The plants in this group are ideal for aquariums with just one or two fluorescent tubes. Some will live happily in a wide range of lighting conditions, others prefer to be in shaded areas or away from bright light.
Anublas barteri var. barteri Anubias barteri var. nana Anubias congensis Anubias lanceolata Aponogeton elongatus Aponogeton madagascariensis Cryptocoryne affinis Cryptocoryne lútea Cryptocoryne walkeri Lemna minor Microsorium pteropus Spathiphyllum wallisii Vesiculada dubyana
Plants require a number of organic and mineral nutrients in order to maintain steady growth and good general health. Most of these nutrients are required only in tiny amounts but without them, vital biological functions cannot be carried out properly. Nutrients can be considered as a plant's "diet"; without a proper diet, health problems arise and the plant will become "ill." The number of nutrients that any given plant requires is extensive and can be provided in a number of ways. Looking at the function of various nutrients, their availability in the aquarium and assessing their importance is a good way of devising a "shopping list" for suitable sources of fertilization.
Plant nutrients are often described as macro- or micronutrients, depending on the quantities of a particular nutrient required by a plant. Macronutrients are required in the greatest quantities; these include calcium, carbon, hydrogen, magnesium, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, sulphur, and potassium. Micronutrients are required only in very small quantities and are often described as trace elements. Micronutrients include boron, copper, manganese, molybdenum, chlorine, nickel, iron, and zinc. Both macro- and micronutrients are equally vital to the overall health of aquatic plants.
Many macronutrients are readily available in the aquarium; for example, oxygen and hydrogen are normally always present in more than sufficient quantities, while calcium and nitrogen are usually present. Calcium is only found at low levels in very soft water, and nitrogen can be absorbed by plants in the form of nitrates and ammonium, which are normally present as a result of biological filtration or from fish/organic waste. Therefore, the only macronutrients that the aquarist normally needs to supply are carbon, magnesium, phosphorus, sulphur, and potassium.
Although required in far lower quantities, micronutrients are equally important to plant health. Whereas macronutrients are usually used for structural components, such as cells, proteins, and fats, micronutrients are used for cellular functions and the activation of vital enzymes. Micronutrients can be considered as important for the correct "management and control" of plant biology. These "trace elements" can be found in many liquid fertilizers, as well as in most tap water sources, although they are often used up quickly in aquariums both by plants as nutrients and through binding to organic molecules.
Although tap water is a good source of many micronutrients, its qualities vary a
Left: Many Echinodorus species require high amounts of iron. Pale leaves are a major indication of a lack of iron, although a lack of other nutrients may also be to blame.
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