Alternanthera reineckii ‘mini’ is a small plant with solid red color, long narrow leaves. The plant is widely used in layout environments. Intermediate aquarists love it because despite having many requirements to stay healthy, after adaptation, it solidifies and flora continuously in the aquarium’s aquascaping. Let’s talk a little more about this plant.
Basic information about Alternanthera mini for planted aquarium
Alternanthera reineckii ‘mini’ has a plant-emersed, delicate appearance, mainly due to its narrower leaves. From the Amaranthaceae reineckii family, the mini is one of the most beautiful and resistant plants. For better development, use fertile substrate, CO2, and fertilizers. Its propagation is done by cutting and replanting the branch.
The need for CO2 injection for reineckii mini plants
A known fact is that fish and plants need to coexist in balance. Plants grow as the fish feeds produce carbon dioxide on plant matter or other food sources. However, a large or small amount of CO2 in the aquarium will affect both plants and fish. The lack of CO2 injection in plants can make the leaves and stems pale or limit their growth, making them stunted. Furthermore, it also means that the plants will not adequately oxygenate the environment or provide the proper nutrients for the fish. In aquariums with alternantheras, attention to the optimal amount of injected co2 is extensive, as their colors can be directly affected by the erroneous amount of injected co2 for both more intense and more opaque colors. A thorough study of chemical relationships in planted tanks is necessary for your alternanthera to thrive and replicate in the tank.
Alternanthera and algae sensitivity in the aquarium plant
Algae are part of every aquarist’s nightmares, but they are also one of the biggest threats to fish. Algae buildup affects their lives, creating an unhealthy environment that can cause disease and affect plants. According to studies, carbon dioxide contributes to algae growth and leads to excess ammonia, which is dangerous for animals. The installation of an excellent CO2 system will help monitor and control the dissolution of this gas in the water, causing the opposite effect and helping to maintain it. In an aquarium planted with alternanthera mini, it is essential to have reasonable algae control; because this plant needs a lot of nutrients and light. Many algae end up consuming the nutrients and causing shading effects in some spots on the leaves, making them more fragile. At the beginning of the project of your planted tank, it is expected that there is a lack of biological control, which will involve the growth of plants, cyanobacteria, and algae. This is entirely normal, as the fertile substrate is releasing a large load of nutrients. In a short time, this nutrient discharge tends to be smaller and more balanced. That’s where the liquid fertilization made by aquarists comes in.
The importance of an excellent fertile substrate for the growth rate of your Alternanthera reineckii mini
When setting up your planted tank, it is necessary to have a place for the plants to fix their roots and absorb the nutrients they need to grow and propagate. This is precisely the function of the fertile substrate. Whether it is a natural substrate or an industrialized one, it will be full of the nutrients needed by plants, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and sulfur. You have two options for this layer, buy one of the industrialized substrates or use an alternative approach such as earthworm humus.
Inert substrate – What is the function and what needs to be considered
The inert substrate has some functions; one of them gives a nice finish to your aquarium. This substrate will be visible in your tank, so it should look the way you want it to look for your tank. But the inert layer also has another function; it prevents the fertile layer from leaking into the water column. A leak like this (depending on the substrate) can destroy your assembly, as it will flood your aquarium with many nutrients (which, in high amounts, become pollutants). It is necessary to take precautions so that this does not happen. The main one is to use a good portion of the inert substrate over the fertile one. Usually, a layer of about 6 centimeters is used. Another concern regarding this layer in a planted aquarium is those thin layer substrates should be avoided, as they tend to compact more. A compacted substrate prevents water circulation and hinders the propagation of roots, which makes plants’ development very difficult. Inert substrates also influence plant fixation, so avoid lighter ones, as they make the planting process difficult, especially with plants with small roots.
Additives for the fertile soil for plants arrived.
Some aquarists, especially those focused on aquariums with high plant density, often add substrate additives to their setup. They use substances that will further increase the power of the fertile substrate. This is not a necessity, but it can improve your plants’ development. It is widespread, for example, in Dutch-style aquariums the use of laterite, spread under the fertile substrate, which provides an extra charge of iron (an essential substance for the development of your aquatic plants). There are also industrialized additives that add specific nutrients to the substrate. These should be applied to the fertile substrate during assembly, never afterward.
How to correctly fertilize a planted aquarium with alternanthera reineckii mini
The moment to start liquid fertilization depends a lot on the quality of the fertile substrate. Due to their great fertility, there are substrates, which cause a nutrient boom at the beginning of the assembly, where it is sometimes necessary to have several weekly water changes to remove some of these nutrients from the water column to prevent excess and possible algae. We must pay attention to the nutrients present in the substrate to know if any essential nutrient is missing and fertilized in liquid form. However, with less “potent” fertile substrates, or even if you choose not to put any, you have to start liquid fertilization from the beginning. However, the nutrient values must always be within the ideal values so that the aquarium does not suffer from excesses or shortages, leading to unwanted algae or plant growth deficiencies, in addition to leaving plants with more vibrant coloration. The fact is that plants need all the nutrients that Nature created. One way or another, these nutrients must be made available. The success of a plantation depends a lot on this factor and on knowing how fast our plants are consuming nutrients so that we can only give them what they consume so as not to be left over for the algae. The best method of fertilization is daily. Plants always have nutrients available, in a small amount, but not enough to meet their needs. Fertilization with Potassium and Micros is usually daily, while the iron is dosed every other day. Nitrogen and phosphorus are used every other day. But it’s essential to monitor your aquarium to identify nutrient needs.
Which accent light should I use for the best growth rate for my reineckii mini?
Specialized (quality) high light for the planted tank has exactly the useful spectra for photosynthesis, while at the same time presenting a small portion of green light that helps to favor the human perception of colors; that is, they offer a good IRC (index of color reproduction). If our sun emits a lot of green light, it would be natural for us to evolve more optical cells to perceive green than other colors. Therefore, the human eye perceives the colors of the environment much better when the lighting offers its spectra in the green band. However, too much IRC tends to harm the rest of the spectral distribution of lamps. Hence, manufacturers often provide “white” lights that are nothing more than lamps that, while beneficial for photosynthesis, sacrifice part of their efficiency for aesthetics. That’s why they should always be used with “pink” lamps, the most efficient but less aesthetic. The aquarist needs to keep in mind that the IRC fraction of their light bulbs is not being metabolized by plants. Aquariums less than 50 centimeters deep generally require 175 watts. This means that aquariums about 51 to 75 centimeters deep should have a 250 watt LED bulb. Deeper ones may need up to 400 watts. Please don’t skimp on lighting; it’s the basis of the system’s equation, not least because other opportunistic organisms, such as red or black algae, have evolved specialized pigments to absorb the band that chlorophylls despise precisely as a competitive asset. Higher plants are complex organisms that grow under specific conditions, and these conditions must be met in a confined ecosystem. These organisms cannot be expected to adapt to a very adverse situation. They have molded themselves for millions and millions of years, therefore providing quality light for photosynthesis to operate fully and print a balanced metabolic rate for the system.
The importance of partial water changes for plants
The Partial Water Changes (TPA) are essential; they make a weekly “reboot” of the aquarium’s nutrients, avoiding excesses and replacing Calcium and Magnesium that come with the tap water. Do not forget to add a product to water to neutralize Chlorine and Chloramine. If we have an aquarium with the triangle (light, CO2, nutrients) unbalanced, it won’t work; we have to balance these three strands for the ecosystem to flow.
Conclusion on the cultivation of alternanthera reineckii mini in planted tanks
In this review about the creation of the reineckii mini, we could understand that it requires, in general, the same knowledge as almost any other submerged plant. It has the same need for fertilization, soil, water, light, and pruning parameters. It is important not to skimp on good products so that your aquarium has a reasonable growth rate. It’s a problematic hobby and full of challenges, but it’s worth it for its beauty. When its naturalness is reached, the red color of the reineckii mini becomes a great wish of aquascapers, especially for fans of Dutch aquariums; they tend to become a great point of attention, the big star of the tank. It is a medium and intense care plant. Usually, beginners will have difficulty, but the result is inevitable with many studies and hard service.