How To Care For Aquarium Plants: 5 Essential Tips
Aquarium plants are a perfect addition to your fish tank. The main reason is that they provide a healthier environment for your beloved pet fish. Aside from that, these plants are natural sources of food, shelter, and they also produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide and ammonia. This is why there are specific pointers that you need to know on how to care for aquarium plants. These plants complete the natural ecosystem in your tank, making your fish remain healthy and thrive.
With this, one can conclude that knowing how to care for aquarium plants to keep them alive is very important. To do this, you must give your plants the same level of care that you give your pets. We need to treat them like the living things that they are and not just pieces of green stuff for your fish to munch on. This article will give you tips on how to take care of aquarium plants the proper way.
Important Tips on How to Care for Aquarium Plants
Picking the Right Aquarium Plant
Aquatic plants are plants that can survive even when fully submerged underwater. However, different aquatic plants require varying degrees of care. If you are looking for aquatic plants that are easy to care for, choose Lilaeposis (Sword Plants), Anarchies, Echinodorus, and Anubis. You may also consider the following plant species:
Do not forget to take note of your plant’s compatibility with your fish and water condition. Some plants could be your fish’s favorite meal and might eat them all up or dig them up. If you want something low maintenance, you may go for plastic plants, but that is just for decorative purposes. Your fish might still want to live in them, but that will not help with your tank’s ecosystem.
Determining the Aquarium Plant Substrate
Generally, aquarium plants come either in a loose bunch or potted. Plants can grow in any aquatic substrate. However, the optimal condition for them is two to three inches of laterite. Laterite is a rock and soil combination rich in both aluminum and iron that is covered with an inch of a wider variety of substrates such as gravel.
If you cannot use laterite for some reason, you may opt to provide your plants with fish-safe food additives such as fertilizers and iron supplements. Your aquatic plants could also benefit from adding carbon dioxide. The removal of potted plants from their plants, then planting them into the substrate directly, is more conducive to the root development of your plants.
Investing in an Effective Light Source
Light is essential in photosynthesis and the kind of aquarium plants you have to dictate the aquarium light you should use for optimal growth. This is one of the vital factors in knowing how to care for aquarium plants. Also, remember that full-spectrum lighting is beneficial to most plants. They generally need around ten to twelve hours of proper light per day. However, some plants, such as the following, have more specific needs:
This plant requires only low to medium light, and that is still dependent on the exact plant you choose.
This is a great beginner plant that requires only medium lighting for it to thrive.
Dracaena Sanderiana (Bamboo)
This plant is easy to care for, especially in betta habitats. It thrives in medium to high lighting. You must also remember that this plant species can only be submerged underwater for short periods. Do not submerge it for more than a month in one go. This needs to be taken out of the water for an occasional rejuvenation period.
You should consult an aquatics specialist when choosing the plants you want to add to your aquarium and how to care for aquarium plants. They can also help you in providing adequate lighting customized for your plant's needs.
Aquascaping and Fertilizing
Choose an iron-based and fish-safe fertilizer that can enhance your plant’s vitality and overall growth. However, you need to check your plant’s growth once in a while. Some aquarium plants do not require pruning. However, taller varieties such as the Rotala Indica may grow across the surface of your tank water if not pruned regularly. Overgrowth in aquatic plants can block essential light, so you have to make sure that they are cut back for the health of the other aquatic life in your aquarium.
Remove decaying and dead leaf plant particles as they may compromise the overall quality of the water in your tank.
Keeping Your Aquarium Clean
Like other living things in your aquarium, your aquatic plants also necessitate a clean environment for them to thrive. Cleaning your fish tank is good, especially with a fish tank cleaner, but it is best to prevent algae buildup. Algae tend to compete with plants for nutrients and light, and an algaecide may have adverse results to your aquarium. Including a herbivorous aquatic life to your tank will keep these algae in check. You may also remove the algae physically with an algae scraper if you have the time.
To prevent further algae buildup, do away with phosphate-rich fertilizers since algae tend to thrive in these. Moreover, keep the pH level from 6.6 to 7.8, which means that you need to conduct regular water checks in taking care of your aquatic life.
These are the best tips on how to care for aquarium plants. It may sound like a lot of work, but once you witness your aquarium's grandeur after taking care of it, everything will be worth the hard work on your part. Ensure that you know your aquatic plants well so that you can take care of them properly.