Plants that grow in water habitats are called Aquatic plants. A few common examples of these are the seaweeds and water lilies. They have unique characteristics for them to adapt in marine environment. So what are the parts of an aquatic plant? And what are their uses? Aquatic plants have a thin cuticle. Cuticles primarily discourage water loss; thus most hydrophytes have no need for cuticles. They have the stomata that are open most of time because water is abundant and therefore there is no need for it to be retained in the plant. This means that guard cells on the stomata are generally inactive. They have an increased number of stomata, which can be on either side of leaves. They possess a less rigid structure since water pressure supports them. Flat leaves on surface plants are for flotation. Those that are not for the surface have air sacs for flotation instead. Aquatic plants have two kinds of roots one is the smaller roots where water can diffuse directly into leaves. And the other, feathery roots where it does not need to support the plant. But there are also specialized roots able to take in oxygen. So what do aquatic plants need to grow? The first consideration would of course be the water in which the plants will grow. The kind of water you that you have and the temperature in you aquarium both play an important part in your plant life. Most aquarium plants found in marshes do well in warmer temperature, and 75 degrees Fahrenheit is usually the ideal temperature for most tropical plants. It is seen that plants flourish even better if the heat generated is from the bottom so that their roots get enough heat. This can be achieved by placing a submersible heater right at the bottom of the aquarium where the water meets gravel. Another way to keep your plant life healthy is by leaving their roots undisturbed. When you are cleaning your aquarium or changing water, care must therefore be taken so that the roots do not get disturbed.
Since photosynthesis takes place in the presence of light, light is a necessity for healthy plants. Natural sunlight is made up of a number of light waves that have different wavelengths. The plant pigment chlorophyll will absorb only certain light waves. Sunlight will promote the growth of algae. Long exposure to sunlight will also heat up the water. Artificial light is therefore more advisable for plants growing in an aquarium. Full spectrum or broad spectrum fluorescent light is best suited for plant growth. Aquariums usually need about 1.5 watts of light per gallon of water and about 12 hours of light per day. If the aquarium is deep, additional wattage will be needed, as well as the need to keep the light on for longer hours. Using light colored gravel is a good way to create a light bottom for a deep aquarium. The wattage of light required for healthy growth in plants is also species dependent.
In nature, plants are continuously receiving nourishment from their surroundings. Aquarium plants derive nourishment from the substrate. There are different varieties of substrate available now, but for the beginner a substrate that is low maintenance and stable is the ideal choice. A substrate that needs constant watching and gets messy is not recommended. Similarly, a substrate that is capable of changing the water chemistry is also something to keep away from. This kind of substrate will require constant monitoring of the water. Organic substrates, rich in nutrients, could possibly mess with the water quality and give out excess nutrients. Since the substrate lies at the very bottom of the aquarium, it is difficult to be changed once the aquarium has been established. Ideally, a substrate that is inert and that will not alter your water chemistry should be selected. The perfect substrate will also have a high Cation Exchange Capacity which refers to the ability of the medium to absorb nutrient ions. This means that your substrate will hold on to the nutrients and...
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