When it comes to maintaining a healthy freshwater aquarium, “balance” is the key word. You need to achieve a balance in the species and number of fish you keep in your tank and you also need to balance that out with any invertebrates you have as well. To keep your fish healthy, you need to maintain a healthy balance in your water temperature and other parameters and you must also provide a healthy diet that gives your fish the right balance of nutrients. One thing you may be forgetting about, however, is striking the right balance to achieve a thriving planted tank. Planted tanks can be tricky to maintain successfully because they require more lighting and carbon dioxide than fish-only tanks. Read more to learn the basics about cultivating a thriving planted tank.
Live Plant Requirements
Live aquarium plants are photosynthetic organisms which means that they require light in order to fuel their biological processes. Using light as energy, plants convert carbon dioxide (the product of cellular respiration) into the oxygen your fish need to thrive. To keep your plants healthy, then, you much achieve a balance between the lighting and CO2 levels in your tank. The more carbon dioxide available in your tank, the more oxygen your live plants will be able to produce. It is important to realize, however, that in order to process the extra carbon dioxide your live plants will need extra energy (light).
Supplemental CO2 Options
If you are worried about the CO2 levels in your tank being too low, there are several options you can try to supplement the CO2 in your tank. One of the simplest options is a pill-like supplement that can be added directly to the tank. You can also use a simple yeast reactor – these devices consist of a bottle filled with yeast and sugar. As the yeast feeds on the sugar, it produces CO2 which is released into the tank through a small hose attached to the bottle. These devices are available in a variety of sizes, some of which are completely automatic. It is up to you to decide how much you are willing to invest in this type of product.
Remember, if you are going to supplement the CO2 in your tank, you also need to make sure your lighting system is powerful enough to provide your plants with the extra energy they’ll need. High-powered lighting systems like metal halide and power compact systems are ideal for planted tanks because they produce high-intensity lighting. One thing to be wary of with these lighting systems is that they can produce a great deal of heat in addition to the extra light so you may need to install an auxiliary fan to disperse the heat so it doesn’t overheat the water in your tank.
Other Tips for Planted Tanks
Just like your aquarium fish, live plants are less likely to thrive when the conditions in your tank are not ideal. Live plants require clean water with stable water chemistry and temperature, as do your fish. To keep your tank water clean you should maintain a regular schedule for cleaning your tank and performing water changes. You may also find it helpful to install an EcoBio-Stone in your tank. An EcoBio-Stone is a hassle-free way to boost the biological filtration in your tank to help keep your tank water clean and clear. EcoBi-Block products are infused both with beneficial bacteria and the nutrients they need to thrive. Once installed in your tank, the stone will help to establish and maintain the nitrogen cycle, thus keeping your tank clean and healthy for your live plants.