FISH / fun & fashion
How to Grow Aquatic Plants for Your Tank
Decorating your fish tank with live plants
5 things to know about aquatic plants
- Purpose: Plants help regulate the aquarium ecosystem by removing harmful chemicals from the water
- Size: They grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall
- Lifespan: They can live from 1 to 5 years
- Habitat: Aquatic plants thrive in a tropical community aquarium
- Did You Know: Some fish species will eat plants or uproot them. However, most tropical community fish will not harm plants
How do I set up my aquarium for aquatic plants?
- To grow properly, aquarium plants need 8 to 12 hours daily of simulated sunlight. Set up the aquarium near a power source (but out of the real sun). Then use a hood light on the tank to provide the rays.
- The amount of light your aquarium will need depends on the size of the tank. The table below shows how much lighting to install or equivalent LED.
- When considering plants for your tank, don’t choose so many that there isn’t enough room left over for the fish.
- Layer the bottom of the aquarium with 2 to 3 inches (5-8 cm) of aquarium gravel (that’s about 1½ pounds of gravel per gallon of water), or other substrate designed for plants.
- Add aquarium-plant fertilizer according to the instructions on the label.
- Fill the aquarium halfway with water.
- Add plants. Bury them in the gravel up to the base of their stems. For bulbs and tubers, cover the bulb with gravel up to the growing tip.
- Add fish furniture, rocks, thermometers and any other aquarium accessories.
- Finish filling the tank with water.
Where should I place plants in the aquarium?
- Use foreground plants, which stay short, in the front of the tank.
- Use middle-ground plants, which grow about 4 to 10 inches (10-25 cm) tall, along the sides and to leave an open swimming area near the center of the aquarium.
- Use the tallest plants to hide the aquarium’s filter tubes and heaters, against the back wall of the aquarium.
How do I keep aquarium water clean?
- For optimum water quality, change 10% of the water each week, or 25% each month.
- Regular water changes not only prevent the undesirable accumulation of solid wastes, but also remove nitrates and other waste products of the fish and plants.
- PetSmart offers free aquarium-water testing. Bring in a sample of your aquarium water and we can test the quality within minutes.
How do I keep aquatic plants healthy?
If you notice any of the signs described below, speak with a PetSmart store associate about the health of your plant:
- Brown spots on leaves
- Pale green to yellowish leaves
- Plants cease to grow and die off
- Rotting bulbs
- Algae in the aquarium
- Take care when growing semi-aquatic (that is, not fully aquatic) plants in an aquarium. Semi-aquatic plants do best when their roots are submerged in the gravel underwater, but their tops grow above the water surface.
PET SAFETY TIPS
- Thoroughly wash and rinse your hands before contact with your aquarium.
- Aquatic animals and plants can transmit disease to humans. Wash your hands with soap and water after interacting with your aquarium. Children, pregnant women, elderly people and people with immune-system problems should take extra care. Adults should assist children with hand washing.
- Keep aquatic plants and habitats away from food and areas where food is prepared.
- Do not dispose of aquatic plants in the wild. They may harm the environment.
Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program, designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well being of our pets.
Our vendors meet a high standard in caring for pets and screening them for common illnesses. This program also includes specific standards for in-store pet care.
If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.