How to Root Aquatic Plants
Keeping, maintaining and growing new aquatic plants can be a great joy. Aquatic plants add a new dimension to your aquarium, as they can add color, health and vibrancy.
Growing and rooting your aquatic plants can be just as easy as regular house plants. They have certain lighting and fertilizer requirements that, when paid attention to, will help you grow a very healthy aquatic garden.
Step 1 - Clean Out Aquarium
Plants needs a clean place for their root system to begin, in order for the plant to develop a foundation and grow. Rinse out the aquarium you are going to use. Clean the aquarium with warm water and soap. Rinse out all soap residue with warm water and then cool water.
Step 2 - Remove Damaged Leaves
Before placing your aquatic plants into any aquarium (and expecting them to take root), you will need to remove any damaged leaves. Through the process of transporting aquatic plants, leaves, stems, and roots can become damaged. Thoroughly inspect each part of the plant, and remove any areas that are damage.
Step 3 - Place Substrate in Aquarium
Substrate refers to the material that you will be using at the bottom of your aquarium. It is similar to soil, but not as fine. Usually this is a very small stone or similar aggregate. The substrate is necessary for the plants to be able to set their roots, receive nutrients and propagate.
Line the bottom of the aquarium with the substrate that is necessary for the plants you will be using. Plants that have longer roots will need a deeper level than those with shorter roots. As a general rule, you should be alright with a 2 to 4 inch depth.
Step 4 - Insert Plants into Substrate
Plant the aquatic plants into the substrate so they can start to develop their root systems. Place the plants into the substrate, up to the point where the leaves meet the roots. If you have a new cutting, or a new plant, then you will need to set the plant a little deeper to give it room for the roots to develop. If you are planting aquatic plants like tubers, then set them at an angle making sure the shoots are just above the substrate.
Step 5 - Consider Placement
Do not mix tall and shorter plants. They both require different soil depths and lighting. Putting them together will cause the roots to grow weak as they compete for the surrounding nutrients. Place the taller plants along the side of the tank, while the smaller ones can be planted in the middle.
Step 6 - Provide Light
Most aquatic plants need at least 10 to 12 hours of light each day. This is in the form of lighting that is in the tank itself. Install bright fluorescent bulbs, with aluminum reflectors, for the plants to thrive and begin growing their roots (and establish a strong foundation). Use fertilizer as needed (according to the plants requirements).