Congratulations on the arrival of your new aquarium plant! You should follow various rules for introducing your new leaves depending on the sort of plant you have. This fast tutorial will walk you through the recommended methods for introducing live plants to your aquarium step by step.
How to Choose Your Aquarium Plants in pots
Aquarium plants come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Plants are readily available at pet stores. But how do you decide which to buy?
Choosing potted aquarium plants suitable for any fish or invertebrates in the fish tank is the most important factor. In a moment, I’ll go through that in further depth. The objective is to establish a flourishing biotope in which all creatures benefit from one another.
Which plastic pots are aquarium safe?
Choosing the correct containers is the first step in introducing potted plants to your aquarium. You’ve got a lot of choices here. Aquarium-safe terra cotta clay pots that have not been painted or coated are available. You may also upcycle any plastic container that has the proper form and size for your aims, such as plastic plant pots. Any pot can hold substrate, but a (thoroughly washed) yogurt container or plastic tupperware can.
Plants are frequently classified into several groups:
The plants in the foreground are little and fragile. They thrive in the tank’s front section. Some plants form a shrub, while others spread swiftly to cover the substrate with greenery. Java moss, Peacock moss, and Hair Grass are some of the most common varieties. You may even go for something odd like the Banana Plant or Dwarf Hygrophilia.
Midground aquarium plants are a little larger than foreground plants, but they’re just as adaptable. Many fill the tank to the brim with color and liveliness. They also look great with additional decorations.
You may use them to create a unique underwater environment by combining them with driftwood and pebbles. The Java Fern and Anubias are two of the most popular species. The Java Fern is a Southeast Asian native with huge striped leaves. Anubias, on the other hand, have broad, spherical leaves.
Background plants, sometimes known as stem plants, can grow to be quite large. The stem is stiff, and the leaves are tiny. These plants are great for lining the rear of the tank, but they will need to be trimmed on a regular basis. They are, however, incredibly simple to spread into a new pot. The Cryptocoryne Lutea, with its thin pointed leaves, is a good choice. You might also try the Rotala.
Preparing a plant for your aquarium
When it comes to adding new plants to your fish tank, there are a few things to keep in mind. To begin, thoroughly clean all of the plants to eliminate any snails or snail eggs that may have hitchhiked into the plant.
Snails are quite likely to get inside your aquarium’s trough plants. Many individuals have a plethora of snails moving about in their aquarium without ever purchasing a single one. Snails aren’t unpleasant, although they may be unsightly.
If you really want to be thorough, a rinse in diluted bleach won’t hurt the plants and will surely get rid of any unwelcome visitors.
Where to Place the Potted Plants in the Aquarium
The fun part begins now: arranging your plants.
There are a few different schools of thought in this area. The reality is that you can place potted aquarium plants wherever you want. They should be alright as long as they have access to light. Many aquarists, on the other hand, like to arrange plants by size.
You want to be able to see all of your plants blooming while gazing at the tank from the front. As a result, the tiniest plants should be in the foreground, while the taller plants should be in the background. This is the traditional method of doing things.
The underwater environment will be visually enhanced by your tiny foreground plants. The taller ones, on the other hand, are ideal for concealing aquarium equipment.
How to keep aquarium plants from floating
It’s possible that while you’re trying to place your plants in substrate, they’ll get loose and float around your aquarium. If planting them more completely fails, then extreme methods may be necessary.
You may use fishing line, superglue, or a cable tie to secure the plant to a piece of wood or a rock. Glueing the plant to a tiny rock, which you subsequently bury, is an excellent means of weighting down your plants.
However, if you can just stack some boulders at the base of the plant to keep it in place, I would strongly advise you to do so. Plants should not be fastened to things because fish that like to crawl might become entangled and trapped. It can leave some unsightly sores on your aquarium fish and perhaps kill them.
How to Take Care of Aquarium Potted Plants
There are a few things you can do to maintain your pots healthy after they’re ready to use. Aquatic plant may grow with relatively minimal maintenance in the appropriate conditions. However, a few little maintenance jobs here and there can help them thrive.
Maintain Tank Conditions
The most essential thing you can do is keep an eye on the tank’s condition. When water conditions change too much, aquatic plant, like fish, might develop health concerns.
The pH level, temperature, and general cleanliness must all be maintained.
Most aquatic plants can withstand a broad variety of temperatures. If you have fish, keep plants that enjoy the same temperature together. Plants thrive best when the water temperature is between 75 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep a thermometer on the window to check that the temperature is consistent.
Water pH balance is equally as vital as any other factor. If the water is excessively basic or acidic, plants will perish. When it comes to water conditions, different plant species will have varied preferences. However, most people prefer a pH equilibrium that is between 6.7 and 7.8.
Finally, there’s the issue of tank hygiene. You want to keep ammonia and nitrate levels as low as possible. Perform a 30-percent water change once a week to keep harmful contaminants at bay. This will keep the water in the tank clean for your plants and any other creatures.
That’s right, you read that correctly. Fertilizer is also required for aquatic plants. All plants require the same fundamental building blocks. This comprises nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and other nutrients.
Fertilizers for aquarium plants differ somewhat. You’ll add a supplement to the water instead of putting it directly to the pot. There are a variety of fertilizers on the market. Choose a nutrient-dense option that is also fish-safe.
Trim and Prune
Hopefully, the underwater climate is conducive to the growth of your plants. Trimming and pruning are essential for the plant’s health. Plants that are overgrown will obstruct light to lesser plants. Many plants develop to the point where they are above the waterline.
Trim off the top shoots using a pair of shears. The more you cut the plant, the more stunted it will become. That isn’t always a negative thing. It will keep the plant from growing beyond a certain point.
How Long Does it Take for Aquarium Plants to Grow?
Aquariums are extremely well-managed habitats. As a result, most plant aquarium plants require only a few weeks to begin growing. A new plant will typically take a week or two to grow new roots. Timelines will differ depending on the species and general health.
The length of time it takes for the plant to grow is also determined by how it is introduced. The majority of aquatic plants now come as young sprouts or mature plants. As a result, the hard job has already been completed.
However, you must exercise caution during the first several months in the tank. In the first 90 days, aquarium plant are quite vulnerable. Because they’re adjusting to a new environment, you’ll need to be extra careful to keep things stable.
Are Potted Plants Good for Fish Tanks?
Plants aren’t absolutely essential in a fish tank. However, it can go a long way toward assisting your fish in reaching their maximum potential. Here’s how to do it.
1. Plants help to improve water quality.
Potted plants do more than only improve the appearance of the underwater environment. They can also help to enhance water quality. The ammonia that your fish produce are absorbed by plants.
It’s a mutually beneficial connection. The plants rely on your fish to break down the food they eat. In the meanwhile, the fish rely on it to absorb toxins and give essential minerals.
It’s a win-win situation.
2. A Natural Food Source
Plants are also a food source for many fish species. Herbivores will occasionally consume the leaves, which can be a concern. However, some people will only eat dead plant stuff that has fallen off. Plants, in addition to dry flakes, are a fantastic source of nutrition for fish. Vegetation provides that extra burst of vitamins that your fish requires to stay healthy and bright.
3. Potted Plants Provide Protection
When it comes to fish that eat plants, there are some species that are more damaging than others. Plant leaves can be shredded to bits by more aggressive fish. Worse, they may completely uproot the plant.
This is when having potted plants comes in handy. You can utilize the pot as a protective barrier against damage instead of planting directly into the tank’s substrate.
4. Safety and Enrichment
Any aquarist’s objective is to mimic a fish’s natural environment as closely as possible. While plastic ornaments are adorable and entertaining, they aren’t the most natural approach to spice up an aquarium.
Plants, on the other hand, provide excellent enrichment for fish. It gives them a sense of security. When the fish are terrified, they will swim inside the plant and utilize it as a shelter.
Plants are an excellent technique to decrease stress and avoid health problems such as Ich. You could even notice that the color of your fish is changing.
Finally, plants are used by fish for spawning. Even if you don’t want to breed your fish, you may find yourself with many clutches of eggs.
Predators prey on eggs and juvenile aquarium fish fry in bigger communal tanks. Plants protect the infants and boost their chances of survival. Many fish will only reproduce in the presence of plants. It is common for them to deposit their eggs on leaves.
What plants are best for an aquarium?
1. Grass-Like Plants
Vallisneria, dwarf sagittaria, micro sword, and other stoloniferous plants are included in this group. These potted aquatic plants reproduce by means of stolons or runners, which are short horizontal stems that develop a little plantlet at the end and eventually form a long chain of related plants.
Plant the roots into the potting soil, but don’t cover the base of the plant’s leaves, as you would with rosette plants. When a container contains numerous individual plants, plant them independently (rather than in a single group) so that each one has enough room to develop and proliferate.
2. Carpeting Plants
Monte Carlo and dwarf baby tears are just a couple of examples. I suggest putting the entire pot into the substrate and letting the plant carpet out from there. The rock wool and basket will restrict the carpeting plant from drifting away and provide a suitable rooting surface.
After the carpeting plant has established itself, you may remove the potted section. Carpeting plants benefit from plenty of light, pressurized carbon (CO2) dioxide, and both liquid and root fertilizers.
3. Sword Plants
Swords are rosette plants, which means that all of the leaves grow in a circular manner from the plant’s base. Like other plants, they also absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Because many sword plants grow to be rather tall, place them in the aquarium’s midground or background to avoid blocking the view of other plants.
Dig a hole in the substrate with your fingers and bury the sword roots, or use planting tweezers to press the plant roots into the substrate. Substrate should not be applied to the crown (the part of the plant where all the leaves emerge).
Swords are big root feeders, meaning they prefer to collect nutrients through their roots, therefore if you’re using inert substrate or if your nutrient-rich substrate is exhausted, be sure to provide plenty of root tabs.
4. Rhizome Plants
Anubias, java fern, and bolbitis are among the most common rhizome live plants. A rhizome is a thick, horizontal stem or trunk that all plants have. The roots grow downwards from the rhizome, whereas the leaves and stalks all grow upwards from the rhizome. The beauty of rhizome plants is that they don’t require any kind of substrate to flourish.
You can use super glue gel or sewing thread to wedge them between rock cracks or to attach them to driftwood. The plant’s roots will eventually develop and wrap around the hardscape, making it tough to remove. Bury the roots of your anubias or java fern if you want to plant them in the ground, as long as the rhizome is not covered by the substrate.
Rhizome plants generally take nutrients from the water column, therefore use an all-in-one liquid fertilizer as needed.
5. Stem Plants
Bacopa, Pogostemon stellatus, and pearl weed are just a few examples. These plants are noted for growing vertically from a single stem, with leaves emerging from the stem directly. Remove the basket, ring, or rubber band that is wrapped around the base of the stems to prepare the plant.
Plant each stem deeply, at least 2 to 3 inches into the ground, so that part of the bottom leaves are covered by the substrate. Plant the stem plants individually with a little space between them rather than in a single group to give the roots chance to develop.
Plant them with tweezers and, if necessary, put plant weights around the bottom to keep them from drifting away. If the stems don’t have roots, some people may float them on the surface until they do, then plant them in the substrate. Because this live plants prefer to eat from the water column, they benefit from a liquid fertilizer diet.
Good luck with your potted aquarium plants!