Most terrestrial or land dwelling plants do not have the natural ability to safely absorb salt water. When salt collects in the tissues of these plants, their cells will not function and carry out the needed life processes. As a result, the plants may die or have stunted growth. However, some plants, called halophytes, are able to thrive in salt water. Some halophytes have barriers that keep the salt from entering their roots and others can absorb salt and release it from their leaves when the season is over.
Green and Red Algae
Although algae are not considered “true” plants, they have the ability to carry out photosynthesis because of the chloroplast found in their cells. Algae plants have the capacity to survive in salt water. Algae act as filtering systems to remove excess ammonia, nitrates and phosphates from marine aquariums. They are also used to buffer toxins and remove metals.
Green Calcareous Algae--Mermaid Fan Plant
Found throughout the Atlantic Ocean in the Caribbean, these plants are named after their fan-shaped leaves and are used for decorating marine reef aquariums. They have the ability to deposit limestone in their tissue substrates and form beautiful fan-shaped leaves. Like the green and red algae, calcareous algae help reduce excess nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates in a marine aquarium.
The largest unicellular in the world, it has earned the title of “giant pest.” Growing about 1 cm per day on the ocean floor, calupera algae has invaded the coastal waters of Florida and California, disturbing other organisms that dwell on the ocean floor.
Maiden's Hair Plant
Maiden's hair, or turtle grass, is a green marine algae plant whose appearance looks similar to hair. Some fish will not prey on these plants because of its unpleasant taste.
Also known as the money plant, halimeda needs a certain level of calcium to survive in its salt water environment and, unlike algae, it is not as tolerant to high levels of nitrates and phosphates.
Shaving Hair Brush Plant
This plant grows in the sand of shallow waters and provides food for marine organisms. These plants are ideal as natural filters for aquariums.