Tank plants do much more than sit “pretty.” In addition to supplying oxygen, aquariums give fish something to nibble on, work to prevent algae growth, and give aquatic life a natural place to spawn. Plants even play a part in successful filtration by consuming the carbon dioxide that fish put into the water and emitting oxygen. You can fill your aquarium with plants and provide a helping hand toward the birth of a naturally occurring ecological system.
Kinds of Plants
Available in three basic types, your plants can be rooted, bunch, or floating. Rooted plants grow roots along the bottom of your aquarium and have to be planted in the gravel of the tank. Bunch plants don’t require planting, but they will grow roots as well (you can just set them down on the bottom). Floating plants on the other hand, simply float along the surface of the tank’s water.
Among these basic three types, you might enjoy these specific plants:
Elodea – a freshwater perennial
Egeria – a tropical aquatic plant
Crystalwort – resembling green seaweed or leafy moss
Hornwort – with slender hornlike capsules
Landscaping Your Tank
When thinking about inserting aquarium plants, remember that too many of them can cause problems similar to overstocking a tank. The more space that your fish have to move around, the healthier they’ll be. You’ll also want to make sure that you can see and enjoy your fish. So arrange larger plants along the backside of your aquarium and shorter plants along the front.
Plant Care Advice
To prevent plant death and disease, provide them with 12 hours of adequate lighting – that is, lighting that reaches all of the plants in the tank! Light is extremely important to plants, as it contributes to the photosynthesis process. Without it, the plants will die. More importantly, photosynthesis allows the plants to emit oxygen into the tank’s water and with out adequate oxygen, your fish will die.
You can monitor the growth of your plants to determine if your lighting strategy is successful. If they don’t seem to grow as expected, you might need to increase light.
Grow lights encourage the growth of not only the plants and fish in your aquarium (something you want), but they also encourage the growth of algae (something you definitely don’t want). But you can combat algae growth by placing an aquatic snail inside of your tank.