Hello, dear readers and colleagues in the craft. In today’s material, I would like to touch on the importance of living aquarium plants, since their importance in the life of aquarium inhabitants and the ecosystem as a whole cannot be overestimated.
Aquatic plants provide underwater inhabitants with vital oxygen, act as a biological and mechanical filter (purify aquarium water from mechanical suspensions), and also remove harmful substances from the aquarium, in particular, excess nitrates. Among aquarists you can find lovers who do not use live plants in their aquariums for many reasons.
An example is a biotope aquarium populated by cichlids from Lake Malawi, in which the rocky bottom landscape is practically free of any vegetation. Some aquarists simply do not want to bother once again caring for grass, as this does not bring them pleasure. Considering this moment, the quite natural rule of aquarism comes to mind: “Let there be no living plants in the aquarium any better than a stunted bundle of cryptocorynes or something else, since it spoils the whole appearance and poisons the aquarium water with rotting organic matter, provoking the development of lower plants (algae). “
Therefore, our task today is to determine how to help underwater inhabitants to dispense with aquarium plants.
To dot the “I”, let’s look at what the main functions of our plants in the underwater aquarium world and let us decide how we can replace them if they are not, well, or slightly compensate.
- Purification of aquarium water from pollution;
- Carbon dioxide consumption;
- Absorption of organic and non-organic compounds;
- Participation in the life process of aquarium dwellers.
Absorption of inorganic and organic compounds
During the life of living organisms and the flow of the nitrate cycle in the aquarium, various chemical compounds and nitrates are gradually accumulated in the water. All these substances are used by aquatic plants as food. In aquariums, where a high density of planting plants, excess organic matter is not observed.
Moreover, with the active growth of plants, they additionally have to be fed by force with the help of fertilizers.
But if there are no live plants in an aquarium, then, accordingly, the concentration of organic matter will constantly increase and this can lead to negative consequences. With an excessive concentration of excess organic matter in an aquarium, an algal outbreak can begin, and as you know, you cannot get rid of algae by the usual substitutions.
There are several proven ways to deal with a sharp increase in the level of nitrates: the use of various fillers for biological filters, regular changes and special preparations. From this paragraph, you might think that nitrates are organic.
Nitrates in an aquarium: problem or normal
Under the nitrates refers to ions formed from the decomposition products of ammonia. Aquarium fish in the process of life form ammonia, which subsequently decomposes into less harmful nitrites, and then into nitrates. The main sources of nitrate formation are the aquarium soil and the filter, where bacteria colonies are formed.
The main task of these very bacteria is the processing of nitrites and nitrates.
As I mentioned above, nitrites are less harmful to fish than ammonia, but still remain toxic. The process of converting nitrites to nitrates was called nitrification in aquatic studies.
The nitrates do not carry global problems and threats to aquarium inhabitants, unlike the previous stages. Quite a lot of aquarium inhabitants are able to survive at fairly high concentrations of nitrates.
But this does not mean that this chemical parameter can be “hammered”, it will still have to be controlled. This is especially true of aquariums with cichlids and other large species of fish that do not get along with aquarium plants.
How to determine that in your tank a high concentration of nitrates? Very simple – algae will attack you.
If you notice brown or green bloom on the walls or decorative elements, as well as green filamentous algae or Vietnamese, you can congratulate you. To more accurately know the concentration of nitrates, you have to purchase special chemical tests.
With insignificant values of nitrates after the measurement can not worry, as the fish will feel normal. But if we are talking about cichlids, and in particular about fastidious tsikhlovyh – discus, then the maximum permissible concentration of decomposition products of ammonia should not exceed 40 mg / l, and it is better that it was no more than 20 mg / l.
Separately, I would like to touch on the topic of lowering the level of nitrates in the aquarium. For the usual general aquarium, I would advise you to buy more fast-growing plants and you will be happy.
But, as fast-growing plants are mainly long shoots with small split leaves, such as ambulia or peristristum. However, a dilemma is brewing here – tsikhlovye with such long stem plants get along poorly, fish uproot them.
Well, since the plants are not our assistants and we will not plant them, we will have to solve the problem of reducing the level of nitrates in some other way. We are come to the aid of special preparations from various manufacturing companies that do an excellent job with the task. (Deleted the list of manufacturers.)
As I mentioned earlier, most aquarium fish tolerate high levels of nitrogen compounds quite well. But at the same time, they negatively affect the immune system of fish, slow down their growth, worsen appetite and coloring, as well as level the ability to reproduce and shorten the life span.
With a gradual increase in the concentration of nitrates in the aquarium and finding them at fairly high rates, fish are able to adapt to such conditions. But if there was a sharp jump, then it can cause instant shock and even death.
If you keep in your aquarium species sensitive to chemical parameters of fish and invertebrates, then before pouring tap water into the aquarium, it is advisable to drive it through a special resin that will remove nitrates. Or you can use a special filter – reverse osmosis system. This system will remove from the water both the nitrates themselves and pesticides, heavy metals and reduce the carbonate hardness of the water.
And, of course, the above-mentioned drugs can also reduce nitrates in tap water, if you use them immediately after pouring such water into the aquarium.