From Plastic To Live Plants
Having a thriving freshwater planted aquarium is what many hobbyists thrive to achieve. It is an incredible learning curve from owning a fish tank with fake plants and decor to a lush underwater garden filled with live plants. Many different measures must be considered when adding live plants into an aquarium. Primarily lighting requirements and a plant’s supplementary needs. Before really diving into all the different aquatic plants that are available check out the 3 plants that I believe are excellent for beginner plant growers. If you’re a pro at keeping plants and want to really test your skills, check out this list of 4 beautiful expert level plants.
There are many different varieties of anubias out on the market ready to be scooped up by aquarium keepers. Most, if not all, are incredibly hardy and do well in mid to low light fish tanks. The anubias usually does quite well without any special fertilzation or CO2 systems.They don’t even need to be put into substrate.
The anubias can easily be put into driftwood or wedged in between rocks. They’re an excellent starter plants for beginner planted tank keepers. The plant has very broad leaves and help create a unique structure in an aquarium setting. Check out this guide on anubias care.
2. Java Fern
Java fern is an excellent starter plant for aquarium keepers. They are a great mid ground plant that will do perfectly well living in moderate to low lighting, just like the anubias. Java fern is considered an “amphibious” plant because it can live partially or fully submerged. This plant spreads mainly through rhizomes and can happily take over parts of your aquarium if not managed properly.
Finding plants that do well with South American cichilds lively personalities is sometimes hard but java fern is one that should do alright with those gloriously tough fish. It can also be placed on driftwood or in between rocks although it is not as commonly done as with the anubias.
Cryptocoryne otherwise known as crypts are also a fantastic and easy to grow plant for a beginner dipping their toes in planted fish tanks. Cryptocoryne wendtii is more or less the one I am specifically talking about. This plant grows very well in low to medium lighting and it spreads wonderfully through rhizomes.
I personally had one that spread rhizome from one side of the aquarium to the other. Its leaf coloration will range from green to red to brown which is dependent on how much light it receives and amount of nutrients in the water. It is a plant with a lot of variability and will add quite a bit of personality into your aquarium.
These 3 species of plants can do very well with as little as good lighting, a substrate intended for plants, and fish waste! If they are in your aquarium and they seem to not be doing well test your water with a freshwater test kit to make sure your water parameters fall within your plant’s range. The plant’s pH range from 6.0 – 7.5 so be sure it falls within that range. Depending on the amount of fish in your aquarium, there may not be enough natural fertilizer (fish poop) to keep your plants happy so consider providing some liquid fertilizer such as: Flourish which is an all around supplement for plants and Flourish Excel which is a CO2 supplement. There are many other fertilizers out there but this is a good start for supplementation. Read the instructions carefully because adding too much of Flourish will cause algae blooms and too much Flourish Excel can cause harm to your fish because it is practically CO2 in a bottle!
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