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Tag Archives: Aquarium Plants

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Aquascaping – Proper Techniques for Planting Aquatic Plants

Amazon SwordLive plants are to the freshwater aquarist what live corals are to the saltwater reef aquarist. They add a natural look to the tank, can benefit the water quality and other livestock and can be a challenge to maintain and “aqua-scape” into just the right look for the aquarium. Just as corals need to be placed in the right area of the aquarium and secured correctly so they can remain healthy and thriving, so also do plants need to be planted correctly and appropriately. Knowing how to best plant different types of live plants that you may have will help them thrive. Keep in mind however that these are general guidelines. Some plants prefer larger or smaller substrates or may have special considerations for their species.

Bunched Plants

Bunched plants are popular and common. Though their appearance, care and requirements vary, “bunched plants” are all sold as bundled individual stem cuttings held together with a metal plant anchor or rubber band.  These plants generally root within a week or two and the growing tips can be pruned and replanted to make new plants. Some bunched plants like hornwort an anacharis, can be left floating on the water’s surface. You can plant each stem of a bunch individually by inserting the end into the substrate, or keep them in their bunches for a bushier look. The plant anchors or rubber bands can be removed once the plant is rooted in place. Read More »

Nymphaea lotus (zenkeri) – The Tiger Lotus, a Beast of a Plant

When you look at the hobby today, one can see that the popularity of freshwater planted aquaria has really taken off. With the cost of lighting and CO2 systems becoming more reasonable, it is becoming easier to keep a lushly planted aquarium than ever before. Not only has cost of equipment become more reasonable, but the selection of plants available at most hobby stores has certainly grown.

All kinds of plants are being cultivated for the aquarium hobby now. Everything from standard Amazon swords (Echinodorus bleheri) to new strains of Cryptocoryne that produce orange and pink and green leaves. Some plants available are certainly challenging, while other plants are virtually maintenance free. All plants that have needs, and when those needs are met they flourish and can become real centerpieces for your aquarium. One perfect example is the African Tiger Lotus – Nymphaea lotus (zenkeri). Read More »

Why Did My Plant Do That? – Part 2 – Melting Cryptocorynes

Hello, Craig here again with with another answer to a common plant problem! This time I’d like to address a problem some aquarists have with Cryptocorynes. Crypts are generally described as hardy, low maintenance plants, but not everyone finds them to be that way.

Why do my Crypts look like they’re melting?

So, you are standing in a fish store and over hear someone talking about Crypt Rot. Sounds pretty nasty doesn’t it? They aren’t talking about mummies or some weird disease you get from exploring pyramids. They are talking about an unfortunate problem with an otherwise very sturdy group of plants known as Crypts.

Crypt WendtiiMembers of the Cryptocoryne genus are well known and well established within the aquarium hobby. The most popular of the Crypts, Cryptocoryne wendtii, is tolerant of lower light, higher heat, and just about anything else you can throw at it. Though there are some types that can be tricky to keep, the species that are regularly available to hobbyists are certainly considered to be among the most reliable and versatile plants around. Read More »

Why Did My Plant Do That? Exploring Some Common Aquarium Plant Problems – Part 1

UruguayensisHello, Craig here again! With 15 years on the retail side of this hobby, I have been asked a lot of questions, many of which have been centered on the well-being and growth of live plants for the freshwater aquarium.  In my next couple of entries, I thought I would explore some frequently asked questions about aquarium plants. Here we go!

Why is my sword plant losing leaves when I just bought it?

As a general rule, most aquarium plants are not actually true aquatic plants. Most of them are found along the banks of rivers, streams, or lakes. This is the case with Echinodorus sword plants. In their natural environment wild Echinodorus are very rarely fully submerged and some individuals may never be fully submerged. Rainy seasons are part of what allows hobbyists to keep these beautiful plants in a fully aquatic environment!

When swords are cultivated at an aquatic nursery, they are typically grown in a bog like setting, or even grown hydroponically in a greenhouse. The growth rate of an emerge-grown sword is more rapid and transportation and shipping of that plant tends to be safer than if the plant was grown completely submerged. Knowing that the plant has been grown emerged helps to explain why some of the leaves die off when you get the plants to your home aquarium.  It helps to explain why, even though you have a nutrient rich substrate and bright light, your swords still seem like they are dying. When that plant is fully submerged in water, the growth form changes somewhat. Those long, rigid stems and smaller leaves that you see will begin to decay shortly after the plant is placed fully underwater. Once you see that emerge-grown leaf start to turn brown, simply clip it off near the base of the stem and the plant will pop a new leaf out to replace it. This new leaf will grow from the center of the sword’s rosette and will often have a slightly different shape and/or color. The new growth may start slow, but adding the proper nutrients will ensure that the sword maintains growth. Fortunately, most plants make the transition to fully submerged form rather quickly and easily!

So, next time you see a big beautiful Sword that you can’t resist , just show a little patience and give it a little pruning. You will be amazed how resilient swords can be!

Thanks, Until Next Time,

Craig

Acceptable Plants for Bettas – Common Aquarium Questions

Bettas have long been popular as beautiful, low maintenance pets.  They are visually appealing and easy to care for, a terrific option as a child’s first fish or someone on the go.  We’re happy to answer questions about these terrific little fish any time, as with this one sent to Marinebio@thatpetplace.com:

Nancy Wrote:

I am wondering which plants are okay for betta fish. I will be doing many bowls and would like variety if possible. I wasn’t seeing anything specific on your plant info and I certainly don’t want to harm the fish!

Marine Bio Wrote:

Plants are a great addition to any betta set-up, whether you choose plastic, silk, or live varieties.  They let the fish feel safe and secure by providing cover with their roots or foliage.  Bettas do not eat the plants, but some plants can be toxic. If you want to use a plant that comes out of the top of the bowl or vase, choose a Spathiphyllum sp., commonly known as a peace lily, “Lucky Bamboo” which is actually a Dracaena sp., or many types of vining philodendrons can work as well. You can find a wide variety of foliage shape and color in these plants. For example, there is a variegated from of peace lily called ‘Domino’, and several different philodendrons that should be safe and will root in the water.  If you want plants that are submerged, try a strand of anacharis or hornwort, or a small cluster of riccia or Java moss. The main issue with keeping aquatic plants vibrant would be making sure that they have enough light. The plants I listed above should work in lower light conditions fairly well. A well lit room with lots of natural light coming in from windows would be sufficient. Just remember that you do not want to keep the betta bowls in the window because sunlight coming through the window can actually heat the bowl up if it is lit directly by the sunlight. Also, at night, the window tends to be one of the colder spots in the house. So the fluctuating temperatures would be bad for the fish.

For more information on bettas and their care, please read these helpful articles in our archives:

http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/displayArticle.web?Filename=../Article_archive/Fish/Betta_Basics.html

http://blogs.thatpetplace.com/thatfishblog/2008/06/26/carnival-fish-part-2-the-betta/