Aquatic or Water Gardens and Aquariums

For those who want an indoor garden but do not like to deal with soil and potting, decorate with beautiful greenery growing in water in the form of an aquatic garden. Nearly all of the plants that grow nicely in water gardens are the low-light types, but all of the water gardens grow really lush when they get at least four hours of artificial light every day, or when given an occasional visit under the lights.

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Vases, shells, decorative bottles, brandy snifters, or glass bricks with openings in them offer suitable and interesting containers. Philodendron, english ivy, dracaena, pickaback (tolmiea), nephthytis, pothos, Chinese evergreen (aglaonema), and coleus are a few of the plants that flourish in water. The plectranthus, a relative of the coleus, has a trailing habit that's nicely suited to water culture.

Take out the plant from its pot, crumble the soil out, then rinse the roots in running lukewarm water. Non-rusting needle holders would keep big plants standing in containers. Stones and small shells may hold others in place. Little pieces of charcoal will preserve the fresh water smell. Colored glass, plastic bubbles, or bright beads add decorative touches to clear glass containers. These truly bring sparkling translucent color under agricultural lamps like Gro-Lux. If you raise tropical fish and aquatic greenery makes up part of the underwater picture, place a fluorescent or incandescent light on top of the tank and the plants will take on new life and vigor. A lot of the fish take on fantastic coloring when lit with agricultural lamps.

A 10-gallon aquarium tank would be lighted adequately with one or two 25-watt incandescent showcase lights or a 14-watt fluorescent. Several hobbyists believe they get the best results from warm white fluorescents. If the aquarium is located in a cool, dark place, burn the lights around eight hours a day. If it is in a sunny area or if algae forms too quickly, bring down the size of the lights or the number of light hours.

Waterscaping a fluorescent-lighted aquarium can be a really exciting. Right from the start there is this fascination while you select from the host of suitable plants, most having strange-sounding names. For instance, there is cryp-tocoryne, sword plant, vallisneria (eel grass), sagittaria (arrowhead), cabomba (fanwort), myriophyllum (milfoil), nitella, water sprite, hairgrass, anacharis (elodea), duckweed, banana plant, hornwort, and bacopa.

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