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Eden Below The Waves - Planting Your Aquarium

By Cerianwen Ball

Just as trees, flowers and plants help our environment, add a food source and make our landscapes beautiful so too do aquatic plants provide the same for your aquarium.

Just like us fish like to have areas where they can swim around and nibble at, but plant life in the aquarium plays a much greater part in the aquatic environment.

Toxins in the water created by rotting food and fish excrement pollute and starve the water of vital oxygen. Remembering that the fish breathe water through their gills we know that it is vital to keep oxygen levels up in the tank. Aquatic plants will help the process and uses the phosphate created in the nitrogen cycle to help them grow.

So what is the nitrogen cycle? Just like on land the leaves, plant life and animal droppings rot and mulch down into a fertiliser. Plant roots take the fertiliser and use it as a feed. In the aquarium rotting foods, and fish waste falls to the bottom of the tank and turns into a fertiliser for the aquatic plants. In turn they produce oxygen through photosynthesis just as the trees and flowers do above water. More oxygen means that the fish can breathe healthy clean and safe water.

Aquatic plants also play an important part in the breeding process of fish. Some species lay their eggs beneath the leaves away from other predatory fish swimming around the plants to ward off fish from nearing them until the eggs hatch, the leafy plants then offer a good food source for the young fry and indeed many adult fish enjoy nibbling on the fresh leaves as much as we enjoy our garden vegetables..

Not only are aquatic plants important to the tank environment but offer an exciting landscape for you and your fish. Imagine walking through the countryside and seeing no trees, no flowers and plant life, pretty grim thought yes? In the same respect the underwater garden offers you the chance to create dramatic and stunning plant effects that will give you hours of watching pleasure as you see your fish happily swimming and enjoying the garden you have given them.

Different plants have different visual effects, look around your aquatic centre and ask for advice as some plants are hardier than others and therefore easier to look after. You will also need to ensure you have a good substrate for the roots to grow and a plant food, this usually comes in liquid form and can be added at intervals to ensure your plants get what they need to survive life in the tank.

The plants come in all shapes and sizes, various colours can brighten a drab looking aquarium, this not only creates great effect for you and any visitors to your home, but also gives the fish a greater enjoyment. When you plant your garden, use your imagination, create an effect you will truly be happy with, and if you need an extra hand there are hundreds of ideas to choose from in websites and books readily available on the net, library’s and in your local aquatic centre.

Cerianwen is a keen aquarist with many years of personal experience of tropical and cold water fish keeping. This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.PetLovers.Com/ which is a site for Pet Forums.

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