Quick Guide to Aquarium Plants



After becoming successful aquarium hobbyists, many people decide to try their hand at keeping aquarium plants. The general hope is that if they are successful with a few plants, then they might one day be able to show off a show-quality planted tank with a variety of healthy and vibrant aquarium plants.

A great planted tank will have plants in a variety of heights, colors, and leaf types. Here you will find a quick guide to a variety of aquarium plants, including the bulb, stem, rosette, rhizome, and floating plants.

Stem plants are the most common and basic type of aquarium plant. As one might suspect, a stem plant’s structure is supported by a strong stem. Both leaves and roots grow from this main stem as the plant matures. To plant a stem plant, strip the bottom inch or more of any leaves. This section, along with any roots, is firmly stuck into the gravel or aquarium sand. After several days to a week, the roots will firmly anchor the plant into the substrate and fresh leaves will start growing.

Several aquarium plant species are of the bulb variety. These dried and dormant bulbs are buried approximately halfway into the gravel. In a few short days they will begin to sprout leaves at the top and roots at the bottom. Because the bulb stores extra energy and nutrients, you will be surprised at how quickly these plants (example: the lace plant) grow into beautiful specimens.

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Rosette plants include vallisneria and Amazon sword aquarium plants (and many more). These are different from stem plants in that all the new leaves arise from the rosette which stays mostly in the substrate. Each leaf has its own stem-like petiole which grows to varying heights. These types of aquarium plant are planted by burying the crown of the plant. For cryptocoryes, the crown should be just under the surface of the gravel, but many other species require the tip of the crown to remain above the level of the gravel to ensure success!

Floating plants include such species as hornwort, duckweed, and many more. They are available in species with roots and without roots! Adding this type of aquarium plant to your fish tank couldn’t be easier – just throw them in! The roots of such plants as frogbit and duckweed make great hang-out spots for the babies of many species of fish!

Rhizome plants have a structure that grows along above the surface of the substrate. leaves and roots sprout from this structure. For most species, the rhizome should be left above the gravel, letting the roots grow down to secure the plant. Not heeding this tip will cause the rhizome to die off, unfortunately. Great examples of this type of plant are the anubias species which are quite popular!

Hopefully you know enough to properly plant your next aquarium plants! Keep at it and one day you will have a great show quality planted fish tank!

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