How to Grow Freshwater Aquarium Plants

Real plants do wonders for aquariums, providing
fish with oxygen and even food. They keep the water chemistry more balanced,
and provide scenery for you and hiding places for fish and other tank inhabitants. They’re easy to care for, too. Aquarium plants are part of our biological
filtration. They do this by helping to remove harmful
ammonia. Many aquatic plants will help remove ammonia
but not nitrites. Some aquarists use this information in natural
aquariums. When planting aquatic plants, we can create
new underwater worlds, or try to imitate nature. Select the plants you want to grow. It pays to do a bit of reading at this point,
so check out aquarium forums and other sources of information. Consider the tank size, the scene you wish
to produce and the size you want your plant to be. Remember, plants grow! Want something with lots of leaves, or more
of a moss? How about something your fish will be able
to eat? You can find tiny, dwarf aquarium plants that
grow only an inch or two tall, or obtain much larger plants for larger tanks. Plants can carry physical inhabitants from
snails and shrimp to bacteria and diseases. Always look for a source that seems to practice
good tank hygiene. Most aquarium plants prefer to live entirely
submerged, so don’t let them dry out. If your tank is not quite ready or if you
want to grow more of your plants than will fit in a tank, use a bucket or bin of water. Anchor the plants. Depending on the plant, this may be mostly
an aesthetic matter, to keep them from bobbing around loose. For mosses, consider tying them loosely with
string to a rock until they become established. In general, do not bury the rhizomes, which
usually are thicker and greener than roots or stem, in gravel, as burying them can cause
the whole plant to quickly die, also try not to bury the crown just above the roots on
other plants that need to be in the substrate .
Provide light. Aquarium plants, like any others, require
light for photosynthesis. Check the light requirements of the plants
you are choosing, many require high amounts of added light. Plan to light your tank with a fluorescent
or LED tank light. Add fish. While not strictly required, fish waste will
help to nourish the plants. The plants, in turn, will keep the water conditions
better for the fish by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen during the daytime, at
night the plants of course give off CO2. Some plants are good at removing ammonia or
nitrites. If you don’t have fish already, wait a week
after adding the plants before you introduce them to the lush environment you’re creating. Change the water periodically. Plants do not need water changes the same
way that fish do, but it is still a good idea to change the plant water when changing your
fish water. Do not siphon in your plant bed, as you may
kill and injure them. Run your siphon over the top of the soil in
which the plants are planted, and make sure you don’t damage them. Remove algae. Algae growing on tank walls or on plant leaves
competes with plants for light. You can remove algae manually by scrubbing
or scraping the walls of your tank weekly when changing the water and rubbing the plant’s
leaves gently between your fingers. The far easier method, though, is to let your
tank’s inhabitants do the job for you. Shrimp and several catfish eagerly feed on
algae and can help to keep your tank far cleaner with little or no effort on your part. Divide or prune the plants if they outgrow
your tank. Depending on your tank and your plants, you
may find you have too much plant soon. Choosing slow-growing plants can help keep
them small, but it can also mean having less plant and waiting longer for your plants to fill out. Find the right balance for your tank. A natural biotope allows to optimally adjust
water quality and maintain it permanently without much care effort.

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