Getting the right plants and fish is not enough to run an aquarium. It is essential to know how to take care of plants. Although there are plastic aquarium plants, some people prefer to live ones, as they are more beneficial. The plants play a great role in the survival of your fish. They act as food sources, and they will also absorb unwanted gases they produce. Just like plants growing in soil, aquarium plants are subject to getting infections and other forms of pressure.
Benefits of Having Plants in Your Aquarium
You can have either artificial or live plants in your aquarium.
Mostly, live plants will always be more expensive than artificial ones. To select the most appropriate plants for you, consider various factors such as maintenance, appearance, and plants’ uses.
Benefits of having live plants in an aquarium include:
1. They Are a Food Source for Fish
Although there is an exceptional food for fish, they will feed on aquarium plants from time to time. If you forget or delay feeding them, you will not have to worry as they will always have something to eat.
2. They Facilitate Gas Exchange
Plants usually release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. The fish use the oxygen, as they release carbon into the water. Having both plants and fish creates a balance within the aquarium.
3. Getting Rid Of Algae
Plants will utilize all the nutrients in the tank and leave none to support the growth of algae. Some algae in the tank are not bad, but too much make the tank unattractive, and pose a danger to your fish.
Artificial plants also have their benefits. They are easy to clean and will not die. They don’t require lighting and the addition of fertilizers.
How to Choose the Right Plants for Your Aquarium
Choosing the right plants is crucial, just like it is selecting the kind of tank you want or the kind of aquarium fish to keep. Below are some of the best plants you can grow in your aquarium
1. Java Moss
Java moss is hardy and grows at a very fast rate. The fuzzy-like plant will do well even in low-intensity lighting.
2. Amazon Sword
An Amazon sword creates a sword-like appearance in an aquarium. It’s easy to grow and maintain and requires medium lighting.
Hornworts tolerate different temperature conditions and don’t require frequent addition of fertilizers.it floats on the surface of an aquarium, creating a magnificent appearance.
4. Java Fern
The bunchy appearance of java fern makes it one of the most beautiful plants for an aquarium.
Anubias is hardy and will survive on any water condition. It makes an aquarium attractive and requires medium lighting. The plant does not die quickly, even under unfavorable conditions. The only downside of it is that it grows at a slow rate.
How to Take Care of Your Plants
1. Clean Your Aquarium Frequently
How frequent you should clean your tank will depend on various factors such as the number of fish, the type of plants in there, and the size of the tank. You don’t need to get the fish out as you clean the tank .use an algae scraper to clean the walls. If there are dead leaves in the water, get rid of them too. Always clean the filter to avoid the buildup of waste matter from fish. If you assume it, it can clog easily and fail to function as it’s supposed to.
2. Clean the Plants
Whether you have live or plastic plants, it is essential to clean them from time to time. For the live plants, simply get rid of particles by carefully shaking them to avoid damaging the plants. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling them.
If the debris is a bit stubborn and won’t get off the plants after shaking, scrape them off using a soft toothbrush. Put them under gently running water, and then put them back to the tank.
The safest method to clean your plants is to get rid of the debris using your hands since you don’t need to use chemicals that may harm them.
3. Sterilize your plants
Soak your plant in potassium permanganate for a few minutes then rinse them. Another method is to spread hydrogen peroxide on them and leaving them to rest for some minutes. Ensure you rinse them thoroughly before putting them back to the tank.
Bleach the Plants
If using your fingers, soft toothbrush, or algae pad doesn’t work, try using bleach. Use a 10% bleach solution that is not scented. Soak your plants for not more than 5 minutes, and then soak them for another 5 minutes in water. Rinse them to get rid of the bleach before putting them back to the tank.
When working with bleach, be very careful not to use over concentrated bleach, as it may kill your plants.
Plastic plants are easier to clean as you can wash them using an algae pad under running water.
4. Add Fertilizer
Aquarium plants will greatly benefit from the addition of fertilizer. They require macro-nutrients such as potassium and nitrogen and micro-nutrients such as iron, copper, chlorine copper, and zinc. Follow the usage instructions carefully when applying fertilizer. Too much of it will result in algae overgrowth.
Adding an insufficient amount will result in your plants growing weak. Some plants will absorb the fertilizer with their roots, while others absorb it using leaves and stems.
Types of Fertilizers Suitable for Aquarium Plants include
• Root tabs
• Liquid fertilizers
5. Install Lighting
Aquarium plants will benefit from sufficient lighting. Just like other plants, they need light for the photosynthesis process. Inadequate light reduces their ability to photosynthesize, making them weak and unable to absorb carbon dioxide effectively.
Too much lighting is not good either, as it encourages the growth of algae. Algae turn aquarium water to the green. However, you can add carbon dioxide in your tank to reduce its growth. If your aquarium is not exposed to natural lighting, ensure the artificial light is on for at least 7 hours a day.
The light intensity suitable for different plants is different. Some aquarium plants like ferns and anubias do not require high-intensity lighting.
Plants not only makes an aquarium beautiful, but they also offer several benefits, which create a favorable environment for the fish to live in. Take care of your plants by cleaning, adding fertilizer, and adequate lighting to ensure proper growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Dead plants produce ammonia. If it’s in excess, it can kill the fish. Get rid of dead plants immediately you identify them.
How much fertilizer you put on your tank depends on the type of plants growing, the size of the tank, and the kind of fish you have.
The plants may get discolored due to various reasons such as poor lighting, temperature, and PH level conditions. Discoloration may also be a sign the plants are lacking some nutrients.
Go for healthy-looking plants, with plenty of leaves, which do not appear discolored. Poor quality plants will appear weak, and will often have discolored leaves.