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The Aquabotanist: Low vs High Tech Planted Tanks Explained

Welcome again fellow aquatic plant gardeners! Let’s start with a reader’s query about mulm from certainly one of final month’s matters. He requested if the darkish sediment known as mulm in a closely planted tank needs to be eliminated.  The reply is, “No, keep the dark colored mulm if it is already in your tank.” There are two causes for not eradicating this darkish sediment.  The principal cause is the mulm is breaks down into helpful vitamins for the crops. Removing the mulm from a closely planted tank would create a large number by disrupting root techniques or uprooting the crops.  The solely sensible method to take away mulm from a closely planted tank is to fully dismantle the aquarium, known as a ‘tear down.’ Aquatic gardeners wishing to restrict a heavy construct up of mulm can accomplish that by conducting routine partial water adjustments and utilizing the substrate vacuum offered in final month’s (January 2015) Aquabotanist. 

Aquatic gardeners typically marvel what’s the distinction between high and low expertise planted aquariums. I view the distinction as procedural. Low tech is a extra pure, slower method to rising aquatic crops. The hobbyist makes use of a daily aquarium with extraordinary substrate (gravel, sand and many others.) and typically trades the lighting bulb for one which enhances aquatic plant progress. Normally, easy-to-grow crops are chosen for low tech tanks. The hobbyist does nothing to change the water apart from take away chlorine and chloramines.  A pleasant assortment of fish supplies pure fertilizer for the crops. Low tech aquariums are very steady assuming the tank will not be overstocked with fish and common water upkeep is performed.  They are additionally probably the most enjoyable and least costly method to take pleasure in an underwater backyard. 

A wealthy layer of mulm might be seen below the highest layer of substrate. Pictured is an Upside Down Catfish (Synodontis nigriventris) resting subsequent to an Amazon Sword Plant (Echinodorus). Photo by Stephen G. Noble

High tech aquariums make use of specialised substrates, the injection of CO2, a regime of nutrient dosing and water adjustments. High tech tanks additionally use illumination that delivers gentle in a frequency of 400 to 700 nanometers that photosynthetic organisms are in a position to make use of for photosynthesis. Determining the right lighting is completed by utilizing a water-proof photosynthetically out there radiation (PAR) meter. Delivering the right lighting for particular crops is a science in its self and will likely be mentioned in a future article. The excessive tech method permits hobbyists to create aquatic artworks. Using a techniques method by combining CO2, different vitamins, lighting and substrate, it’s potential to develop crops that might by no means thrive in a low tech surroundings. High tech aquariums encourage extraordinarily speedy plant progress requiring frequent pruning. However, nothing compares to the fantastic thing about a nicely maintained, excessive tech planted aquarium. They showcase the experience and dedication of our hobbies most artistic aquarists. 

A Sagittaria mom plant with a daughter hooked up by a runner. Photo by Stephen G. Noble


The dividing line between low tech and excessive tech planted tanks is usually blurred if one makes use of excessive tech substrate and measured illumination in a low tech aquarium. I refer to those tanks as hybrids which is a route many aquarists select.  Over the following months, we are going to talk about low tech, hybrid and excessive tech planted aquariums.

Please see my Fishchannel. com article, Dive Back Into Aquarium Plantkeeping  for an outline of planted aquariums. 

Dive Back Into Aquarium Plantkeeping

Botanical time period of the month.  Runner (n.):  A horizontal stem that roots on the nodes to kind new crops.  The stem ultimately dies leaving younger crops surrounding the mom.

Each month I’ll current a distinct plant that’s available at most pet retailers. Sagittaria subulata var. pusilla (Dwarf Sagittaria) is a wonderful plant for hobbyists of all talent ranges. There are a number of forms of S. subulata however all are simple to maintain in low or excessive tech aquariums. The widespread title, Dwarf Sagittaria, is considerably of a misnomer.  Depending upon the range, it could develop fairly tall. Some forms of S. subulata can attain virtually two-feet excessive.  Unfortunately, it’s troublesome to differentiate between the varieties notably when analyzing younger specimens.  S. subulata var. pusilla is a improbable alternative for these wanting to carpet their substrate with low, dense vegetation. The plant must be periodically thinned as a result of it turns into very thick and tends to climb over itself making an attempt to achieve the overhead lighting. Without thinning, the underlying crops will slowly wilt. It appears to do finest in a course sand or effective gravel substrate. S. subulata var. pusilla propagates by sending runners in each course across the mom plant. The plant doesn’t want CO2 supplementation however speedy progress will outcome if CO2 is supplied. The yellowing of the leaves often signifies a dietary deficiency. Leaf yellowing is extra more likely to happen in aquariums with just a few fish and might be remedied with supplemental vitamins or just buying a few extra fish.  

You are welcome to go away feedback beneath this column or contact me by way of Twitter, @StephenGNoble. 

Enjoy your plant tank!


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