics such as
azolla have developed symbiotic relationships with nitrogen fixing blue green algae. The azolla fern and the colony of microorganisms live together mutually.
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A change in aquarium lighting is what is often needed to help your aquatic plants.
Plant Carbon Dioxide
This gas is essential when an aquatic plant is photosynthesizing.
Aquarium plants produce this gas but also need small quantities for respiration.
Aquatic Plant Guide
Information about aquarium plants on e-Aquarium.