philodendron and aquarium water

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by rusty bumper, Mar 3, 2006.

  1. rusty bumper

    rusty bumper Member

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    Re: Propagating a philodendron

    We have 2 tropical fish aquariums that we like to use for watering our plants. Our philodendron has really benefited from the nutrients in this type of water.

    I presume this type of water is ok to use?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2006
  2. Rima

    Rima Active Member

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    Re: Propagating a philodendron

    Terrific!
     
  3. Marn

    Marn Active Member 10 Years

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    i use my aquarium water to water all my plants.. but i dont use any chemicals in my tanks at all . so i am stateing that ... as i mentioned here before that it is good water to use .. fish fertilizer.. but i was told not to give that kind of advice cause some people use chemicals in there tanks .. and that i dont know what it does to plants .. but like i said i use it on all my plants even my most expensive and hard to find plant .. a Variegted split leaf philodendron .. wich is my pride and joy .. and hasnt harmed it at all ..

    Marn
     
  4. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Rising Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I think I said that Marn. I think it is a great idea. I am just kind of obligated to point out things like that (don't use water from saltwater tanks or chemically treated tank water) in case people don't think of that. It seems obvious, but you know people from all over read these pages. Yes fish tank water, collected rainwater all good for plants.
     
  5. Marn

    Marn Active Member 10 Years

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    oh ok .. mayb i missunderstood ya .. sorry :)

    i know ya never use the water if you ahve treated your tank for a disease .. allthough i dont know what would happen ..but why take a chance .. but like i stated we have never used any chemicals to condition our tanks at all or get htem ready for any fish .. it is all natural straight from the tap .. even when setting up a new tank we take water from one of the other tanks to set it up with .. we have 11 tanks going right now ..
    and my plants ahve been growing really good with the water from the tank ..

    ans sorry again .. i thought you ahd said not to say this ..

    Marion
     
  6. wsmithies

    wsmithies Member

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    As an aquatics technician specializing in planted tanks i just thought I'd put in my two cents. As everybody has said already, aquarium water brilliant, full of nitrates from fish waste but I think we need some clarification on 'good' chemicals vs. 'bad' chemicals. Most chemicals for aquariums are designed to be used in planted tanks and therfore should be safe if not completely inocuious, always read the label! Always use a chlorine/chloramine neutralizing product when adding water to your tank. Used in the proper amounts this should not present any problems to your terestrial plants and has the added benefit of saving your fish from having their gills chemicaly burned over time by chlorine. Alternatively, chlorine will steep out if an open bucket of water is left overnight. Increasingly some water authorities are using chloramines instead, these will not evaporate and really do need to be neutralized as they are more taxing on a fish's system than chlorine.When in doubt, ask the water company for a report on analysis of your local tap water (you would be surprised what shows up, mmmm estrogen and prozac!)
    If you have planted tanks and use aquatic fertalizer products there shouldn't be any problems and you may even get more 'bang for your buck' as your using it twice in a sense. Never use terestrial plant fertalizers in an aquarium (unless you want to kill everything in your tank). Some aquatic fertalizers have a slightly high phosphate ratio to them which you need to watch for if, like me, your a hibiscus nut.Incidentaly, fertalizers with higher phosphate contents will often trigger hair algae blooms, so if youve bein wondering why your water plants are hairy that may be the culprit (run-off water in the water table from agricultural areas will have the same effect). An added bonus with aquatic fertilizers is that they tend to be more complete in terms of micro-minerals than houseplant products.
    It goes without saying that you should never use water that has had anti-algae treatments in it as I suspect these products would poison the roots of houseplants. Saying that there are products that are safe to use in planted tanks, ergo safe to houseplants but I wouldn't chance it. If you have treated your tank with chemicals against snails, or fish diseases I would do three things. One, once the course of treatment has ended use an activated carbon insert in your filter to remove any residue. Two, good husbandry is changeing 10-20% of your water every week, boost that up to 30% a week and dont use the water for a month, after that you should be fine. Lastly, use a 'good' bacteria suplement to reestablish the balance of nitrogen eating bacteria in your filter which are often killed off by harsh medications.
    Here in Vancouver many of us use chemicals to boost the ph of our wonderfuly neutral tap water. The reason I mention this is that you could, in theory, end up creating very alkaline soil/calcium residue for your plants if you keep fish like african cichlids that like a ph of 8-8.5, i.e.'hard' water. Most tropical fish we keep are South American and like 'soft' acidic water conditions of around ph 7, and hey, guess what? Most of your housplants are South American so it's a symbiotic relationship if your using water from your tank. Many acidifiers contain extracts of humic acid from sources like peat or coconut fibre so it's a win/win situation. Hope this clarifies things, and don't get hung up on the word 'chemical', it's your fish's best friend.
     
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  7. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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    I may be mistaken, but in the wild, I have read that the ratio of plant-to-fish weight ratio should be 100:1 for a "stable" system.

    Several years ago I had a 200 gallon planted aquarium with about 10 small fish (less than 6 inches). No filter was needed, just a pump to circulate the water. 0 nitrates, ammonia, etc. Water changes were down to about once every 6 months, or so. No algae, either.

    When I did my water changes, I had a long hose which I used to empty the tank water into the garden beds up next to the house and I also used the water for my container plants in the home.

    There are also text books on how to use terrestrial and semi-aquatic plants as part of the filtration system. Many sources have suggested that some aroid plants, such as some philodendron species, do well with part of their aerial root systems in the water. In fact, right now, and for the past two years, I have a Pothos plant sitting outdoors with some of it's vines bathing in my small pond.

    Obviously, some of this may be "off topic", but the point being is that assuming you do not have any harmful chemicals in the water, as mentioned in a previous post, your plants will enjoy the aquarium water, and in fact, as I mentioned, some plants may actually enjoy having direct contact with the aquarium water.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2008
  8. rusty bumper

    rusty bumper Member

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    I'm bumping an old thread here, but we have very soft water, and I have to add Sea Chem Alkaline Booster to buffer the water. That sounds like a natural product, so I'm assuming this aquarium water is safe for garden vegetable plants? No other additives go into the tank except for a small amount of aquarium salt on occasions.
     
  9. thanrose

    thanrose Active Member

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    What pH do you end up with in your tanks? If your regional water is soft, then your soil is probably (although not certain) on the acid side. If you are growing some plants that like it acid, then boosting the alkali may not be so great, but I don't think I'd worry unless you are growing hydrangeas. They can be dramatically affected by changes in pH. Don't know where you are Rusty Bumper, but I've usually lived Atlantic coastal with more acid soil: blueberries, cranberries, pine trees, azaleas do well for me, but lilacs needed alkaline soil to do well. Not much of that for me here, but still kinda acid soil.

    So yeah, I'd try it. I'd be more concerned with the amount of salt if I were you. I'm too close to the ocean to worry about that, myself.
     
  10. rusty bumper

    rusty bumper Member

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    I try to keep the pH near normal. I just recently added some real greenery to the tank, although I can't remember the name of the plant, but it looks like hydrilla. I remember the store that sold it to me saying that it doesn't require a lot of light to survive. As for aquarium salt, I add 1 tbsp two to three times per year. The salt helps maintain the freshwater fish electrolytes if I remember correctly.

    I live in the piedmont region of NC which has a lot red soil.

    The African Violet shown in my avatar was fed with aquarium water and a mixture of African Violet fertilizer drops.
     
  11. thanrose

    thanrose Active Member

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    Yeah, that amount of salt in a 20 gal or more tank is not likely to be a problem for using the siphoned off water. I have used trace amounts of salt in my fresh water tanks, too.
     
  12. rusty bumper

    rusty bumper Member

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    I guess I'm getting a little off topic here, but I plan to purchase a new hood light (LED) that will emit enough light to grow more aquatic plants. With my past setup of mostly plastic greenery, tank nutrients were so rich they were causing algae growth - which required a plecostomus (pleco) to keep the tank clean. I don't have a problem with a pleco, but they will outgrow the tank (30 gallon) in about a year.

    I've heard of folks with planted aquariums that have everything in balance (plant to fish ratio) so that water changes are not necessary. If I can accomplish that scenario, I wonder if the tank water would be of any benefit to non-aquatic plants.
     
  13. thanrose

    thanrose Active Member

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    If you could accomplish the balanced fish tank that requires no or very infrequent water changes, the water would have little nutritive value for your non-aquatic plants. But it would be relatively free of other things that can bother plants save salts. From my limited experience and observation, any fresh water siphoned off a fish tank is not notably high in nutrients. It's like saving the water from cooked vegetables. Nice, but not life-sustaining on its own. It would make a nice addition to a hydroponic or similar system though.
     
  14. rusty bumper

    rusty bumper Member

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