Monthly Archives: August 2013

We choose TNC Plant Food

I am pleased to announce that we now have the full range of TNC plant foods and liquid carbon in stock and available to purchase on our website.

We strongly advise providing nutrients for all aquarium plants. Whether you have a high tech or low tech tank, plants require a source of nutrients to thrive and become vibrant.

Here at Aquarium Gardens we have chosen TNC liquid fertilizers as they offer superb value for money and have been tried and tested with amazing results. For lightly planted aquariums we recommend TNC Lite. For aquariums with a high density of plants we recommend TNC Complete.

Carbon is essential for all healthy plant growth and can be provided by gas or in liquid form. Liquid Carbon is a great alternative to Co2 injection and also works as an algaecide. Can be used with or without Co2 injection. We recommend dosing TNC Carbon alongside TNC Lite or TNC Complete.

TNC Lite – For lightly planted aquariums or high fish load

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TNC Complete – For densely planted aquariums and low fish load

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TNC Carbon – a great alternative to CO2 injection

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TNC Plugs (substrate nutrition tablets)

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TNC GH Boost – for a softwater GH boost

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You can find more details about each of these on our website at www.aquariumgardens.co.uk

Easy to Grow Aquarium Plants

If your new to planted tanks, then knowing which aquarium plants are easy growers may be a good place to start. Not all aquarium plants are easy to grow, and while your learning the basics, its best to stick to the easier species.

Generally speaking, the easier plants to grow are those that have lower lighting and co2 demands. Light and co2 are the driving force behind plant growth, and the plants that need less of this are the easier ones to grow.

When working out how much light a plant needs, the classic watts per litre formula is generally a good thing to go by (assuming you are using T5 lighting):

 

0.25 watts per litre = low lighting

0.50 watts per litre = medium lighting

0.8 – 1 watt per litre = high lighting

 

The easy to grow plants fall under the 0.25 watts per litre category. They are often slower growing, less maintenance and require lower co2 levels to survive. There is more margin for error when it comes to tank & water parameters. When your starting out, finding the right balance of light, co2 and nutrients is often tricky, and sometimes a case a trial and error.

When chosing to grow ‘low light plants’, there is more margin for error, and therefore more room for success. Often low light plants do not require co2 injection, and often only light fertilization of nutrients is required.

It is important that you have healthy plant growth in order to suppress algae, and especially in new tanks, you should be planting heavily from the start.

 

Here’s a list of easy to grow aquatic plants:

Anubias Nana

 

Anubias is a slow growing plant, with thick dark green leaves. This plants is known to thrive attached to wood or rocks. Burying the roots will often lead to rotting and eventually plant death. The leaves can often last for many years. It will do well under low lighting and co2 injection is not required. One common problem with this plant is due to it’s slow growing nature, algae often forms on the leaves. If you have planted your tank heavily from the start then this will suppress algae growth and stop it from forming on the leaves. Like with all planted tanks, regular weekly water changes will help keep algae away.

Java Fern

 

Another plant that does far better when growing attached to something. Easily done by attaching with some cotton or thread. Once established you can cut the cotton and remove. Java fern is a slow grower, with long green leaves. ‘Plantlets’ often form on the leaves which can be cut off to create a new plant. The plant does well under high or low lighting.

Vallisneria

 

One of the most popular aquarium plants often used in jungle style planted tanks. There are many species sold of different sizes and colours. Some species can grow up to 120cm in length. This plant does not like high levels of water flow nor does it like to be pruned. You can cut away old leaves from the crown of the plant. When planting, make sure the crown is above the substrate. It is general a cheap plant to get hold of. It propagates by runners easily.

Cryptocoryne, or Crypts for short

 

Crypts are excellent hardy plants suitable for growing in most water parameters. There are many types of species, to name a few popular ones we have Wendtii, Parva, Nevellii, Becketii and Balansea. The great thing about these plants is they can tolerate hard and soft water, can grow under most lighting and can last for many years. A good nutritious substrate is recommend for these plants to do well. Sometimes, crypts will often ‘melt’ when you first plant them. This is common and will grow back stronger while adjusting to your tank conditions.

Amazon Swords

 

A famous aquatic plant, often used as a centre piece or in the background. They have very green stiff leaves and are very tolerant to many different types of set-ups. A rich substrate is recommended, and light fertilization to keep the leaves healthy and strong.

Ludwigia

 

I have added this plant to the list as in my experience, under medium light this plant will grow rapidly, sending side shoots everywhere. If you are prepared to do weekly water changes then this plant will do just fine. Compared to the others listed, this plant requires more maintenance due to rapid growth and the need for regular pruning. A great bushy tank filler for the background and certain species will often go red under good light.

5 ways to Prevent Algae in the Aquarium

Algae will always be present in the aquarium, no matter how hard you try. Keeping it to a minimum and invisible to the human eye can be done by starting to focus on the following points:

 

1. Water changes : by far the best way to prevent algae. Water changes ensure excess nutrients and waste are cleared from the aquarium. We recommend a minimum of 50% per week in planted aquariums. Your fish and plants will thank you for it!

 

2. Light : We recommend that you do not have your lights on for more than 10 hours a day. Your plants do not need any more and this will help suppress algae. Should you encounter algae, reduce you lighting period and/or intensity.

 

3. Nutrients & CO2: Ensure you are supplying a constant source of nutrients and CO2 for your plants to thrive on, cutting your nutrient dosing will only make things worse! Starving your plants from nutrients & Co2 will only make them perform badly and growth will be poor, leaving the window wide open for algae to take over.

 

4. Feeding : Do not over feed your fish, nor should you have too many fish in your tank. This will cause too much waste which algae thrives on. Keep feeding down to a minimum (enough for for fish to be happy, but don’t go overboard!). I feed my planted tanks once per day. In planted aquariums it is best practise to keep fish load low.

 

5. Temperature : avoid high temperatures. Certain types of algae thrive in heat so keep your tank below 26C. Your plants do not need to be in any warmer water temps than this.

 

If you are still having trouble, feel free to contact us

 

We are aquarium plant specialists and you will get a friendly, helpful response!

Plant Care – Aquarium Lighting

Lighting Aquarium

Knowing how much light is needed for your planted aquarium is key to your success.

 

Read this guide on our website

 

Deciding how much light you need over your aquarium depends on the plants you want to grow. Some plants have high light demands, others have low demands. Often, the more light demanded, the harder the plant is to grow. Higher light often requires more maintenance too, as your plants will be growing faster leading to more pruning, fertilization, and water changes.

Types of light

The most common form of aquarium lighting is T8 and T5 florescent bulbs. Both are capable of growing plants, however T5’s are recommended. T5 bulbs are more powerful, and better suited to growing aquarium plants.

 

LED lighting is an up and coming form of aquarium lighting, offering fantastic lighting effects and low running costs. A LED light can last over 5 years, making them a great investment for your aquarium.

 

Lighting Levels

Aquarium plants require differing amounts of light to survive. The lower light demanding plants are generally the easier to grow, making them the perfect choice for beginners, or for ‘low tech/maintenance’ aquariums.

Below we have indicated what we consider to be low, medium and high lighting (assuming you are using T5 bulbs):

 

0.25 Watts per Liter = Low Lighting

 

0.50 Watts per Liter = Medium Lighting

 

0.80 – 1.0> Watts per Liter = High Lighting

 

You will find all our plants have a difficulty rating (Easy, Medium and Hard). Generally speaking, Easy plants require 0.25 Watts per liter, medium difficulty require 0.50 Watts per liter and Hard requires 0.8 – 1.0 Watts per liter.

Lighting Durations

Getting the lighting period correct is important in preventaion of algae. If your lighting period is too long then you could be asking for algae! It’s worth putting your lights on a timer to ensure your plants are getting the same amount of light each day.

 

Avoid:

– Setting your lighting period for longer than 8 hours. Most planted aquariums do not need more than 8 hours of light.

– Setting your lighting period for longer than 6 hours in NEW planted aquarium set-ups. During the first month your lighting period should be shorter to keep away algae while your plants grow in.

 

Colour Temperatures

Color temperature is measured using the Kelvin rating. It tells you the color of the light. Daylight is 6500K, which is whats recommend for the planted aquarium. Plants are not overly fussed about the color of your light in order to grow, they will grow under any light. It is more a case of choosing a color that shows off the natural color of your plants., and often comes down to personal taste. 6000K to 8000K provides a pleasant color output.

Welcome to our brand new Blog!

Aquarium Gardens

Out with the old and in with the new…welcome to our brand new blog!

Anything and everything to do with planted aquariums is what we’re about. Besides selling aquatic plants on-line,  we really do enjoy planted aquariums, after all the business began as a hobby. This blog is dedicated to sharing our knowledge and passion for all things planted aquariums. Whether it be hints and tips on CO2 in the aquarium, or updates on the latest plants we sell, we’re sure to keep you updated with what’s going on here at Aquarium Gardens.

Where to find us:

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