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Aquarium plants

The right aquarium

FOR BEGINNERS: From unpretentious, take valisner spiral, lemongrass, cryptocarin, you can still Rotal, Hygrophil, Ludwig on the back, Echinodorus gentle on the front.

Putting the soil on the bottom of the aquarium, start planting.

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

Plants that reach a greater height are placed at the back wall of the aquarium, and more stunted ones - in front of them.

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

Malki are useful thickets of Vallisneria and floating plants - Richia, bubulchat, vodokras, salvinia, in which they can shelter from large fish in the first days of life.

It is simply impossible to describe and even list a huge number of plants grown in aquariums.

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

Coldwater plants:

  • Vodokras, water moss, bakopa, Canadian Elodieus, Ludwigia, coin box, peristomistnik, hornolistnik, ricia, core, arrowhead.

Moderately warm:

  • Amazonian dwarf, ollisneria, geterantera, lagarosiphon, elodea gear.


  • Preamble, aponogeton, giant vallisneria, water fern, hygrophila, cabomba, Cryptocoryne Griffith Cryptocoryne Neville, Cryptocoryne Hertel, pemphigus, Salvinia eared, herbaceous Amazon, uzkolistaya Amazon, South American vodokras.

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

A lot of trouble delivering blue-green algae.

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

Therefore, the light should be enough only for normal photosynthesis in higher plants. A 40-watt fluorescent lamp is sufficient for an aquarium of 200-300 liters.

Many lovers ask, do we need live plants in an 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 also simply into a beautiful piece of furniture.
  2. Plants can be used to test water quality. Knowing which particular plant species grows well in a given water, one can understand for which species of fish it will be suitable.
  3. Plants serve as a haven for fry and small fish.
  4. Plants inhibit the growth of algae around the walls of the aquarium.
  5. Plants serve as a spawning environment for many species of fish.
  6. Plants serve as food for fish.
  7. Plants help fish to acclimatize in an aquarium.

The right aquarium

Reference "How to choose plants for the aquarium"

1) Plants perform many important functions. The most important of them - the implementation of phototosynthesis. during which carbohydrates are formed. The most well-known carbohydrates are glucose, fructose, lactose, sucrose, starch, and 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 lighting conditions are high enough. Carbon dioxide absorption and oxygen production during photosynthesis also occur simultaneously. As a result, the content of carbon dioxide in water decreases, and the concentration of oxygen increases. At nightfall, photosynthesis stops, but breathing continues. as in the daytime. Since now carbon dioxide is not absorbed and oxygen is not released and only consumed for respiration, at night the concentration of oxygen dissolved in water decreases and, accordingly, the level of carbon dioxide increases, until the day comes and photosynthesis begins again. Anyway. Plants cannot be considered the only oxygen providers in most household aquariums. Regardless of. how densely planted an aquarium is, additional aeration should exist in it.

2) In addition to producing oxygen, aquarium plants perform a number of other necessary functions. It was observed that under equal conditions, fish kept in a well-greened aquarium are less sick compared to those that live 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 actually reduce the density of populations of a number of bacteria harmful to fish. For example, Lemna spp can produce antibiotics. The presence of plants provides the best water quality and well-being of fish.

3) Novice aquarists, buying plants, often face a number of problems. It is very important to find a good seller of plants. Before buying, it should be well thought about exactly what types of plants will suit you, taking into account the peculiarities of your aquarium, lighting, the presence of a CO2 installation. Do not forget to note that over time, the plants will grow and, on this basis, you should correctly plan the planting of plants. In stores when buying plants, pay attention to aquariums. where they grow up. The aquarium should be clean and well maintained. On the leaves of plants should not be signs of disease. The seller is obliged to pack the plant chosen by you into a special package and inject oxygen.

4) 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 patches, holes talk about the poor state of plants. But, remember that, for example, in Cryptocoryne species - leaves of brown color in nature. During transportation, transparent areas may appear on the leaves of plants, and damage. If the leaves are not badly injured - in a couple of weeks everything will return to normal and the plants will begin to grow.

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


There are a number of magnificent blooming water plants that grow from onions. 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 Koi fish ponds.

Example: Water Lily, Aponogeton (Aponogeton).

Planting: The bulb is planted in the ground only partially, with the top of the head should stick up. When the bulb grows, it starts splitting off the small onion itself. You can take them and sit further.


Among the least expensive are the so-called "bundles of plants." These are rooted cuttings. Tied together with an elastic tape. Lead or aluminum strips or wires. Many plant species and their varieties are sold in bunches. Which make it possible to create a beautiful interior at a modest price.

A simple way to plant bunches is to slightly prikopat the base of each of them into the ground so that the tape or metal strip is hidden. Although sometimes this method works. There are risks. The plants can be damaged. When the plants are tied together. Especially if they have tender leaves and stems. damage can occur. Damage will cause rotting. In this case, it is better to remove the tape. cut off the damaged tissue and then plant each cutting separately. The space between the shoots will reduce the risk of fungal infection.


The next in the series of aquarium plantations are plants. Which sell with roots. But not planted in pots. Many plants can be sold in this way. But the main types are echinodorus species. Cryptocoryne s. Some types of aponohetones. Lucovic plants. Anubiasses.

Example: Anubias, African fern.

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



These pots do not contain soil or organic matter. But only inert material. Such as mineral wool. Pots are small in volume. There are cracks or holes everywhere. They allow water to pass freely to the base of the shoots.

Potted plants can belong to any type (more often with roots). Real water stem plants. Such as Elodea (Elodea). Cabomba (Cabomba) and others like them. They are often planted in unrooted cuttings and got roots. Before releasing the plants for sale .Separate plants. In various species of Echinodorus. Which are sometimes sold with an open root system. Often also root before sale. Stem ground and transitional plants are often planted with rooted cuttings. And then. Developed in pots. Covered with water. They give leaves Hell aquarium surface.

Although potted plants can be simply pressed into the substrate. Sprayed. Many aquarists are taken out of the pot and planted like that. As if they belonged to the previous type. It doesn’t matter. If many of these plants will be cutting (horizontal shoots with embryo plants at the ends) and multiply in this way. despite the pot or the environment for rooting.



Some plants. Most often aquatic ferns. Such as microsorum is pterygoid. It is also a Thai fern (Microsorium pteropus) or Bolbitis Khedelo (Bolbitis heudelotii). Mkh.v. including vesicular dubius. Or Javanese moss (Vesicularia dubyana). And more recently hepatic moss is floating (Riccia fluitans. traditionally sold as a floating plant). as well as various types of Anubias. are now sold attached to a snake or stone. At first, the plants are attached using elastic tape or fishing line. But they can grow on the ground or on the basis of their roots (which are not roots in fact. And in the case of mosses and liver mosses. Special modified formations). Since the production of attached plants is more labor-intensive. they cost a little more than others.

Attached plants have one more advantage in addition to attractiveness: they are attached to a bark or stone — they can be moved to any place in the aquarium without harming the plant.



Some plants floating on the surface of the water are in fact non-floating. Only superficial. It is very simple to distinguish them. Floating plants have leaves. Shoots. The flowers are above or near the surface of the water. While the roots hang loosely under the water. Without being attached to to the substrate. The surface leaves. the stems. The flowers can also lie on the surface or above it. But the roots are necessarily fixed in the substrate. Eichornia (Eichornia crassipes) - water hyacinth is a real floating plant. Then like water lilies (Nymphea spp. and their variety s) - poverhnostnіe. Floating plants can go on sale in individual instances (large plants). Or "portions" (small). Pre-packaged with a small amount of water.

To properly plant plants in an aquarium, you need to follow a few rules. Firstly, the soil used for planting should not squeeze the roots too much. Clean gravel or coastal sand is ideal for this purpose. No matter what plants you acquire, the planting method will be about the same. Aquarium plants do not plant a beam. Arrange the plants so that the light reaches the bottom and the lower leaves do not turn yellow and 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. Say, Thai fern (Microsorium pteropus) can be tied to stones or wood with a fishing line, later its roots will be fixed on this place. And Javanese moss (yasicularia dubayana) swims freely until it finds reliable support. Once the plants have been planted in the aquarium, it is necessary to start lighting the aquarium at least 12 hours a day, imitating sunset and sunrise. Take care of your plants and do not expose them to stress, do not forget that they definitely need light.

Example: Richia, Azolla fern (Azolla filiculoides)

Landing: you do not need to plant, just allow to float on the surface of the water.



The roots of the rosettes develop at the bottom, in a layer of soil, and the crown leaves grow directly from the rhizome. Rosettes multiply by diverting the antennae, from which new rosettes appear, just as strawberries reproduce. Many sockets, by the way, have flowers and inflorescences.

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

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



This type of plant is a stem from which the leaves grow, and other stems, if you pinch the tip of the main stem. The roots of the plant develop under a layer of soil. Leaves can be single, double or multiple, they grow from thickening in the stem. Some of the stem grow their leaves from each thickening in the stem, others from intermittent thickening. These plants are sometimes also called bundle plants, due to the fact that they are usually not sold by individual branches, but by bundles of stems.

Most stem plants grow quite quickly, which is why they often have to be cut so that they do not grow above the water level and cover the surface with their leaves. As the tops are pruned, the stems produce new branches, from which the leaves grow, and if they, in turn, are also pruned, they will also fork. Sometimes the roots start to stretch from individual branches, and sometimes it looks very impressive.

It is very easy to propagate the stem - simply cut the top and stick it into the ground. It will take root and grow up.

Examples: Ludwigia (Ludwigia), Polypolia (Pennywort)

Planting: dig the bottom of the stem into the ground so that the roots are not visible. Do not bury the roots deep, these plants feel better at shallow depth. They should be located away from each other, with the aim that the light could fall on the lowest petals.

Why in the aquarium plants?

Perhaps a similar question has a right to exist, but I will not argue that plants participate in the life of an aquarium's biosystem, absorbing the products of fish’s vital activity and emitting oxygen ... A well-equipped aquarium may well exist without plants, and in it great live fish. But often it is the plants that give the tropical aquarium the unique charm of a wildlife corner.

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

So, we want to have a tropical aquarium with fish and live plants. What do we need? Of course, you can get along with a pair of Echinodorus bushes of various sizes, and it will be quite interesting, but photos of Takashi Amano’s works (famous Japanese aquarium designer) once seen, or an aquarium with friends, where there are a lot of plants, all of them of different sizes, shapes and flowers, and I want to at least a little closer your aquarium to this.

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 over a large area of ​​the bottom. Creating a landscape in a narrow aquarium-screen is quite difficult - there is no room. Now think about the height. Too high aquarium for plants to anything. Standard aquariums of medium size are likely to have a height of about 40-50 cm. For plants, this is already a lot, because creating a decent illumination at the bottom of the aquarium is difficult even at a height of 40 cm. If the aquarium is high, you will most likely have to be content with an uncomplicated set of plants such as various types of giant wallisterns, Thai krinum, etc., which have long leaves that can absorb light in the upper part aquarium without degrading the decorative look at the bottom. You can create illumination in an aquarium of great depth only with the use of complex and powerful light sources. Such options need to think through in advance, because equipment (lamps and their cooling) require additional space for placement.


As a soil 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. The more uniform the fraction of the soil and the better it is rounded, the less it coagulates, and no stagnant zones form in the soil. Actually, anything can be used as a primer - from small glass beads to branded sand painted with polymer - the main thing is that it suits you and satisfies the requirement of uniformity. Usually in vegetable aquariums use a layer of soil with a thickness of 3 to 7 cm. With a smaller layer, there is no place to develop the root system, with a larger one — the formation of stagnant zones is possible without additional tweaks.

Heated ground.

Good results can be achieved through the use of hydrocables. The effect of their use is not only, and perhaps not so much in heating, as in the creation in the ground of the flow of water (rising warm over the cable and descending cold between the cables), which prevents the acidification of the soil. If you decide to use a hydrocable, you should take care of it in advance, because it will be extremely difficult to place it in an aquarium with plants. 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 can be either powered from 220 V or powered by a step-down transformer. The second option in case of damage to the cable is safer, but much more expensive. In general, by safety in working in an aquarium, all electrical equipment should be turned off.

Nutritious soil.

Since we are going to plant our aquarium thickly, we will have to use nutrient soil. Those. The first layer of soil, which reached the roots of plants, must be rich in nutrients. Ready-made solutions from leading manufacturers can be used as a nutrient soil: gravel enriched with clay, laterites. More caution (this can be advised only by experienced aquarists) should consider the use of land. It is better to experiment with the earth only if you understand exactly what you are doing. Subsequently, top dressing can be applied to the aquarium soil in the form of dried balls made from clay, possibly in a mixture with laterites or other types of dressings.

Liquid fertilizer.

The use of liquid fertilizers, as well as nutrient soil, is advisable in the case of a dense planting of plants in the aquarium. In this case, micro and macroelements contained in water will be quickly absorbed by plants, and then ... there will be a slowdown and cessation of growth, or even a disease and degradation of plants. Why? Often, floating plants such as pistes, rodents, etc. grow well in a new aquarium, but after a while their growth stops. This means that there are few nutrients left in the water! Therefore, when using liquid fertilizers, it should be remembered that they are well absorbed by plants, and their “stock” should be replenished in a timely manner. Plants with a complete root system in some situations are more competitive. Liquid fertilizer should start to make when the plants have adapted and started to grow, otherwise you just feed the algae. The source of nutrients for plants is the replacement of water. So do not forget to regularly replace 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 growing aquatic plants. When buying an aquarium should pay attention to the light source. In most aquariums, both imported and domestic, the standard light source is sufficient for keeping fish (most often this is not important for them), but not sufficient for growing plants. Therefore, you should pay attention to the possibility of installing additional lamps and reflectors in the cover. The reflector in most cases increases the lighting efficiency by one and a half times or more.

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

Fluorescent lamps require a control gear (ballast or ballast) to start. PRA are conventional (choke and starter) and electronic. Electronic control gears can extend the life of the lamp (aquarium lamps also cost money) and increase light output. Lamps, as they are used, degrade their characteristics, their light output drops and the spectrum changes, so the lamps should be replaced without waiting for them to blow out. Lamps with conventional PRA change after about 6 months, with electronic - less.

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

So, buying an aquarium, you should ask about the possibility of upgrading the standard lighting or using a hanging lamp. In the first case, you should ask the company where you buy an aquarium, the opportunity to immediately solve the problem with the light.


For plants, you need a stable light day, so you also need a timer to automatically turn the lighting on and off. Such a device can be bought in an akvafirm or in a store of household goods for very modest money. Most tropical plants in their natural habitat have a light day that lasts up to 12 hours. With a sufficient level of lighting in the aquarium should follow a similar length of daylight hours. With a low level of illumination, daylight can be increased. By the appearance of some plants, it is possible to understand how long the daylight is at a given light for them. If they fold the leaves in the evening, then the lighting is sufficient. Excessive light day provokes the growth of algae.

CO2 (carbon dioxide).

In a plant aquarium, the supply of CO2 allows you to solve many problems at once - from plant growth to algae control. The latter, in fact, is a consequence of the first, since well-growing higher plants do not leave algae nutrients. For most plants, an increase in carbon dioxide in water leads to a significant increase in growth. When using CO2, the issue of controlling the supply of CO2 should be further elaborated, since in soft water, you can greatly lower the pH, and the carbon dioxide content of more than 40 mg / l becomes dangerous for fish. The optimal concentration can be considered 5-15 mg / l. To supply CO2 to the aquarium, you can buy branded installations, you can assemble it from more affordable components, also tablets manufactured by some companies can be used in small aquariums, or even fermentation process.


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

It is believed that plants that have grown in bright light, fertilizers and CO2 supply, once in other conditions, die. I do not agree with this statement, in my personal experience, plants that fall into more modest conditions, just grow more modestly (as usual). Moreover, densely planted an aquarium, without applying top dressing, is simply unrealistic, in the end, they have to eat something.

Actually the plants themselves.

Here, too, should pay attention to what to buy. Many plants that you can purchase can be imported or simply grown in conditions that are very different from your aquarium. You need to be prepared for the fact that some specimens of the plants you have acquired will require a period of adaptation, and even rehabilitation, perhaps completely discarding the leaves and acquiring new ones. If the acquired plant has weak, rotten roots, you can tie it with a thread or elastic to a pebble, which can be buried in the ground. If the plant is alive, the roots will grow. It is easiest for plants to grow in similar water and were sold out soon after they were taken out of 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 take a closer look.

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