Do plants like hornwort and java moss house beneficial bacteria?

kimsch1005

Plants are merely another surface where beneficial bacteria can grow.
So in a sense if you are getting your plants from an already established aquarium then, sorta? It will introduce some beneficial bacteria, but plants don't cycle your tank.

The majority of the beneficial bacteria in your tank will establish in your filter media.
 

ruud

Well....if your tank is completely stuffed with e.g. moss and understocked with organisms, and you have some decent flow in your tank, I think you would have a powerful filtration system with just the plants.

In open filters, like HOBs, you can even replace media with just moss and some pothos sticking out.

As a bonus, you don't have to worry about algae.

Not bad for just a surface ;).
 

Akeath

Not as much, no. That type of beneficial bacteria loves surfaces to grow on, but tends to be mostly on the filter media and to a lesser extent the substrate.

Plants can themselves consume nitrogenous wastes, though. Aquatic plants have evolved to remove nutrients and nitrogenous wastes from the water column rather than just their plant roots (although which species take a larger portion of nutrients from the water or roots varies by plant type). Plants tend to have an easier time consuming Nitrate and so they will usually prefer that, but they will consume some Ammonia too. Plants that grow quickly will need to "eat" more to keep up with that growth, so fast growing plants like Hornwort, Water Sprite, and Wisteria are especially useful at removing some of the nitrogenous wastes from the water. Those are all species that take up nutrients mostly from the water column, too, which is more useful for keeping the water quality high.

As far as micro-organisms growing on plants, they tend to have slightly more complex critters on them called Infusoria taking up most of the real estate, which doesn't leave as much room for the beneficial bacteria that are more common in the filter media and the substrate. Infusoria will not be helpful with improving water quality like the beneficial bacteria do. Infusoria are still microscopic organisms, but are built in a more complex way compared to bacteria and they don't consume nitrogenous wastes. Infusoria is something of a catch-all term with over 2,000 species that include single-celled animals, single-celled algae, and tiny invertebrates. As far as the aquarist is concerned, their primary use is as an ideal tiny live food for shrimplets and very small fish fry. Having lots of plants like Java Moss that make a good habitat for Infusoria will help ensure that baby fish and shrimp have plenty of itty bitty critters to eat, to the point that having lots of moss can actually help to increase the number of fish fry that survive. Again, helpful for feeding babies but not for general water quality.

Here's an closeup illustration of the many types of microscopic species of infusoria:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipe...ations_of_zoology_(Plate_84)_(6053353488).jpg

In the wild water quality is good due to hundreds of gallons of water diluting wastes, flowing water and rain that is always adding fresh water to the system, natural filtration, and especially an extremely low density of fish. To keep fish healthy in what are essentially tiny glass boxes that are relatively packed with animals, you'll need a filter to keep the water quality from getting dangerously bad. Plants will help some, but they can't keep conditions high enough in a system like an aquarium for the fish to really thrive. You'll also need to do partial water changes and gravel vacuuming to help keep the water fresh and clean, too.
 

Flyfisha

Yes plants like all and any hard surfaces have bacteria on them.

There are two kinds of fish keepers
#1 Those who clean all the panels of glass and
#2 Those who don’t clean every panel of glass every week.
I suggest it is the people who are forever cleaning the glass that are the same people who believe “most of the bacteria are in the filter “

LRBs tanks are an example of how filters are just one of the places bacteria can set up shop.

link to a channel of someone not walking the main path in the hobby. This channel is worth looking at . With over 300 tanks in his house I think even he would say he has issues. 300 tanks would explain why he does not clean the glass. But look further and you will see he turned the filters off in his established tank a couple of years ago .

 

ruud

Except for a wannabe blackwater tank, all 6 other tanks I run are powered by plant-life and one of these tanks is without filter. It does have artificial light as it is in my basement, but other then that, it is based on small waste build-up, biofilm (where your beneficial bacteria resides); all the paramecium, euglena, rotifer, and blepharisma cultures, Akeath refers to, that feed on the bacteria, phytoplankton, and each other; neocaridina shrimp; and 1 inch fish per, at least, 10 gallon. There are several conditions to support this somewhat fragile equilibrium, in my case, the use of inert substrate and slow-growing plants.
 

bonyy

Well....if your tank is completely stuffed with e.g. moss and understocked with organisms, and you have some decent flow in your tank, I think you would have a powerful filtration system with just the plants.

In open filters, like HOBs, you can even replace media with just moss and some pothos sticking out.

As a bonus, you don't have to worry about algae.

Not bad for just a surface ;).
yes half of my tank is filled with hornwort and java moss. I don't use any substrate.
 

ruud

If you can feel slimy biofilm, I bet it houses beneficial bacteria. Keeping a vase with nothing but moss and shrimp can do amazingly well. Actually, it is not that amazing.
 

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