Having aquatic plants can be beneficial to your aquarium in many ways. If your goal is to provide a healthy habitat for your pets or to improve the quality of your aquarium; the mental health of your fish or fishes, as well as their water parameters, benefit from the use of aquatic plants.
That is why it is crucial to equip yourself with the proper techniques to care for your aquatic plants. Hoping to guide you in the right direction, I’ve compiled a simple list of 4 tips and tricks you can use to make your aquatic plants rich and even beautiful.
Take this information in good faith, but be aware that there is a wide variety of aquatic plants with specific needs and it is important to research your specific aquatic plant.
Find out what specific temperature your aquatic plant best suits. This is usually the same as the bodies of water from which your aquatic plant was originally derived.
Do your best to keep the water temperature fairly similar to the needs of your plant. For example; Echinodorus bleheri or “Broadleaf Amazon Sword” originally comes from South America, where its natural aquatic habitat maintains a water temperature between (Est) 75-84 .F.
It is in your best interest to measure the temperature of your water and modify it to mimic the Amazon plant’s average natural temperature of 79 degrees.
If the water in your aquariums is too cold, this will stun the growth of your plant and if it is too hot it will melt them. To make sure they grow rich and colorful they match the required temperature and you will be one step closer to a rich aquatic garden.
Aquatic plants absolutely need CO2. Too often, inexperienced aquarists claim to maintain a planted aquarium that requires no CO2. What these aquarists don’t realize is that they are actually using CO2, only unintentionally.
The fish or fishes that are kept in an aquarium produces CO2 that is consumed by any aquatic plants that may be present in that aquarium.
Additionally, the air above the aquarium also contains a small amount of CO2 that is absorbed by the water and is available to aquatic plants in that aquarium.
After much research and experimentation with aquatic plants, in my opinion, a CO2 system must be present in a planted aquarium. I empathize with beginning aquarists, as the confusing terms of aquatic plants also left me helpless; Substrates, Propagation, spectral output … etc. when I started out. I found the CO2 system especially intimidating, but I assure you that if you can bake a cake, you are overqualified to create your own CO2 system.
To get started, I will introduce you to the simplest method of creating a CO2 system.
You will need the following:
- Cleaned plastic bottle
- An airline tubing
- A knife or other sharp objects
- A hot glue gun
- A CO2 diffuser.
For the CO2 recipe, you will need yeast, sugar, water, and baking soda.
- Step 1: Empty a plastic bottle that can hold at least 3 cups of water
- Step 2: Using a sharp object, create a hole in the bottle cap large enough to insert an airline tube.
- Step 3: Insert the airline line tube (about half an inch is fine) and with a hot glue gun seal any gap between the lid hole and the airline to prevent CO2 from escaping.
- Step 4: Almost done! Connect the other end of the airline to a diffuser.
You should now have a basic but functional CO2 system. To start creating CO2, use my following recipe.
- 7-TBS sugar
- 1-TSP baking soda
- 1/8-TSP yeast
- 2- cups warm water
No matter what order you mix this in, just make sure to mix well and seal the lid well.
This can be a bit tricky and you can always buy a CO2 system, at your discretion. You can also buy CO2 in liquid form. This is often called “CO2 Booster”.
If you don’t want to bother setting up a CO2 system, you can use this liquid type of CO2 to nourish your plants.
You can use both CO2 supplements to provide optimal CO2 levels to your plants. I personally use both in my aquariums.
I recommend as much lighting as possible. If you are using the light system, your aquarium came with chances that it is not providing a significant amount of light to your plants.
If you plan to maintain aquatic plants, it is important to note that the amount of light they require is relatively high and you are more likely to have to invest in stronger lighting.
The amount of light that actually reaches the bottom of your aquarium (especially if it’s 50 gallons or more) is relatively low.
The small particles and debris floating around work like an umbrella, shielding your plants from the overhead light, so make sure you have strong filtration to maximize the amount of light that hits your plants.
Believe it or not, trimming can very helpful. Your plants have energy and nutrients that are distributed equally everywhere. By getting rid of unnecessary parts like bottom leaves or side shoots, your plant can allocate its energy to the growth and development of rich colors and on parts of it that achieve the provided lighting.
By now you may have noticed that it takes a lot of work and possibly money to care for aquatic plants. Caring for aquatic plants is not easy, but if you do, you will be rewarded with a rich aquatic garden that will improve water quality and enrich the appearance of your aquarium.