Creating a beautiful landscape in your aquarium is the art of aquascaping. Aquatic plants are one of the key elements to creating an underwater garden. When you add plants to your aquarium you are creating a beautiful landscape and adding benefits to your fish which can closely mimic their natural habitats. Crafting the perfect look takes time and many people spend hours and weeks perfecting the aquascape of their aquarium. But designing your look is only part of the job in aquascaping. Maintaining your aquatic plants so they thrive, and bloom is the other and more challenging part.
Photosynthesis is the single most important function that plants perform. Plants consume light energy and transform it into food energy. All plants including underwater plants perform photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which light energy is captured by plants and transformed into chemical energy. This light energy converts water, carbon dioxide, and minerals into oxygen. Plants consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen! Even plants underwater! This oxygen is used by good bacteria, fish, and invertebrates. Any excess oxygen is dispersed into the atmosphere from the surface of the water.
How do we help our aquatic plants into photosynthesis?
Lighting is the key role in photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is most active in the red and blue spectrums of light. Look for a light which provides these light spectrums. Choosing which light you need also will depend on how many gallons your tank is. Check out our guide to help you determine which LED light is best for your underwater garden.
0.25 watts p/liter =15 lumens p/liter. This is good for low light plants such as ferns, mosses, cryptocorynes, and anubias.
0.05 watts p/liter=30 lumens p/liter. This is good for med light plants such as amazon swords, vallisneria, hygrophilia, and hornwort.
1-watt p/liter=60 lumens p/liter. This is good for high light plants such as groundcover plants, and red leaf plants, such as scarlet temple, ludwiga, rotalas, lobelia, and echindorus.
From top to bottom—Finding the right substrate.
From the top to your bottom, choosing the right substrate is important for plants to be able to develop strong roots. Use an aquatic plant substrate as these are specially designed to nurture roots, allowing them to grow and spread. The substrate will not compact and damage delicate roots. Plant substrate is also a perfect place for your beneficial nitrifying bacteria to cultivate and grow as well.
The green facts of fertilization.
Lush, green, and vibrant, this is what we picture with our Underwater Garden! From the top of the tank to the bottom, let’s dive into fertilization and learn how it works.
What is aquatic fertilization? For plants to excel and flourish in the underwater they need macro and micronutrients. Macronutrients are nutrients which are used by plants in abundance, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Micronutrients are used in trace amounts only. Nutrients such as iron, boron, and manganese. All these play a role in plant growth, life, and health. One or more missing parts can leave your plants looking lacklustre, and eventually lead to their death.
Nitrogen is absorbed in various forms, most readily by ammonia and nitrate. A deficiency of nitrogen can cause overall yellowing of leaves, new leaves may be growing too small or are deformed in some way. Hair algae growing on plants can also indicate a lack of nitrogen. Phosphorus deficiency will slow plant growth and decrease the proper shoot tip size. Potassium deficiency starts as small black looking holes on the leaf. The leaf can also turn yellow.
Micronutrients, while small in quantity, are huge in the difference they make to your aquarium. An iron deficiency will show up as a yellow to white colour on the tips of young plants. Serious lack will have plants turn black and die. Magnesium is important for photosynthesis and the dark green colour of leaves. A deficiency can be pale yellow, discoloured leaves.
A plant’s very existence is to consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This is how they create the energy they need to live. Adding CO2 to your aquarium provides your plants with the opportunity to become their full potential. You can easily add carbon dioxide to your planted aquarium using a CO2 system.
Go green in your tank!
Plants who live in our world around us depend on nature to provide the exact requirements needed for them to survive. Luckily for us, for our Underwater Garden in the home, we can provide everything needed for our plants to go beyond surviving and thrive! Dive into the magical world of the underwater garden!