Advanced Plants Basics Main Factors: – Lighting – Co2 – Substrate – Fertilizers – Time!
Lighting High light is needed for optimal growth of advanced plants, but a balance is needed T5 HO are generally accepted as the best lighting method currently Watts Per Gallon is not a good measure for all lights! – Best method is to either take PAR (photosynthetically usable radiation) readings or refer to a PAR chart – Height of the light fixture in relation to substrate is also a factor
Co2 A pressurized Co2 system is essential for advanced plants The correct balance of Co2 will aid significantly in plant growth and keep algae in check Too much Co2 will kill your fish, too little will stunt plant growth and allow algae to flourish Ways to measure Co2: a drop checker, or PH test
Co2 One of the most difficult aspects of advanced plants is getting Co2 levels stable and correct Too Little Co2 or too much light:
Substrates A nutrient rich substrate is a must! Recommended Options for High Light/Advanced Plants: dirt, MTS, ADA Aqua Soil, Fluval Plant Stratum Provides nutrients for plants to grow via roots, may need to be topped up with nutrients after some time
Substrates ADA AquaSoil: Pro- the very best plants substrate on the market, loaded with nutrients and high CEC (Cation Exchange Capacity), easy to work with – Con: Very expensive and hard to find, leaches ammonia in first cycling weeks Fluval Plant Stratum: Pro- nutrient rich, no cycling time, high CEC – Con: hard to work with (very light/ doesnt anchor well), expensive Dirt: Pro- Cheap, easy to find, nutrient rich – Con: can contain unwanted elements, messy, must be capped (creates 2 layers), can be unstable Mineralized Top Soil: Pro- Nutrient rich (if done correctly), cheap – Con: messy, takes a long time to finish the mineralizing process, can be unstable, must be capped Eco Complete: Pro- Cheap, high CEC, easy to work with, instantly cycles – Con: more of an inert substrate (not as loaded with nutrients/organic)
Fertilizers In addition to feeding via their roots, plants must also feed through the water column EI: The Estimative Index (EI) coined by Tom Barr. The idea behind EI is simply introducing an excess amount of nutrients within an aquarium. This excess of nutrients floods the water column and feeds the plants. EI provides a surplus of nutrients that helps to prevents plant deficiencies, and allows plant growth to out compete algae growth. At the end of the week, one performs a 50% water change to reset the nutrient load The primary fertilizers are the macro nutrients - Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), Potassium (K), and the micro nutrients – trace elements (Plantex CSM+B, Flourish). Iron (Fe) can also be supplemented if necessary. Example: 40-60 Gallon Aquariums +/- 1/2 tsp KN03 3x a week +/- 1/8 tsp KH2P04 3x a week +/- 1/8 (10ml) Trace Elements 3x a week 50% weekly water change
Time Growing an Advance Planted tank takes a large amount of time. It is usually not possible to have a large amount of tanks if you are doing advanced plants, but instead to focus mainly on 1 or a few tanks All the elements mentioned work together, the trick is getting and keeping everything in balance. For example, lights and Co2 must be in balance to prevent massive algae growth Correct trimming and pruning is essential and time consuming
Example of Advanced Plants Hemianthus Callitrichoides Utricularia graminifolia Pogostemon stellata Rotala wallichii Pogostemon Erectus Alternanthera reineckii
Fish for Advance Plants Fish must be selected very carefully for an Advanced planted tank – Must be peaceful and will not rearrange your tank – Bottom dwellers must not be to large – Ex: Discus, Angel Fish, Rams, Cory Cats, Tetras, Otos, Rainbow Fish, etc...
Thank You Any Questions? Additional Resources: plantedtank.net thebarreport.com Google