How To Keep Aquarium Plants Alive For Beginners [Care Guide]
How To Keep Aquarium Plants Alive For Beginners [Care Guide]Jack Dempsey2020-09-22T19:05:59-06:00
I hope you love the products I recommend! Just so you know, I may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Grow Healthy Aquarium Plants With This Freshwater Aquarium Plants Guide Made For Beginners.
When you decide to keep live freshwater aquarium plants, you don’t simply buy some plants, add water, and walk away hoping everything works and the plants live.
Just like with your fish, you need to choose the right plants for your aquarium but you also need to know how to take care of them. Every plant has different needs to do different species of fish.
When it comes to taking care of live freshwater aquarium plants, many other different factors play into their survival.
These factors include things like different types of fertilizers, as well as lighting, substrate, and CO2.
All of these need to be at the right levels for your plants to thrive.
As you read on you’ll discover why it’s important to have plants in your aquarium, how to take care of them, and what the most common types of Aquarium Plants are.
Putting all of these pieces together will give you a better chance of having beautiful plants that will live longer.
New To Aquariums? If you’re sick of reading the old complicated beginner guides then check out our guide: Best Freshwater Aquarium Setup. to learn how to set up your new aquarium the right way.
Top Tools To Keep Aquarium Plants Alive
Thrive Planted Aquarium Fertilizer -All in One Planted Tank Liquid Fertilizers - Micro & Macro Nutrient Rich Food for Aquatic Plants
Small algae can settle on the plant leaves that help clean the water. Additionally, the plant can help to keep the tank clean by reducing the toxins in your tank produced from the waste of your fish.
Lastly, when plants are healthy they give off small amounts of oxygen through their root systems which can help prevent your substrate from decaying.
All of these things make your entire tank healthier for fish and plants. Without plants in your aquarium, the processes above cannot occur.
Plants are a vital part of an aquarium when you’re looking to keep a balanced and healthy fish tank. They also provide shelter and security for fish and make your tank feel more natural leading to fish that are calm and stress-free.
What are the benefits of having live plants in an aquarium?
There are many benefits to having live plants in your aquarium that stretch far beyond oxygen and carbon dioxide needs.
If you’re considering live plants, take a look at these benefits.
Plants act as a natural filter in your aquarium. Unlike filters that hang on the back of your tank, plants are in the trenches of your tank which allows them to absorb waste and other debris within the tank, thus keeping it healthier for your fish.
Besides absorbing waste, plants also create additional surfaces for beneficial bacteria to grow on.
Carbon dioxide or CO2 is pivotal in all of our lives, even the lives of plants.
As we all learned in science class in elementary school, we breathe in oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide.
Plants, on the other hand, take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen through a process called photosynthesis, which also requires light for it to happen. That’s probably another process you learned about in elementary grade science class!
When it comes to living aquarium plants you need to pay extra attention to the carbon dioxide levels so that both the plants and fish can live well together.
Generally speaking, there are three main types of substrate used for aquariums; gravel, sand, and dirt/soil.
Each one has its list of pros and cons regarding how they affect live plants. So when you’re looking for the best substrate, it all depends on which type you want to use.
Some types are better for certain aquariums and plants than others. Let’s take a look at the three main types and their benefits and disadvantages.
Gravel substrate comes in a fine variety or something coarser that can consist of almost entirely quartz.
If you’re using gravel substrate for planted aquariums it’s usually recommended to use it only a top later.
Usually, this type of substrate is used for fish-only aquariums. It does require regular maintenance because you need to vacuum it frequently, especially if you want to remove any uneaten food particles.
If you’re looking for a substrate that’s low maintenance and gets the job done then the sandy substrate is probably the better bet.
It’s known to be the cleanest substrate of all. Sand will compact itself which means food particles won’t penetrate the surface.
If you have a good filter you won’t have to clean the tank as much as you would if you were using other substrates.
Besides being good for plants because it’s low maintenance it’s also good for fish that are bottom dwellers.
There are two different types of sandsubstrate to choose from, sandblasting sand and play sand. Sandblasting sand is more coarse than regular sand and mainly consists of quartz. Play sand has a finer consistency.
To determine the amount of sand you need, multiply the length by the width and depth of the sand you would like. Divide your answer by 20 to give you the approximate amount you need in pounds.
Soil substrate can be a great choice for people who have a lot of plants in their aquarium. Many soil substrates are rich in nutrients and are an excellent base for plants to grow.
They allow aquatic plants to get their roots and grow healthy.
Soil substrates also help to lower the pH levels in the water. Lower pH level allows plants to absorb nutrients better.
If you do choose soil substrate it’s recommended not to vacuum it because the soil substrate may get sucked up too. Another thing to consider with soil substrate is its price as it’s typically more expensive than other substrates.
Planted Tank Set up
When you add plants into an aquarium it’s more than just putting them in there and walking away.
Just as when you add fish to your tank, there is a process to follow. When done correctly, fish and live plants can live in harmony together.
Fish provide carbon dioxide and nutrients for healthy plant growth while aquatic plants not only give fish oxygen but also provide oxygen and filtration to keep fish healthy.
Once you have the aquarium and stand in place, add the substrate, but be sure to rinse it first. You may also want to add a small amount of water to pack it down a bit.
Fill the tank with water and then install the filter and heater.
Use heavier rocks around the plant’s base. This will help to weight them down.
Keep them in their pots. If they came in one. Or, you can also buy a small clay pot to use. If you don’t mind the tank permanently in your tank this is an option.
Buy plant anchors. These are soft, bendable lead strips that you can wrap around the plant to hold them down.
Use Nylon Mesh. This is a good choice for mosses and small carpeting plants. Cover them with the mesh that will hold them down while giving them something to attach themselves to.
Tie to Driftwood. If none of these work you may want to try attaching your aquarium plants to a piece of driftwood.
You can string the entire plant under a piece of driftwood. The wood will hold the center of the plant down while letting the rest of it float.
How to grow plants on top of the aquarium
Some people like to grow plants on top of an aquarium. This is referred to as a hydroponic growing aquarium.
The best way to do this is to set up a tank under a light.
You can choose to plant seeds in Rockwool or oasis cubes. Once the seedlings start to grow, you can put them in holes on a polystyrene board.
You can insert the board on top of the tank so it floats on top of the water. If you cut 1-inch square holes in the board about six inches apart you can grow six different plants in the aquarium at once.
When someone refers to propagation in regards to aquariums they are referring to the process of making more plants to keep a plant variety alive.
When you divide a plant and replant it, you are stimulating new growth. The purpose of propagation is to improve the health of the plant.
How to propagate aquarium plants
There are two ways to propagate aquarium plants.
Vegetative propagation happens when a part of the plant is used in the process. This could be cutting a stem, tuber, corn or any other part of the plant. This is the most common way to propagate aquarium plants.
Sexual or seed propagation happens when a spore or seed of the parent plant is used to grow a new plant.
If you are taking the vegetative propagation route you should use long sharp scissors as you prune your plants.
The process of removing algae from aquarium plants is much the same as just cleaning them. You want to use the same concentration of bleach solution, but when you remove the plant you’ll want to rub the leaves gently to remove any algae.
You can also try aquarium salt to get snails off. Use this or Kosher salt to make a solution of one cup per gallon of water.
Rinse the plants in the solution by holding the roots above water. When you’re done, rinse the plants in dechlorinated freshwater before putting them back in the aquarium.
How to trim aquarium plants
You want to trim your aquarium plants so that they don’t take up much space in the aquarium.
Be sure to use a long aquascaping tool so that you don’t get too wet. You can use tweezers, scissors, or a razor to trim the plants. The process of trimming will depend on the type of aquarium plant you have.
This guide provides all the tips you need for each type of popular aquarium plant.
There are freshwater plants for everyone, regardless of experience level. Continue reading below for the top 10 Best Freshwater Aquarium Plants for Beginners!
Are you setting up a freshwater aquarium? Have the fish but not the plants? Or do you have the plants but it doesn’t look quite right?
Having aquatic plants is also good for the health of your fish, as these plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen for your fish to breathe. Combined with LED lighting, the right plants can look incredible.
You need to make sure you purchase suitable plants for your aquarium setup if you want them to thrive. For example, some plants need a certain amount of light, and others are more suited to a certain kind of temperature. Read on to find out some options available to you!
Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:
Freshwater Aquarium Plants for Beginners: What to Look For
It may seem difficult to pick out freshwater plants as a beginner, but there are some key things to look out for. They are:
Good packaging: Since aquatic plants are sensitive things to transport, this is important. The quality of the plants doesn’t matter if they don’t make it to your home in one piece.
Reviews: Pay attention to user reviews. If there’s going to be any issues with the packaging, the reviews will likely bring attention to it.
Fast shipping: The longer these plants spend in transit, the worse shape they’re going to be in when they arrive. The sooner you can get them to your door and into the aquarium, the better.
Quantity: When searching for the best deal, make sure you take into account the amount of plant you’re going to get. Don’t just go for the cheapest listings, as these could contain significantly less of the plant you want.
Now that you know what to look for here’s our list of 10 aquarium plants for beginners.
To 10 Best Live Freshwater Aquarium Plants for Beginners
If you’re looking for a great carpeting plant for your aquarium, you should consider a carpet of Dwarf Baby Tears. As this plant grows, it’ll produce a vibrant thick carpet that’ll cover your whole aquarium.
As it produces oxygen, this plant will produce tiny little bubbles. This creates an amazing effect when it’s spread across the whole carpet.
Dwarf Baby Tears are best grown in high light conditions. The quality of light it receives will affect how it grows.
The Amazon Sword plant is found in a great number of aquariums and for good reason. Not only is it easy to grow and maintain, but it also looks great when it’s arranged well.
You should be aware that this plant can grow up to 20 inches tall. They’re therefore more suited to the background area of your aquarium. The large sword-like leaves of the Amazon Sword are a great way to block out unsightly hardware.
The Anubias Nana plant is a versatile plant that’s well-suited to the mid-ground part of your aquarium. This plant can grow in almost any kind of water and environment. It has large semi-rounded leaves, which make it look great among the rocks of your aquarium.
Not only does this plant have one of the most interesting names on this list, but it also looks very unique. It has a distinctive zig-zag pattern on its leaves that gives it an almost otherworldly appearance.
This kind of plant looks especially beautiful when you place it around hardscapes. This is a plant that grows best under medium lighting conditions.
Not only is this plant easy to maintain, but it also looks unique, making it very appealing. If you want a plant among your hardscape, this is a fantastic choice. This plant looks great but doesn’t distract from your hardscape features completely.
This is another plant that looks quite similar to grass. For it to look its best, you need to trim it down properly. It looks amazing when placed around hardscapes.
Another good thing about this plant is that it’s incredibly resilient. It’s almost impossible for you to kill it by mistake. This plant grows optimally in medium lighting and water that’s 72-78 degrees.
Live Freshwater Aquarium Plants for Beginners: FAQ
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions to help you out if you’re new to aquariums.
Why Do You Need Plants?
One use for plants is to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen for your fish. Not only can these plants provide more oxygen for your fish, but they can also remove harmful chemicals from the water, ensuring healthier fish.
Plants can also help with the wellbeing of your fish in other ways. When you have a good amount of plants, the tank simulates the real-world environment of fish.
Plants can break up sightlines and give your fish a place to shelter. This is especially important if you have fish in your tank that are territorial.
Plants are also a great way to hide some of the more unsightly elements of your aquarium. For example, if you have things like water pumps visible, you could use a tall growing plant to cover it up. This results in an aquarium that naturally looks beautiful.
What Types of Plants Are There?
Generally, aquarium plants are divided into three distinct subcategories.
Firstly, there are foreground plants, which are placed in the front of the tank. Because of their position, these plants need to be much smaller and slower growing. Otherwise, they obstruct the view of the tank.
Second, there are also mid-ground plants, which are somewhat taller. They can be used alongside the outside of the tank and in the middle.
The mid-ground plants offer shelter to your fish. They can be useful for breaking up the sightlines of territorial fish. If you have fish that are aggressive towards one another, consider investing in more mid-ground plants.
Finally, there are background plants, usually the tallest plants in the tank. They’re great for covering up any hardware or machinery in the back and also provide a great place for fish to hide.
The perfect aquarium has the ideal blend of these three types of plants. If you overdo it with any one type or put the wrong one in the wrong place, your aquarium probably won’t look very good.
What Are Some Problems to Look Out For?
While healthy plants are good for your fish, your aquarium plants are susceptible to various problems that could impact the health of your fish.
For example, if you notice discolored or glossy leaves, this could suggest your plants are diseased. In a lot of cases, this could be due to the environment the plant is living in. For example, the pH of the water could be off or the plants might not be getting the right amount of light.
If you notice a blackish layer of slime growing on your plants, this could indicate a serious problem. The most likely cause of this is blue-green algae. This can release toxins into the water, which could be harmful to your fish.
When you’re just starting out with aquarium plants, it’s usually a good idea to start with some of the most common ones.
This way you can easily find advice and information about taking care of them. Let’s break them down into several categories:
Low light aquarium plants
Medium-light aquarium plants
Marimo Moss Ball
High light aquarium plants
Floating aquarium plants
The Azolla (The Mosquito Fern)
The Normal Duckweed.
The Normal Salvinia
Colorful aquarium plants
Flowering aquarium plants
Where to buy aquarium plants
Once you decide which type of aquarium plants you want to buy, you need to know where to get them.
You can purchase them at your local pet store where fish are sold or online at a variety of sites. The best move is to search the types of plants you want and see if they can be bought near you or if you should go online.
That’s everything you need to know about freshwater aquarium plants! Get your tank and materials ready and enjoy your beautiful aquarium!