How To Get Lush Green Aquarium Plants | 5 Points To Check

Live aquatic plants provide the best view of your aquarium. Aquarium plants provide a natural source of food and shelter for your fish. Also, the most important thing is plants produce oxygen. And absorb carbon dioxide and ammonia generated by fish.

Aquarium plants also help to create a natural ecosystem in water tanks. Therefore, think about the importance of aquatic plants.

Normally if you need to decorate and provide a better look to your tank, you decide to keep live green plants in your aquarium.

But you do not consider it deeply. Just simply buy and set up plants in your tank.

After that, you hope everything is done better, and the plant will grow properly.

But when you choose the fish for the tank, you should consider several matters, and you should highly care about it. Thus it would be best if you chose suitable and right plants for your tank. Further, you should know how to look after your live plant to keep it healthy.

To achieve it, you must pay attention to bellow factors.

How to keep aquatic plants green (How to get lush green aquarium plants)

1.Add fertilizer in the right amounts

Fertilizers act a major part in growing a healthy live plant. If you do not use fertilizers, your aquatic plants cannot grow properly due to the lack of essential nutrients. You should use the right fertilizer in the right amount.

Wrong fertilizer selection or incorrect dosage can damage your live plants.

Fertilizers can come in a liquid form, substrate form or tablet. When you use liquid fertilizer to fertilize your aquatic plant, you have to do it more frequently than using a substrate or tablet.

How often you need to apply fertilizer depends on the type of soil, the size of the plant, and the temperature of the water.

When the water temperature is below 70 Fahrenheit, you should apply less fertilizer to your plants, and at water temperatures above 80 Fahrenheit, you need to fertilize your plants frequently.

Cold water temperatures will slow the growth of the plant. The warmer condition of the water tends to speed up the growth. Which means, needs more fertilizer.

2.Proper Lighting 

Proper lighting helps photosynthesis. Aquatic plants get the lighting to photosynthesis by artificial lights instead of sunlight.

Therefore, you should provide proper lighting to your aquarium plants to reach the healthy and well grown.

Most plants need a red and blue spectrum of light. If you want to recreate this in the aquarium, use fluorescent, metal halide, or LED lighting made to emit those two spectra.

The requirement of the exact strength of light is based on the size of your aquarium. It is generally recommended to light 2W (two watts) per gallon for plant growth. You can do your lighting according to this recommendation.

But anyhow, if it does not work for your aquarium, you can adjust it accordingly.

The wattage of light in aquatic plants can vary. Because of this number of hours of light can be varied according to the need of the aquarium.

Generally, the suggested number of hours is eight to twelve hours for a planted aquarium.

However, a light timer helps you to make it easier to schedule it automatically.

If you feel that your plants are not getting enough light, you can increase or decrease the time depending on how fast you are looking for your plants to grow.

How to get lush green aquarium plants 5 points to check

3.The right type of substrate in the tank

The substrate is very important, and this directly affects the filtration, water chemistry, and especially survival of the fish as well as the aquatic plants.

The incorrect selection causes harm to the aquarium plants.

Normally there are three types of substrates such as gravel, sand, and dirt/soil.

Gravel Substrate

If you wish to use gravel substrate for your planted aquarium, Generally, this type of substrate is used only for fish aquariums. However, regular maintenance is necessary. Because you need to vacuum it regularly to remove uneaten food particles. But if there are many aquatic plants in your tank, it is better to choose another type of substrate.

 Sand Substrate

A sand substrate is the best type of substrate if you are looking for a low-maintenance substrate. A sand substrate is a clean substrate among all substrates. Sand is compact, which means that it does not allow the food particles’ penetration on the surface. If you have a good filter, you do not need to clean the tank frequently. To determine the amount of sand that you need for your aquarium, you can calculate your aquarium’s length, width, and depth and then multiply them.

A sand substrate is better for the fish aquarium as well as planted aquarium due to the low maintenance. There are two types of sand substrate. These are sandblasting sand and play sand. Sandblasting sand is rougher than normal sand and consists mainly of quartz. Play sand has a subtler consistency.

Dirt/Soil Substrate

Soil substrate is the best selection for the aquarium that has a large number of plants.

Many soil substrates are rich in nutrients. Therefore, this type of substrate is an excellent base for plant growth.

Soil substrate decreases the pH level of water, and a low pH level allows aquatic plants to absorb nutrients better.

Keep in mind, do not vacuum the soil substrate to remove fish waste and fecal matters.

Because it may absorb the soil substrate too. However, soil substrate is more expensive when comparing other substrates.

4.Check nutrient levels regularly

Many nutrients that your aquarium plant need are already included in the substrate of the aquarium. There are macronutrients such as oxygen, calcium, nitrogen, and hydrogen.

If you maintain a good aquatic environment, you have to provide few nutrients to your aquarium plants.

Magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, and carbon are the nutrients required to grow your aquatic plant healthy.

It is important to check the nutrients level of the soil and provide the required amount. You can provide the required nutrients by fertilizers.

5.Check water hardness level 

Water hardness describes the dissolved mineral content of the water. It is usually expressed in terms of the degree of hardness.

Although tropical aquatic plants prefer soft water, most plants have the ability to adapt to harder water conditions (average hardness).

Make sure to explore the exact range you can afford for the desired plants.

The optimum hardness level of planted aquarium is 3-8 dGH. When the hardness level is high, it makes it difficult to absorb the nutrients to the plants.

Therefore, you should check the hardness level of the water. In addition, you should know about the desired hardness level of your aquarium plant.

Aquarium plants turning brown and transparent

This is a common problem. The most common reason for aquarium plants turning brown is poor water quality. Aquarium plants are more sensitive to water conditions. Because if your water quality is poor, it directly affects your plant.

  • Why are my aquarium plants turning brown? Cause that affects to the color changing and Solutions

Root Cause

Solution

Excess phosphate level·       Water changes

 

·       Set up a new maintenance schedule

·       Improve water conditions with the best filtration or filter media

·       Use an iron-rich filtration

Excess nitrate and ammonia levels
Advanced iron
Poor aquarium maintenanceSet up a better schedule for maintaining the aquarium. Consider water changes, balanced fertilizer, proper filtration system.
Inadequate lighting conditionsSet up the best light system and frequently replace the bulbs. Use higher quality light fixtures to support the growth of the plant.
Inappropriate substrate for planted aquariumChoose the substrate designed for planted aquarium

Why are my aquatic plants turning yellow?

There are several reasons to yellow your aquarium plants.

Carbon deficiency

This is a very common problem in a planted aquarium. This is the main cause of poor plant growth and weakness.

Signs of carbon deficiency

  • Yellow leaves
  • Yellow plants with dead leaves
  • Stunted or weak plant growth

Deficient phosphate level

Organic phosphates are made by decaying material of the plant, fish waste, and food scraps. In addition, normally, phosphate includes tap water. It also can add through the carbon filter media, buffer solutions, and aquarium salt.

Signs of phosphate level are too low

  • Yellow patches are developed in matured leaves

New leaves are quickly turning yellow

Deficient nitrate level

The growth and development of aquarium plants and good aquatic bacteria depend on the tank’s nitrogen level. one of the aquatic forms of nitrogen includes nitrate.

Signs of deficiency of nitrate level

  • Mature plant leaves turn yellow and fall off
  • Yellow or stunted new growth

Low manganese level

Manganese is important to the growth and photosynthesis of aquarium plants.

Signs of low manganese level

  • New growth of plant looks yellow and pale
  • Develop yellow spots on the leaves

Light deficiency

Iron deficiency

Low magnesium level

Solutions for aquarium plant leaves turning yellow

  • Improve lightning
  • Used a balanced fertilizer
  • Increase CO2 level
  • Add fish or use a balanced fertilizer

How to keep aquarium plants alive before planting?

There are two best methods to keep aquarium plants alive before planting.

1.The bucket method

After buying an aquarium plant, you can put them in a bucket or other food-grade container filled with water. Keep in mind; you should treat the tap water before adding the container.

2.The paper towel method

Firstly, in this method, the aquarium plant should be wrapped in paper towels, and then it wraps with a newspaper again. After that, you should sprinkle water on it.

How long can aquatic plants stay out of water?

Most aquatic plants survive without water for 2 to 3 days as far as you protect the plant’s leaves’ moisture. Aquarium plants can be wrapped in wet paper towels to retain moisture easily.

Aquarium plants dying from the bottom up

Aquarium plants will die when roots are not settled properly, high pH level in the water, and the base is not better for the plant’s health. These reasons can be varied in each situation.

How do I keep my aquarium plants healthy?

There are few tips to keep your aquarium plants healthy.

  1. Lighting

Plants need the full spectrum of light at least 8-12 hours a day. Aquatic plants get the lighting to photosynthesis by artificial lights instead of sunlight. Therefore, you should provide proper lighting to your aquarium plants to reach the healthy and well grown. Most plants need a red and blue spectrum of light.

  1. Temperature

The tank temperature should be 75-88 degrees Fahrenheit. But this depends on the type of aquatic plants. As an example, Japanese Dwarf Rush and Anacharis are desired cooler water temperatures.

  1. pH level

Most aquarium plants’ preferable pH level is between 6.5 and 7.8. if pH level is high or low, it affects the aquarium plants badly.

  1. Changing water

You should need a 25% water change every other week. Because poor water quality affects the aquarium plants directly. Plants can be died due to poor water quality.

  1. Use a good substrate because it helps to the growth of the roots of aquarium plants.

  2. Use the right type of fertilizer in the right amount

Fertilizers act a major part in growing a healthy live plant. If you do not use fertilizers, your aquatic plants cannot grow properly due to the lack of required nutrients. You should use the right fertilizer in the right amount. Wrong fertilizer selection or incorrect dosage can damage your live plants.

  1. Check the nutrient level regularly

  2. Maintain proper water hardness level

How to fertilize aquarium plants

Before applying the fertilizers, you need to meet the right condition. The pH level is between 6.5-7.8.

Check whether the plants get enough lighting. After these conditions meet, you can apply the fertilizers to the plant.

Fertilizers can become in a liquid form or substrate form, or in the tablet.

When you use liquid fertilizer to fertilize your aquatic plant, you have to do it more frequently than using a substrate or tablet.

How often you need to apply fertilizer depends on the type of soil, the size of the plant, and the temperature of the water.

When the water temperature is below 70 Fahrenheit, you should apply less fertilizer to your plants, and at water temperatures above 80 Fahrenheit, you need to fertilize your plants frequently

How to revive aquarium plants

Aquarium plants usually die from any nutrient deficiency. Therefore, if you supplement the plants with nutrients, you can revive your aquarium plants.

Also see 10 Emergent Aquarium Plants for fish tank

Credits to Fluval Aquatics

About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am Researcher in water and environmental chemistry. I am passionate fish keeper, with years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.