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Utility of terrestrial/emersed plants in a planted tank

RickyV

Community Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2023
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Location
Texas
On my Build Thread - 1000 Gallon High Tech Planted Tank I have been growing a lot of terrestrial plants (mostly philodendrons).
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I figured they are great extra filtration. They also give nice shade to the front display panel. I imagine they are pulling all sorts of stuff from the water and unlike aquatic plants, the unhealthy/old leaves aren't leeching what they removed back into the water.

However, I've been thinking are they actually removing much other than the main macro and micro nutrients? Am I just wasting extra fertilizer for them with no significant extra benefit? What are everyone's thoughts on growing terrestrial plants in a planted tank?
 
With a tank that size and the amount of plants you already have in there, I don’t think the terrestrial plant addition is really making a dent in that respect. If it was just a fish only then I’d sat
 
They are only removing the macro and micro nutrients they need, nothing more or less (except they are not removing c02 from the water). People put them in heavily stocked tanks to keep excess nutrients down, so in a tank where you are adding fertilizer they would actually be counterproductive, unless you desire them for their aesthetic value.
I love the look of plants growing up and out of the aquarium, so I would not consider them a waste of fertilizer at all. Curious though, what other benefits did you think that they gave?
 
I want pictures @RickyV !
More pictures of the emersed plants? I will take some more pics next time I see the tank.

Curious though, what other benefits did you think that they gave?
Well they're mostly there because I like watching plants grow, and for shading the front display/low light plants. But I figured they might have other potential benefits. People say dissolved organics are a big cause of algae so I wondered if they could assist in reducing them. I also think they may help reduce any potential accumulation of heavy metals. I figured they're also just extra biological filtration. I was also thinking increasing the total plant mass using them would reduce the impact of trimming on the system. I probably don't have enough terrestrial plants to really make a difference in these things in such a big tank but I guess it's good to have a little redundancy.
 
Sorry I realized my post was cut off, I was finishing my thought and then posted by mistake without realizing.

Honestly for the sheer size of the tank and how it looks from the recent video I’d say just keep doing what your doing it looks surreal. I wish more aquariums would take on the task, if I had the time I’d absolutely go to my states aquarium and propose a planted tank I’d happily scape and maintain. Maybe when I retire……
 
Honestly for the sheer size of the tank and how it looks from the recent video I’d say just keep doing what your doing it looks surreal. I wish more aquariums would take on the task
I agree I wish more public aquariums in the states would do these big planted tanks. The guests here really enjoy seeing this tank and I always see them taking pictures with it. Though while on the topic I am curious what public aquariums here do have big scaped planted tanks. I think I might have the only one in Texas. I know Georgia aquarium has a few.

if I had the time I’d absolutely go to my states aquarium and propose a planted tank I’d happily scape and maintain. Maybe when I retire……
You definitely should give it a try! It's extremely fulfilling to work on this tank. I hope I get more opportunities to work on more big aquascapes in the future.
 
I know Georgia aquarium has a few.
Good to know! The Atlanta one? My wife has been there I’ll have to ask if she remembered seeing any planted style layouts.

Out of curiosity did you have to spend your own dough to get it going or the aquarium paid for the materials etc?
 
Good to know! The Atlanta one? My wife has been there I’ll have to ask if she remembered seeing any planted style layouts.
Yep! I need to go one day. Here are some reddit posts with them
Out of curiosity did you have to spend your own dough to get it going or the aquarium paid for the materials etc?
I have a part time job there so the aquarium did pay for everything.
 
I discovered an unexpected perspective on the "utility" of terrestrial plants. The deal I have is that I use the water from weekly water change for my wife's plants. She now also placed some plants on top of my tank and I take care for a daily dose of well fertilised water. I feel the support for my hobby growing by the day :giggle:

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This all made me think, is our tank's ferts dosing (let's say EI) close enough, and sufficient, for terrestrial plants? Would terrestrial plants still need anything more (or less)?
Aquatic plants for sure have a large active surface area (and surface to mass ratio) as compared to the root systems of terrestrial plants - would this enable them to thrive in much leaner environments than terrestial?
 
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