How To Keep Live Plants In An Aquarium: Expert Tips
Live plants are a great addition to any aquarium for various reasons. They are much more than decorations. One reason is that it gives a better and healthier environment for the aquarium's inhabitants. They provide your fishes a natural food source, shelter, and, more importantly, produce oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide and ammonia generated from fishes. We know that the thought of keeping live plants in your aquarium can be daunting. But, believe it or not, plants can be a lot easier to be kept alive than fishes. So, if you want to give it a try, it's time for you to learn how to keep live plants in freshwater aquarium. Check out these tips on how to keep live plants in an aquarium.
Pick the Right Freshwater Plant for your Aquarium
One great tip on how to keep live plants in an aquarium is to pick the right plant for your freshwater aquarium. An aquatic plant, by description, is a type of plant that can survive when entirely submerged underwater.
However, different aquatic plants demand different levels of care. Lilaeposis (Sword Plants), Anarchies, Anubis, and Echinodorus are often suggested for freshwater aquariums as they are easier to manage. Other recommended aquatic plants that you should also consider:
When choosing a live plant, remember to check each plant’s compatibility with your fish and water condition. Some fish might dig up or even eat all of your live plants!
Invest in a Worthy Light Source
Another tip on how to keep live plants in an aquarium is to invest in beneficial light source. You're already aware that light is an indispensable source of energy for plants for photosynthesis. But the type of aquarium plants you will get will dictate the type of aquarium light you should use for optimal growth.
Most plants profit from full-spectrum lighting. They usually need about ten to twelve hours of light per day. However, other plants have specific needs, though. Some common freshwater aquarium plants that need light include:
- Dracaena sanderiana (bamboo): An easy-to-care-for aquarium plant, this one is a favorite for betta habitats. It thrives best in medium to high lighting
- Bolbitis: This is a good beginner plant, and it only requires medium lighting to survive.
- Echinodorus: This plant only requires low to medium light, depending on the specific plant chosen.
If you want to be sure of your lighting needs for your aquarium plants, you may consult an aquatics specialist near you.
Use Fertilizer and Practice Aquascaping
Using a fish-safe and iron-based fertilizer can improve your plant’s growth and vitality. But, make sure to keep an eye on all that growing. While most plants do not require pruning, taller ones can grow and spread on the surface of the water if not trimmed. Overgrowth in aquarium plants can block essential sunlight. Making sure that the plants are properly trimmed or 'landscaped' will give a healthier environment to your aquatic life. Don't forget to remove all dead plant particles as these will affect the water quality of your aquarium.
Maintain a Clean Aquarium
One of the most important tips on how to keep live plants in an aquarium is maintaining a clean aquarium and good water quality. Like your fish, aquarium plants also demand a clean environment for their optimal growth. Cleaning your fish tank frequently with the use of an appropriate fish tank cleaner will help, but it’s crucial to stay on top of algae growth. Algae compete with your aquarium plants for nutrients and light. But, it's not as simple as using and algaecide ad this may cause adverse effects on your aquarium. Instead, opt to incorporate herbivorous aquatic species to your tank to help keep algae at bay, or you can physically remove the algae using an algae scraper every week. If you apply fertilizer for your plants, avoid using the ones with phosphate, since algae grow on phosphates.
Most plants prefer a 6.5 to 7.8 pH level (while a few prefer an acidic or alkaline environment). So frequent water checks are crucial for your aquatic life.
There's no doubt that live plants are a beautiful means to add natural elements to your aquarium. Yes, we know that keeping live plants in your aquarium can be daunting and seems a lot of work. But, worry not, as these tips on how to keep live plants in an aquarium are so easy as taking care of your fishes.
With some little TLC and extra attention, your live aquatic plants will surely last for a long time.
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