A mix of salt and freshwater, brackish aquariums present its own set of challenges when it comes to live plants. Here are a few plants that hold up in this type of tank.
When it comes to different types of aquariums, there are two main categories – freshwater and saltwater. If you really want to get into the details, however, there is a third option to consider that is halfway between the two. A brackish aquarium is half freshwater and half saltwater which means that you have to be careful about the plants and fish you choose.
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What is a Brackish Biotope?
In the simplest terms, a brackish tank is one that is half saltwater and half freshwater. This doesn’t mean that one half of your tank is freshwater and the other half is saltwater – the entire tank is on the spectrum somewhere in between. Natural brackish habitats occur in areas where rivers meet the ocean in swamps, estuaries, and mangrove forests. The salinity of a brackish environment will vary depending on the tide as well as the flow of freshwater, the amount of rain, and the evaporation rate. The specific gravity in a brackish environment will typically range from 1.006 to 1.015 and the water clarity will range as well from perfectly clear to extremely cloudy. A brackish biotope tank is an aquarium that mimics a natural brackish environment not just in terms of water chemistry but in the tank inhabitants (plants and fish) as well.
Because brackish aquariums are a blend of saltwater and freshwater, many live aquarium plants will not do well. In order to survive in a brackish environment, the plants must be hardy and adaptable to different environments. Your best bet to ensure that your plants survive may be to start with a traditional freshwater tank (stocked with hardy plant species) and to gradually increase the salinity over time. Some of the best plants to use in brackish aquariums include the following:
Anubias: This group of plants produces arrow-shaped leaves and grows fairly quickly and easily in the tank environment. Anubias can be rooted to driftwood or rocks – it can also be used as a free floating plant.
Anacharis: This type of aquarium plant produces bright green leaves that grow in branching stems. Anacharis grows fairly quickly and it is a popular choice for plant-eating fish.
Java Fern: Java fern is one of the hardiest types of aquarium plant and it is also one of the most attractive. This plant grows up to 8 inches tall and it can be rooted to rocks or driftwood in the aquarium.
Hornwort: This plant produces stems layered with hair-like foliage that grows very thick in strong lighting. Hornwort can be rooted or left to float freely and it will help to reduce algae growth in your tank.
Water Sprite: This plant is different from the others because it produces delicate leaves in a lacy pattern. Water sprite is an excellent choice for brackish tanks, especially if you have newly hatched fry to think about.
If you are looking for a challenge beyond the scope of the traditional freshwater or saltwater tank, a brackish aquarium might be right up your alley. If you do choose to give a brackish aquarium a try, just be careful about choosing your tank inhabitants since the environment in a brackish tank is different from a freshwater or saltwater tank.