How To Grow Live Plants In An Aquarium?

Plants help get rid of harmful chemicals and keep your aquarium water clean. Always wait a week before adding fish to a planted fish tank. Here’s how to grow live plants in an aquarium:

Choose Easy To Grow Plants

To start, choose one of the easy to grow aquarium plants like java moss, java fern, Amazon Sword, or Anubias.

Amazon Sword grows quickly and easily. It’s good for hiding things like your filter or exposed wiring. Java fern’s long leaves offer hiding spots for fish and fry.

For the bottom of the tank, mosses like java moss or water wisteria are perfect for decorating and adding a bit of green.

Some fish and other aquatic animals also feed on moss from time to time. However, you still need to feed them so that they get the right amount of nutrients.

For other parts of your tank, different types of aquarium plants fit are more suited for different parts. It’s up to you to research and decide which plants best suit your needs.

You can choose to grow the plants from scratch or you can purchase full-grown plants.

Aquarium Components

Light is essential if you want your plants to thrive. Plants need light to carry out photosynthesis, which gives them energy and nutrients as well as provides oxygen for your fish.

Full-spectrum fluorescent and LED tank lights are best suited for aquatic plants. Be sure to research how much light each specific plant needs before setting up.

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The substrate in your aquarium also plays a role in your plants’ growth. The substrate is the substance used to cover the bottom of your fish tank. There are different types of substrate and each has its own benefits or lack thereof.

For growing plants, nutrient-rich substrates are best. They cost a bit more than other substrates but are absolutely essential for plants. Unless, of course, you’re using floating plants.

You can use the nutrient-rich substrate as the bottom layer and place a layer of gravel above to prevent cloudy or murky water.

Seachem Flourite, clays and laterite are all good choices for substrates. You can usually buy them at online fish stores or brick & mortar shops.

Some plants need to be anchored on the substrate. When doing so, place the roots of these plants just under the substrate. Try not to burry the rhizome, the thick green part just above the roots, or the plant will die. And, avoid anchoring one plant on top of another.

Some plants like moss, Java Fern, or Anubias Nana can be rooted in logs or rocks. Simply tie them to a rock or log and they will grow. Driftwood or lava rock is best used for rooting such plants.

Plant Care

Once your planted aquarium is up and thriving, be sure to take care of your aquatic plants on an ongoing basis. For example, prune tall leaves/plants, scrape algae from the glass/walls, do weekly water changes, add fertilizers, etc.

Things To Consider

  • Use foreground plants in the front of the tank.
  • Use middle-ground plants along the sides and to leave an open swimming area in the center of the aquarium.
  • Use the tall plants to cover the aquarium’s filter tubes and heaters.
  • Change 10% of the water each week, or 25% each month.
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