Freshwater aquarium plant is an attractive addition to any aquarium. It plays an important role for aquarium fish. They keep the aquarium water parameters more balanced by absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) and releasing oxygen (O2) during the daytime which is essential for your aquarium fish. It helps to maintain a biological filtration in the planted aquarium. It makes good scenery in your aquarium and provides hiding spots for aquarium inhabitants. It reduces algae growth and helps to absorb harmful waste products such as ammonia and nitrites. For proper growth, plants need light, good quality water, food and suitable substrates for their root systems.
Steps for Growing Freshwater Aquarium Plants
To grow your plants properly in your aquarium, following steps should be kept in mind:
Choosing Correct Plants Species
Choosing the correct plant is a very important factor and it should be always appropriate for your aquarium. To buy plants you should visit your neighborhood pet or garden shops. In the pet market, aquarium plants are available in a variety of forms such as potted, floating and bundled plants.Our Friends from Aquatic World Info says, Plants should be tall and medium size. Tall plants can grow very quickly and covers the aquarium bottom and make a hiding spot for your fish. Medium-sized plants grow well around hard tank decorations like stone, gravels etc.
Planting the Plants in the Aquarium
Floating plants should be planted into the aquarium with roots facing downward and keep the plants away from your filter. Make a hole into the substrate for the potted plants and place the roots into the hole with a long stick. Bundled plants can be planted into the tank and the weight strip should be attached to sink them under water. Planting can also be done using without weight strip and in this case, roots should be placed into the substrate. To grow your plants, you should take cuttings from the healthy mother plant, which are sold through most aquarium stores and online shops.
Placing the Plants in the Aquarium
Plants should be placed in foreground, mid-ground and background positions of the aquarium. Foreground plants remain short and it makes beautiful scenery on the front side of the tank. Mid-ground plants generally grow around 10-25 cm tall and provide enough swimming space close to the focal point of the aquarium. Besides these, background plants are the tallest plants which conceal the aquarium’s heaters and filter tubes. You should select such plant species which can grow easily. For the bottom and front side decoration, the perfect plant species are Java Moss, Willow Moss, and Water Wisteria etc. Because moss is a low growing plant which is suitable for the front side of your tank. This type of plant grows quickly and can help clean your tank. You can also put dwarf baby tears along bottom and forefront of your tank. This leafy plant also grows quickly in bright light condition.
Following plants species are best suited for your freshwater aquarium which you may also choose them:
Popular foreground plants:
Glossostigma elatinoides (Glosso)
Hemianthus callitrichoides (Dwarf Baby Tears)
Popular mid-ground plants:
Popular background plants:
Egeria densa (Elodea, Anachris)
Cabomba caroliniana (Carolina fanwort)
Bacopa caroliniana (Bacopa)
Vallisneria gigantean (Giant Vallisneria)
Ammania gracilis (Large ammannia)
Proserpinaca palustris (Mermaid weed)
Limnophila sessiliflora (Dwarf Ambulia) etc
Applying the suitable substrate
Bottom of the aquarium should be filled with a layer of laterite and cover the laterite with aquarium gravel such as pea gravel or the other substrate with rich in minerals designed for plants. In this case, the thickness of the bottom layer should be 5-8 cm. Generally, 1.5 pounds of gravel is needed per gallon of water. Gravels should be different sizes which provide support for the plant roots.
Using the Appropriate Fertilizer
The aquarium should be fertilized with iron-based and fish safe suitable plant fertilizers which can enhance plant growth. Fertilizer should also have optimal nutrients. In the local pet store, liquid or tablets form fertilizers are available with sensible cost. Before adding fertilizer to your aquarium, carefully read the labeled instruction provided by the fertilizer manufacturer company. You should never use a phosphate fertilizer because algae grow very quickly with phosphates.
Providing Appropriate Light
Light is an important physical factor for growing your aquarium plants. For proper photosynthesis, adequate light is required. In this case, you can attach a fluorescent and metal halide fixtures and lamps to your aquarium to provide an extended amount of light to the plant life. For proper growth, light intensity should be between 8 and 12 hours daily. Fluorescent lights are available in the online shops with sensible cost and you should select the correct intensity of light for your plants. Generally, the light for aquarium plants varies on the size of the tank (Table).
|Tank size||Watts (Tube)||No of Tube|
Minimizing the Algae Growth
Like a garden weed, algae growth contends with aquarium plants for light and supplements. Excessive algae growth unfriendly affects your aquarium. To prevent algae growth, generally, algaecide is used. Besides these, some herbivorous fishes should be kept in the aquarium which can help hold your algae growth in line. You can also physically expel the algae growth utilizing an algae scrubber. For best outcomes, algae growth should be cleaned every other week.
Maintaining Water Quality Parameters
For the better life of plants, water quality is important. Plants needn’t frequently water changes. But water changes should be done regularly to make your tank environment healthy. In this case, firstly you should rub the algae growth from the sides of your tank and 10 – 15% of your tank water should be changed by using a siphon. In this case, replace the water with new, de-chlorinated water. You should always check the pH, ammonia and nitrate levels every day and make adjustments wherever necessary.
Adding Extra Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is an essential fertilizer for aquatic plants. Plenty of carbon dioxide (CO2) is provided via respiration. During the respiration of fishes, decay processes and the air-water interface, carbon dioxide (CO2) is produced as a waste product. But sometimes plants need more carbon dioxide (CO2). In this case, it is necessary to add an extra CO2 from external sources.
Keeping Aquatic Plants Healthy
To keep your aquarium plants healthy and disease free, you should carefully check the health of the body. In this case, you should always monitor the following described signs and take necessary preventive measures:
- Rotting bulbs
- Red or Brown leaves
- Plants cease to grow and die off
- Pale yellowish leaves
- Brown holes in leaves
Treating New Plants before Adding to Your Tank
New plants may bear harmful pest like snails or shrimp that can hamper the wellbeing of your aquarium. Snails and shrimp can breed rapidly and fill your tank. Additionally, plants can affect by microscopic organisms or illnesses with the water. To make your plant pest free, you can treat your plants with bleach which help make your plants hygiene.
Plants with rich foliage and dynamic green shades make an attractive and appealing view to your freshwater aquarium. Plants help build up a characteristic biological system. They deliver oxygen and keep your aquarium spotless and sound. Furthermore, plants give enough sanctuary for fish. Remember that most plants prefer a pH level of 7 to 7.2. For optimum growth, your tank environment should be natural.