What kind of pothos plants reduce nitrate?

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Hainguyen
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What kind of pothos plants reduce nitrate?

Post by Hainguyen » Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:03 pm

What kind of pothos reduce nitrate? I used Golden pothos in my sumpand its died. making my water cloudy too (maybe the leaf touch the water with 82F temperature?)

Diana
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Re: What kind of pothos plants reduce nitrate?

Post by Diana » Sat Mar 19, 2016 6:41 pm

Epipremnum aurea is Golden Pothos. It is a house plant that can grow with the lower end of the stem in the water and the roots. Most of the stem and all the leaves should be in a reasonably bright place, out of the water. I put nails in the wall and had several strands growing all the way around my living room, dipping in and out of the 5 tanks I had in there, then. Another several strands went out one window to an enclosed sun porch and in through another window, dipping into 2 tanks out there. Some of the leaves were almost a foot across.

I have no idea why yours died.

To start them I simply take cuttings of healthy plants with at least 4 nodes, and remove the leaf from the lowest one. Stick the lowest 2 nodes in the water, and use that leaf on the second one to balance it on the edge of the tank.

Other plants that work well:
Philodendron cordatum. I had this one growing in a planted sump above the tank. A pump in the tank pumped the water out of the tank into the sump and some large tubing drained the water back into the tank. I had 3/8" lava rock in the sump for the roots to cling to. I had other plants in there, too.
Syngonium podophyllum. I had this one growing out of a tank on a tall stand. It draped to the floor, 6' down, then came up again, and I stuck that end in the tank to grow more roots.
Try other trailing house plants, if they are simply going to grow out over the edge. Upright house plants need more support, and could be in a planted sump.

In general, most house plants are candidates for this except the succulents (cacti, pepperomia, and other thick, juice leaves). That type needs to go drier between watering.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

Dojosmama
Posts: 219
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Re: What kind of pothos plants reduce nitrate?

Post by Dojosmama » Fri Mar 25, 2016 6:47 pm

Why just the pothos? Don't most aquarium plants absorb nitrate?

Diana
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 1:35 am
Location: Near San Franciso

Re: What kind of pothos plants reduce nitrate?

Post by Diana » Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:21 pm

All plants may remove nitrate. But there are a few points to think about.

1) Submersed aquatic plants are limited to the amount of carbon they can take it. Water does not hold much CO2. If you add it via pressurized CO2, then the plants can grow a lot faster. There are a few plants that can use the carbon in carbonates as their source of carbon. This is harder for the plants to do, takes some energy, so they may not remove quite as much nitrogen.
Plants with leaves in the air have virtually unlimited CO2.

2) Any plants (emersed or submersed) require over a dozen elements to live. Make sure you are supplying all the things they need.
If you have a tank with fish, shrimp or other livestock, then the food you feed the animals becomes fertilizer. Fish food is fairly high in nitrogen, phosphorus and most trace minerals, but is low in potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium. If the water has a GH over about 3 German degrees of hardness, then this is usually enough calcium and magnesium. You might have to dose potassium and iron.

3) To grow at the best rate plants need the right level of light. Light in the aquarium is somewhat specialized, and may be a bit expensive. (it does not have to be). Light above the tank can be a bit simpler- a drop light with a 'gro' bulb, or other fixture that does not have to be suited to a damp location, or the light from a nearby window. Lighting an aquarium can be done, and it is not that hard. Just might be easier to light up the area above the tank where the house plant(s) grow.

So the simple answer is, Yes, aquatic plants can remove nitrogen. But to make them do this very efficiently takes a bit of a specialized set up including a source of CO2, some attention to the other fertilizers they need and proper lighting. But house plants can remove nitrogen without the CO2, still need to make sure they are not deficient in the other fertilizers, and the lighting is usually easier.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

Bas Pels
Posts: 299
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Re: What kind of pothos plants reduce nitrate?

Post by Bas Pels » Sat Mar 26, 2016 4:41 am

While Diana knows a lot about fishes, I'm afraid she's slightly off in this regard.

The thing is, , CO2 does dissolve very well. further, in an unplanted tank, there is no shortage of CO2 in the water.
She's right in pointing out plants don't grow very fast under water, but do so above water, but I think the reason is another. Light.

Water absorbes a lot of light. Plants which grow above water obviously don't see much of the available light disappear before they can use it.

Her conclusion is, however correct - if you want to use plants to reduce nitrates, you best have them grow out of the tank. And plants need other minetrals too (fertiliser). I thinkg waterchanging is so much easier than growing enough plants that it is something I would not even start thinking about. But our water is very cheap.

Diana
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Re: What kind of pothos plants reduce nitrate?

Post by Diana » Sat Mar 26, 2016 8:05 pm

Planted tank people go to a lot of work, effort and equipment to get CO2 levels higher in their tanks, so the plants will thrive.
Left to itself, water will not take in very much CO2. Not enough to grow thriving plants. This is the biggest limiting factor in growing under water plants fast enough to be significant in the removal of nitrogen. When the plants are growing well, but there is no supplemental source of CO2 the plants will remove all the CO2 from the water. The amount of CO2 entering the tank from the air and from the respiration of livestock is not enough to keep the plants growing at their maximum rate.

CO2 in the air is unlimiting.
Any aquatic plant that has leaves in the air, even floating on the surface, has access to unlimited CO2, so can grow faster than the same species that is fully submerged.

If you are growing under water plants for the removal of nitrogen, then you will need to supply extra CO2 (more than what dissolves naturally in the water), good light, and whatever other elements plants need that are missing.

CO2 is the limiting factor in most tanks.
Lighting is pretty easy to adjust, many options, many possibilities.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

Dojosmama
Posts: 219
Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: What kind of pothos plants reduce nitrate?

Post by Dojosmama » Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:43 pm

There are a lot of aquatic plants that require high light to grow well, but in my tank, java ferns, anubias, java moss seem to thrive on less light and no CO2 supplementation. In fact, java moss grows so well, it becomes a pest after awhile.

My anubias bloom frequently. Neither of my two tanks have Co2 supplementation, and the light, while higher than it was because I got a better bulb, is still not the highest it could be for aquarium lighting.I currently have one opened flower on an anubia, and two flower buds on the others. They've bloomed in the past.

Anubias really don't need added ferts, although I have added Flourish Comprehensive for the other plants, and have used root tabs with iron. Careful with these, however, as diatoms can result. I had a rampant diatom growth in my 65 awhile back, and had to cut out ferts, completely, for awhile. Nonetheless, the anubias continue to thrive and bloom.

I have upped my livestock, and do frequent water changes.

Nitrates are currently well within the safe range -- between 5 and 10 ppm.

About houseplants, how do we know which kinds are safe for aquaria and which might be poisonous? I wouldn't let just any houseplant dip its leaves in my tanks, without knowing whether or not it contains toxins. Some plants might poison the water, and therefore poison the fish.

This is educational, nonetheless. Thanks for posting the info.

Diana
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Location: Near San Franciso

Re: What kind of pothos plants reduce nitrate?

Post by Diana » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:11 am

I have had the following plants in the water (roots and lower stems in the water, leaves out, though some leaves do end up in the water). So fish might have the opportunity to nibble on the roots or leaves.

Epipremnum aureum
Philodendron caudatum/scandens/oxycardium (name keeps changing)
Sphathiphyllum (generally the smaller ones)
Chlorophytum comosum (all 3 commonly available colors)
Coleus blumei (this is the old name)
Syngonium podophyllum
Ipomoea batatas (both the ornamental/colored leaf type and the edible type)
... and probably others. Mostly the ones that trail do better, because they can hang on the edge of the tank. Upright ones need more support.

I have grown others in an 'above the tank' sump set up. The roots are in lava rock, and tank water is pumped through.
Maranta roseo-picta and several other Maranta and Calatheas
Dracaena marginata (red edge and tricolor)
Dracaena sanderiana (not the 'lucky bamboo, the older, white variegated one)
Ficus benjamina (got so big I planted it outdoors in a covered patio)
Beaucarnea revoluta
Chamaedorea elegans
Fittonia vershaffaltii (3 types)
... and probably others.
Ferns did not do well in either set up.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

Dojosmama
Posts: 219
Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: What kind of pothos plants reduce nitrate?

Post by Dojosmama » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:49 pm

As to ferns, I think we're talking about two different kinds -- terrestrial ferns and fully aquatic ferns. Java ferns are fully submerged in the tank and grow as fully aquatic plants. Anubias, on the other hand, will grow underwater but also above water. I have only had fully submerged aquatic plants in my tank, without Co2 supplementation, and they've all done well. Maybe java ferns can also grow terrestrially -- I've never heard of that.

Still have no information on which houseplants would actually be poisonous to allow any part of them to come into contact with tank water and to have fish eating them.

I'm sure that experimenting could be dangerous.

Is there any kind of directory that lists houseplants both safe and unsafe for aquaria?

Bas Pels
Posts: 299
Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:08 am

Re: What kind of pothos plants reduce nitrate?

Post by Bas Pels » Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:53 am

Dojosmama wrote:Is there any kind of directory that lists houseplants both safe and unsafe for aquaria?
I would not even hope for it. Not many people are interested in using terrestrial plants in their tank.

What you might do, is look at a site for new parents, after all some house plants are poisonous, and parants might not want them in their house.

However, I've heard Monstera is slightly poisonous, but harmless for fishes. The same goes for Philodendron.

I currently have a few Cyperus growing in my filters, growing nicely. The only problem is, their roots will eventually destroy the Hamburger mats.

I think a lot is possible

jonstfrancis
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Location: Near Dartmoor, Devon, UK

Re: What kind of pothos plants reduce nitrate?

Post by jonstfrancis » Thu May 05, 2016 6:05 pm

I've grown Acorus gramineus in two tanks. It does well with the leaves emerging from the water and looks great. Currently I'm experimenting with spider plants Chlorophytum comosum as well.

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