Onion And Garlic For Aquarium Fish (It Really Works or Not)

Many advanced aquarists are looking for effective and safe solutions to purify the water and improve the microclimate in the aquarium.

onion and garlic for aquarium fish

Onion And Garlic For Aquarium Fish

Recently, many publications have appeared on the Internet on the use of well-known onion vegetables garlic, and onions for aquarium fish. As you know, these plants are rich in phytoncides, exhibiting antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, antiparasitic, and antifungal activity.

As practice shows, it is not necessary to add juice squeezed from garlic and onions to the water, as well as chopped root vegetables, as this accelerates the oxidation processes and causes a large amount of mucus to appear on the scales of the inhabitants of the aquarium. Fresh garlic has a detrimental effect on the inhabitants of the aquatic environment. But the roots developing in water are an ideal source of those very phytoncides, and in a concentration that does not harm fish and growing algae.

It turns out that by planting a clove of garlic in the aquarium water (hydroponic cultivation method), you can significantly improve the biological parameters of the water and purify it from microorganisms unfavorable for fish. Sulfur compounds and phytoncides, which saturate the water in the aquarium, inhibit pathogenic microorganisms, prevent the development of fungal infections and save fish from ichthyosis. In a healthy environment, garlic helps purify water from nitrites by absorbing them into the root system as it grows and develops.

How to properly germinate garlic in an aquarium?

To prevent the garlic from rotting, its lower part should be in the water. Ahead of garlic is taken, disassembled into separate cloves (try not to damage the root bottom). Use 1 clove for an aquarium with a volume of up to 150 liters, it is attached with Velcro or a tie to the inner side surface of the container or to the compressor tube. After 5 days, the plant takes root, which is actively developing, since there is a large amount of valuable organic matter and nitrogen components in the water.

After the garlic sprouts, young green leaves appear. To prevent the plant from decaying, only roots should be underwater, which release phytoncides and other antibacterial compounds into the water. After the tops of the garlic reach a height of 13-15 cm, and an arrow may appear, the plant is removed and a new clove is attached for germination.

The effect of sprouting garlic in the aquarium is visible and is expressed in the disappearance of turbidity and green algae, and without using the traditional method of turning off the light. Even if the ecological environment in your aquarium is favorable, aquarists are advised to periodically germinate garlic to prevent the appearance of harmful parasites, microbes, fungi, and bacteria.

Such experiments do not have scientific evidence, but many aquarium owners have already discovered the undeniable benefits of saturating the water with medicinal compounds released from the root system of garlic.

Really Onion And Garlic For Aquarium Fish Works

But what can we face when trying to use chopped onions and garlic in an aquarium

(I am not touching on the method of growing onions and garlic here when the roots are in the aquarium, they filter substances undesirable for fish from the water and are a vitamin supplement for fish).

First, it can be seen from the above reports that very high concentrations of onions and garlic are required to achieve the effect. At home, in an aquarium with an unstable balance, this will lead to a sharp violation of bioequilibrium, a strong odor, an increase in water oxidizability and other negative consequences. The table shows that the amount of nutrients in onions is very high.

Secondly, most scientific reports report on tests of the effectiveness of onion or garlic extracts in vitro, that is, in a test tube, under artificial conditions, without the participation of fish and the entire aquarium biotope in the experiment.

Thirdly, the variation between onion and garlic varieties, growing conditions, methods of adding plant extracts to water creates insurmountable obstacles to the reproducibility of experiments. In fact, anyone who adds onion to an aquarium will be working with an immeasurable and unknown system, admittedly unreproducible even in his own hands.

Fourthly, a question constantly arises, to which there is no answer yet. Many organisms in nature, from ourselves to the ciliates demonstrated to us by the forum member Vardan Khachatryan, feed on onions and thrive! (I will briefly describe Vardan’s experience: he added the culture of forage ciliates to the water with cut onions and provided aeration. The culture developed and multiplied well).

Where does the selectivity in the action of garlic against the disease-causing organism come from? 

Different options are possible here. If we talk about parasites, then metabolism, in particular, the use of sulfur-containing enzymes, is very different in vertebrates and invertebrates, protozoa, and can work for us. Probably, onions and garlic will not work on some of the parasites, just as they did not work on those very ciliates that eat sugar (and not the blood or muscles of fish).

Speaking of bacteria, the onion will probably kill any bacteria. But we can assume that there are a little more “useful” ones in our aquarium than those that attacked a certain fish. This means that the population of useful ones will recover more easily. Too many bacteria attack only a weak organism. Think of tuberculosis, a slum disease. Let’s remember precisely because that there was a mention of improvement in the condition. That is, if the fish is helped with onions, it is likely to cope with the disease more easily. Nevertheless, the above problems still remain unresolved.

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