Aquatic Plants – Tips for Beginners
• Live aquatic plants in a fish tank make it look more appealing to the eye and also serve as a good environment for your fish. You should, therefore, choose the best plants in relation to you and your fish’s needs. For beginners, I would recommend plants like Crypts, Anubias and the Java fern that are easy to grow, come in different shapes and sizes and are relatively low light plants. These aquatic plants are mainly sold in pet stores at a very affordable price. These plants do not require a lot of high tech equipment in order to grow and thus this makes them very cost effective.
• What is its purpose? As I have mentioned earlier, live plants give a natural look to your fish tank and ensure they have a nice environment. They also provide a surface area for bacteria to grow, this bacteria help in the nitrogen cycle where the excess ammonia in the water is sort of filtered out by these plants. Fish also tend to interact with live aquatic plants in a more realistic fashion than plastic decoration plants.
• The aquatic plants I have mentioned above are quite handy as they do not require that much maintenance as compared to other complex plants. Make sure you have proper lighting for your plants as this helps them in their growth. Keep the temperature of the water in the mid-’70s to ’80s which is a good temperature for aquatic plants to grow. Also, make sure that you keep the pH of the water in check. Typically these plants grow well in a neutral pH of about 6 and up to a high of 8.
• The substrate for these beginner aquatic plants is really not a big factor to consider. You can use either gravel or sand. Don’t go with big size gravel as the roots will find it difficult to grow. Standard gravel you buy from the pet store can do the job well.
• Avoid large water changes as this can be very stressful for your fish. Small water changes done over a period of time is beneficial as it introduces new nutrients to the plants and fish contributing to their healthy growth.
• These plants also need more sources of nutrients, they do get nutrients from the fish waste that settles on the substrate but this is not enough, you can add fertilizer bought once more from your local pet store and this will give you nice green plants in which the fish feels right at home. Make sure you read the instructions for the fertilizer well so that you do not end up hurting the fish by applying too much.