How to Maintain Plants in an Aquarium? 

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Written By Fun Fish Tanks

I Love my Fishes 

Plants come as more than just décor or furnish in an aquarium. Buying and building up an aquarium with plastic plants might be less on your budget but not ideal for your tank.

They don’t benefit much from your aquarium besides giving a different look to your aquarium. They make the tank dirty and require frequent cleaning. Getting live plants for your aquarium is the right choice.  

Why Live plants for aquarium?  

The live plants come along with a lot of benefits for the tank. The live plants control the level of carbon dioxide by absorbing it and in addition to it soaking up the ammonia and nitrates.

Hence they keep the chemical composition of the tank balanced. The plants will provide shelter for the timid fishes as well. A secure place for eggs and fish fry.  

Maintaining plants in Aquarium 

As they are live plants and contribute a lot to the aquarium, you must know how to take care of them. They are as equally important as any other component of the tank.

So it is a given that their well-being is important. For them to keep your aquarium in balance, they require maintenance and care. 

In this article, you will get to know everything that there is to in maintaining plants in an aquarium. So let us carry on and make it easy for you. 

Substrate for Plants

Right off the bat, the most prime thing that plants require is the right and ideal substrate. Without an excellent substrate, your plant will wither off before you know it.

For the betterment of your aquarium plant, gravel and sand is the best option. Although don’t use coarse gravel or fine sand.

They will not allow the plants to anchor their roots properly. The ideal amount of substrate for the plants is about 2 to 3 inches.

With this amount of substrate, the plants can properly bind their roots. Don’t use soil as it will expose your aquarium to unwanted diseases. Remember to rinse the substrate before adding them to your aquarium.  

Illumination: Plants need the Light

Light is also adjacent to substrate in terms of importance for plants. The plants require the right amount of light to prosper in the aquarium.

Make sure that you do a little analysis work of the plant you have as different types of plants favor different levels of light.

All the plants don’t have the same light that they require. With the proper lighting, your plant won’t have any troubles regarding photosynthesis. They can make their nutrients without any trouble.  

The best kind of light that you can use in your aquarium is T5 fluorescent bulbs. You must provide your plants light for about 12 hours a day.

The size of your tank also plays a role in the amount of light. The greater the elevation of your tank the more intensity of light your plants require. Provide your plants with the right amount of light and they will thrive. 

Nutrients for Plants

Nutrients are essential for your plants as well. Nutrients are a vital factor when maintaining your plants. The aquarium plants require nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, iron, and many more to grow and remain healthy.

So for the proper preservation of your tank, nutrients need to be added. You can provide nutrients to your plants through plant foods and fertilizers.  

The use of aquarium plant foods will provide your plants with the necessary nutrients. Put in the right amounts of plant foods every day or once every week.

With this, your plants will prosper. You can use fertilizers as well to complete the need for iron. You can also combine your substrate with laterite to provide iron to your plants.

Remember not to use phosphate assorted fertilizers. They will contribute to algae growth. Your plants will get enough phosphate from leftover food and fish waste. 

Water parameters 

The quality and the composition of the water comes along as an equally important factor as any other mentioned here.

Without the right composition of your water your plants will have a miserable life. First comes the pH levels.

Usually most plants require 6.5 to 7.2 pH levels. The temperature levels must be around 60℉ to 80℉. But remember that this for most plants rather than all plants.

For the right maintenance, take a look on the requirements of the plants that you have on your aquarium. As some plants may prefer water parameters to extremely low or high levels.  

How to know if the plant is dying?  

Similar to your fishes, plants can show signs of weakening and there are a lot of factors that contribute to it. Not enough light can make your plant look weak. If the leaves are covered with algae, it is not a good sign.

Excess phosphate levels can lead to your plant being brown. They can develop brown spots as well with excess phosphates and low light.

The plants will turn yellow if they are not getting fewer amounts of carbon dioxide. Nutrients deficiency can make the plants extremely weak and vulnerable to death as well.  

So remember to watch out for these signs. If you notice their work on their remedies.  

Remedies for Sick Plants  

If your plant is showing signs of inadequate nutrients, provide them with plant food but in the right amount.

Excess nutrients may also harm them. An algae-covered plant can be bleached. Although only bleach it if the amount of algae is too much, if it is moderate, it can be removed manually with brushes.

If plants are showing signs of excess levels of phosphate, then control the feeding levels of your fish. If your plants are turning yellow, it means they are facing iron deficiency.

In case of iron deficiency, go for fertilizers. Try to keep the temperature of the water constantly to avoid providing stress to the plants. 

Should you overcrowd plants in an aquarium?  

The simple answer to this question is no. Overcrowding an aquarium is never a good answer. If you have added too many plants, they will take over the entire aquarium quickly and easily.

Since they are bound to grow, and as they grow they will start taking over the aquarium leaving no room for your fishes to swim. Then your work will increase as you will have to keep trimming them constantly. 

Plants are essential in an aquarium. They help you out with a lot of things. They help to keep the ecosystem in balance and give a fresh look to your aquarium.

Although for them to flawlessly lend you a hand with your aquarium, they require proper maintenance. Without it, the plants will wither away.

The plants require nutrients, and suitable water to thrive. Don’t ignore their signs of weaknesses and provide them with proper care, for you are sure to be rewarded with a perfect and healthy aquarium. 

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