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Re: Benefits of planted tank for fish

Hello again all, 

I would first like to thank everyone who responded to my 
question. Having looked at some of the entries in this 
year's AGA contest (especially the 1st place entry in the 
'small' category - WOW!), how could someone NOT see the
_aesthetic_ benefits of plants in an aquarium!

* I spoke thus:
> > I assume that many who add KNO3 to their tanks also keep 
> > fish in those tanks. From this I conclude that regular NO3 
> > concentrations of around 10ppm must be something that fish can 
> > thrive in. (Is this correct, BTW? I understand that it would
> > depend on the fish, but generally speaking?) 
> > 
> > So, from a fish's benefit perspective, if plants aren't kept 
> > to get NO3 down to negligible levels, why are they kept? Is 
> > it because they increase the amount of dissolved oxygen? Or 
> > perhaps they provide some stability to the water chemistry? 
* Thus spake Wright Huntley [011110 13:58]:
> Some of the chemistry is pretty complex and obscure, but 
> the nitrogen stuff is well-known and very simple. 
> Alelochemicals and strange organics also may be soaked up 
> by the plants, but the #1 and 2 plant benefits to fish are 
> getting harmful forms of nitrogen out of the water column 
> and increasing dissolved oxygen. 

> Nitrogen has three primary bound forms in an aquarium. Two 
> of those, ammonia (ammonium) and nitrite, are harmful to 
> lethal, depending on concentration. Nitrates, OTOH are 
> relatively harmless in concentrations below a few hundred 
> ppm. 

A few hundred ppm - !! My test kit warns that anything 
above (I think) 50 ppm is dangerous, which just reinforced my 
impression that ANY NO3 in the tank is bad.  The 20 ppm or so 
in my tank is obviously not a problem then...

  [informative description of the nitrogen compounds in an
   aquarium snipped]

> Plants are lazy, so they will take the more reactive 
> ammonium and nitrite forms of nitrogen more readily than 
> they will use nitrates. That has a powerful 
> water-cleansing effect on the more toxic forms of nitrogen 
> compounds. As the plants photosynthesize, they give off 
> copious amounts of oxygen, which further eases any fish 
> with slightly burned gills. 

For some reason, I thought that the plants just absorbed the

> Fish (and to a great extent plants) do not feel pH and 
> don't really care about it as a condition for happy life. 
> pH shock and a lot of other mythology developed around a 
> lack of understanding of the chemical effects of pH, 
> particularly with ammonia and nitrites. 

Really?! I've been thinking (and reading...) that fish were 
very sensitive to ph swings. I've been thinking to start 
injecting CO2 into my tank with a homebrew CO2 setup, but I 
have been very hesitant to do so because I was concerned 
about the effect the pH swing would have on my treasured 

> Tank "cycling" has its own fish-store mythology. A growing 
> tank of plants never cycles, as the plants quickly steal 
> all the ammonium from the bacteria. It can be stable from 
> day 2. 

Wow! This is counter to almost everything I've read 
concerning keeping fish! I wish I had come across the APD 
when I first started keeping fish (about a year ago)... At 
that time, I just got plastic plants thinking that real ones 
would be too much work for the benefit they provide. I had 
read that real plants would be beneficial, but I just wasn't 
convinced that they would make all that much of a 

> Sorry for wandering a bit, 
Thank you for wandering a bit!

T(itus). =8)