There are several benefits to having plants in your freshwater aquarium. Plants add oxygen to your fish tank and also act as supplemental biological filters that help keep your aquarium clean. In turn, the fish provide carbon dioxide and nutrients to the plants. Live aquatic plants are good for you too – they look great and make your aquarium more like a natural habitat. Between making you, the fish, and the plants happy and healthy, it’s a triple win situation!

Several factors apply when investigating plant possibilities:

One: water parameters – Water parameters are specific levels of things in the water, like temperature and pH. When water has a high mineral content, it is said to be hard.

Two: Substrate – Substrate is the surface on which a plant or animal lives. (Are you planting in rocks, gravel, or soil? Does the plant float like a lily pad?)

Three: Lighting – Even aquatic plants need light to grow.

Oven: Compatibility with fish – If you have fish that are herbivores, for example, consider your ferns and grasses as good as a salad.

The best plants are flexible on all of the above factors except the last. There are seven species of aquatic plants that are hardy and also attractive to your aquarium:

One: Java ferns – (Microsorium pteropus). Java ferns tend to be around eight inches tall with bushy, spade-shaped leaves. They grow well in water with a pH level between 5.5 and 7.5 and in temperatures between 68 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. They have the potential to grow even in dimly lit tanks and require a water hardness of between 2 and 15 degrees. Java ferns grow best when tied to floating driftwood rather than planting their roots.

Two: Amazon Sword – (Echinodorus amazonus). Amazon Sword grows up to 20 inches tall and has wide green leaves that fan out. They will grow best in a tank with a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5. They also require that the water temperature be regulated between 72 and 82 degrees. For lighting, provide 50 watts for every 25 gallons of water. They require the same water hardness as Java Ferns and should be planted in loose soil and supplemented with iron fertilizer.

Three: Argentine Sword – (Echinodorus argentinensis). Argentine swords grow up to 18 inches and have long, thin stems. They thrive in water temperatures of 60-77 degrees and require soft water hardness. Otherwise, its specific care needs are identical to those of the Amazon sword.

Oven: Hygrophila Polysperma- Hygrophila Polysperma is tall, measuring 24 inches. They grow in clusters and have small reddish or green leaves. The tank should have a pH level between 6.5 and 8 and a temperature between 68 and 85 degrees. Lighting and water hardness needs are the same as Sword plants. Cut Hygrophila Polysperma back from time to time as they tend to branch out. Because of this, it may be convenient to place them in the center of the tank and towards the back, so they have room to grow.

Five: Umbrella Plant – (Spathiphyllum wallisii). Umbrella plants can be 8 to 12 inches tall. They have tall, slender stems with small leaves at the top of each stem that branch out in a star shape. They are high maintenance plants and need a pH level between 5-7 and a temperature between 72-78 degrees. They need intense light to grow and a water hardness of between 4-12 degrees. Umbrella plants are not actually aquatic plants and will die if completely submerged in water. You can still have this beautiful greenery as part of your fish’s habitat – simply grow the plant on the surface and submerge the roots below.

Six: Vallisneria spiralis – This looks like grass and grows up to 24 inches. You need a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5 and a water temperature between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It must have 50 watts of light for every 50 gallons of water and the water must have a hardness between 5-15 degrees. Vallisneria spiralis are good plants for beginning aquarists as they have a wide range of water parameter needs. These plants are best viewed on the sides or rear of your aquarium.

Seven: Anubias Barteri – Anubias Barteri are broad plants with broad green leaves that grow up to 16 inches. The water temperature should be regulated between 72 and 82 degrees with a pH level ranging between 6.5 and 7.5. These are also water divas, insisting on moderate lighting and a water hardness of 8 degrees. They grow better with CO2 fertilization.

All of the plants discussed in this article look great in an aquarium. The first three are the best to get if you are a newbie due to their flexible needs. But as always, do your research before you buy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *