Saltwater Aquarium Plants

Saltwater aquarium plants are any kind of marine plant life small enough to fit into any artificial saltwater environment. Like any other living organism in an artificial saltwater aquarium, plants are just as sensitive to the confined nature of these delicate ecosystems. Do to this sensitive nature certain chemical balances must be achieved so as to maintain plants healthy and happy. As important as chemical balance however, lighting and friendly neighbors all make the complex reconstruction of the plants natural habitat a fragile study within the very study of saltwater aquariums itself.

Every plant in the sea has its place. This place was determined through billions of years of evolution, and of this, humankind knows so little. To make the choice of which saltwater plants to enchant the underwater kingdom of any aquarist’s new project, there are some vital things to consider.

Are the plants going to be accepted by the other inhabitants?

Are the plants going to accept the environments chemical balance?

Will the temperature and lighting be acceptable?

Acceptance is a tricky area, as it is not just the inhabitants that need to accept the plans, but their organisms as well. That is; are the plants going to be aggressive to the other living creatures in the aquarium? If the plants are sick, or have the habit of giving off an excess of harmful chemicals or are by nature themselves toxic, then they can be considered aggressive. If the contrary is so, such as fish that like to eat the plant, or attack the root system, or don’t give off enough CO2, then it is the aquascape itself which is aggressive. In either case, planting the newcomer in a refugium for a while might be the solution. Or not, this really depends on looking at all the factors of the aquarium as intermingling organic systems that thrive off of one another within a sacred niche.

Chemical balance is not just merely the artificial injection of CO2 and an air compressor, blowing huge bubbles in the tank. Delicate concepts like KH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, need to be carefully analyzed in order to fully comprehend the magnitude of marine biology. Marine ecology in nature is so vastly complex in this sense, that philosophical debates have been responsible for some of the most incredible naval mythologies since the ancient Phoenicians first set sail around Africa with the Polaris star as their navigating compass. Myth is strong, and without Cartesian thinking, and Aristotelian exploration of nature, we are blinded by our expectations. Only this kind of research will uncover the material truths of a saltwater aquarium. If developing in accordance to natural habitat, then it is important to know what that habitat really is, otherwise, no matter how much synthetic medicine is thrown in any artificial saltwater ecosystem, it will continue to degrade.

One main cause of insupportable degradation in all saltwater aquariums is algae. Algae loves to thrive in the hobbyist’s projects, because algae are everywhere in tide pools, Nature’s closest thing to an aquarium. To keep the aesthetics of an aquarium, and avoid thriving algae, it is necessary to replace about 25% of the saltwater every two weeks or so, unless developing a sustainable system that has water moving around into algae destroying refugiums, which is a possibility.

All in all, what most plants need to survive, other than lots of CO2 and a safe place to root, is light and temperature. Temperatures inside the aquarium cannot vary constantly because they don’t in the wild. If they do, then plants and livestock die. Too hot or too cold, can be lethal to any marine dweller. As important as compatible temperatures, is the proper lighting. If the lighting is too low, some forms of plant life will not be able to do photosynthesis, and thus feed the rest of the aquascape properly and finally get ill and die of suffocation. Lighting and temperatures must be compatible.

Plants need to be chosen carefully, in accordance to the other living organisms inside the confines of the saltwater aquarium. The combination between plants and livestock must be both healthy and happy. Plants need to be adequate to the chemical balance (KH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, CO2… etc) and conditions (light and temperature) already existent within the closed ecosystem. Once well researched and thoroughly studied, the unseen world of Jules Vern can become a foundation for human inspiration and the will to live, by simply keeping a saltwater aquarium with plants that remind us of what it is to be a part of nature’s mysteries.

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Posted in Articles, Plants on August 18, 2005.

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