Adding live plants to most freshwater tanks add a type of beauty that
can’t be achieved with their plastic/silk counterparts. They also have the
added benefit of filtering out unwanted nitrates and phosphates that can
lead to dirty and algae-covered tanks.
Setting up a planted aquarium is very similar to most fish only tanks, except that it takes a bit more planning. Because the plants will likely be a large focus of the tank, it is important to consider filter and heater placement while setting everything up. Substrate is another important component of planted aquariums. Because plants will get some of their nutrients from their roots, purchasing a Premium Plant Substrate, such as “Flourite” will help provide the essential nutrients needed for your plants. They often come in a variety of colors and textures. Ask any employee about available options. Decorations are another important thing to consider. Because some plants will actually attach to things, rather than establish roots in the substrate, adding aquarium approved rocks and wood will provide a more natural look to your aquarium. For more ideas, refer to the Aquarium Plants Manual. This book offers tips and layout suggestions for setting up new tanks.
Lighting is very important to consider because plants utilize light to make their food. Many plants will grow better with, and even require, stronger lighting. Upgrading to a T5 High Output or LED fixture will allow you to grow many more plants than with just a standard T8 fluorescent that comes with most tanks. If you do not wish to upgrade your light fixture, there are replacement plant bulbs (Flora-Glo) that will fit in most standard light fixtures. Ask any associate if you have any questions.
Maintenance for planted tanks is similar to fish only tanks. Because plants constantly lose leaves, however, it is important to maintain the cleanliness of the substrate. Too much build up can lead to a significant decrease in water quality.
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Although some plants can be maintained without supplementation, we use and recommend many of Seachem’s products to allow plants to flourish. Some Seachem products we recommend are:
Flourish: This is a comprehensive supplement that replaces many micro elements, some trace elements and other nutrients needed by plants.
Excel: This is a bioavailable organic carbon source essential for plant growth. This is a good replacement for CO2 injectors.
Fresh Trace/Envy: This replacs many trace elements used by plants. This is especially important when using RO or distilled water, since both processes strip the water of all vitamins and minerals.
Iron/Propel: This replaces Iron, a vital, but easily depleted element in planted aquariums. Use and iron test kit to properly determine the dosing schedule for your tank.
Seachem also offers a whole line of supplements to aid in multiple types of deficiencies. The Aquarium Plants Manual is a great reference for identifying deficiencies in planted aquariums.
Stability: This is a beneficial bacteria used to maintain biological stability in the tank. It helps keep ammonia and nitrite levels down.
Prime/Premier: This helps detoxify ammonia and nitrite as well as provide a slime coat for the fish to protect against disease.
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