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Brackish Plants: Making the Transition

As long as they are acclimated to salt slowly, many plants can withstand brackish conditions.

By Stephen G. Noble |

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Brackish waters are dynamic environments where freshwater intermingles with seawater primarily in estuaries, backwater areas and mangrove forests. Brackish water has a salt content greater than freshwater but less than saltwater. There is a tremendously wide range of salinities, and this helps explain why brackish waterways are such diverse ecosystems. In addition to fascinating fish and invertebrates, brackish estuaries are replete with vibrant submerged and emergent vegetation.

Brackish water has a reputation for creating a hostile environment for aquatic plants. In reality, the reason why some of the plants fail in aquariums are incorrect lighting, inadequate substrate or malnutrition. Sadly, hobbyists are often dissuaded from keeping a planted brackish aquarium and never fully experience the true uniqueness of an estuary biotope. Many readily available aquarium plants are quite capable of thriving in brackish systems. Some are more salt-tolerant than others, and with a little experimentation, it is easy to determine which species are appropriate for your specific tank.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the December 2010 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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