Select Aquatics of Erie, CO                                                                                                                                                   
             Plants- How They Are Used at Select Aquatics

     All of the plants used here are hardy, functional, and do well
    with a minimum of care. When provided with clean water 
    that is soft to moderate hardness, 6.8- 7.5 pH, adequate light
    and a simple, inexpensive fertilizer- see Keeping Plants-
    you will quickly grow more than you need. The plants in tanks
    here are:

    The Bolbitis Fern (Bolbitis heudelotii), Java Moss, Java Fern,
    various species of Duckweed, Amazon Swords and Anubias,
    Riccia (Riccia fluitans), Cryptocoryne (mostly C. wendtii),
    Vallisneria (V. torta), and Sagittaria (S.gigantea).


    The top two pics are two types of plants that are used for 
    different reasons. In the top tank of Alfaro cultratus, the plants
    provide shelter for fry. When looking in, new fry can be seen 
    immediately and caught, removing the plants as necessary.
    The left side of the tank is a single Bolbitis fern, clumps of
    Java fern are on the right. The cultratus can be fry eaters, but 
    they are fed twice a day, and if caught soon after being born 
    are generally left alone.

    In the 2nd pic is the 50 gallon high fin mayae breeder tank,
    the females are pulled as they become gravid, and the adults
    prefer plants to hide in. The right 2/3rds is a single Bolbitis fern,
    Java fern clumps are on the left.

    Of these plants, the only one that some say they have
    trouble keeping was the Bolbitis fern, yet they thrive and 
    grow larger than people are used to seeing. I have since
    come to learn that they do well with frequent water changes
    being indigenous to streams and generally moving water
    They also require moderate light. The Bolbitis fern
    also responds well to using fertilizer, as all plants do.

    Potted plants are used often, and some tanks are used to
    start or propagate crypts, Amazon swords and different types
    of Anubias, as is being done in this tank of Ameca splendens.
    The Cryptcoryne wendtii and various other plants can be
    seen in this photo.

    A number of plants are avoided, because there have not been
    good results in the past, but those plants may do routinely well
    for others. I attribute this to the water quality here and the low
    to moderate light provided. These may be plants that will do
    well for you, as they are also generally hardy and do well in
    most circumstances. Examples include Elodea / Egeria,
    Anacharis sp., any Cabomba, Hygrophila, Ceratophyllum,
    Myriophyllum, Ludwigia, and Najas grass.

    As well, there are many others that do well that are not being
    being kept at this time, such as  any Salvinia, and Water lettuce-
    Pistia stratiotes.

    The importance of the cleanliness of a bare bottom tank can't
    be overstated. In this tank to the left of the Hybrid Red X. helleri,
    easy access to clean up uneaten food or other organic matter
    keeps them healthy and growing at their maximum rate. Rockwork
    or driftwood could be added to create a beautiful display..

    Many plants used and sold in the aquarium trade are actually not
    true aquatic plants, such as the Spathiphyllum, a common
    aquarium and houseplant. Many thick-leaved non-aquatic plants
    will thrive in an aquarium. I believe the potted plant on the left,
    sold as an aquatic plant, may be an example. Floating on the
    surface is a layer of Riccia, also known as Crystalwort.


    The best use of plants is for breeding by providing the type
    of environment where the fish are most comfortable, as with
    the X. mayae high fins above, or in the regular X. mayae
    breeding tank in the first pic with Java ferns to the left. The
    secret is to provide ample hiding room and security while
    preventing decaying organic matter to collect. With the
    tank to the left, gravid females are pulled to have their
    young separately, but fry occasionally born in this tank
    have many places to hide until I can remove them.
    The bottom has a thin layer of gravel to assist biological
    filtration, as organic matter can collect beneath the plant
    clumps, requiring that they be lifted occasionally to clean
    beneath them.


    Likely the most common plant in most fishrooms is
    Java moss, a very fine leaved plant that is excellent for
    sheltering eggs and new fry. The Neocaridina shrimp
    seem to require it (Though they will eat eggs given the
    opportunity). In the second pic at left, Java moss rests
    against another Bolbitis fern. Java moss also catches
    any leftover food and waste in the tank, and can become
    a problem if not thinned occasionally, acting exactly as
    a layer of gravel would, holding and allowing organic
    waste to fester unseen. Unfortunately, you also do not
    see fish well when they hide in it, and you can lose fish
    without being aware of it.



    In this adult breeding tank of C. pardalis, gravid
    females are removed to have their young, and the
    adults are comfortable swimming out in the open.
    Clumps of Java fern are provided for the occasional
    young to hide in that are quickly caught and raised in
    other tanks, while also providing some sense of
    security for the adults.















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