Author

An early obsession with the natural world led Barry James to pursue botanical and zoological studies at London University. Using his wide experience of the commercial aquatic world, he opened his own aquatic nurseries in the early 1970s. Although still involved in the broader aspects of aquatics, his main interests have narrowed to the culture of aquatic plants, aquarium decor and oriental water gardening. He contributes regularly to the aquatic press, both as an author and photographer, and...

Propagation

Plants multiply in two basic ways sexually and asexually. Sexual reproduction involves the production of spores or seeds that germinate to form new plants. Asexual reproduction embraces a number of vegetative processes by which new plants are produced from various parts of the parent plant. Man has harnessed these entirely natural processes, and extended or adapted them in some cases, to develop a number of reliable propagation techniques that can be applied to a wide range of land and water...

Nutrients

Above When the aquarium is lit, green aquatic plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen as they photosynthesize. Inorganic nutrients enter by the roots and the leaves. spectrum, a factor to bear in mind when providing effective aquarium lighting see page 20 . It is the chlorophyll that absorbs these wavelengths to energize photosynthesis, although only about 3 of the light falling on a leaf is absorbed and used in this way. Chlorophyll is really a mixture of two green pigments chlorophyll...

Heating and lighting

Research in many tropical countries has shown that the average temperature of the water hovers around 24-26 C 75-79 F . In the aquarium most tropical and subtropical plants will flourish at 24-28 C 75-82 F . There seems to be scarcely any temperature difference between the moving waters of rivers and streams and the still waters of ponds and lakes. Nor is there any appreciable drop in temperature during the night. Thus, there is no need to adopt lower night temperatures in the tropical...

Water and fertilization

Aquatic organisms - whether they are plants or animals - are influenced to a greater or lesser extent by the physical, chemical and electrical properties of the water in which they live. Sphagnum mosses, for example, grow in highland areas with poor drainage, igneous rocks and low average temperatures. In these conditions, the water is soft and slightly acid. Taken from their natural habitat and placed in hard alkaline water, sphagnum mosses quickly die. Fortunately, most aquatic plants -...

Problems with algae

Dutch Style Aquarium

Every aquarium is at some time or other troubled by infestations of algae. What are algae Where do they come from How can they be tackled without harming the other plants and the fishes in the aquarium These are questions that most fishkeepers have asked, perhaps in desperation, at some stage in their lives. Here, we try to provide some answers. Botanically, algae belong to the division of the plant kingdom known as theThallophyta, which they share with fungi. Algae are comparatively simple...

The substrate

Since the substrate forms the anchor and growing medium for plant roots, it is vital to choose a material, or combination of materials, that will not only sustain the plants both mechanically and nutritionally, but also look attractive as part of the tank decor. Here, we consider the options available for successful plant growth. Gravel is the universal substrate in aquarium circles. It can be used as the sole substrate in planted aquariums, although it is best employed as a top layer covering...

Classification of plants

Plants are living organisms and as such have a complicated structure and metabolism. Each and every species has evolved over millions of years in particular habitats to which they have become adapted. Every individual niche in the environment has its own unique set of conditions and variables. It is therefore not surprising that the plants in our aquarium, having been uprooted from their home in a tropical stream, have problems in surviving in a home aquarium. Of course we do our best to...

Aquarium Plants

Above In too little light, the same plant is pale green and shows elongated growth between nodes. glare of the sun absorb surprisingly high lux levels. The table on page 22 lists the lux requirements of a representative selection of aquarium plants, plus some land plants for comparison. Fortunately, most aquarium plants have similar requirements and or are adaptable within a specific range. Thus, it is usually possible to grow different species with varying lighting needs Above Too much light...

Aquascaping

Azolla Aquascape

When you are furnishing and planting an aquarium - a pursuit appropriately known as 'aquascaping' - yourfirst considerations must centre around the position of the tank in the room and its size and accessibility. Most aquariums are viewed from the front and sides only, with the back against a wall. As a variation on this theme, the tank can be let into a wall or partition, with only the front panel exposed. Alternatively, used as a room divider, an aquarium may have the two long sides and one...