The Importance of Aquarium Plants



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The Importance of Aquarium Plants

Plants are more than just a decorative addition to your aquarium. They play an important part maintaining the correct environment for your fish to thrive. During the day plants produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide produced by the fish in your tank. At night this process is reversed. At nighttime the plants take up oxygen and produce carbon dioxide.

Plants also play a major part in the breakdown of the waste products produced by your fish by acting as natural filters to keep the aquarium environment healthy.

Aquarium plants produce oxygen with the help of green pigment called chlorophyll. Like all plants (land and aquatic) sunlight is used as a source of energy. The green parts of the plant use energy from sunlight to make the carbohydrates from water and carbon dioxide. This process is known as photosynthesis, and produces oxygen as a “byproduct.”

In fact all oxygen on earth is produced this way. Without plants life on this planet could not exist.

Other Important Aspects of Plants

  • In an aquarium plants help clean the water by absorbing waste materials introduced by the fish and the fish food.
  • Healthy plants give off small amounts of oxygen in their root area which prevents the bottom from decaying.
  • Exterior and small algae which settle on the plants are also helping to clean the water.

Aquatic plants have adapted to their environment in an intriguing way. They have developed a system of cavities that run through the entire plant. These cavities are filled with air to help the plant maintain buoyancy. That way the plant is supported by the water and needs far less support tissue than its land counterpart.

The upper surfaces of leaves that are turned toward the light are usually brighter green in color than the undersides of the leaves because it is the upper side which contains the chlorophyll.

Aquatic plants are permanently submerged so their leaves can be thin and delicate. Aquatic plants are also capable of absorbing gases and nutrients directly from the water. For many species the roots are mere clamping organs.

Of course aquatic plants need to have sufficient light and warmth and are naturally dependant on the quality of their primary element -- water.

We will dig a little deeper into the matter of plants in the following article.

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