Monthly Archives: January 2014

Aquarium Plants Dying?

We often get this question, “why are my aquarium plants dying?”. Often many new aquarists find their plants get brown leaves or they start to ‘melt’ and don’t know why. Unfortunately there could be a number a reasons for this, but the main reason aquarium plants die is down to a lack of Co2 and nutrients. When this occurs your plants start to perform poorly because you are effectively starving them of the vital ingredients for them to grow. 9 times out of ten this leads to an algae outbreak and before you know you you’ve lost half your plants.

How do I fix this, I hear you ask. Firstly you need to start getting your plants to grow properly. If your plants are growing well, algae stays away. Whatever you do, DO NOT stop dosing nutrients or plant food. Many people will tell you to stop dosing to starve the algae. This is a myth and by doing this you are also starving your plants! So your algae troubles and plant loss will only get worse.

What I recommend is looking at your nutrient dosing regime. Are you providing enough nutrients? Or are not you dosing at all!? If so start dosing now, or increase your dosing. Don’t forgot, as your plant mass increases, so should your nutrient dosing.

Secondly I would recommend you to look into Co2 injection, especially if you have high light levels. Carbon is the backbone to growth and life with your aquarium plants. When your lights are on the plants need the carbon to photosynthesise. If you are doing this already and your plants are still dying, consider increasing the rate of Co2. Buy a drop checker and make sure you have the correct levels of Co2.

If you are not injecting co2 already, or you have no idea where to start with co2 injection, consider liquid carbon as an alternative.Liquid carbon is great for beginners and a great way to provide carbon for your plants to grow. It just requires a simple daily dose before your lights come on. With more nutrients and carbon in the water your plants will start performing better and algae will gradually go away.

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Aquarium Plant food

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Lastly, do not forget about water changes. Water changes help reduce the amount of organic waste (fish waste, uneaten fish food, plant waste). This will help reduce the amount of undesirable nutrients in your aquarium (namely ammonia, the one algae love!). We suggest a minimum of 50% per week initially, you can gradually reduce this to 30% once your tank is established. Dose your nutrients and liquid carbon after each water change.

If you need further assistance feel free to reply to this post and we will get back to you with further guidance.

 

TNC Plant Food and TNC Carbon…A Great Partnership!

I have to say, these two products work great together. TNC Complete and TNC Carbon provide everything your plants could ever want to grow and stay healthy. I’ve been using them for some time now. In terms of value they are some of the best out there. In terms of effectiveness… you will never look back. If your after a simple plant food solution for your aquarium plants with simple dosing instructions, then TNC is the product to go for.

TNC Complete provides all Macro and Micro nutrients required by plants. The Nutrient Company are experts at what they do. Their ingredients are exactly to the plants demands and dosing is a simple weekly task. You can also tailor the dosing to E.I. (Estimative Index) by simply dosing 3 times per week instead. Couldn’t be easier? And you will have piece of mind your plants are getting what they need.

Combine this with TNC Carbon and your onto a winner. Carbon is the backbone to life and makes up much of the plants dry weight. If your not injecting Co2 then levels of carbon in your aquarium will be low. TNC liquid carbon offers a affordable solution to carbon in the planted aquarium. Dosing is clearly explained on the bottle. With a tiny 1ml dose per 50L per day, the bottle will last you longer than you think! TNC Carbon also acts as a algaecide, you can even spot dose it straight onto effected areas and you will soon see it disappear.

On a final note…are you worried that these products could make your algae troubles worse? Then I can assure you these will actually help get rid of algae. The process is simple, if you provide all the elements required by your plants then they will flourish and algae will not. Take it from me, without a source of nutrients and carbon in the planted aquarium you will never solve your algae problems.

 

 

Aquascaping – The Basics

Aquascaping – My last post looked at how we might go about planting Hemianthus Callitrichoides. We showed you that a few pots can go a long way! This is how the same aquascape looks one week after planting:

Aquascape Update

As you can see the HC has started to crawl across the substrate, in a few weeks it will have fully carpeted. I will then be required to trim weekly to keep this plant under control.

Pots used: 4 x Hemianthus Callitrichoides, 3 x Echinodorus Tenellus, 2 x Glossostigma Elantinoides 1 x Hairgrass

Aquascaping Basics

The first thing you must remember when you start a new aquascape is the hardscape is always going to stay in the same position. Plants can be trimmed, moved or taken out. The hardscape can not (unless you want a big mess!).

The hardscape forms the main shape of your aquascape, so time should be taken when placing your rocks or wood in a natural position. Often, the main stone or piece of wood will be placed off-centre. Symmetry in aquascaping is often very boring. How often do you see symmetry in nature? Nothing is ever perfectly centred or in line, because it’s not man made. So as much as you want to line things up and centre rocks or wood, try your best not too!

In the aquascape above, the majority of the rocks are to the left of the tank, sloping in height from rear-top left to near-bottom right. This technique is very appealing to the eye and helps add depth to the scape. The plants have been chosen to reinforce this triangular look. Echinodorus Tenellus has been used in the top left corner, this being the taller plant out of the four used (although still a relatively small species). Glossostigma Elatinoides has been used in the middle and Hemianthus Callitrichoides in the foreground. The plants are in order of height, just as the rocks have been placed. A few clumps of Hairgrass have been placed in-between or beside rocks to add a touch of randomness and a more natural feel.

The main focal point to the aquascape is the centre rock piece pointing towards the top right. The rocks point is positioned off-centre, a little to the right. Again making the scape look more natural. After your eye has been drawn to this point the rest of the aquascape unfolds pleasingly. You might be drawn to the left side first and the plants at the back of the aquarium. After this you will probably venture further and glance down to the bottom right foreground area, where smaller rocks and tufts of plants lay. Ultimately, the layout should draw the eye with ease around the scape.

Next time, I will be looking at what’s required to grow such plants. How much light, co2 and nutrients is needed? We will also take a look at how the plants are doing and what sort of tank maintenance is required.

Don’t forget, we stock all these aquarium plants and many more in our online store aquariumgardens.co.uk. All of our plants are of the highest quality, algae and snail free!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to: Prepare Hemianthus Callitrichoides for Planting

Hemianthus CallitrichoidesHemianthus Callitrichoides, or HC for short, is probably the most popular foreground carpeting plant of the moment. It is actually one of the smallest aquatic plants in the world and only been around the hobby for 10 years or so. If cared for properly, HC will trail along your bottom of your tank to form a lush green carpet. It does best with co2 injection and good circulation. This is often overlooked but a very important factor in the success of growing HC. Ideally you need a flow rate of 10 x your size of the tank, and you literally need to see the co2 bubbles rolling over the plant at the bottom of you tank. If you are not injecting co2, liquid carbon offers a great alternative method.

How to prepare your HC pots:

Here’s how we prepare our HC for planting.

First of all, remove the whole plant including rock wool out of the pot. Then tear the plant in to two pieces.

Remove HC from Pot

Next, carefully cut away the bulk of the rock wool. You do not need the majority of the rockwool that comes with the plant.

Cut off rock wool

Using scissors, cut the HC into smaller portions (about 1-2cm each). This allows you to cover more ground when planting.

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 After this you can start planting your HC. Using planting tweezers grab the roots of the plant and push into your substrate. Be careful not to bury too deep. Plant each bunch about 2cm apart and cover the desired area. It’s easiest to plant whilst you tank is yet to be filled with water. Every so often spray the plants to avoid them drying out.

Planting HC

Below is a good example of how far apart each piece of HC should be. Over the coming weeks, the plant will start to cover the substrate and fill in all the gaps to create a carpet.Planting HC 2cm apart

More news will be posted as this tank progresses. Watch out for the full aquascape to be posted soon!

You can buy Hemianthus Callitrichoides here.

A Sneak Peek at how we Hold Plants

Here at Aquarium gardens, we like nothing more than excellent quality aquatic plants. After all, a beautiful aquascape starts with beautiful healthy plants.

We like to do things differently, and we like to do things that make sense. Many shops hold their aquatic plants in holding tanks full of water. This may seem the obvious way to hold plants, however, this is not how they are produced. Therefore, what we like to do is hold our plants emersed. What’s required is a humid environment, nutrient dosing at the roots & light. As the plants are out of water, there is no worry of algae. And this opens up a whole new way of keeping plants. The end result is simply brilliant! The quality is right up there.

We can guarantee that your plants will be:

  • Algae free
  • Snail free
  • Shrimp friendly
  • Strong, healthy and bursting with life!

Here’s a quick peek at some of our carpeting plants in one of our holding tanks:

Aquarium Plants Emersed

And the end result…carpet plants ready to be shipped to one of our customers!

carpet aquarium plants

If you would like to look at our range of high quality aquarium plants, check out our aquarium plant store here.

Quality Plants Deserve Quality Packaging

As you may know by now, Aquarium Gardens now stock high quality plants from European producers. We also store these plants just like our producers would grow them, meaning our plants are always the best!

To ensure our customers receive their plants in the condition they were sent, we make sure the packaging is up to scratch as well.

Here’s a break down of our packaging service:

Plants are packaged up into air sealed bags to hold moisture in and to secure them in place.

Aquarium Plants packaging

They are then wrapped up in bubble wrap or shredded paper to protect them from any damage during transit.

Secure Packing

The box is sealed firmly with fragile tape, ensuring your package is handled with care.

Aquarium Plants are Fragile

If you would like to know more about our delivery service click here