One of the biggest problems in tropical fish keeping over the decades, has been successfully keeping tropical fish and aquatic plants. The three key elements related to this problem is; water (filtration), the correct amount of light, and lastly temperature. Now it may comes as a surprise to some tropical fish hobbyists, but aquatics plants even in an aquarium, are aware of seasonal cycles and change.
In the picture shows one of my bell type Poly Atomic-ion Biological
Reactors at work, there are in fact two in this particular community
aquarium, housing as you can see, an array of healthy species of
tropical fish including Turquoise and Brown Discus. There is also clear
evidence of substantial established plant life and growth mainly in the
form of Amazon Sword Plants, Sagittaria and Vallisneria.
Now, just to set the record straight, as I have no time for flannel as my Grandfather would say. surrounding animal welfare, I am not part of the commercial click and the establishment. That is why I would never waste my time writing articles, or being associated with some of the main publications on tropical fish keeping, as a great deal of the information written is misleading and waffle.
A while back I received one particular negative review on one of my Discus Books, where I did not mention LED Lighting, the simple answer being, LED is not good enough for naturally planted aquariums regarding aquatic plants, or fish health. Plants need white light to grow and thrive, and fish need vitamin D, to develop bone structure and growth as vertebrates. Having an aquarium is creating a living eco-system, and each component needs to be able to interact and function for balance. One element not working will effect another, and so on!
Under gravel filters as a biological solution back in the late 1960's and early 1970's was a great concept and idea, it worked better than the solutions before to a degree! However, biological under gravel filters have their limitations, hence the development of external magnetic centrifuge motorized external canister filters developed by Eheim. The first rule of engineering when entering into any plant is to listen and learn from the old timers. They know more about engineering than most could ever dream of, in fact you could spend a year as a post graduate finding a certain answer, but by asking an old hand, could get the answer and a better solution in just a few minutes.
One of the biggest failings of human beings is they try to over complicate things, thus working against natural law which is to "evolve and refine" and evident in every entity and life form evolving and growing. I new design in today's society is normally with a commercial motive, wanting to sell you something, and so not all new is good, or beneficial.
Under gravel filters can function as a biological process, but with under gravel filters they stress the roots of plants. Secondly they can cause a significant build up in the gravel of higher than normal nitrate and ammonia levels. This product waste needs to reach plant life for food, but needs to be extracted from the substrate environment, but in a way where the plants and fish thrive. With Poly Atomic-ion Biological Reactors I have created, can gently draw down waste not affecting root systems as they are located in this instance in two small places in the aquarium, but then also draw up and removes most of the biological processes into the bell chamber of the filtration system, to break down water and exchange it from nitrates and ammonia toxins, to water and oxygen.
For plants to thrive, and fish for that matter, they need white light, sun light in fact! Many great breeders of the past were very successful in fish houses, as many aquariums received natural sunlight through windows, and glass roofing systems, namely green houses converted. These aquariums would have a fair degree of green algae growth, that also contributed to the filtration of the water, and a food supply of infusoria, microbial bacterium that young fry feed upon.
Today, I use white light, and have done so since the 1960's. I have tried all the others, but by understanding Marine Biology Science and in addition to a great deal of common sense. I have found white light to be the best, where I use our every day energy saving bulbs, and also on more exotic high level aquarium systems of presentation, mercury vapour lighting. And this you will see used by many of the top aquatic plant landscapers throughout the USA, Europe, and Asia.
Temperature also has a bearing on plants health. Vallisneria and Sagittaria for example, can withstand temperatures up to 82 degree Fahrenheit. But above that, they start to deteriorate and suffer. Amazon Swords can tolerate temperatures up to as much as 90 degrees, but for only a certain amount of time. Even in an artificial environment, aquatic plants still have seasonal cycles, and this relates to electromagnetic energy, and air condition pressures in addition to sunlight intensity, and length of hours. Amazon Swords tend to start flourishing in the months of April in the UK, and Vallisneria for example, start to produce runners in winter, between the months of October, November and December, with clear evidence by January of the new plants.
Fish when reproducing will also fall into line with regards to plant growth, and come autumn in the UK, Angel Fish as an example, renowned for spawning on Amazon Sword Plants, will start to breed in earnest at this time as often as every 10 to 14 days, subject to a healthy diet, and the right water conditions.
Regular water changes helps to replenish essential metal mineral trace elements in the water, helping to keep a healthy, happy and thriving aquarium.
Sincere Best Wishes and Regards, Alastair :)
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