Nothing is quite so devastating to an aquarium hobbyist than to spend hours arranging and cultivating a tank full of live plants just to have them eaten by the tank inhabitants. While many species of fish tend to nibble on aquarium plants, most do not actually eat them. There are some species, however, that are notorious plant-eaters and are capable of decimating an entire planted tank in a matter of days. To avoid having all your hard work be for nothing, be careful about which fish you select to stock your planted tank.
Fish to Avoid in Planted Tanks
Silver dollar fish are one of the species most well-known for eating aquarium plants. Though many fish are likely to pick at algae growths or bits of sunken fish food on the leaves of aquarium plants, silver dollar fish will actually consume the plants themselves. These fish are voracious eaters when it comes to vegetable matter and they can work their way through an entire planted tank in just a few days. Some species of cichlid have also been known to eat aquarium plants, but these fish are more likely to dig in the substrate thus uprooting aquarium plants. While being temporarily uprooted may not kill the plants in your tank, it can inhibit their growth. Gouramis have also been known to engage in digging behavior which can affect the health and growth of live plants in an aquarium.
Recommended Species of Fish
When it comes to selecting the fish for your planted tank you cannot go wrong with most species of community fish. Community species of fish are peaceful not only toward other fish, but they do not tend to disturb aquarium plants or other tank decorations either. Some of the best small species of fish for planted tanks include livebearers, tetras, barbs and corydoras catfish. If you prefer slightly larger fish, dwarf gouramis and discus fish are recommended for planted tanks. To be sure that your plants are safe, it is wise to do some basic research on the species of fish you intend to purchase before you bring them home – check to be sure the conditions in your tank are right for that particular species and determine whether they are likely to eat your aquarium plants.
Tips for Maintaining Planted Tanks
To prevent your fish from turning to your aquarium plants for food, provide them with plenty of fresh vegetables. Fish enjoy blanched vegetables like peas, broccoli, spinach and zucchini and all of these foods are very high in nutrient content. Another way to keep your aquarium plants healthy and thriving is to introduce an EcoBio-Stone into your tank. EcoBio-Stones are made from natural zeolite and infused with beneficial bacteria. Once these bacteria form a colony in your tank they will begin breaking down built-up wastes and will help to maintain the nitrogen cycle, thus keeping the water in your tank clean and clear. EcoBio-Stones are a great way to decorate your tank while still keeping up a natural appearance.