Tropical Fish Tank Plants

Freshwater plants1You’ve decided to set up a freshwater aquarium and are trying to figure out what tropical fish tank plants you want to put in with your fish. Plastic and silk plants are out because you want to tackle live plants. If your local pet store or fish store doesn’t carry many varieties of freshwater plants, there are quite a few online that offer both beginner plants as well as harder to keep plants after you get your feet wet. (Pun intended). It’s a good idea to start off with plants that are hardy until you get the hang of what is expected and necessary for the health of the tank.

Unlike fake plants which can be placed in the tank at any time, it is best to think ahead before setting the tank up to decide how you want your live plants in the aquarium to be placed. It’s also imperative that you not choose any fish that might be likely to eat on live plants. As with any plant on land, tropical fish tank plants need steady consistent light that provides proper spectrums for them to thrive. The majority of readily available freshwater plants grow best in temperatures from 75 – 81 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH level between 5.7 and 8.8.

Planning ahead for the live plant tank will make the likelihood of success much higher. Before putting water in the tank, place about 1/2″ to 1″ of gravel substrate on the bottom followed by approximately 1″ of Flourite (a porous clay like substance that enhances the ability of the plants to utilize nitrates that are present in tropical fish aquariums), and then top that off with another 1/2″ to 1″ of gravel. Next, place any decorations, rocks, wood, etc., where you want them to be in the tank. Start putting water in the tank. Place a plate or saucer on the gravel and put the water on top of it slowly. This will allow the substrate to remain largely undisturbed. Once the tank is about half full or at least full enough to start planting, stop filling.

Some of your plants may be in small pots and some may be loose stems that need to be planted in the substrate. It’s a good idea to remove the pot and plant directly in the substrate, unless you would rather place it permanently at a laterfreshwater plants2 date. If you are adding plant stems, cut the stem at an angle just above a healthy node leaving as much of the plant as possible. Push the stem gently about half of the depth of the gravel substrate. Be careful not to overcrowd. You want to leave enough space so that the lower leaves will get sufficient light to thrive.

Now finish filling your tropical fish aquarium with water continuing to be careful not to disrupt the substrate. Plug in filter, powerheads, heater or any other equipment that you have to provide necessary water quality to sustain your fish. If your gravel or filter is not “cycled” then you will have to go through the “cycle” process. If the beneficial bacteria are already present on your substrate or filter then you can proceed with stocking your tank once the temperature is stable and water quality is where you want it. Using aquarium water testing kits can help you determine where you are in the nitrogen cycle and whether any adjustments need to be made to pH.

Lighting should be sufficient for the type of plants you choose, the depth of the tank you have, and the look you want to create for viewing the fish and plants. Light bulbs for tropical fish tank plants should be put on a timer for 12 to 14 hours a day. The timer will make sure that the amount of light each day is consistent for photosynthesis. Adjust number of hours per day according to the plant requirements. Too little light and the plants will not grow or will start to die, and too much light will cause algae to become a problem.

Because there are so many choices of tropical fish tank plants and the way they can be arranged, this article purposely did not mention any particular ones. It is better that you research at local pet and fish stores and online to see what plants and decorations might interest you in order to make your aquarium as unique as can be.

Article Name
Tropical Fish Tank Plants
There are many factors that go into successful keeping of any fresh water aquarium. Keeping live plants has it's own perils and rewards.

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