Acquiring some natural greenery to your aquarium could elevate your tank from just a home for your fish to an incredible decor piece. Plus, your fish will also be much happier to live in an environment surrounded by natural elements and not just artificial ornaments. Live plants produce oxygen and also help keep the algae and other impurities away, so you won’t have to clean the tank as often as you had before them. If you are thinking of adding live plants to your aquarium, here are some tips to help you out.
1. Choose The Right Type of Plants
Ground cover plants are a great thing to have as they can multiply fast, so with one or two pieces, you can have the bottom of your tank filled with greenery in no time. Just make sure you keep them moist when cleaning the aquarium, and they won’t require too much maintenance. Node propagators also produce new sprouts quickly when their long stringy branches break off and take root at another place. As several new parts tend to grow in the nodule of the old one, you might want to cut some of them off to keep them from becoming overgrown.
You can also opt for planting dry seeds or bulbs, that when planted underwater, quickly thrive into a beautiful new plant. These methods can be a little trickier as some bulbs or seeds may only sprout under specific conditions, but with proper preparation and care, you can make them come to life. Purchasing plants that can survive in and out of water can be a great solution if you are struggling to keep them alive when cleaning the tank.
2. Prepare The Tank
To live and grow successfully, a large number of aquarium greens will require a planted tank substrate. Other ones may even need additional plant growth substrate added around their bottom to harvest the necessary nutrients from the water. The ones that don’t grow in a substrate will need some other natural elements to take nutrients from, like driftwood or something similar. On the top of the substrate, you should add 1-2 inches of aquarium gravel which will hold the bottom of the plants in place. Pour in about 4 inches of water, and place the ornaments you want to have in your tank while making sure you don’t disturb the gravel too much.
Aside from preparing the inside of your tank, you should also make sure your new plants will get the necessary environmental benefits from the outside of the aquarium as well. While your fish may or may not need LED lights near them, your plants will definitely require them. You can learn more about this at Aquarium Store Depot, along with a few tips on how to choose the perfect light. Lots of aquarium plants have a specific spectrum of light they thrive in, so this is something you should keep in mind before acquiring them. The darker the environment, the more your tank will benefit from some good lighting.
3. How to Add Plants to the Aquarium
After deciding where you want to put your plants, remove the protecting layer of wool from their roots. When doing this, be very careful, as pulling the protection too harshly can damage the roots, which will result in the death of the plant. If you want to place the greenery in the gravel, make a little dent in the bottom of it. Using either your hands or a pair of tweezers, place the roots in the little hole you have created. Cover them with gravel to keep them stable until they can adhere to the bottom by themselves.
You can also decide to attach plants to the hardscape as well. For example, some ferns love to grow on driftwood and only need a little help to take roots in it. Usually, attaching their bottom part with household tread should do the trick. Whatever greenery you decide to add to your tank, make sure to arrange it so that it’s functional yet it looks visually appealing. Larger elements should go towards the back, as this will allow you to see everything that’s going on in your tank all the time.
4. Additional Care Tips For Your Planted Aquarium
After adding each plant to your tank, small parts of them might break off, creating debris. It’s recommended to collect this organic waste with a net to prevent it from obstructing visibility and possibly cause the decay of other plants. If there is too much debris, you might have to change the water in your aquarium altogether. When doing this, remember to use only conditioned water for it. This process neutralized chlorine, a harmful chemical that could kill your plants and your fish. And even using this water, it’s a good idea to add some aquarium plant fertilizer to it every time there is a change in the chemical balance of the environment. Not all aquarium greenery requires this, but they will all thrive more successfully if you don’t skip this step.
Old, decaying plants not only don’t help maintain the right environment for your fish, but they will significantly contribute to algae growth as well. And if they also require a high intensity of lighting, this can quickly become a huge problem. Algae will compromise the fish’s oxygen consumption ability, and if it covers the gravel, it can even make it impossible for your plants to get their much-needed nutrients from the substrate. For this reason, you should never add old greenery to your tank, and if there are any in there already, you might want to replace them with some fresh sprouts.
By implementing these tips, you will be able to have a beautiful and much more functional aquarium. Of course, to keep it that way, you will need to maintain your plants as well as your fish. Before choosing the plants, make sure you will be able to take care of everything for a long period of time. Maintaining an aquarium (especially with live plants in it) can be challenging. However, in order to be able to enjoy having a beautiful piece of aquatic life in your home, it will be all worth it.