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Aquatic Plant Care

Aquatic Plant Care
It is important to pay special attention to aquatic plants so that they thrive in a domestic environment. This article gives a few pointers about the water quality, lighting, nutrition, etc. needed by such plants, to help you give them appropriate aquatic plant care.
Gardenerdy Staff
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. The reason is obvious; 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.

Types

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.
  • Floating plants: These do not attach to the water bed, however they have roots that are usually found hanging in the water. Some of the common ones known are duckweed and water hyacinth.
  • Rooted Plants: These have roots firmly attached to the water bed. A few may emerge above the water's surface, while some never do. Common ones include pondweed, hydrilla, etc.
Basic Care

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. This detail will need to checked at the store you purchase it from. Two watts per gallon is a general rule. Fluorescent bulbs can be used effectively, but for dense and/or deep tanks, halide and mercury vapor lights are recommended.

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.

Do not over crowd the aquarium. Grow only healthy plants and scout for decaying or dead leaves. 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!
Growing coral in aquarium
Image of aquarium / tropical fish tank with guppies, plastic plants
Freshwater aquarium plant, Carolina fanwort (Cabomba) / Canadian pondweed (Elodea), fish tank