It is common to see a pond full of thriving water lilies, lotus, hyacinth and algae in the wild. However, when we get some aquatic plants to grow in an aquarium or ponds in our homes, they don't look as healthy. As in the wild, nature takes care of a plant's needs, but while creating a similar environment at home, we miss out on some basic details.
Primarily there are two types that grow in water: floating and rooted. The former floats and grows on the surface of the water, whereas the rooted ones grow on the water bed. There are many more species that are categorized under these two types.
Caring for aquatic plants involves a perfect balance between light, CO2, and nutrients. These plants oxygenate water, thereby contributing to maintain a balanced water pH. Photosynthesis is essential for this purpose. Without adequate light, they stop growing, eventually rotting and dying. However, some survive in murky and low-light waters.
Supplementation of CO2 is also needed to promote growth, as carbon dioxide is essential for the photosynthetic process. Light and CO2 go hand in hand. A canister filter or tank, which has the capacity to release CO2 periodically in the aquarium, may also be used.
Besides this, other nutrients needed such as potassium, iron, nitrogen, phosphorus, hydrogen, magnesium, etc., can also be supplemented through water soluble fertilizers. One should be careful while adding these supplements, so that the pH balance of the water is not disturbed.
Keep an eye for all dead roots, as these will rot in the substrate. For plants that are grown through tubers or rhizomes, they should be placed at an angle where their tips are above the substrate. Water needs to be changed, but at long intervals. Keep the aquarium clean at all times to inhibit the growth of fungus or algae.
Choose from any of the following plants to grow in your aquarium: Indian fern, water lilies, Java fern, sword plant, vallisneria, etc. With some basic care, one can have an aquarium or a water pond full of happy and thriving plants!