How To Add Live Plants to Your Aquarium?

Aquarium Fish need an optimum environment to nourish and feed on.

For this purpose, adding Live Plants to our aquarium is the most suitable mean for providing the little aquatic creatures their nutrition and a suitable environment. Live plants are one of the biggest sources for providing them with shelter, food, and safety. The biggest benefit is that they absorb the Carbon Dioxide matter released by Fish and serve as a source of fresh oxygen. To give a realistic effect to our aquarium, adding live plants in it is the best option one can go for.

Although it requires a little more effort than the artificial ones, the results and effects that live plant gives to the tank and fish are worth it.

The only thing we need to match is the fish and the plant that we are choosing, in some cases, the results may turn out to be quite different than our needs and expectations. That was a side note by the way.

Adding live plants to your aquarium is an interesting and easy thing to do but requires various precautionary measures.

Make sure you keep the substrate, light, and fertilizer in a suitable and accurate concentration.

When the above things are made sure, you’re ready to go!

Steps to add live plants to your aquarium:

Decide which plant you should go for:

While deciding what plant you’re going to have in your aquarium, search for the requirements every plant comes with. Ask your plant dealer for the plants that best suit your convenience. Go for green fresh sectioned plants. Avoiding the plants having an old look and rotten sections will surely prove valuable to your aquarium’s environment. Bright colored plants and their leaves are the best selection for your aquarium.

Keeping all the conditions in view, you may go for the plant that best suits your feasibility.

Most convenient plants you can have

Some of the major accessible live plants that we can have for our aquarium include:

  • Java Moss.
  • Amazon Sword.
  • Java Fern
  • Water wisteria.
  • Lilaeopsis.
  • Dwarf Baby Tears
  • African Water Fern.
  • Anubias.


If you want to add any other, that’s absolutely a fine way to go too! Only make sure that you get the necessary information about the respective plant that you choose.


Preparing the tank:

The next step you need to do is preparing the tank for your plant.

Preparing the tank involves the addition of various components for setting up the environment for plants and fish.

Before moving further, make sure you put the tank at the final place because being heavier later, it will be hard to move it.


Choosing the Substrate

It is a legit perception for most of us that the bottom of the tank containing substrate serves to be a major decor element but in addition to this, choosing the accurate substrate for your tank wisely is another major thing to make sure.

Look for the one that has both of these i.e. a beautiful ambiance to give and a healthy effect on your plants and fish too.

Placing the substrate in the tank

The next step is placing the substrate in the tank now.

For that, one thing that is probably going to help the most is placing the substrate across the bottom with almost half an inch of thickness.

The thickness and quality of your substrate are going to give a proportional result to your plants. The substrate absorbs the water just like the soil does when you water a plant. It absorbs the water and nutrients so they may contribute to a healthier growth of plants.

Choosing the perfect gravel

The gravel helps to keep the plants firm and further beautify your aquarium. The gravel that you use preferably should be of small or medium-sized particles because larger ones won’t suit well anyway. You can choose the gravel which suits your choice to add a desirable look.


Placing the gravel

After layering the bottom of the tank with a substrate, the next layer to be placed is of gravel. It is another important part of setting up our tank.


Addition of water

Once the bottom of the tank is set, add water in an amount that is probably 4 inches high.

Make sure the water is poured in a way that does not disturb the substrate and gravel placed in the tank at the bottom. Adding the water in the tank will help plants stay steady at their place.

The aquarium is incomplete without an appropriate amount of water in it of course. Once the most definite part i.e. adding water is done, half of the setup is already complete but since another is still left, we need to move further with our process.

Placing the ornaments

One of the majorly favorite parts of setting up our aquarium is adding ornaments. These ornaments serve pleasingly to the eye of the viewer as well as the fish and plants in the tank. They help in maintaining fish health and a safer aquatic environment.

It is the decorative part in which we can add as much ambiance to our tanks as we want.

Now this varies from person to person. Some like to add a bright tempting effect to their aquarium, while some like keeping it simple.

That’s completely up to you.

The common ornamental materials used for tanks usually include:

  • Clay pots.
  • Rocks.
  • Plastic decorations.


Preparation of our plant:

The plant that we’re going to place in our tank usually comes with its roots fixed into a fiber or rock wool when we buy it.

To transfer that in our tanks, we need to get it separated from its base. One thing we should be careful about is separating it diligently so that no part is harmed and our plant remains safe. Since living plants are sensitive, we should be giving proper care to them. Make sure to carry them carefully.

Planting it!

As we kept into consideration, the gravel is going to help our plant stay firm and in place. Now place the plant in the tank such that it comes between the gravel pressures to stay firm.

For that, make a gap in the gravel layer with your hand and push some of them aside, so that it makes a hole like place for your plant to be placed inside. Once the roots of plants are placed in that gap, push some particles back to their place such that they cover the area around the plant to keep it strongly placed. In this way, the plant will stay in its place as it is planted in soil steadily. Its roots will be grounded by the gravel that comes on their surface. As the pressure is imposed on them, they are going to stay attached to the surface.

Addition of live plants to our hardscape:

Another facility that we have is placing a live plant on the hardscape!

It is an additional step if you want your tank to be filled with plants such that it gives an extremely natural look filled with plants. You can look for some plants that are easy to place and do not require to be fixed with the base.

Some live plants do not require a lot of care and are easy to go; such plants can even be placed on the surface with the help of simple techniques.

This can further add to the beauty of our aquarium. For the people who love to add more plants in their aquarium, this is the step that is going to help them.

Setting up a necessary light system:

Since plants need proper light to function and grow, it is necessary to put a suitable lighting system in the tank. In this way the plants will be able to perform photosynthesis. Getting proper light is essential for plants as well as fish. Fix the lights at suitable locations so the requirements are fulfilled.

Filling the rest of the aquarium with water

Once the plant is placed and the aquarium is set along with the filters and lighting system, fill the rest of the aquarium with water to take it towards completion.

When the tank is filled with water, turn your heaters and filters on as our aquarium is ready now!

You will see an extremely beautiful sight of the aquarium which has live plants placed inside. Although it requires quite an effort and attentive work for some time, the view that we get in the end is surely going to be worth everything!

Things to be careful about while adding live plants in aquarium:

After you set your aquarium and plants, it is better to add fish a few weeks later so that the nitrogen cycle gets settled and you can see if there is something that is further needed or if we got anything in excess.

The water should be cleaned more often to provide an optimum and clean environment for our plant and fish.

The water pH requirements of plants should be taken into consideration and the water should be added according to the needed pH.

Keep trimming the plants to help them maintain a clean and neat look.

Know the light requirement of your plant and set a light source in your aquarium according to that.

While you choose your plant, keep the idea of compatibility with your water conditions and fish in mind. Otherwise, it may not function out properly.

Watch for any changing conditions in your tank, if you feel the need to add some fertilizer, go for a healthier one with balanced concentrations of nutrients.

If you observe any change in the color of leaves i.e. rotten leaves or dried leaves giving the yellowish-brown appearance, then check if all nutrients are available in suitable amounts especially iron concentration.

The water temperature should be kept optimum for the healthy survival of plants.

The substrate should also be chosen keeping in view the type of plant and fish that we have.

Make sure to remove algae if you see any growth in your tank because it may harm the plants.

Advantages of choosing live plants for aquarium

Nothing can beat the look that nature delivers to its viewers. Just as the natural beauty pleases the eyes of man, it pleases the fish too, so they enjoy extremely comfortable surroundings.

Live plants give the aquarium a realistic and beautiful ambiance that the artificial plants are unable to provide.

Live plants play a major role in maintaining the health of fish. No matter how water-friendly your artificial plants are, at some point they start to give some negative effects however, live plants guarantee a safe and healthy atmosphere for the fish.

Live plants serve as good compensation when it comes to the diet of fish. Don’t worry, although fish do not eat them occasionally, just in case you forgot to feed them or there was any circumstance like that, eating a few plants is way better than being starved to death! In this case it serves as a safer point.

These plants maintain the ecosystem of fish in the aquarium.

We know that plants are the major source of producing oxygen and inhaling carbon dioxide. This process of gaseous exchange is highly important for living organisms. Live plants add to the benefits by giving oxygen and inhaling Carbon dioxide produced by the fish. It helps them maintain their metabolic processes and function healthily.

Another benefit of adding live plants to your aquarium is that they reduce the possibility of algae production significantly. No matter how many chemicals we use, if the plants are artificial, they are not going to be able to stop the growth of algae.

However for live plants, they already consume a large number of nutrients that no nutrients are left to be fed to algae and resultantly, it stops growing there.

In conclusion, live plants are no less than a perfect option for your aquarium fish!

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