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Fish Tank Gardening for Beginners

Last week we talked about building the right temperament when it came to starting your very first freshwater fish tank. This week, let’s talk about gardening. Fish tank gardening, of course! If gardening brings feelings of hard effort and hot sun, this type of gardening is much better. We will be going over a beginners’ guide to the five most common aquatic plants.

Before we begin, we need to bring up the fact that not all fish are plant friendly (i.e.: Some cichlids like low growing plants, but add anything tall and they will keep uprooting the new green addition). Make sure your tank has the right mix of fish. If you aren’t sure, you can always ask any of the knowledgeable staff at any of our stores. Keeping live plants can be an easy feat with a little guidance to help your chances of success. We’ve decided to pick several top aquatic for beginners to maximize on those chances.

Anubias Nana (Anubias barteri ‘nana’)

There are a variety forms of Anubias Barteri, that have been developed for aquarium use, with Anubias Nana being the most commonly found. Anubias plants are known for their broad, thick, dark green leaves. It is an extremely resilient plant, which can be kept with fish that may eat other more delicate species. This plant thrives in low to medium light aquariums, and a wide range of water conditions making it the perfect addition to the beginner aquatic plant gardener.

Amazon Sword (Echinodorus bleheri)

There are many types of aquatic swords which a freshwater tank can grow, but the Amazon Sword is one of the m ost popular aquarium plants used in the hobby, and is most likely what most people visualize when they think “aquarium plants”. These plants are tolerant of a wide range of water conditions, and can grow quite large. These plants also survive in low to medium light, but will thrive in medium to high light levels if they are provided. Be careful not to plant smaller species close to this plant, as it will overshadow smaller plants in a short amount of time.

Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides)

Water Sprite is very common. Water Sprite can be sold under different names including: Water Fern, Indian Fern and Indian Water Fern. A Water Sprite plant is one of the more versatile aquarium plants around. It can thrive either being planted in substrate or be left floating in the water.The good news is that Water Sprite is generally an easy plant to care for. Water Sprite care is known to be easy because the plant is adaptable to a wide range of water conditions and light levels. This plant can grow like a weed, taking over a tank pretty quickly. So Water Sprite growth needs to be kept in check with regular trimming.

Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus)

Java Fern is a hardy plant that tolerates a wider range of conditions. They are known to tolerate lower lighting as well as the higher pH and hard water of cichlid aquariums. Even aquariums with higher lighting. They may even be used in brackish water aquariums with low salinity. That is just how hardy they are. This plant can easily be attached to driftwood and rockwork, and can form a dense covering on these structures if allowed. Mature plants have been known to grow leaves up to a foot in length. Incredible!


Cryptocoryne (Cryptocoryne wendtii)

Cryptocoryne wendtii is one of the most popular of the Cryptocoryne plant family, which are more commonly called Crypts. They are adaptable to most aquarium conditions, although the conditions in which it lives will often affect its shape and form. When grown in lower light, the plant will become taller and narrower. Crypts grown in higher light will typically remain more compact with broader leaves. The color can also vary greatly. Some of the most popular variations in the aquarium trade are green, red and bronze. This plant can add a lovely addition of colour and flair to your newly growing garden and is highly recommended.

If you’ve ever considered trying a freshwater planted tank, but did not know where to start, we recommend you give some of these plants a try. Once you see how easy it can be, you’ll be hooked on growing these greens, and you’ll surely be on your way to becoming a master aquatic gardener.

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