Aquarium Plants: Basic Guide For Beginners

Planted aquariums both have a natural appearance and are also healthy for your fish as they are closer to the fish’s natural environment. Aquariums that are planted to suit their natural environment will be a very peaceful home for your fish. Especially for species living in the Amazon, it is very important to set up a planted aquarium, because these fish live in dense vegetation in their natural environment.

Plants can also benefit by reducing the amount of nitrate in aquarium water, as well as increasing the amount of oxygen in the water, making the water healthier. Also, the view of your aquarium will be fascinating.

Planted Aquarium Design

Determine the lighting strength and type

Plants need light to perform photosynthesis. The light needs of the plants vary according to the environment they are in. The light intensity required by each plant is different. If your current lighting is not enough, you need to power it up.

  • Plants that love a dim environment 10-20 lumens (0.25-0.5 watts) per 1 liter of water,
  • Plants that love a normal light environment 20-40 lumens (0.5-1 watt) per 1 liter of water,
  • Plants that need intense light need 40 lumens or more for every 1 liter of water.

You should pay attention that the lighting you use does not heat the aquarium water, especially in summer. Also, you shouldn’t leave the lighting on all the time, because your fish also need to sleep. “Do fish ever sleep?” I can hear you protest. Yes, the fish sleep at night, although not closing their eyelids. Therefore, the lighting should be turned off at night and should not be kept on for more than 10-12 hours during the day.

Ordinary room fluorescents are not suitable for planted aquariums. You can use T5 fluorescent, LED lighting, CFL fluorescent, VHO fluorescent or metal halide lamps instead. Fluorescents are usually cultivated in aquariums 60 centimeters deep. For deeper aquariums, metal halide bulbs with strong illumination should be used. LED lighting is very long-lasting and efficient. A quality LED lamp can be used for more than 10 years without compromising the light quality.

Choose the plants you want

Plants that are easy to maintain and do not need a carbon dioxide supplement (CO2 system) are more suitable for beginners. Aquarium plane plant, java moss, anubias and amazon plant are some of them.

Choose the substrate

It is necessary to choose base material according to the root structure of the plants. Plants can also be grown in sand, but it is useful to use pebbles as it is more permeable because the tight base formed by the sand makes it difficult for the plant roots to get nutrients and air. If desired, sand and pebbles can be laid layer by layer. Total height should be at most 7-8 cm.

Some plants do not need substrate because they do not have true roots. These plants get the nutrients they need from the water from their leaves. The java moss plant is one of them.

Check your plants

You should check your purchased herbs observationally. Make sure there are no snail or snail eggs. Otherwise, you may encounter snail infestation. Do not buy plants from an aquarium with sick creatures, even if they are not sick because you carry the parasites into your aquarium. Do not buy plants whose leaves are torn and yellowed. If the plant has been grown in a pot, remove it from its container. Gently open the tangled roots with a toothpick or tweezers.

Place your plants in the aquarium

Use a pencil or similar stick to create a groove in the gravel. Put the plant in the groove and cover the roots. Do not cover the crown if your plant has it, as most plants will die in this case. If you’re going to feed small fish like neon fish, you can create dense vegetation. However, if you are going to keep large species such as angelfish, discus, you should leave the middle of the aquarium open.

Use the right fertilizer at the right frequency

Fertilizers provide a variety of minerals that plants need. Liquid or tablet plant fertilizers may be preferred. Tablet fertilizer will not be useful for plants that do not have real roots. For these plants, liquid plant fertilizer mixed with aquarium water should be preferred. It will be better for the health of your plants if you prefer fertilizers containing micronutrients such as iron. If the water you use contains these micronutrients, you do not need to use fertilizers. You should monitor your plants regularly to identify and provide what they need. If you pay attention to these, you can enjoy a beautiful planted aquarium for many years.


Where can I find live plants for the aquarium? Can I buy plants online?

You can buy live plants from online shopping sites and pet stores. If you prefer online shopping sites, we recommend that you evaluate the reviews the sellers have received. Sellers who have had positive reviews recently are less likely to victimize you.

How to produce aquarium plants?

Aquarium Plants can be propagated by dividing or cutting off some of them. Of course, for this, the plant must be healthy and adult. You can use the plants that spread to the aquarium by giving new shoots under the sand like the Amazon sword, by separating them from the shoot part and evaluate them in different aquariums. You can propagate aquarium plants in bush form by pruning them from the top. Remove the leaves from the underside of the branch you cut off and bury the plant piece in the sand. After giving root, it will start to grow. You can reproduce moss such as Java moss by dividing it. Cut it into two parts without damaging the plant and wait for each piece to grow.

Why do aquarium plants turn black?

This is an important sign that the plant is dying. The reason may be that the plant cannot get enough of the nutrients it needs such as potassium, phosphate and nitrogen. In this case, you should use plant fertilizer. Maybe there is too much phosphate or nitrate in the water. In this case, we recommend that you do a partial water change. By cutting the darkened branches, you should facilitate the plant’s recovery. Because the darkened parts cannot be revived.

What are the types of aquarium grow lights?

You can use T5 fluorescent or LED lighting in the planted aquarium. If you are going to use T5 fluorescent, you should know that it has much shorter life compared to LED lighting. In addition, its efficiency starts to decrease after a while. LED lighting is a much longer-lasting and stable source.

How can I plant plants when the aquarium is full?

Adding aquarium plants at the establishment stage will give both easier and more successful results. You can also add plants if your aquarium is already full. First, unplug all electrical devices. Your job will be easier if you empty the aquarium a little. Bury plants with real roots in the sand. You need to link plants that don’t have roots, such as java ferns, to the decors. If you do not tie it because it has no roots, the plant will start to float on the surface.

🐠𝙃𝙋 Team
🐠𝙃𝙋 Team
We're just like you - aquarium enthusiasts who love aquatic life! We've been caring for and breeding all sorts of freshwater and marine aquarium fishes, plants, and other pretty little creatures for years. We love sharing our knowledge with other fish hobbyists, and this article you have just finished reading is the best proof of that. You can read more about us here.

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