Aquascaping

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DPH Tank Plants
written by: Rob Charite
date: 24 May 2000

Plants: Natures' lungs above and beneath the water's surface. Suppliers of oxygen to all living creatures. But how do they reach that goal?? Trough photosynthesis!! of course :_) but what is photosynthesis??

Photosynthesis is provided by a group of elements within the plant cells called chlorophylls. They are capable of transforming light into energy (the energy needed for photosynthesis) Chlorophylls are in fact the green color of a plant. There are 2 types:

  • the blue green chlorophyll A
  • the yellow green chlorophyll B

The chlorophyll is situated within the leaf cells in the so called chloroplasts and that is where the photosynthesis takes place. Simply said :_))) they burn the fuel CO2 and water (nitrates, trace elements, etc etc) to make sugars and starch. So where does the O2 (oxygen) kick in you ask ?? O2 is nothing more than the end product of the photosynthesis (from a plant's point of view hihi) but to us it is very important.

Red plants work in fact the same but the chlorophyll is covered with an red or brown pigment that gives the plant his red color !! So why do red plants need more light ?? The pigment covers the chlorophyll with a sort of shadow and works like a filter! So there is more light needed to reach the chlorophyll!!

Esthetic usage of plants in the tank !!!

Plants have more then one task in a tank:

  1. Give it some view, fun to look at :_)
  2. Provide oxygen
  3. Spawning substrate
  4. And a place to hide

But there is more than just simply adding some plants in your tank !! I won't harass you with all sorts of plants, but simply use the names of the ones I use. There are some rules which are again, not holy, but make the job a bit easier. We have divided the tank in 3 spaces and now we add a virtual 4th, the front :_) The main rules are Big plants in the back , some smaller plants in the middle and very small ones in the front! And a very beautiful one as a center piece!! f.i. echinadoris osiris or a tiger lotus ! but don't plant it directly in the middle but a bit to the left or right.

Now that we know how plants work here are some suggestions and a lay out of my tank (at least the plan !! hahaha).

Contrast table:

Which plant can be each other's neighbor. (broad= broad leaves fine = fine leaves)

  1. dark red broad + light green fine
  2. dark green broad +light brown fine
  3. light red broad + dark brown fine
  4. red broad + green fine
  5. brown broad + red fine
  6. green broad + brown fine
  7. light green broad + dark red fine

There are more combinations possible.
Possible lay out.


Tank size = 125 x 50 x 60

The thick line represents the edge of the terrace made by driftwood, peat plates or what ever !

Possible plants. The numbers corresponds with the numbers on the layout.

  1. cabomba aquatica or carolinia (2 bundles)
  2. cryptocoryne affinis (3 pots)
  3. cryptocoryne wendtii (3 pots)
  4. hygrophila carambosa (1 pot)
  5. nymphea lotus
  6. hygrophila corymbosa ( 1 bundle)
  7. vallesneria spiralis, gigantea or asiatica (3 bundles)
  8. myrophyllum aquaticum (1 bundle)
  9. bolbitis heudelotii (2 pots not a very strong plant)
  10. echinadorus tenellus ( 5 to 8 pots)
  11. crinum natans (1 pot difficult plant)
  12. microsorium pteropus (3 to 5 pieces)

How to plant them???
Take the roots between thumb, index ,middle finger. Dig a hole in the substrate with your index finger and place the plant in it. Now gently spread the substrate over the roots. Place them in such way that only the roots are under the substrate. Epyphites such as microsorium you can plant in substrate but they won't grow fast!

It is better to bind them on a stone, drift wood or attach them on your possible back wall. If your plants don't do so well in the beginning and you are sure you have the proper light don't worry to much !!
They also need some time to adjust ;)

Good luck

Rob Charite & Walter Soestbergen

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