How to Use Pothos as a Natural Aquarium Filter
One of the reasons we love aquarium plants so much is because of their ability to absorb toxic nitrogen compounds (produced by fish waste) from the water, but what if you own fish or aquatic pets that are natural-born plant killers? Pothos plants are the best choice for your aquarium. Pothos plants won’t filter out any particles in your tank water but they can reduce nitrate levels and algae growth so that your fish are happy and healthy. Continue reading to discover more about this amazing gift from nature to fish keepers.
What is Pothos?
Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum) is a popular houseplant. It also gets the nickname “devil’s ivy” due to its extreme hardiness. It is extremely hardy and can survive in almost all lighting conditions. You often see pothos used not only in aquariums, but also in hydroponic systems and bioactive terrariums. The only caveat is that it is toxic to cats and dogs if ingested, but we have not found any reports of aquarium fish having problems with this plant.
Pothos is a great natural filtration alternative for aquariums with plant-eating fish, like uaru cichlids.
How to Use Pothos in Aquariums
Pothos can be easily found at your local hardware shop or plant nursery. You don’t have to buy large pothos plants, as they grow quickly in aquariums that have high bioloads. We purchased the smallest size pot for $4 and were able to separate it into six to ten plantlets.
Even if you are on a strict budget, you could start small with a single pothos leaves from a friend. It will quickly grow roots in water if it is able to. However, for faster growth, we prefer to use a little plantlet that already has some established roots. Make sure to thoroughly wash off all the dirt and fertilizer on the roots so that it won’t adversely affect your aquarium’s water chemistry.
Separate your pothos into plantlets with 2-4 leaves each. Wash the roots thoroughly to get rid of any fertilizer.
To keep pothos from getting into the eyes of plant-eating fish, place it in a hang-on back filter. It should be placed far from the motor compartment of the filter to ensure that roots don’t get into the filter and block it. If your fish won’t attack the pothos, you can put the plant’s roots directly into the tank with its leaves growing out of the water. The aquarium lid should hold the plant in place so that it won’t fall in.
Remove and “plant” the pothos in an area with a filter media compartment that is as far from the motor as possible. Trim the roots in the future if needed.
You can direct the pothos to climb up the wall and along the shelves eventually. Your fish will love the jungle created by its long, stringy roots. If they get too dense, you can trim them. Plus, you can easily cut off a stem or leaf and propagate it into other tanks in the future. Pothos is a great filtration option that can keep nitrate levels down and algae growth at bay. It costs less than $5.
Pothos plants not only provide excellent biological filtration for your aquarium, but they also grow into a beautiful vine outside of the tank and provide long roots for fish to swim around and hide in.
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