Good day, dear visitor and subscriber of my blog. A few days have passed since I published the second part of the article on aquarium water, which you can find on this link.
If you have not read the first part, then you are welcome to read it here.
With water while I finished, and today I want to talk with you about mineral nutrition for plants. I want to warn you right away, the article turned out to be quite impressive in size, I wrote it for several days and, in fact, the post will be very important for those people who are not yet strong in aquarism and do not yet know many subtleties.
Well, those to whom these things that I will tell will seem familiar, please do not trample me in the dirt if you do not like something, and like normal cultural and civilized people, unsubscribe in the comments with what you do not agree with, will be happy to discuss. So, let’s begin:)
As you probably know, in a living organism there are all the necessary chemical elements necessary for life. But for aquarium plants, only a part of the periodic table is needed to successfully exist in both natural and artificial water bodies.
In fact, plants can perfectly remove all the nutrients and beneficial substances from the external environment, or from the aquarium water. All hydrophytes are more dependent on their environment than all land plants, which draw the entire pack of nutrients from the soil in which they grow. With hydrophytes, the situation is somewhat different.
Unlike their land counterparts, aquarium plants all the necessary macro-and micronutrients absorb their surface from the environment.
In addition to oxygen and carbon dioxide, which fully provide them with normal vital activity, they still need such a thing as nitrogen, which synthesizes proteins in plants. Among other things, plants still need a little sulfur, silicon, phosphorus, chlorine, sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. To make up it would be nice to add a little manganese, zinc, boron, copper, cobalt, molybdenum and the most important – bivalent iron, but we’ll talk about this a little later.
All these substances listed above are required by plants, but in small quantities, so they were called microelements.
With the passage of time, the concentration of all the useful and nutrients in the aquarium water will constantly fluctuate, and in very substantial limits. When a plant extracts one or another useful element from water, it regulates the necessary concentration itself. In cases where all the nutrients in the water will be enough, the plant will feel great, actively grow and develop.
If there is a shortage of one or another nutrient, this immediately affects the appearance of the plant: it will begin to lag behind in development, will no longer bear fruit, the shape of the plant will change. But this does not mean that if the plants need nutrients, then I’ll run to the pet store and fill in more fertilizers.
There were cases when an overabundance of certain elements caused disturbances in the development of plants.
I want to start our conversation with a very important and one of the most necessary elements – nitrogen. As I mentioned a little higher, nitrogen for plants is necessary to synthesize proteins, which are particularly needed for plant growth and reproduction.
How does nitrogen get into the aquarium? Very simple – when you feed the fish, the nitrogen along with the organic matter contained in the fish food is in your tank.
When organic matter decomposes, aquarium plants cannot assimilate it in their original form. In the process of this, a mass of amino acids is formed, but again – their assimilation by plants is difficult. To do this, green bacteria come to the aid of special bacteria that live in the aquarium soil.
These bacteria begin to process organics into such organic substances as: nitrates, amines and nitrites.
These are just the organic compounds from water and soil that are easily absorbed by plants. Due to the long process of decomposition of proteins in certain stages of the existence of the aquarium, and in particular in a newly launched aquarium, your growth will be hungry until the microflora of the soil processes all the organic matter and provides the plants with the necessary level of nitrogen.
In any aquarium, you can see signs of nitrogen deficiency, and it does not matter if the roofing felts are old, or new. These signs include: old leaves on plants die prematurely, the edges and tips of the leaves of the plants turn yellow and then spread to the whole leaf, slow growth of the plant.
In such cases, you need to add a little nitrogen fertilizer to the tank, which will be represented as nitrates (NO3), or various ammonia derivatives (NH3). So what is the best choice? And your choice will depend on the active reaction of water, or if it is simpler, the pH of water.
If the pH is below 6.5 (pronounced acidic environment), nitrates are best suited. As shown by countless experiments, in water with an acidic medium, they will be better absorbed by aquarium plants than ammonia compounds. And vice versa – ammonia nitrogen will be best absorbed by plants in weakly alkaline or neutral water.
In such cases, you need to get urea or carbamide.
If you only add nitrogen fertilizers to your aquarium, then do it every day, well, or at last a day. In this case, you in the aquarium will not jump sharply the level of nitrogen in the water, and he in high concentrations will adversely affect the fish. Based on what you read, the relevant question can be born in your head: So does nitrogen affect the fish, will the nitrogen compounds of my fish ruin you?
If you regularly add nitrogen fertilizers to the aquarium and in small portions, this will not affect your pets, because the plants will assimilate them before all nitro compounds act on the fish.
When the aquarium has just started, it is better to add urea into it based on the proportion of 25 mg per 1 liter of water. In the newly launched aquarium, the active reaction of the water is neutral, which will greatly affect the digestibility of its stretching from the soil and water. As the water ages, that part of urea that has not been digested by plants will gradually turn into nitrogenous compounds and will be represented as nitrates and nitrites, which will have a positive effect on the growth of higher plants.
If you have recently planted several new plants in the aquarium and have seen that they have given the first signs of their growth, start gradually adding nitrogen compounds in the form of urea to the aquarium. It is very easy to dispense, as it is sold in pellets.
Add it on the basis of the calculation of 3-4 granules per 100 liters of water daily.
If symptoms of nitrogen starvation are detected in an aquarium with old water, urea can also be added. Part of it will be assimilated unchanged, and part of the soil bacteria will oxidize it to nitrates and nitrites, which will later be absorbed by aquarium plants.
First, urea should be added in small doses — about 2 pellets per 100 liters of water each day to an aquarium that is heavily planted with aquarium plants. Every 4 days, you can gradually increase the dose of added urea to 12 granules every day per 100 liters of water.
Remember, urea is not added to the new aquarium immediately, but as soon as you notice the first signs of plant growth, not before.
At this point I’ll finish the first part, and the next part will talk about macro elements. I hope the post turned out to be informative and novice aquarists were able to gather important information from it.
Who does not agree with what or thinks a little differently, you are welcome in the comments to the post for discussion. In order not to miss the release of the second part, I advise you to subscribe to the newsletter of fresh materials on my blog.
Thus, you will be one of the first to read the new post dedicated to the mineral nutrition of plants. The next part will be twice as large as the previous one, so please be patient in advance, as there is a lot of information on this topic.