7 Tips for How to Keep Live Plants in an Aquarium – Lighting & Substrate

In this post, I wrote things that will make a difference in your tank quickly, and you will learn how to keep live plants in your tank, and how to succeed in growing healthy plants in your planted aquarium.

Freshwater Plants Lighting

Having good lighting in an aquarium is super important because plants use the light for photosynthesis processes, and if you don’t have good enough light in your aquarium the plants will perish.

It’s important that you have a light that’s bright enough for the plants, to receive the light and use it to grow. Keep live plants in the new aquarium, photosynthesize for about 14 hours a day at max. So it’s important that you also have the light on a timer, so it can have periods where it makes sorts of energy during photosynthesis and periods where it can take a break and use energy to grow.

It’s also important to be cautious about how bright the light is. Because if lights too bright in the aquarium, it can actually stress fish and shrimp out and cause them to die.

Nutrient-Rich Substrate

While most of a plant uses nutrients from outside of the leaves, it’s also important that you have nutrients inside the ground for the roots to soak up. These nutrients are really important for the development of the roots of the plant, so the plant needs to actually soak into the substrate, so it can’t float away and the nutrients inside the substrate are super important for this.

It’s important that you don’t use a grain-like pebbles, or too big of a size of a mineral so that the plants can actually grow into it, so I recommend something like a really fine gravel or sand and I’m sure they’ll create some success with the development of the roots of a plant.

Freshwater Live Plants Fertilizer

Another thing that will rapidly increase the health and the growth of plants, is adding fertilizers to the soil. These come in forms of tablets and they’re available in the link below.

Greenpro Fertilizer Tablets

Co2 In The Water

Co2 can be quite expensive to have, and quite tricky to maintain in an aquarium. Co2 kits can range from about $100 to $300, depending on the quality and size of the Co2 kit. Adding carbon dioxide gas to the aquarium water would dramatically increase the growth rate of plants and the health of the plants as well.

Do Freshwater Plants Need Co2?

Having Co2 in the aquarium is not essential and I don’t keep Co2 kits in most of my aquariums. Having a Co2 kit requires a lot of attention and maintenance because you have to make sure that you don’t poison your fish, by adding too much Co2 into the aquarium.

Planted Tank with Co2

Balance Of Fish To Plants

Plants use nutrients from fish waste to grow and develop, and having a good ratio of fish to plants in your aquarium is beneficial for both parties as well both. One will take all the bad nutrients and toxins out of the aquarium and use it to grow, and the other one will maintain because it will have healthy water.

But if you have not enough live plants and too many fish in your aquarium, the plants will not be able to keep up with the number of toxins in the water and will actually kill off the fish. I wouldn’t worry too much about this happening, because plants and fish will often balance each other out and end up creating a really steady ecosystem by themselves.

But it’s important to keep this away, and in the back of your mind in case it does happen.

Too Many Floating Plants

Floating plants are very beneficial for the aquarium because they take out large amounts of toxins out of the water. But having too many of them can actually cover the surface of the aquarium water and not allow any light to go through to bottom aquarium plants.

This will dramatically limit the growth of the plants in the substrate, and can often kill them, so it’s important to make sure that you don’t have too many floating plants like Duckweed or Frogbit covering up the surface of your aquarium and limiting the light that can go through to the bottom plants.

Tank Mates

You have to make sure that you have good tank mates for the plants you’re keeping.

What Freshwater Fish Eat Plants?

Some fish will eat the plants in your aquarium, and of course, this isn’t going to work because the plant will just die straight away, so it’s important to make sure you do your research before you buy any plant and any fish and you mix them together because often cichlids and other aggressive fish will eat the plants in the aquarium, and the goldfish are known for this as well, so the plants won’t be able to keep up with the eating and will often die.

So before you buy any plant, make sure that you have good tank mates for the plant and that it can be safe from being eaten.

Types Of Plants You Are Growing

Some plants grow fast and some plants grow slowly, some plants require different parameters and others so it’s important to know what kind of plant you’re growing and the things you need.

Some live plants require Co2 to be successful in an aquarium, so it’s really important that you do your research before you buy any plant, and make sure that you have an aquarium that will suit the needs of this plant.

I recommend plants that grow pretty fast and are easily maintained for beginners
like java moss and Vallisneria, and they’re all perfect for beginner fish keepers. But if you’re after something a little bit riskier and something a bit harder to take care of I definitely recommend stuff like a Dwarf Baby Tears, Dwarf Hairgrass, and other carpeting plants, because they’re quite a challenge to take care of and they’re also really rewarding.

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