A Plethora of Possibilities for Perfect Plantlife

java fern in aquarium
Java Fern

Everybody loves the look of real plantlife in freshwater aquariums, especially newbies who are just getting their feet wet (pun intended!) in the hobby. But the big question is this: What kinds of plants are best suited for the beginning aquarist?

One can find a wide variety of plants at your local store, but which ones are best?

Well, here’s our take on things. The following five plant species are fairly simple to grow and maintain, and can make even the most rank beginner’s tank look like a miniature ocean forest with a minimum of expense. Plus, if you stick to these five, you likely will avoid wasting money on plants that just won’t work.

Best plantlife bets for beginners

The Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) tops our list, largely due to the fact that it does not require gravel or sediment, or even high-intensity light to grow. In fact, for this species, less is more when it comes to light. You could even make your entire tank a java fern forest, if that suits your taste. This species is sometimes seen attached to driftwood and rock in planted aquariums. One issue though is the Java fern’s slow rate of growth, so you will want to plant it first, before you put any other plants around it.

Another great low-light plant with which beginners will find success is Wisteria (Hygrophilous difformis). Wisteria needs to be planted in gravel or sediment, though it can survive if not planted. A very fast-growing plant, wisteria is well-equipped to out-compete algae, as it reproduces at a relatively fast rate and usually requires regular pruning to keep it from overtaking your aquarium.

The only reason Java Moss (Vesicularia dubyana) isn’t at the top of this list is because it is a challenge to grow for even the most experiences freshwater fish hobbyist. It does not require substrate or high intensity lighting, but once it has established itself and is flourishing in your tank, it can become obnoxious and take over your tank. Java moss requires continuous maintenance in the beginning, allowing you to create a lush garden in only a few months. It is a great plant for hiding aquarium equipment in the tank, too.

Here’s one every beginner can grow: Anubias (Anubias nana). It does require you plant it in a gravel bed, but it doesn’t require high-intensity lighting or any specific water conditions. It can, in fact, even prosper out of the water. Anubias prefers water movement around its rhizomes and it is highly susceptible to beard algae, a brownish/greenish algae that takes over the leaves. The biggest negative for this species is its slow rate of growth. So you should prune lightly and only when you absolutely have to trim.

Also known at “turtle grass,” Anacharis (Egeria densa) is a low-light plant that can either be free floating or planted in the gravel. The invasive nature of this species makes it a difficult find in hobby stores, but if you do find it, take heart in knowing that it grows relatively quickly compared to anubias and java fern.

All this plantlife will prosper in a aquarium that has a pH range between 5 and 9. CO2 injection is not required and most of these plants can be found in any local pet store. Follow this list and your new aquarium will look amazing!

Artificial Plants: Top Aquarium Benefits

artificial plants for the aquariumIf you are considering artificial plants for your new aquarium installation, there are a few issues you need to review. Some people might debate the matter of live plants versus artificial ones, but if you are just beginning with the hobby of fish-keeping, choosing artificial plants can be more advantageous. There may be an impulse to consider live plants, but the beginner should take some time to learn the differences live versus artificial plants make.

Why Real Plants Can Be a Problem

Although live plants can add some good to the environment of a fish tank, for the novice fish-keeper there are some maintenance challenges involved. Live plants will require a specific type of bottom strata, as well as fertilizer. The chemicals of the fertilizer for the plants can become toxic toward the fish. Also, because they are alive, real plants will go through a life-cycle, shriveling and dying, and then they would need to be replaced. The maintenance necessary for live plants might be beyond the time and patience of a fish-keeping novice.

Benefits of Artificial Plants

There are several benefits in choosing to decorate the tank habitat with artificial plants.

  • No biological waste from the plants in the aquarium system
  • Over all, artificial plants cost less than live ones
  • No need for a specific substrata in the tank
  • No risks of carrying parasites
  • Artificial plants won’t be eaten by the aquarium residents

Selecting the specific type of artificial plant to use takes some consideration. Plastic plants will be very durable. But if you choose fish that have delicate fins, you need to make certain that the edges of the plants will not damage the fish. A simple test of the edges can be done by running stockings over the edge: if the stocking snags and tears on the edge of the plastic plant, you can assume that it would hurt the fish. The other alternative is silk plants. The silk plants would have a more natural movement in the water, as well as not having the cutting hazard.

Seek Advice

It’s always a good idea to seek advice when you venture into a new activity, such as keeping fish. There are many details to consider when setting up a new aquarium, such as the tendency of a fish to nibble on the plants, or the energy required to maintain live vegetation. The possibilities with artificial plants give you a wide range of looks from the brightly colored truly artificial plants to synthetic vegetation that can look natural and move easily in the water.

Contact the team at Aquatech Aquarium Services today for advice on how to design your new fish habitat, and then enjoy hours and hours of pleasure.

Choosing Aquarium Plants

live plants in an aquariumSelecting live plants for your aquarium depends on whether you will have a freshwater tank or a marine one. Some aquarium plants will thrive only in freshwater, while others are needed in the diets of some marine fish. Everything about an aquarium habitat affects other aspects of it. The type of fish you choose determines the volume of water and its salinity, as well as the types of live plants you include.

The Benefits of Live Aquarium Plants

The benefits of adding live plants to your aquarium are that they give the environment a natural looking appearance.  The fish respond favorably to the more natural habitat, which helps keep them healthy. Additionally, live plants help oxygenate the water. They can even absorb nitrates, thus helping keep the whole system in balance.

Knowledge Helps in Selection

It is important that you learn about the aquarium plants you select, however. Some will live totally submersed only for a limited period, and then die. When that happens, the plants must be removed so that the rotting vegetation does not contaminate the tank water.  In a marine aquarium, you are most likely choose either a sea grass or a macro algae. Unlike the sea grass, macro algae lack true roots. Instead of roots, the algae secure themselves with rhizomes or holdfasts with individual runners supporting the growth.

Some marine fish and invertebrates definitely need live plants in the aquarium habitat. There are fish that are not comfortable in open spaces, and so require vegetation as part of their environment. Others need plants as part of their diet. Considering all these aspects as you plan your aquarium will lead to a combination of fish and plants that will be healthy for the fish and a pleasure for you for a long time to come.

Live aquarium plants

Getting Expert Help

Pay attention to the needs of your choice of fish, and then learn what you will need to do in order to maintain the plant-life in your tank. Don’t over-crowd the aquarium with vegetation. Seek advice from an expert about which specific plants will best serve the fish you intend to keep. Enjoy the graceful beauty of live plants in your aquarium, whether you choose freshwater or saltwater.