AQUARIUM PLANT FILTRATION: How Plants Can Help Filter Your Fish Tank


(upbeat music) – What’s up, fish tank people? Dustin’s Fish Tanks bringing it to you on a Sunday, baby. How’s everybody doing’? I hope you’re doin’ well. In today’s video, we’re
gonna expand a little bit on aquarium filtration. In last week’s video, we talked about mechanical and biological filtration, but due to your comments,
we’re gonna expand that topic, and we’re gonna roll it out into one of my favorite parts of
this great aquarium hobby. We’re gonna talk about aquarium plants and how they filter in
your aquarium as well. And I wanna talk about a complete no-no with water that I see people doing. It is both a waste of
money, a waste of energy, and a waste of time. And as I mentioned in last week’s video, mechanical filtration works like, say, the air filter in your car. This is a sponge from an AquaClear 110. The water flows through this, any particles in the
water get stuck in this. Just like the air filter in your car, the particles get stuck in there. However, the rubber meets the road when we get on to biological filtration. Folks, take this rule, write
it down, put it on your arm. Ask yourself, when you’re
looking at your aquarium, and something’s wrong or right,
what would mother nature do? We’re gonna get full woo-woo, we’re gonna talk about lion poop. And in last week’s video,
I had a beautiful comment where someone eloquently
disagreed with me on something, and I would love to get your
feedback in the comments on that, and that is this. I said, last week, in the
video on beneficial bacteria versus filter load, that
the filter right here does not house as much beneficial
bacteria as the substrate. And as someone so eloquently pointed out, they were like, Dustin, however, if you were to take a
brand-new aquarium over here, and a brand-new aquarium over here, and you took this filter off and put it on an empty, un-cycled tank over here, and put fish in, the fish
would probably survive. But if you just took the substrate and all of the bottom bacteria down here and put it into a tank without the filter, the fish would not live. I have a caveat for that, but
I would love to get your notes in the comments on what you think about this scenario right
here, as well as your thoughts on the beneficial bacteria in an aquarium. Okay, I’m gonna go way
out here on this one, but I hope you all can relate with me on just some basic biology
and the circle of life and the food chain and
all that good stuff, and then, I’m gonna tie
it back into aquariums after I talk about lion poop. It goes like this, okay? Think biological filtration. You’ve got grass, the grass
grows in the safari in Africa. And then, what happens,
what eats the grass? The big gazelle comes
along and eats the grass. And then, the gazelle is eating the grass, and then, what happens? The giant lion comes up behind the gazelle and bites its head off
and then, takes a poop. The poop goes down to the
grass, it helps the grass grow, the grass grows, the
gazelle eats the grass, the grass is then feeding the gazelle, and then, the gazelle
gets eaten by the lion, the lion poops, and the
grass grows some more. Does everybody understand
the basics of that? But what if the lion crapped in the field and the lion poo was
not used by the grass? What if there was no grass? All that would be around would be lion poo and no grass for the gazelles to eat. Then what? A bunch of starving
gazelles walking around and a bunch of lion poo. The lion eats good for a while until the gazelle stop reproducing and the lion can’t eat and the lion dies, all because the lion’s poo
wasn’t absorbed by the grass. Okay, we’re gonna get away from lion poop. We’re gonna talk about your aquarium and how it relates back to lion poop. It goes like this and it’s even worse. These are your fish. You have purple fish. Purple fish right here,
rollin’, and they’re good. And this is typically what happens. You’ve got one, two, three,
four, five, six, seven fish that are all different colors
in this beautiful universe. And then, what happens? These fish poo, right? These fish go down here and they poo and they poo and they poo. But Billy Beginner is like, you know what? I got these fish and I
just, I wanna feed the fish! Mom, can I feed the fish? And they just pound the
food, just slam the food, slam the food, and then, the
fish just poop more and more and more and more and more. They’re like my dad’s cats. He leaves the food out,
they poop all the time. If you don’t feed them as much, they don’t poop all the time. So these fish are getting fed like crazy, they’re pooping like crazy, and unlike the grass in the safari where the gazelle eats the grass, this poo is actually doing you more harm because this is in a closed system and it goes to red, and
it goes down here to red. And the problem is, this
stuff becomes toxic ammonia like down-face right here,
down-face right here, because Billy Beginner did not establish the purple beneficial bacteria down here. Because right here we’ve got one, two, three, four,
five, six, seven bacteria. We’ve got one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight fish. So our fish load is greater than our beneficial bacteria load,
which means death to all fish, and all the fish die. And look, I’ve added fish
too quickly to aquariums more times than I would
like to admit, okay, so here’s the rub. Here is how I hope you
all can take this back to your aquariums, this is super simple. Break it down for you like this, then we’re gonna tie it in to plants. Now, I’m gonna break this
down for you as easy as I can. This is your green, green for good, beneficial bacteria in your aquarium. It is all around, all amongst us. You’ve got, for easy numbers, yeah, I dunno, 18 beneficial bacteria. When your beneficial bacteria load is greater than your
purple-tailed fish load, ’cause you’ve only got
three fish over here, but you’ve got 18 beneficial
bacteria, you win! You get a gold star, a Heisman Trophy, AFC North Championship,
whatever you wanna do, you win when this happens. Now, the rub is this is the problem. And I’ll show you examples of how we’re not balanced right
now in our aquariums when you have only seven
beneficial bacteria over here and it’s less than your giant, I’m a beginner, I’m gonna add
a ridiculous amount of fish to this aquarium ’cause that’s how I roll. This is death to everything, okay? Now, think about this like Mother Nature. You go out in the gazelle field,
the field is full of grass. There’s a ridiculous
amount of grass, right? Then there’s a decent amount of gazelles, but there’s only a few lions, okay? So, if I can impart this little fish tank rant wisdom to you all, ’cause I spit when I talk,
it would go like this, okay? It gets even better. ‘Cause we got our beneficial bacteria, our beneficial bacteria
right here is all good. Dusty’s gonna bring it back to
his home run favorite topic. We got all our beneficial
bacteria right here and we’ve got our light
fish load right here. And then, we’ve got the plants involved and there’s more plants because the plants, it
goes fish poop, ammonia, then there’s the beneficial bacteria. It goes to nitrite, nitrate. And then, the plants
eat, drum roll please, the nitrate, the plants eat the nitrate. So if you have a larger mass of plants eating all the nitrate, these
three fish can poop for days. It doesn’t matter because you
have a ridiculous bio-load, both down below here for
your beneficial bacteria, and my favorite filter, the plants! So when you have a
ridiculous amount of plants, when your plant load is
greater than your fish load, and I’m gonna do it in brown, even though it’s supposed to
be purple and happy and stuff. I might even do it in
pink ’cause pink is happy. When your beneficial bacteria
is greater than your fish load and your plant load is
greater than your fish load, you win and you will always win. So today, on this Sunday,
this Species Sunday, it’s all about fast growing
plants that are gonna go (inhales) and suck up all the
nitrate out of your aquarium. You could have a giant aquarium filled with a ridiculous amount of plants, and if you like fish, then you
will be golden all day long. The reverse effect does
not work, as many of you have found out when you
first got into this hobby. You cannot have a ridiculous fish load and a very, very light plant load, or light bacteria load
because your fish will die, just like the lion dies when the gazelle is unable to eat the grass
that is fed by the lion poop. Now, let’s talk about some plants. I wanna stay here for a minute real quick, talking about beneficial
bacteria or lack of it. This tank behind me
here is slightly green. Why is it slightly green? Because we typically have it chock-full of plants and chock-full of full sun. Well, now, we’ve sold a lot of the plants, so now the plants are not available to absorb all the extra nutrients. The extra nutrients are quickly consumed by a thing called algae. So even if your beneficial bacteria load is unbalanced in your aquarium, you may not be killing your fish, but your waste of your fish
that’s not being consumed by your beneficial bacteria
will help an algae bloom, which is what we’re seeing right here. So in tanks like this, you wanna watch it because we’re off balance right here. There’s not enough beneficial bacteria. There’s too much light, there’s
not heavy enough plant load, and I would argue that I think
I could get away with this even longer, just like
my man Greg Sage does. If I actually had gravel
in the substrate of this, I think it would have less
of a chance of getting algae because there’d be more spot for the beneficial bacteria to live. But it’s Sunday, it’s Species Sunday, and I’m thinking to myself, I’m like, how could I bring it
to the fish tank people as my voice cracks and
explain to them how to do it a la natural in their aquariums,
as something that will absorb the end of the ammonia,
nitrite to nitrate cycle, and I got three species for you, and then, a big old
example I’m doin’ at home. The first one, you’ve heard
me talk about it before, hygrophila difformis,
hygro aka water wisteria. Super fast-growing. This is actually a variegated variety that we have right there. You can see a little of the
variegation on the leaves. A fast-growing stem plant,
looks completely different growing above water than below. Obviously, this is grown all below water because that’s how we roll. This is a super fast-growing, easy plant, absorbs nitrates like crazy. So, if you’re a fat
freckled fish tank freak kid and you wanna overstock your tank, overstock it with a ridiculous amount of this plant right here. It will grow like crazy, but
I got another one for ya. This one is Ivan Drago-tough. It could be found in Siberia. I wanna talk about hornwort. We have ridiculous amounts of hornwort growing all over the place here. Float it, it doesn’t really
have a root structure. It’s so hardcore, it just floats around, and it just grows and grows and grows. Absolutely love hornwort. I used to ship back,
when I was stupid enough to sell sherry shrimp, I
used to ship them in this. I believe it absorbs
even ammonia, perhaps. It’s a super hardy plant. Float it, fish like to breed in it, guppies like to breed in it, you name it. Hornwort, super easy one,
but how can I bring it to you with an example from my own life? How I’m actually rolling myself? And it works like this. I’ve got an overstocked pond, okay. My pond is two small for the large amount of fish that I have. So what does that mean? I’m not practicing what I preach. It means I’ve got too many
fish in too small of a tank, so I have to have a ridiculous,
ridiculous plant load to compensate for my heavy,
heavy, heavy fish load in my small water volume pond. And one of the plants that
I do ridiculously well with, you could see me getting in
my pond here to show you that, that is anacharis elodea. This plant is so hardy, it can survive in the
almighty Lake Erie, okay. Anacharis elodea is a huge
nitrate-absorbing plant, super fast-growing. I used to do experiments on
it back in biology class, back in high school. Absolutely love this plant, one of the hardiest plants
I sell, grows out the side. When you get it, it’s
gonna do some weird stuff. It’ll kinda take this
little side angle off. But anacharis elodea,
folks, do me a favor, if you like what I’m doin’,
hit the Subscribe button, the share button, if you care. Everybody make it an
awesome week and tank on. Later!

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