How do plants grow in an aquarium?
This question is far from idle. Most lovers of aquatic plants acquire new hydrophytes, sometimes poorly imagining what conditions are necessary for their maintenance. Attempts to determine this by trial and error often end in failure.
To begin with, plant lovers sometimes accidentally acquire hydrophytes adapted to live in relatively cold water on the market or transfer from domestic reservoirs. Aquatic plants of the middle strip are no less beautiful than tropical ones, but they cannot constantly grow in indoor aquariums, since they have a pronounced seasonal growth. In winter, most of them die off, but the rhizome remains or wintering buds form. Attempts to keep them in a warm aquarium fail.
Of the plants of domestic reservoirs, the key moss looks very beautiful in the aquarium - fontinalis, chastuha, hornwort, dark green, various buds, young shoots of aloe-shaped teloresis, trifol, wingfly, yellow egg and others. Placed in an aquarium, they grow well throughout the summer. With the onset of autumn, their growth slows down, and by October - November, the plants die. In rare cases, plants in the aquarium form wintering buds. They can be placed in separate small containers and left to winter in a dark room at a temperature of 8-12 ° C. The rhizomes of some cold-water plants, cleaned of old roots, can be stored in raw sand in winter at low temperature.
In April, overwintered buds of plants should be transferred to an aquarium in bright light. Rhizomes extracted from sand are thoroughly washed, rotten roots are cut off. The peeled rhizomes are treated with a light pink solution of potassium permanganate and transplanted into an aquarium with water at a temperature of 20–22 ° С. At the same time, it is advisable to add charcoal to the soil where the rhizome is placed to prevent possible organic acidification and decay.
Among the plants of domestic reservoirs, very many are marsh, that is, their root system, stem and part of the leaves are under water, and the bulk of leaf blades, young shoots and flowers are located in the air. Such plants tolerate flooding and can grow for a very long time, although rather slowly, as purely aquatic. These include: chastuha (alisma), wing-wing, triphole. They can be under water for 1–1.5 months. But it is more correct to plant them in flooded soil, leaving leaves above the surface of the water.
A magnificent decoration of the aquarium in spring can be young shoots of aloe-shaped teloresis. The plant has a very attractive appearance due to the peculiar shape of the leaves (hence its name) and their very beautiful color, from bright red to light green. Under natural conditions, teloresis grows quite strongly, in shallow conditions it blooms and loses its decorative qualities. At home, by placing the teloresis in a separate container where a low water level is maintained, its flowering can also be observed.
The key moss, fontinalis, looks very attractive in the aquarium. It can be kept green in the winter. To do this, it is necessary to maintain a low water temperature in the aquarium - 16–18 ° С - and establish effective filtration. Fontinalis needs very clean running water. In addition, this plant is very afraid of algae fouling, so the aquarium where fontinalis grows should have moderate lighting.
In the middle lakes, various species of rhest, or potamogetones, are widely distributed - floating, reticulate, etc. All these plants are suitable only for a cold-water aquarium. In indoor conditions, as a rule, they die for the winter. It should be noted that there is no great need to preserve these plants all year round. In the summer, they are easy to find in most bodies of water. For permanent maintenance in the aquarium, tropical species of species are used.
The yellow capsule (Nuphar lutea) is distinguished by excellent decorative qualities. The bush of light green curly underwater leaves gives the impression of something fabulous. The plant can be kept in a warm aquarium with tropical hydrophytes from April to October. Seedlings of the first year taken in shallow water should be placed in an indoor pond. Such young plants take root well in the aquarium. In addition, we should not forget that the egg-cube is listed in the Red Book, and therefore it is impossible to touch its old rhizomes. If in October – early November the rhizome of the eggplant cannot be transferred to a separate container with cold water (8–12 ° С), the plant continues to grow slowly, but its leaves become smaller and smaller. Such a plant, which did not receive rest in the winter, perishes in the second year of its existence in the aquarium. The rhizome wintered in cold conditions in April is transferred to a warm aquarium, and it continues to grow.
Many amateurs try to adapt moisture-loving plants grown in rooms to water conditions.
It must be said right away that such plants, even perfectly adapted to water conditions, cannot be completely kept under water for a long time. Very many of them can be kept in a semi-submerged state on the side shelves of the aquarium or in the paludarium, i.e. containers filled with water for 1 / 5–1 / 4 of the volume.
To decorate the aquarium, you can use some types of ampelous (creeping) plants. Tradescanti lashes placed above the water, growing, are immersed in the water of the aquarium. Such whips, gradually falling into the water, tolerate flooding well. But lowered into the water along with the soil, they stop growing and soon decay.
Attempts to keep in the aquarium various types of caladiums, kalaty, arrowroot, huttuny are doomed to failure. All these plants can grow in flooded soil, but the immersion of leaves under water does not tolerate. All of them grow well in a wet greenhouse.
Fans-aquarists try to keep rare plants in the aquariums - natives of the tropics. Hydrophilous plants such as aglaonema and alocasia are sometimes placed in the aquarium. However, some of them cannot tolerate not only immersion under water, but also simply swamping the soil. You can combine them with aquarium plants only in a special greenhouse.
Plants can adapt to unusual conditions. There are cases when in a semi-submerged state they contained such a widespread houseplant as Sanseviera (popular name "pike tail"). It turned out that the plant tolerates drought and soil flooding equally well. Gradually increasing the water level in the container where the sansevier is placed, in 3-4 months you can accustom the plant to exist in a semi-submerged state. At the same time, the nature of its growth changes, the dense rounded rosette of shortened leaves looks much more interesting than the usual ground form. But a complete immersion of a plant under water leads to a halt in its growth, and after 1–2 weeks it dies.
You can keep plants from domestic reservoirs in the aquarium or adapt plants that are not adapted for life under water for the aquarium, for the sake of interesting experiments and observations. But to create the interior of a decorative aquarium, it is best to use special aquatic plants that are from tropical and subtropical regions of the Earth.
Speaking of tropical aquatic plants contained in aquariums, it should be noted that there are very few purely aquatic plants, that is, those that do not enter the air at all. Most aquatic plants can perfectly develop in the air with high humidity and flooded soil. The land form of plants is sometimes very different from the aquatic. Most amphibian plants in the air grow much faster. Under such conditions, they usually bloom.
Magnificent cryptocoryne plants, quite demanding and capricious in the aquarium, grow well in a wet greenhouse and paludarium, being content with relatively modest conditions. In the greenhouse, they bloom.
All echinodorus so popular with aquarists are amphibian plants. You can grow them in a wet greenhouse even with greater success than in an aquarium. Translated into the air, echinodorus change their shape and grow much faster than in water. Flowering of land plants is more plentiful and the number of stepsons formed on flower arrows, they also have more than the aquarium form.
A lot of long-stemmed plants - bacops, ludwigs, rotals, hygrophils, alternanters, nomaphiles - form air shoots at the slightest opportunity. These plants develop in the air in a humid greenhouse, and much faster than in water. They most likely should be attributed to terrestrial swamp plants that can withstand prolonged flooding. Their water forms are much more beautiful than land forms. Growing these plants in aquariums with a low water level or on the side shelves located close to the surface, allows you to get water and land forms.
Close relatives of cryptocoryne - anubias and lag-nandra - are quite rare in amateur aquariums. Most species of these hydrophytes grow very slowly under water. Some of them withstand prolonged flooding, but do not live under water for more than 4-6 months. Lagenander and Anubias are able to live under water, but in this case they are small and grow quite slowly. In any case, their cultivation requires a certain effort and experience from the aquarist.
Summarizing what has been said in this chapter, I want to remind once again that you can keep quite a few plants in the aquarium, but the most suitable for permanent cultivation in a room aquarium with or without heating are aquatic plants of tropical and subtropical regions of the Earth. Plants of domestic middle-water bodies and plants that constantly live in the air require special conditions when kept in the aquarium and are not always compatible with tropical aquatic plants.