A planted fish tank brings the true look of an aquatic environment into your home. They require some special help to keep them alive and thriving however plants will contribute to a realistic ecosystem as carbon dioxide is transformed into oxygen just like with trees.
Make sure to pay attention to the fish species in the aquarium before considering greenery, certain types (like goldfish) eat them and happily devour this tasty snack! Other fish who like to root through the gravel will uproot them preventing a good stronghold from forming. In a typical community aquarium with schooling fish, flora adapt wonderfully. A few great tips for keeping plants alive are as follows:
Smaller gravel is best with plants. Roots will be able to attach themselves in a healthy little network.
Once rooted, do not move the plants. When siphoning gravel, work around the base but avoid uprooting them.
Add aquatic plant supplements, available from a pet store which adds nutrients to boost the leafy quality and enhance growth rate.
Plants need extra light. Use a fluorescent bulb made for enhancing growth. These offer UV rays and extra light needed for a natural habitat. Set a timer for 8-10 hours of light per day.
If you have a tank full of large active fish that will disturb plants, consider purchasing the pre-bunched plant selections that are planted in black submersible “pots”. This will help keep stalks intact while offering a nice bushy look.
Avoid a deep aquarium, you will have to prune & snip decaying or aged stalks, a tall tank will be more difficult to work in. Furthermore, light rays won’t be able to reach stout species causing slowed growth.
Pinch off faded and discolored stalks regularly. Just as in a backyard garden, underwater species also require pruning to keep them healthy and allow the roots to generate new stalks to replace old ones. Plants will die if not pruned.
Avoid red or purple leafed species. Their light requirements are too high for the average fluorescent light output.
Plants require added light – but this will also encourage algae growth. Add a plecostomus or algae eaters to keep algae spores under control.
Another way to control algae growth is to have several plants. When only a few plants are present, algae will out compete for essential nutrients, drowning out your plants. A heavily planted tank will usually drown out algaes need for nutrients. Regardless of the quantity, we still suggest algae eating fish be present.
When choosing species, taller is better as the leaves can reach stronger light. Choose plants with white roots. Some broken branches are not a concern as they easily re-grow new branches. Pinch off any bent or snapped branches before planting to give only the healthy stalks a good start.