Editorial: November 2009
Because there are quite a few reef keepers who are also experienced freshwater aquarists, and some who are just freshwater aquarists we are interested in developing greater interest in our monthly publication and freshwater forum to cover that interest. From my interest in the setting up of my freshwater planted aquarium I have been involved in a discussion with an experienced, French, freshwater aquarist, Jean-Jacques Eckert, some of which I will reprint here:
I just read that you are involved in a freshwater tank with plants. It's my second hobby! The best book is that of Christel Kasselmann and you have it. I think that the key for success is the choice of the plants. I think that most of our aquarium plants are not aquatic but grow mostly on the edge of rivers or are only submerged a short time. I recommend choosing plants having the same needs and for that the book of Christel is excellent. My preferred plants are: Cryptocoryne and Echinodorus but the first comes from Indonesia and the second from South America. That's the first problem!
I don't like to work with CO2. I prefer a good substrate (quartz gravel granulation 1 to 3 mm) of maximum 5 cm thickness and a good light (HQI) and an open tank. I will send you some pictures of the tank.
For Echinodorus :
Enjoy reading about these plants!
About your freshwater tank and especially the plants find my comments below. I find that there are too many stones in your tank as decoration and not enough plants with quick growth. The lack of quick growing plants makes a home for algae. In fact they are in competition. The more you have quick growing plants the less you have nutrients (nitrate and phosphate) and of course algae. It seems that there is also in the tank a fish seen on he video at the 30 to 35 second period with black and yellow vertical bars namedLeporinus : it is a real plant clipper! If you wish try to buy following book, the best on the market : http://www.amazon.com/Aquarium-Plants-Christel-Kasselmann/dp/1575240912
You can also introduce shrimps like Caridina japonica or even the Red sherry shrimp but without fishes being able to eat them.
I will send you some pics of well planted tanks:
I'm grateful to Jean-Jacque for sharing his experience and expertise with me. So far I have not had any significant problems with unwanted algae. Unwanted algae is problem with both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. Having freshwater plants and or corals out compete unwanted algae for available nutrients sounds easy, but in fact is difficult. In my reef tanks reducing nutrient levels to the point where algae and cyanobacteria will not grow, if there are also fish, is close to impossible. What has always turned the tide in favor of the corals is the presence of sufficient herbivores, like snails, crabs, sea cucumbers, and herbivorous fish like tangs. I suspect the same is true of freshwater planted tanks. Also, too many fish and overfeeding will clearly contribute to unwanted algae problems also; in fact, for many aquarists, both freshwater and reef, may be the biggest contributor to the problem. In my freshwater tank I have two plecos, which are growing rapidly and doing a good job; however, I have heard that they will damage the leaves of the more delicate plants. The leaves of my Echinodorus sp.are full of holes, but I have not seen either the Leporinus fasciatus or the plecos near the plant. However, clearly something is responsible.