How to Grow Freshwater Aquarium Plants: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Grow Freshwater Aquarium Plants: A Comprehensive Guide

Aquarium plants are not merely accessories; in addition, they oxygenate and biologically filter the water, and mimic the natural habitat of the fish. Hence, it is crucial to carefully choose the plant species to match with the fish species.

The following are a couple of very critical points to remember prior to planting:

  • Research extensively on the requirements of the plants:
    • In order to ensure proper care, it is necessary to have proper knowledge about the requirements – right amount of water and lighting requirements.
  • Choose the plant species suitable for your aquarium set-up:
    • After knowing the plant requirements, check to find if your aquarium can support the optimal conditions for the plant species.
    • Few marginally tropical and terrestrial plants are sold as aquatic plants in the market. Beware of such plants! They perform well under water for a while, but they will eventually drown and die. Such plants should not be used as they can breakdown biologically and release harmful substances, thus creating more harm than help to your fish.
    • There are three different types of plants – floating plants, rooted plants and bunched plants. All of them are decorative and can be selected based on your needs.

Below is a comprehensive guide to growing a beautiful aquarium with fresh water aquatic plants.

1. Prepare the stage for planting

  • Foundation for plants

As with plants that grow on land, aquatic plants need nutrient rich medium or substrate to grow.  Thoroughly clean the inside of the aquarium glass and scrape the algae, if any, prior to assembling the substrate. Make sure that the substrate is evenly spread at the bottom of the aquarium.

  • Check for pH level

As with fish, fresh water aquatic plants need neutral water to grow. Test the water to ensure that the pH is between 6.5 and 7.4. If the water is not within this range, make sure you use water conditioners to neutralize the water.

  • Optimal light

Yet another similarity between land plants and aquatic plants is that they both need light for photosynthesis, essential to their growth. Some plants need more light than others. Ensure to provide the appropriate amount of light that the aquatic plant needs. The standard fluorescent lamps in the aquarium do not work well for aquatic plants. Lamps compatible for plants must replace the given fluorescent lamps. You will need two strip lights for high lighting requirements.

2. Selecting the aquatic plants

You can begin with plants that need less cost and effort to maintain such as Java moss, Hornwort, and Amazon swords. Following is the guidance on selecting aquatic plants based on the specific criteria listed.

  • Anubias – needs low light to grow.
  • Java Fern – needs low light to grow.
  • Marimo “moss ball” – needs low light to grow.
  • Java moss – prefers cooler temperatures.
  • Cryptocorynes – needs low to medium light in addition to rich substrate.
  • Aponogeton crispus – needs medium to high light in addition to rich substrate.
  • Brazilian pennywort – needs medium to high light.
  • Slavonia – needs medium to high light and needs to remain floating.
  • Micro sword – needs high light in addition to rich substrate.
  • Crinums – needs high light in addition to very rich substrate.

3. Maintaining the Aquarium Plants

If there is anything as important as preparing and selecting the aquarium plants, it is maintaining the plants. Few key points to keep in mind as part of the ongoing maintenance are:

  • Frequently change the water – The naturally occurring oxygen content in the water can get depleted depending upon the mix of aquarium plants and the fish. To obtain optimal growth of the aquarium plants as well as the health of the fish, it is advised to change the water in the aquarium tank at least twice a month.
  • Supplementary nutrients and fertilizers can be added as per the needs of the plants.
  • Chemical filtration is not advisable for plants in the aquarium. This will remove carbon in the form of beneficial compounds and fertilizers needed by plants.
  • Plant in large numbers and in ascending order of height:
    • It is best to start planting a large number of fast growing varieties of plants. Planting densely prevents the growth of unwanted algae. Later, you can move on to slow growing plant varieties.
    • It is also a good practice to grow short plants in the front, and plants in ascending order of height with tallest plants in the background.

With the above tips and guidance, you will be able to build a beautiful and long-lasting aquarium garden.

How to Grow Freshwater Aquarium Plants: A Comprehensive Guide
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How to Grow Freshwater Aquarium Plants: A Comprehensive Guide
Are you fond of aquarium plants? Know the dos and don’ts of growing plants in your freshwater aquarium.

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