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? It’s time to get a pothos plant 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’s very difficult to kill and will survive even in very low light, nearly dark conditions. Pothos is commonly found in aquariums. However, it can also be used in hydroponic systems as well bioactive terrariums. One caveat to this is that pothos can be toxic to cats or dogs if eaten, but there have been no reports of fish suffering from it.
Pothos is a natural filtration option for aquariums that house plant-eating fish like uaru cichlids.
How to Use Pothos in Aquariums
You can easily find pothos on the cheap at your local hardware store or plant nursery. You don’t have to buy large pothos plants, as they grow quickly in aquariums that have high bioloads. We bought the smallest pot for $4, and were able separate it into six to 10 plantlets.
Even if you are on a strict budget, you could start 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. It is important to wash away all fertilizer and dirt from the roots, so it doesn’t negatively affect your aquarium’s water quality.
Separate your pothos into individual plantlets with 2 to 4 leaves each, and thoroughly wash the roots to remove any dirt and fertilizer.
Hang the pothos in an open-top filter to protect it from plant-eating fish. 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. If you need to trim the roots, do so in the future.
The pothos will eventually grow into a vine that you can guide to climb the wall or along shelves. Its long, stringy roots will create a beautiful jungle for your fish to swim in and out of, and you can always trim them if they get too dense. A stem or leaf can be easily removed and transferred to other tanks. Pothos may be the most affordable filtration system you can purchase for as low as $5.
Pothos is a plant that provides excellent biological filtration to your aquarium. It also grows into a beautiful vine and provides long roots for fish.