6 Tips on Having A Lush Planted Aquarium
What are the tips on having a lush planted aquarium?
- Know your plants’ water parameters
- Invest in the right substrate
- Determine the beneficial lighting level
- Consider buying fertilizer
- Stay on top of algae growth
- Limit fish population
Most people looking to pursue aquascape in the Philippines often wonder about how to maintain a lush planted aquarium. After all, planted tanks allow you to combine the beauty of nature with the benefits of a balanced ecosystem. Keep in mind, however, that planted aquariums require proper planning. Special attention should be paid when it comes to combining the right plants, substrate, nutrients, filters, lighting, and livestock. To help you out, here are six tips on having a lush planted aquarium.
Know Your Plants’ Water Parameters
By definition, aquatic plants are plants that can thrive emersed or immersed underwater. But, different aquatic plants have different levels of care. Plants grow optimally when they are kept in an aquarium that best suits their needs. Check their compatibility with water parameters.
The three main water parameters to consider are pH, water hardness, and water temperature.
- pH – Most aquatic plants tolerate a pH water range between 6.5 and 7.5. However, some sensitive ones have a narrower pH tolerance.
- Water hardness – This is typically expressed in the degree of hardness. Though aquatic plants tend to prefer softer water, there are also others that are easy to care for and tolerate hard water conditions.
- Water temperature – Though most aquatic plants do well within a temperature range of 70 to 80 degrees, there are others that prefer cooler water temperatures.
If you are a beginner at aquascaping, you might want to try the Amazon Sword, Anubias Nana, or Hornwort as these are easier to care for. To add to that, consider selecting plants that share common water parameters. This will make it easier to maintain ideal water conditions.
Invest In The Right Substrate
Choosing the right substrate is essential for attaining success with lush plants. Unfortunately, you cannot just look at a stunning aquascape and copy the substrate it uses because each tank has slightly different water conditions.
There are different types of substrates such as pebbles, sand, gravel, and soil, but the general rule in aquascaping is to choose one that stores and offers nutrients for the plants. This is why expert aquascapists test their substrate to find out what nutrients they are missing.
A good quality substrate promotes plant growth with its rich natural organic compounds. Some substrates even provide buffering pH and soften the water. Don’t forget that you can layer multiple substrates that are infused with iron and other minerals for lush plants.
Another key point to remember is grain size. Fine sand and small-grained gravels would work best as they do not allow more uneaten livestock food and waste to penetrate the bottom part of the tank, which leads to toxic buildups if not cleaned.
Determine The Beneficial Lighting Level
It is well-known that light is the source of energy for plants to photosynthesize, even aquatic plants. However, the type of plants you have will also dictate the lighting level you need.
Most beginners in aquascaping do not have adequate lighting to properly sustain their aquatic plant species. Some plants have more specific needs. For example, some aquarium plants need a high level of lighting such as Dwarf Hairgrass, Cabomba Red, Blyxa Aubertii, and Alternanthera Reineckii Rosanervig. Under insufficient lighting, these plants decay or demonstrate poor growth.
Most lush planted aquariums benefit from full-spectrum lighting and generally have about 10 to 12 hours of light daily. Here is how you can identify the different lighting levels:
- Low lighting – 1 watt per gallon
- Moderate lighting – 2 watts per gallon
- High lighting – 3-4 watts per gallon
Consider Buying Fertilizer
Consider buying fertilizers as they can enhance plant’s growth significantly. This can include iron, magnesium, potassium, and other nutrients that do nothing but produce lush plants.
Along with an enriched substrate, a fish-safe, iron-based fertilizer can enhance your plant’s overall vitality.
Just be sure to keep an eye on how much the fertilizer is boosting plant growth. There are fast-growing plants like the Limnophila Aromatica that can quickly reach above the surface waterline if left unpruned. Overgrowing plants can block other plants from receiving essential light.
Stay On Top Of Algae Growth
Planted aquariums require a clean environment for optimal growth. For this reason, staying on top of algae growth should be your priority. Algae is an organism that takes advantage of excess light to multiply. It competes with plants for lights and nutrients, which can hamper having a lush planted aquarium.
Limit The Fish Population
Unlike a traditional aquarium, plants are clearly the primary focus of planted aquariums with fish only being a complementary aspect. Consider limiting the fish population or carefully select the fish you place inside the tanks. There are herbivorous fishes that are avid grazers and uproot plants. You can also choose to have algae-eating livestock instead! This way, you get to keep your lush plants and even have fun creatures in the tank.
This guide rounded up the six tips on having a lush planted aquarium. With the proper planning, planted aquariums can be extremely beautiful and rewarding to maintain.
With that in mind, Aquascape Philippines has all the things you need to bring your dream lush planted aquarium to life. Click here to check out our wide array of aquatic plants, substrates, filters, livestock, and other ornate aquarium accessories.