The exciting part and the one reason that you became interested in this hobby. These wonderful aquatic plants make your aquarium come alive with lush colours of green and red. Now the difficult part of choosing what plants to grow!
It’s important to do your homework before you choose which plants you keep in your tank. By doing some research you save yourself both time and money. Many hobbyists make the mistake when they go into a fish shop and are amazed by certain plants that look beautiful, may be a lovely red colour or a certain shape or size. They take them home and gradually they deteriorate. You’re left puzzled and confused as to why they didn’t grow and flourish.
Not all plants are suitable for aquariums. I’ve been in countless shops that sell non aquatic plants, so no matter how good your conditions are these plants will always fail. Shops only sell these plants because they know as soon as they are placed in your aquarium they begin to die - they hope rather than do your research you will come back and buy some more. I’ve never understood that concept and surely it’s better to educate customers so that they come back and buy a much broader variety of plants as their skills expand. So just beware of what plants are aquatic prior to purchase.
There are a huge amount of plants available for people in this hobby. There are 3 major growers of plant in Europe and they are Tropica, Aquafleur and Dennerle. Most plants will have labels on them indicating different requirements from a plant. They always state their Latin name, what size they grow to, their lighting requirements and normally where you should place them in your tank. Some will have other information on the labels such as how easy they are to grow. As you are at the early stages of this hobby, it will be best to opt for plants that are easy to grow. These types of plants will not require lots of light (this is key!) and normally flourish in the most basic conditions. A very small sample of these plants are:
Crinum Thaianum, Echindorus Parviflorus, Java Moss, Lilaeopsis Novea-Zealandie, Marsilea Crenata, Micromanthemum Umbrosum, Microsorium Pteropus, Nuphur Japonicum and Vallis Spiralis.
There are many others that are suitable simply check the label and marry that up against your tank set up. If a plant requires high light you can be sure it needs CO2 - this is typical of red plants. View the range of plants here.
Most plants are grown in pots - make sure they have roots. When you get them home remove the pot and rockwool carefully and split into about 6 plants. Tall plants must always be planted at the back of your aquarium are are ideal for covering up filters or heaters. Medium sized plants are most suitable for the midground and small plants are typically suited for the front of the tank to avoid obstructing the plants behind. Foreground plants often the most sought after because of the way they look and grow. They also spread rapidly given the right conditions and can really transform an aquascape.