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Are you struggling with setting up a new aquarium or just toying with the idea of doing so only to get stuck on how exactly to plant your favorite aquatic plant buddies?
Well, you have touched down at the right place. This article will deliver step-by-step directions to plant live plants in an aquarium.
1. Some Live Plants That Can be Planted in an Aquarium
1.1. Money Plant
The lucky plant, believed by most people, brings luck to the home. This can be planted on the top part of the aquarium by letting half of the part (root part) submerge in the water.
Money plants are found to be helpful for aquariums as well as plants, as nitrates absorbed by them are used for growth purposes. Money plants are able to survive with sufficient light.
1.2. Java Fern
Java Fern, people love this aquatic plant. Microsorum pteropus is its scientific name. This is one of the most attractive plants that can be planted in an aquarium. It requires low to moderate light for its growth.
They are not fast-growing plants. They grow gradually. However, they thrive well after its establishment. With the correct light, they can grow up to 8 inches and most of the fishes don’t prefer to eat them.
Java fern can be a good option to be planted in an aquarium as they can grow in freshwater and get attached easily to gravel.
1.3. Red Tiger Lotus
It is also known as Dwarf Lilly. The scientific name Red Tiger Lotus is Nymphaea Zenkeri. It grows up to 20 inches under ideal circumstances. Growing properly requires low to moderate lighting, additional CO2, and some liquid fertilizers.
The root of the plant should be planted in rocks and gravel of the aquarium. Warm climates are preferable. They need a lot of nutrients and a quantity of fertilizer infused with small pebbles to make their survival easy. Trimming it regularly is a good idea, as this beautiful plant grows fast.
Vallisneria Sp. is its scientific name. It is a type of grass plant which grows rapidly. For its proper growth, it requires a warm climate in the water. Depending on the assortment, it can grow up to 16 inches. Vallisneria doesn’t require additional CO2, which makes it easy to maintain.
This is a great selection for the bare kind of aquarium, as it gives coverage. It requires a high pH level for this to grow inside an aquarium. Trimming is necessary to stop it from overtaking the aquarium.
1.5. Christmas Moss
If a breeding tank is your preference, you can go with Christmas moss. They have fluffy and long leaves which give you the look of a baby Christmas tree in the aquarium. They can be a wonderful coverage provider for baby fish.
These aqua plants get themselves affixed with the rocks. You can add some algae eaters to make it grow gradually. Liquid fertilizers are a good choice to promote its growth.
1.6. American Waterweed
Not only does it grow rapidly, but this long-stemmed aquatic plant can be planted firmly at the bottom gravel or left afloat. Because of its fluffy, luscious leaves, it is a preferred choice of edible for many species of fish.
2. How do you plant live plants in an aquarium?
Planting live plants in the aquarium is no less than an art. If it is not done properly and somehow, we cannot plant it properly I can feel what a bummer it is. So, to reduce the possibilities here you can get a brief description step-by-step:
2.1. Selecting the Right Plant
1. Selection of the plant which you want to plant is vital. Checking on the quality of plants by looking at their color. The green color of the leaves can determine whether the plants are healthy. Pick the correct one according to your choice and preference. You can go through the plants mentioned above.
2. Choose the right plants for your aquarium and check the plants’ compatibility with the aquarium’s pets. If your aquatic pets include goldfish, avoid planting leafy plants.
3. Compare the size of plants with that of the aquarium. Try not to choose plants that are tall for your aquarium. Try to include some moss and grass in your tank. They provide coverage to the aquarium while efficiently looking beautiful.
4. To give your aquarium an aesthetic glance, be wise with the selection of the sizes of the plants and the locations.
Harmonious Aquarium: Matching Fish and Plants for a Symbiotic Environment
Dan Bailey, the President of WikiLawn, advises on selecting plants suitable for different aquarium sizes, types of fish, and maintenance preferences:
“When aquarium owners [are choosing] which plants and fish to populate their aquarium with, they should [consider either] the kind of fish they want or the kind of plants first.
It has to be one or the other because they should generally fill the tank with species from the same region. Plants and fish from the same region have a [kind of] symbiotic relationship [and are] less likely to be dangerous for one another.”
2.2. Buying the Aquarium Tank
Preparation of the tank and setting it up right comes next. Select and buy an aquarium according to the place you want it to be kept.
Choose its size, and before finalizing, consider the requirements of the pets you want to settle in. You might get them all together (aquarium, fish, and plant) at any local exotic pet store.
2.3. Setting Up the Tank
Place the aquarium in the portion of your home where sunlight doesn’t fall directly. Set the stand, too, if needed.
Avoid placing it on an unbalanced surface, as it might be tricky after placing water, live plants, and substrates in it.
2.4. Adding the Substrate
1. After cleansing your tank, pour sand into the bottom of the aquarium. Build a moderately thick coating of sand as it filters the water and supplies nutrients to the plants.
2. Now, add plant growth substrate or any substrate based on clay. They provide an anchor to the roots of your plants. Try to use a gravel-free substrate or any substrate that contains fine gravel and not the chunky one. Adding plant fertilizer to the substrate is necessary or you can opt for a substrate that contains fertilizer for plants. Now, Pour it carefully over the layer of sand in the aquarium.
3. Further, mask the substrate layer with any kind of cover that can be removed easily. You can also use plastic wrap as its covering. This will be helpful to you as it won’t disturb the layer during the addition of water.
2.5. Decorating the Aquarium
Set up the aquarium with light fixtures. Fluorescent and LED lights are the best for an aquarium with live plants and fish.
These lights provide plants with energy as they radiate little heat, which is later converted. Lights should be kept on for at least 10 hours a day to provide sufficient nutrition to the plants.
2.6. Optimizing the Aquarium Water
1. Select a filter according to the size of your aquarium. This helps you to keep the water clean. This helps your plants to thrive and keeps them healthy. The heavy-duty filter is a good choice for your aquarium to clean it properly.
2. Set the water heater according to the temperature necessities of your plants and fish in the aquarium.
3. Fill the aquarium with water. Keep it at room temperature and carefully pour it into the tank. Set everything according to the temperature requirement of both your plants and fish. Don’t forget to test the pH level and regulate it if required.
2.7. Planting the Plants in the Aquarium
1. Set the plants in the substrate layer. Try to remove it carefully from its packaging without creating any damage to the plant. Plant it according to its depth requirement.
2. Trimming plants regularly is mandatory to keep your plants healthy and make them grow efficiently.
3. Allow the plants to settle properly with their roots. Allow your aquarium to cycle water for a month. Let the tank stabilize and build up the nutrients through the beneficial bacteria in it.
4. Let your plants set well before introducing them to new creatures like fish, snails, etc.
3. Importance of Aquatic Plants
Aquatic plants regulate a little natural aquatic ecosystem in your home, and through aquariums, you can enjoy a glimpse of ravishing aquatic scenery.
Plants in aquariums provide O2, which leads to a sanitary and healthy atmosphere for fish in the aquarium, and fish, in turn, provide CO2 and other beneficial nutrients for plants to thrive in the aquarium.
Aquatic Harmony: The Vital Role of Plants in Aquarium Ecosystems
Mollie Newton, the Founder of PetMeTwice, provides detailed information on how plants contribute to the habitat and well-being of fish:
“Fish produce ammonia waste that, when accumulated, can harm them. Aquatic plants essentially [step in by absorbing] this ammonia and fish-released carbon dioxide, [using them] for photosynthesis.
This process produces oxygen and nutrients, aiding the fish.
Plants also provide shelter and reduce stress in fish while helping maintain water quality by limiting algae growth and providing shade.
A mix of plant species enhances aquarium stability by offering nutrient absorption, oxygen, and aesthetics.
By nurturing this symbiotic relationship and diversifying aquatic plants, enthusiasts create a thriving underwater world benefiting [both] flora and finned friends.”
Planting live plants in an aquarium is tricky, but you can do it easily just by following simple steps. Be wise with a selection of plants and aquatic pets in the aquarium as the survival of both plants and fish is linked.
Java Fern and Java Moss are usually good choices in live aquatic plants. Some common fish for freshwater tanks are goldfish, guppies, pea puffer, tiger barb, angelfish, mollies, rainbowfish, Betta fish, etc.
Set water filters, lights, and heater correctly according to the requirements. Focus on monitoring the CO2 and pH levels of the water in the aquarium. The addition of proper substrate with important plant fertilizers should be done specifically. Try to avoid the usage of gravel substrate unless you are left with other options.
Avoid introducing new plants to the settled aquarium as it changes the environment. Everything in an aquarium is correlated. So, all these things should be kept in mind before establishing and relishing an aquarium at your place.
Guest Author: Saket Kumar