How To Care For Plants In Aquarium?

Live plants are beneficial for any freshwater aquarium. They add beauty, protection for fish, and keep the water clean. Here’s how to care for aquarium plants:

Choosing Plants

There are 3 types of aquarium plants and you have to understand the benefits of each type when choosing the right plants for your fish tank.

When selecting a plant for your aquarium, be sure that the plant can survive fully submerged. For example, java moss, Amazon sword plants, and java moss.

Also, check that the plants you choose are compatible with the fish and other aquatic animals in your tank. Some animals don’t like certain plants and some will like to eat a particular plant.


When caring for plants in your aquarium, it’s important to choose the right substrate. The substrate is the bottom layer of your fish tank. It can be sand, soil, or gravel.

Be sure that the substrate you use can provide nutrients and properly support the roots of your freshwater plants. Although, not all plants will need a substrate, for example floating aquarium plants.

Substrates like gravel and sand by themselves offer little to no nutrients for rooted plants. However, the soil does. If you absolutely want to use gravel or sand, use it as a top layer while rooting your plants in a nutrient-rich bottom substrate.


Plants won’t grow without lighting. They will eventually wither and die. Without light, plants can’t carry out photosynthesis. Photosynthesis not only provides energy for plants but it also produces oxygen for fish and other animals in your aquarium.

People also read:  7 Rimless Fish Tanks That Won't Break Bank

Try to aim for 10 – 12 hours of light per day. A full spectrum fluorescent light is a must-have accessory for planted aquariums.

Algae Prevention

Algae can hinder aquatic plant growth as they compete for light and nutrients. However, there are algae-eater fish, snails that eat algae, and algae-eating shrimp that you can add to your tank to help combat algae growth naturally.

To further prevent the growth of different types of algae that grow in aquariums, try not to overfeed fish as leftovers can lead to algae growth.

If you don’t keep snails and other algae-eating animals, scrub away the algae on your tank’s glass using an algae scraper on a weekly basis.


Just like plants in a garden, you can boost the development of aquatic plants using fertilizer. However, you have to use a fertilizer that’s safe for fish and other aquatic life.

An iron-based slow-release fertilizer is best. Avoid phosphate-based fertilizers as they promote algae growth.


Be sure to trim or clip leaves that grow so tall or large that they cover the top of the aquarium. This is to prevent them from blocking light needed by other plants. Always make sure to remove dead and decaying leaves.

Follow these tips on how to care for aquarium plants and your aquarium should be a thriving ecosystem bustling with life.


People also read:  How To Set Up Betta Fish Tank