What is Ammonia?
A typical waste material found in water is ammonia (NH3). It might come from fish releasing wastes, dead plants that decompose and form ammonia, fish food that goes bad, and so on. Unfortunately, Ammonia pile-up can be fatal for fish.
Not only ammonia but also nitrites can be toxic to fish. Nitrites created from ammonia by bacteria live in filters, gravel beds, and other fish tank objects. Nitrites are relatively less harmful than ammonia, but they are still something to get rid of if you want your fish to remain healthy.
Nitrifying bacteria turn nitrites (NO2) into nitrates (NO3), which mush less harmful to your fish’s health. However, nitrite might cause them to become weaker over time, cause stress, or hinder their natural growth.
What Type Of Plants Are The Best To Reduce Ammonia?
If you like how plants look in aquariums, you can get floating, submerged or rooted plants for your fish-tank to absorb the poisonous residues.
Plants that grow fast feed on underwater nutrients, thereby absorbing material that is harmful to the fish. Here are some plants that do this effectively.
If you like one of these, they might be an excellent place to start to reduce toxins in your water tank.
1) Marimo Moss Balls
The Marimo Moss balls are a type of algae with a velvety surface and, as the name suggests, are mossy. If you are looking for a low-maintenance aquatic plant that also absorbs toxins, these are a popular choice.
They are sturdy and do not require delicate care. The Marimo Moss grows very slowly and takes up to a couple of years before they become sizeable balls.
They absorb phosphates, nitrates and ammonia, and other waste solid debris in the fish tank.
Although you will still occasionally have to change the water in the tank, it can be effective to wait longer between water-changes in smaller tanks.
They have a rustic look and are a very nature-friendly alternative to accompany your water-animals.
- They don’t need any fertilizers.
- They derive their nutrition entirely from the water’s debris, such as fish waste and old fish food.
- They look great and require hardly any maintenance.
- They prevent the growth of unwanted algae.
- They always are in a color of lush green, making the aquarium look healthy.
- Over the years, they might acquire a tinge of yellow or brown.
- They are unsuitable for goldfish since goldfish tend to destroy aquatic plants.
2) Amazon Sword
Echinodorus nicknamed the Amazon Sword plant, is a popular choice of plant to absorb toxins. It is beautiful, light green with long green leaves all over. They are a great contributor to the lively look of your aquarium.
It is also fast-growing and an easy-to-maintain plant. They give the underwater atmosphere a forest-look, for which reason they are popular among many buyers.
The Amazon Sword can also survive in low light and nutrient conditions. They make beautiful centerpieces with long and swaying leaves that create a mysterious under-water look.
The plant itself can grow up to a length of 15 to 18 inches. It has long leaves and no other parts such as stem and flowers. Your fish might soon want to hide in and play around their ample leaves, giving them a secure hide-out.
Other than for the fish varieties of Jack Dempsey, Oscars, Texas Cichlids, or other roughens, Amazon Sword is suitable in most environments. These specific species are known to damaging the plant surface. Therefore it is advised not to grow these plants for their aquaria.
- They don’t cost much and ready in the market everywhere.
- They are easy to maintain and grow very fast.
- It might grow deep into the substrate with its roots. If you are using gravel filters, this is not an ideal plant as it may destroy the filter.
Moneywort, also known as Brahmi, is a stem plant, unlike the Amazon Sword. It has a light green stalk, onto which tiny leaves grow on all sides.
It needs moderate to high light conditions to thrive and grows easily.
The Moneywort has a bright green color that looks great with underwater lighting. Its stem-leaf detail makes for an eye-catching addition to the aquarium. You can choose to grow this plant either partially or fully submerged since it survives both ways. If you decide to let it float, it will grow stems in the air on top of the water surface.
Unlike the above two varieties of plants, this needs nutrient-rich soil and moderate to high light conditions. Low light might cause the Moneywort to grow slowly or shorter. You can expect it to reach a length of 12 inches under low light, whereas, in higher light conditions, it can grow much taller.
Like the Amazon Sword, it also gives your fish to hide and relax. Since it grows tall, it is excellent as a background or a mid-region plant for the aquarium.
You can trim it occasionally to give it the shape you like and replant the trim ends. If you don’t trim, the plant might overgrow and crowd the fish tank.
The Moneywort grows faster with additional CO2 supplements, but this is not mandatory, and it will continue to thrive well, although at a slower rate.
- It is a stunning addition to your water life.
- It also blooms and gives a good look with small flowers.
- It can be submerged, floated, or semi-immersed.
- It is very suitable for low-tech water tanks.
- Easy to maintain, also for beginners.
- It is growing slower than other aquatic plants.
4) Anacharis Elodea
Anachris is a sturdy plant that grows in thick bunches. It has a long central stem with long and slender leaves. The tender branches of the Anacharis separate easily from the parent plant and replant themselves elsewhere to grow independently.
It absorbs toxins primarily by its leaves and grows its roots for reproduction.
Although Anacharis is also a low-maintenance plant, you have to trim it occasionally, without which it causes overgrowth and turns into a messy tangle.
It grows tall like a water sprite. Therefore, it makes for an excellent mid-ground plant. Since it is fast-growing, it uses up many ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, thus filtering fast, which is the original intention with adding the plant to the aquarium. However, this means it is a lot more work to maintain the plant since you have to trim more often.
- Anacharis is one of the best oxygenators for underwater life.
- It replants itself, thereby making it very easy to grow more of it.
- If you maintain it well, it dramatically improves the fish’s overall health and the water and keeps the water clear and transparent.
- It adds to the look of the aquarium.
- It costs little and is an excellent budget-plant for beginners.
- It needs relatively more maintenance since it often sheds leaves, which cleaning is essential. It might also lead to needing more water changes.
- You have to trim them more often because otherwise, they grow endlessly and congest your tank, making it look grubby.
Buyer’s Guide: How do Plants Reduce Ammonia?
Plants improve the look of your aquarium and help maintain a natural ecosystem for your underwater world. They help to improve the oxygen level of your tank, at the same time, clean the ammonia that your fish produce. It adds up to a healthy, beautiful, and cleans fish tank.
Although ammonia is harmful to most animal life, it is vital for plants to survive like fish. Plants use up the ammonia in the form of food and nutrition through roots and stem and, in turn, produce oxygen.
To maintain this cleaning and oxygen cycle, it is your duty as an aquarium owner to keep the plants under the correct light, air, and immersion conditions for them to flourish.
Under ideal conditions, plants convert nitrates to nitrogen compounds and use them for their energy and growth, enabling them to perform photosynthesis. Thus, plants are given a name as “Nitrogen sinks”, a place to dump nitrogen as a process of flushing them out of their systems.
Therefore, components that are harmful to fish are fertilizers for plants.
Aquatic plants work well with ammonia rather than nitrites and nitrates. With ammonia, plants can produce ammonium, which is a plant-friendly nitrogen component. This process is called ammonium fixation in the plant nitrification process.
What Makes A Good Ammonia Eating Aquarium Plants?
The faster the plant grows, the more its photosynthesis, and quicker is their process of absorbing harmful nitrogen components. So the growth rate of a plant is directly related to its capacity to clean your water tank.
Another interesting factor is that when plants have a stem, they are better at absorbing ammonia. When plants feed only through roots, they absorb all their nutrition through the substrate or gravel.
If they have a stem, they also absorb nutrients through the water column. It is a more direct method of absorbing ammonia, which is more effective for your water health.
You should also bear in mind that not just ammonia contributes to plant growth, but also other factors such as lighting, CO2, and more micro and macronutrients. You have to maintain all components in a balance so that the plants grow faster and healthier.
Only a healthy and well-maintained plant can deliver the effect you desire for your water health.
Live plants absorb both carbon dioxide and ammonia from the water column. These components are the chief residue from fish waste and stale fish food in the water and can harm your fish health.
Other than performing this cleansing process, plants produce life-giving oxygen.
Although adding a plant cleanses your water, it is still vital to change the aquarium’s water as frequently as necessary.
While picking the right aquatic plant for your ecosystem, pay attention to the genuinely aquatic plants’ species and best suit your aquariums fish and the environment conditions of your tank.
With aquatic plants, you will reconstruct the water ecosystem for your fish in a natural fashion and encourage their growth in their familiar habitats.
It is the safest, easiest, and most natural method to keep your fish happy and healthy!