How to Keep Aquatic Plants Happy and Healthy
When you decide to have your own aquarium, the most obvious thing to keep is fish, of course! But it’s becoming more and more popular to turn aquariums into beautiful underwater gardens. Most beginners start by adding some plastic plants to their tanks. Although this provides shelter for fish and may look pretty nice, there’s nothing like the real thing. Live plants not only create natural beauty in any aquarium, but they’re also good for the fish. They produce oxygen and consume CO2 which helps with filtration and the maintenance of stable PH levels. Live plants also help prevent algae growth and provide cover as well as a natural food source for fish.
You may have heard that it’s difficult to keep aquatic plants, but it is not impossible, especially if you stick to the basics in the beginning. Here are some important things to keep in mind when you want to put real plants in your aquarium.
Begin with the Very Basics and Get Them Right
Just like fish, corals (and people!) and aquatic plants are alive, so you need a few basic things to keep them that way, such as light, substrate, carbon dioxide, and nutrients. If possible, mimic natural sunlight by using fluorescent tubes of around 1.5-3 watts for every four liters of water.
Substrate is the basis for how you grow your plants. Your best bet is to use fine to medium sand or gravel. If the sand is too fine, your plant roots will not get enough nutrients. If it’s too coarse, your plants will not be able to take root successfully and you may also get a build-up of fish waste. Most beginner plants won’t need additional carbon dioxide or nutrients. If you have a population of fish in the tank, they will get what they need. If not, you can buy some plant food and carbon dioxide supplements.
‘Plant’ Simple, and Simply Stunning Plants
You are not going to start an aquarium and keep an octopus in it right away, are you? It’s also not a good idea to start your planted aquarium with complicated plants. Two of the simplest plants you can grow in a home aquarium are Java Fern and Java Moss. Both can be attached to a piece of driftwood or rock to take root. Another aquatic plant that is simple to keep is the Amazon sword. They are hardy and grow easily in the gravel at the bottom of your tank. They’re also not overly sensitive to the PH of the water. Anachris and wisteria plants are hardy as well and even grow well in moderate light, making excellent background plants.
Just like you can use landscaping to create a beautiful garden, you can use aquascaping techniques to create stunning underwater landscapes that resemble Mother Nature above ground.