As a beginning aquascaper, you will first learn about the importance of efficient filtration, CO2 injection, strong illumination and clay-based substrate. After getting to know the four main elements of a Nature Aquarium, you will decide what kind of fertilizers you are going to use and then, here we are - at the topic of plant selection. At this point you can actually choose from hundreds of plants.
The first and most important aspect of plant choice is Carbon-Dioxide. You can choose from more than 300 different plants if you already have a CO2 system, but good news is that if you do not have CO2, you can still build a beautiful planted tank - a few compromises are needed though.
Plants can also be categorized by their place in the aquarium. The different categories are not meant to be exclusive, your plants can be placed anywhere and you do not even have to use all of these categories in your aquarium. In classical Iwagumi aquariums (ones with rocks only) many aquascapers use only foreground (and scattered mid-ground) plants. Owners of Nano tanks try to avoid background plants because of their bigger size and frequent trimming requirements - they usually have mid-ground plants as background. There are some other special aquariums that contain exclusively plants tied on wood and stone. Please remember that clay-based substrate is always needed to help the biological equilibrium (filtration) - even when using plants that do not have their roots in the substrate.
As a rule of thumb use one pot (or one box) for a palm-size area. This means that for a 60 cm wide tank you will need about 3-6 pots for only the foreground. One box of moss will be enough for covering some 5 to 8 centimeters of a thinner branch, or to make 4-8 riccia stones. The total number of plants that you will use depends on the quantity of hardscape in your tank and of course on your financial engagement. Green Aqua can use up to 40-50 pots only on a 60 cm wid tank, but a minimum of 10 pots is recommended. The fewer plants you have the more fragile is your ecosystem. Make sure you have a larger plant mass from the start to stay algae-free.
We assembled a quick sample for those who will still need some guidance or help with the decision of what kind of plants to choose for their low-tech tanks without CO2 injection. All of the below listed plants can be found at Green Aqua. None of them require CO2 injection (but it would certainly be nice to have).
- Plant Eleocharis parvula Mini grass in the foreground. Make the "lawn" more colorful with some scattered Marsilea crenata plants.
- Plant Staurogyne repens in front of the rocks or wood. Use Anubias Mini and Taxiphyllum barbieri moss tied on wood or stones, or Riccia Stone that will be put on the substrate.
- If you would also like to have red or brown plants in the mid-ground or background you can use Cryptocoryne Flamingo.
- Plant Rotala rotundifolia and Egeria densa in the background and place low-demand higher growing Microsorum species in the middle of the wood.
If you have any questions about planting or you need expert help in choosing the right plants for your aquarium, please contact our Customer Support on phone, we are here to help.