How to Grow Freshwater Aquarium Plants

What You'll Need
Freshwater plants
A fluorescent light
Carbon dioxide cannister
Water test strips
Pea gravel

Freshwater aquarium plants require light, water and food to survive and thrive. Some of these plants also require soil to support their root systems. Real freshwater plants help to provide a natural environment for the fish in your aquarium. They provide oxygen and absorb toxins. It is vital to take special care in maintaining your plants in order to keep your aquarium healthy.

Step 1 - Laying Substrates

Lay substrates on the bottom of your aquarium to add rich minerals. It can be an expensive purchase at an aquarium supply store, so you can create your own if you like. Cover the bottom of the tank with a thin layer of laterite, and cover the laterite with pea gravel. Use pea gravel of differing sizes to provide support for the plant roots.

Step 2 – Planting the Aquarium Plants

Visit your local pet or garden shop to purchase your plants. Aquarium plants come in a variety of forms including: potted, floating and bundled plants. Drop the floating plants into the aquarium with the roots facing downward. Keep the plants away from your filter. Dig a hole in the substrate for the potted plants. Position the roots in the hole with a long stick. Bundled plants can be dropped into the tank and the weight strip attached to them will sink them. If you would like, you can remove the weight strip and dig the roots in the substrate yourself.

Step 3 – Providing Light

Aquarium plants require a great deal of light. Attach a fluorescent light fixture to your aquarium to provide an extended amount of light to the plant life. Your plants will require about ten hours of light every day. Fluorescent lights are available in a range of intensities ranging from low light to high light. Be sure to choose the correct intensity of light for you plants.

Step 4 – Adding Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide is an important material in the photosynthesis process. This chemical is a byproduct of the waste of the fish in the tank. Plants that use higher levels of carbon dioxide will require the addition of a carbon dioxide canister in the tank. While this addition may seem complicated, it is required for exotic plants to thrive.

Step 5 – Adding Fertilizer

You will need to add fertilizer to your tank in order to provide your plants with optimal nutrients. Fertilizers are available in liquid and tablets forms. You can purchase them from your local pet store. Read the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the fertilizer before you add it to your aquarium.

Step 6 – Maintaining Water Quality

The water quality in your aquarium is important to the life of your plants. Change the water frequently as suggested. Also check the pH, ammonia and nitrate levels every day and make adjustments wherever necessary.