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Aquarium plants

The Right Aquarium

FOR BEGINNERS: From unpretentious take Valisneria spiral, Schizandra, Cryptocarin, you can still Rotala, Hygrophilus, Ludwigia in the background, Echinodorus tender on the front.

Laying the soil on the bottom of the aquarium, proceed to planting the plants.

For convenience, do not immediately fill the tank to the top, it is better to pour 1/3 of water.

Plants reaching a greater height are located at the back wall of the aquarium, and the shorter ones are in front of them.

When planting plants should take into account the behavior of fish, leaving enough room for their free movement and creating secluded corners for privacy.

Malks are useful thickets of vallisneria and floating plants - ricia, pemphigus, water-color, salvinia, in which they can hide from large fish in the first days of life.

It is simply impossible to describe and even enumerate the enormous number of plants grown in aquariums.

Therefore, we confine ourselves to listing the most common, grouping them according to the temperature of the habitat.

Cold water plants:

  • Watercolor, water moss, bacon, Canadian elodea, ludwigia, coin, peristawist, hornwort, ricia, core, arrowhead.

Moderately warm water:

  • Amazon dwarf, vallisneria, heteruratera, lagarosiphon, elodey dentate.


  • Ambula, aponogeton, giant vallisneria, water fern, hygrophil, kabomba, cryptocoryne Griffith, crypticorina Neville, Hercel's cryptocoryne, pemphigus, salvina eared, grassy amazon, narrow-leaved Amazon, South American water-color.

In addition to higher plants ( these include all of the above ), in the aquarium there are also lower - algae .

Many troubles deliver blue-green algae.

With excessive light, they cover the surface of glass, stones and plants, interfering with normal nutrition and breathing of the latter.

Therefore, light should suffice only for normal photosynthesis in higher plants. On an aquarium with a volume of 200-300 liters, a 40W fluorescent lamp

Many fans ask, do we need live plants in the aquarium?

Most experts are inclined to what is needed. And here are seven reasons for this:

  1. From a purely aesthetic point of view, they decorate the aquarium, turning it not only into the home of your fish, but simply into a beautiful piece of furniture.
  2. Plants can be used to check the quality of water. Knowing exactly what kind of plants grows well in this water, it is possible to understand for which species of fish it will be suitable.
  3. Plants serve as a refuge for fry and small fishes.
  4. Plants suppress the growth of algae, covering the walls of the aquarium.
  5. Plants serve as a spawning medium for many species of fish.
  6. Plants serve as food for fish.
  7. Plants help acclimatize fish in the aquarium.

The Right Aquarium

Directory "How to choose plants for the aquarium"

1) Plants fulfill many important functions. The most important of them is the realization of photosynthesis. during which carbohydrates are formed. The most famous carbohydrates are glucose, fructose, lactose, sucrose, starch, glycogen. In fact, green plants breathe all the time, day and night. During breathing, they inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. However, in the light they also photosynthesize (an independent process, different from breathing). In the light, both processes run parallel to each other. While the lighting conditions are high enough. At the same time, carbon dioxide is absorbed and oxygen is produced during photosynthesis. As a result, the content of carbon dioxide in water drops, and the concentration of oxygen increases. With the onset of darkness, photosynthesis is suspended, but breathing continues. as in the daytime. Since now carbon dioxide is not absorbed, and oxygen is not released and only consumed for breathing, at night the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the water drops and, accordingly, the level of carbon dioxide increases, until the day comes and photosynthesis starts again. Anyway. plants can not be considered as the only suppliers of oxygen in most domestic aquariums. Regardless of. As far as the aquarium is densely planted with plants, additional aeration should exist in it.

2) In addition to producing oxygen, aquarium plants perform other necessary functions. It was observed that, under equal conditions, the fish contained in a well-planted aquarium are less affected than those living in an aquarium without plants. It is believed that plants are able to remove from the water not only salts, but also significant amounts of various organic substances. Some experiments have also shown that aquatic plants can indeed reduce the density of populations of a number of bacteria that are harmful to fish. For example, duckweed Lemna spp, is capable of producing antibiotics. Presence of plants provides the best quality of water and well-being of fish.

3) Beginners aquarists, buying plants, often face a number of problems. It is very important to find a good seller of plants. Before buying, you should think carefully about what kinds of plants you will be suitable for, given the features of your aquarium, lighting, the presence of a CO2 plant. Do not forget to take into account that over time plants grow and, based on this, it is necessary to correctly plan planting of plants. In shops when buying plants, pay attention to aquariums. where they grow. The aquarium should be clean and well maintained. On the leaves of plants there should be no signs of disease. The seller is obliged to pack, selected by you, the plant in a special package, to pump oxygen.

4) The choice of healthy plants: there should be no holes on the leaves; yellow, brown or transparent areas. Yellow areas indicate a lack of iron or other substances. Brown areas, holes indicate a bad plant condition. But, remember, for example, in Cryptocoryne species - leaves are brown in nature. During transportation, there may be transparent areas on the leaves of plants, damage. If the leaves are not severely injured - in a couple of weeks everything will return to normal and the plants will grow.

5) When buying, pay attention to the roots of plants. Very often the plants are sold without roots. because of what plants do not take root and die in a new place. Before planting, you need to carefully examine the roots, stems, leaves and remove the damaged areas. Then the roots should be straightened and buried in the aquarium soil so. so that the growth points are not visible.


There are a number of magnificent flowering water plants that grow from bulbs. Unfortunately, they are often so large that they are not suitable for growing in a home aquarium and are more often used in external ponds, for example in ponds with Koi fish.

Example: Water lily, Aponogeton.

Planting: The bulb is planted in the ground only partially, with the top should stick up. When a bulb grows, it starts to split small bulbs. You can take them and plant them further.


Among the least expensive are the so-called "bundles of plants." These are rooted cuttings, bound together by an elastic band. A lead or aluminum strip or wire. Many kinds of plants and their varieties are sold in bundles. Which make it possible to create a beautiful interior at a modest price.

An easy way to plant beams is to lightly prick the bottom of each of them into the ground so that the tape or metal strip are hidden. Although sometimes this method works. There is a risk. That plants can be damaged. When plants are tied together. Especially if they have tender leaves and stems. damage can occur. Damage will cause decay. In this case, it is better to remove the tape. Cut the damaged tissue and then plant each stem separately. The spacing between the shoots will help reduce the risk of fungal infection.


Next in a row of aquarium plantings are plants. That they sell with roots. But not planted in pots. Many plants can be sold in this way. But the main ones are different species of echinodorus. Cryptocoryne. Some species of aponogetones. Lacoste plants. Anubias.

Example: Anubias, an African fern.

Planting: tie to a tree (driftwood) or plant the plant in a hole previously excavated in the ground. In the ground must be only the roots, but not the rhizome.



These pots do not contain soil or organic media. But only an inert material. Such as mineral wool. The grits are small in volume. They have cracks or holes everywhere. Allowing water to flow freely to the base of the shoots.

Potted plants can belong to any type (more often with roots). Real aquatic plant plants. Such as Elodea. Cabomba and the like are planted in uncontaminated cuttings in pots and get roots. Before releasing plants for sale . Separate plants. Including various species of Echinodorus. Which are sometimes sold with an open root system. They are also often rooted before selling. Stale terrestrial and transitional plants are often planted with rooted cuttings. And then, having been assimilated in pots. Covered with water. They are given leaves Hell aquarium surface.

Although the plants in the pots can be simply pressed into the extract, many aquarists are pricked out of the pot and planted as if they belonged to the previous type. This is not important. If many of these plants will give offsets (horizontally located shoots with rudimentary plants at the ends) and multiply in this way. despite the pot or the medium for rooting.



Some plants. Most often water ferns. Such as the microsorum pterygoid. The same Thai fern (Microsorium pteropus) or bolbitis Hedelo (Bolbitis heudelotii). Mh.v. v. Vesicularia Dubi.i or Javanese moss (Vesicularia dubyana) .and recently hepatic moss is a floating fish (Riccia fluitans .traditionally sold as a floating plant). and also various types of Anubias. now are sold attached to snag or stone. First, plants are attached with elastic band or a fishing line. At the beginning of growing. They keep on the ground or base with their roots (which are not roots in essence. In the case of mosses and liver mosses. Special modified formations). Since the production of attached plants is more time consuming. They cost a little more than others.

Attached plants have one more advantage in addition to attractiveness: attached to a snag or a stone, they can be moved to any place of the aquarium without harm to the plant.



Some floating on the surface of the water are actually not floating. But only superficial. To distinguish them very simply. Floating plants have leaves. Running around. The flowers are above or near the surface of the water. Then as the roots freely hang under the water. Not being attached to substrates. In superficial leaves. stems. The flowers may also lie on the surface or above it. But the roots are necessarily fixed in the substrate. Eichornia crassipes-a watery hyacinth is a real floating plant. Then as water lilies (Nymphea spp. and their variety s) - poverhnostnіe. Floating plants can go on sale in separate copies (large plants). Or "portions" (small) .prepared with a small amount of water.

To properly plant the aquarium plants, you must observe several rules. Firstly, the soil used to plant the plants should not squeeze the roots much. Clean gravel or coastal sand is ideal for this purpose. Regardless of which plants you purchase, the method of planting will be approximately the same. Aquarium plants do not plant a beam. Place the plants so that the light reaches the bottom and the lower leaves do not yell and do not die. The distance between plants depends on the size of their leaves. Not all plants require planting; there are floating, and some need to be strengthened on stones or wood. For example, a Thai fern (Microsorium pteropus) can be tied to a stone or a tree with the help of a fishing line, later its roots will be fixed in this place. And Javanese moss (yasicularia dubayana) freely floats until it finds a reliable support. As soon as the plants in the aquarium are planted, it is necessary to start lighting the aquarium at least 12 hours a day, imitating the sunset and dawn. Take care of your plants and do not put them under stress, do not forget that they need light.

Example: Ricia, Azola fern (Azolla filiculoides)

Planting: you do not need to plant, just let it float on the surface of the water.



Roots of rosettes develop below, in the layer of soil, and the leaves of the crown grow directly from the rhizome. The rosettes multiply by the retraction of the antennae, from which new rosettes appear, just as the strawberry multiplies. Many rosettes, by the way, have flowers and inflorescences.

For example: Amazon large (Amazon Sword Plant) or Strelolist (Sagittaria)

Planting: Depends on each particular plant. Some feel better when the base of the crown is not covered by the substrate (soil), while others prefer to be buried deeper into the ground.



This type of plant is a stem from which leaves grow, and other stems if the top stem of the main stem is nipped. The roots of the plant develop under a layer of soil. Leaves can be single, double or multiple, they grow out of thickening in the stem. Some of the cauliflowers grow their leaves from each thickening in the stem, others from the intermittent thickenings. These plants are also sometimes called bundles because they sell them usually not in separate branches, but in bundles of stems.

Most cauliflowers grow quite rapidly, because of what they often have to be pruned so that they do not grow above the water level and do not cover the surface with their leaves. As the tops are cropped, the stems give new twigs from which the leaves grow and if they, in turn, are also pruned, they will also branch out. Sometimes roots start to drag from separate branches, and this sometimes looks very impressive.

It is very easy to propagate stems - it's enough to cut off the tip and stick it into the ground. It will take root and will grow up.

Examples: Ludwigia, Pennywort

Planting: dig the bottom of the stem into the ground so that no roots can be seen. Do not dig deep in the roots, these plants feel better at a shallow depth. They should be located far away from each other, so that the light could fall on the lowest petals.

Why in the aquarium plants?

Perhaps such a question has the right to exist, but I will not argue that the plants participate in the life of the aquarium biosystem, absorbing the products of the life of fish and secreting oxygen ... A well-equipped aquarium may well exist without plants, and it can wonderful to live fish. But often it is the plants that give the tropical aquarium an inimitable beauty of the nook of wildlife.

The aquarium with plants is not so static - every day or several days new leaves grow, new branches or young plants appear. In the "Dutch" aquarium (the name derives from the name of the country), the main task is to create an underwater garden of plants of different sizes, shapes and colors. Fish in such an aquarium are of secondary importance. The classic Dutch aquarium is quite difficult to create, it requires a lot of care, but in most cases an aquarium with abundant vegetation and fish is able to produce a stronger impression than just a fish.

So, we want to have a tropical aquarium with fish and live plants. What do we need? Of course, you can do with a couple of Echinodorus bushes of different sizes, and it will be quite interesting, but the pictures of Takashi Amano (a famous Japanese aquarium designer) or an aquarium from friends, where there are a lot of plants, all of them of different sizes and shapes and flowers, and I want at least a little closer to my aquarium for this.

We choose the aquarium itself.

The choice, of course, is a matter of taste and possibilities for installation indoors, but it is better to take the aquarium wider to be able to create an underwater landscape on a large bottom area. Create a landscape in a narrow aquarium-screen is quite difficult - there is no place. Now think about the height. Too high an aquarium for plants is useless. Standard aquariums of medium size are likely to have a height of about 40-50 cm. For plants this is already quite a lot, because to create decent illumination at the bottom of the aquarium is difficult even at a height of 40 cm. If the aquarium is high, it will most likely have to be satisfied with an uncomplicated set of plants such as various species of giant vallisneria, Thai crinum, etc., which have long leaves capable of absorbing light at the top Aquarium without deterioration of the decorative appearance in the lower. Create illumination in an aquarium of great depth is possible only with the use of complex and powerful light sources. Such options need to be thought out in advance, because equipment (fixtures and their cooling) require additional space for accommodation.


As a primer, it is better to use chemically neutral fine gravel with a fraction of 2-5 mm. There are different opinions about the faction, but this option is the most universal one. The more homogeneous the fraction of the soil and the better it is pelletized, the less it cracks, and in the soil no stagnant zones are formed. Actually, anything can be used as a soil - from small glass beads to branded polymer-colored sand - the main thing is that it suits you and satisfy the requirement of uniformity. Usually in plant aquariums use a layer of soil thickness of 3 to 7 cm. With a smaller layer, there is nowhere to develop the root system, with more - without additional tweaks, the formation of stagnant zones is possible.

Ground heating.

Good results can be achieved through the use of hydrocables. The effect of their application is not only, and perhaps not so much heating, as in the creation in the ground of water flows (ascending warm over the cable and descending cold between the cables), which prevents the soil from souring. On purchasing a hydrocable, if you decide to use it, it's worthwhile to take care beforehand, because in an aquarium with plants to place it will be extremely difficult. The cable is laid out on the bottom of the aquarium (labor facilitates the presence of suckers in the kit) and covered with soil. Cables come with both power supply from 220 V, and with power from the step-down transformer. The second option in case of damage to the cable is safer, but also much more expensive. In general, for safety in working in an aquarium all electrical equipment should be turned off.

Nutritional soil.

Since we are going to plant our aquarium densely, we will have to use nutrient soil. Those. The first layer of soil, which is reached by the roots of plants, must be rich in nutrients. As a nutritious primer, ready-made solutions from the leading manufacturers can be used: gravel, enriched with clay, laterites. More cautiously (this can only be advised to experienced aquarists) is to treat the use of land. It's better to experiment with the earth only if you know exactly what you are doing. Subsequently, top dressing can be introduced into the aquarium soil in the form of dried balls made from clay, possibly mixed with laterites or other kinds of dressings.

Liquid fertilizers.

The use of liquid fertilizers, as well as nutrient soil, is advisable in the case of a dense planting in the aquarium. In this case, the micro and macro elements contained in the water will be quickly assimilated by the plants, and then ... there will come a slowdown and a cessation of growth or even disease and plant degradation. Why? Often in a new aquarium grow well floating plants such as pistil, hornwort, etc., but after a while their growth stops. This means that there are not enough nutrients in the water! Therefore, when using liquid fertilizers, it should be remembered that they are well assimilated by plants, and their "stock" needs to be replenished in a timely manner. Plants with a full root system in some situations are more competitive. Liquid fertilizers should be started when the plants have adapted and started to grow, otherwise you will just feed the algae. The source of nutrients for plants is the substitution of water. So do not forget to regularly change the water in your underwater garden. More frequent substitution of water or "duct" allows you to dispense with the use of liquid fertilizers or use them in smaller quantities. It depends on what is pouring from the tap in your area.


Light is one of the main factors in the cultivation of aquatic plants. When buying an aquarium, you should pay attention to the light source. In most aquariums, both imported and domestic, the standard light source is sufficient for the maintenance of fish (it is most often unprincipled), but not enough for growing plants. Therefore, it is worth paying attention to the possibility of installing additional lamps and reflectors in the cover. The reflector in most cases increases the efficiency of lighting by one and a half times or more.

Usually, fluorescent lamps are used as a source of light in aquariums. It is better to use specialized lamps, they have improved spectral characteristics. In addition to conventional fluorescent lamps (T8), T5 fluorescent lamps have now appeared, which are more powerful, smaller in size and more efficient at a temperature of about 30 ° C (conventional T8 lamps lose some efficiency due to high operating temperatures under the aquarium lid). Currently, T5 lamps are equal in price to conventional T8 lamps, which makes their use in the aquarium very attractive. Many eminent companies produce hanging lamps or aquariums with standard light on T5.

Fluorescent lamps require a ballast (ballast or ballast) to start. Ballasts are conventional (choke and starter) and electronic. Electronic ballasts allow to extend the life of lamps (aquarium lamps also cost money) and increase light output. Lamps as they operate deteriorate their characteristics, they lose light output and the spectrum changes, so the lamps should be replaced, without waiting until they burn out. Lamps with conventional gear are changed after about 6 months, with electronic - less often.

As a light source, metal halide (MG) lamps are increasingly used (not to be confused with halogen lamps, which are an improved version of the incandescent lamp). This is a powerful light source, allowing you to create a high level of illumination, even in a relatively deep aquarium. Usually they are used in open aquariums, because they are quite hot (although less than incandescent lamps). Currently, specialized MG bulbs for aquariums and lamps are available. Unfortunately, this solution in the form of a ready lamp still remains quite expensive. For deep aquariums, this is perhaps the most acceptable solution.

So, buying an aquarium, it's worth asking for the possibility of upgrading the standard lighting or using a pendant light. In the first case, you should ask the company where you buy the aquarium, the opportunity to immediately solve the problem with light.


For plants you need a stable light day, so you'll need a timer to automatically turn the lights on and off. Such a device can be bought in the aquafirm or in the store of goods for the house for very modest money. In most tropical plants in the natural habitat, the light day lasts up to 12 hours. At a sufficient level of illumination in an aquarium, one should adhere to a similar length of daylight. At a small level of illumination, the light day can be increased. By the appearance of some plants, it is possible to understand what duration of a daylight for a given illumination is sufficient for them. If they stack leaves in the evening, then the lighting is sufficient. Excessive light day provokes the growth of algae.

CO2 (carbon dioxide).

In a vegetable aquarium, the supply of CO2 can solve many problems at once - from plant growth to algae control. The latter, in fact, is a consequence of the first, because well-growing higher plants do not leave nutrients to algae. For most plants, an increase in the carbon dioxide content of water leads to a significant increase in growth. When using CO2, the issue of monitoring CO2 supply should be considered in more detail. in soft water, it is possible to greatly reduce the pH, and the carbonic acid content of more than 40 mg / l becomes dangerous for fish. The optimum concentration can be considered 5-15 mg / l. To supply CO2 to the aquarium, you can buy branded plants, you can assemble it from more accessible components, you can also use tablets produced by some companies in small aquariums, or even a fermentation process.


In principle, in most cases, the optimum temperature for an aquarium with plants and fish is 24-26 ° C. But sometimes it is necessary to keep the aquarium and at a temperature of 28-30oC (for example, if there live discus, altum, etc.). At elevated temperatures, plants can also grow. The temperature limits indicated in the reference books are not the maximum possible for a plant, these are the temperature limits that occur in a natural biotope, where it grows in natural conditions. Most plants can grow in the "debauchery" at 28-32 oC. But in this case, all the processes proceed much faster, so the plant needs more light, more CO2, more fertilizing. And, with a lack of any of these factors, plants wither and die. But if they are constantly provided with everything necessary, the result can be even more interesting than at lower temperatures. At a high temperature, the solubility of gases in water decreases, and the plant's demand for CO2 on the contrary increases, so the supply of carbon dioxide is most likely required. Yes, and fertilizer should be made regularly, for which an automatic fertilizer dispenser may be useful, which will help you automate the process.

There is an opinion that plants that have grown in bright light, fertilizers and with the supply of CO2, falling into other conditions, die. I disagree with this statement, in my personal experience, plants that have fallen into more modest conditions, simply more modestly (as usual) grow. Especially, densely to plant an aquarium, not applying top dressing, it is simply unreal, in the end they should eat something.

The plants themselves.

Here, too, should pay attention to what to buy. Many plants that you can buy, can be imported or simply grown in conditions very different from your aquarium. You need to be prepared for the fact that some copies of the plants you buy will require a period of adaptation, and even rehabilitation, perhaps completely discard the leaves and acquire new ones. If the acquired plant has weak, rotten roots, you can tie it with a string or a rubber band to the stone, which is buried in the ground. If the plant is alive, the roots will grow. The plants that grow in similar water are easier to plant and were sold shortly after they were removed from the original aquarium. But this does not mean that you can not buy imported plants in pet stores, just some of them will need to be taken more closely.

When choosing plants, one must understand that many of them in nature grow at a depth of no more than 30 cm or even in wet soil, sometimes flooded with water. Accordingly, to grow in a deep aquarium you will not succeed all, or will have to apply all the technologies that we talked about.