All posts by Richard

I'm a massive planted aquarium fan sharing my knowledge. I've added stacks of information over the years on this blog and it's all 100% planted aquarium based. Crazy heh? If you've had a question, I can almost bet I've answered it on here so search through the posts before you ask. Check out the Ask Dr Richard section too.

aqua essentials review

We’re very lucky to have so many reviews from customers of Aqua Essentials, and it might be something that you have not seen. I also appreciate that for new customers, it can be a bit of a gamble when buying aquarium plants online, especially if you have had poor aquatic plants in the past from other retailers and as result are slightly anxious about purchasing again.

As a result, displaying unedited aqua essentials reviews is a great way to see what customers decide to write about us – a bit like when people review products on Amazon. They are 100% legitimate, and we back this up by providing images of customers – some are happy to send in their picture to accompany their reviews as that’s how strongly they feel about it, and some go even further and record a Video Testimonial so we post it on our YouTube page (if you’re interested click here to view some of them). This further reinforces none of them are made up – can you imagine having the time and inclination of making up over 800 reviews?!

It’s always great to get good reviews, because when shipping aquarium plants, that’s your ultimate goal – we want customers to be happy and most of all recommend us to other people, as word of mouth is by far the most powerful advertising medium. So below is a selection of our latest reviews and I hope you like them and if you are thinking of buying aquatic plants or other planted aquarium products, then it should take away any concerns you might have.

As ever, excellent service from a friendly and efficient company. A pleasure dealing with.
Testimonial By: Mark Lawrance — Accrington

easy to use

Thursday 09 April, 2015

This is the first time I have used Aqua Essentials, I found the web site informative and easy to use, the delivery of my order of pliants arrived as promised the following day in good condition. Thanks.
Testimonial By: Allan Lockwood — Huddersfield

First class

Monday 06 April, 2015

The plants are always excellent and arrive in good time
Testimonial By: david foster — Rotherham

Excellent quality & Great service

Wednesday 01 April, 2015

I have used aqua essentials a few times know and am always pleased with the great service of staff that will answer any questions I have. The quality of the plants is always excellent and they grow quickly.I cant recommend them enough.
Thanks for the great service as always.
Testimonial By: Omar Akay — Oxford

Friendly, fun AND knowledgeable!

Tuesday 31 March, 2015

A/E have become my first port of call for anything aquatic these days, they’ve earned my loyalty again and again with their amazingly helpful staff, great delivery times and low prices.

I’ve even done a YouTube video hyping them up, i like them so much!!

Testimonial By: Myke Eales — Southsea — Glitch Sfx

Super fast delivery..

Monday 30 March, 2015

This is the first time I have order from this company and the plants are doing really well in my tank and delivery was super fast.
We be using again..
Thank you for a great service
Testimonial By: Jan — London

Well done

Monday 30 March, 2015

I have ordered a number of items from Aquaessentials. Each product came on time, was well packed. The plants I have in my aquarium from this company are doing very well and more orders from me will follow.
Testimonial By: Stuart Archer — Worksop

A** Products

Monday 30 March, 2015

I am always looking for quality products for my aquaria and I definatly found that in Aqua essentials.

Ordered neutro co2 and neutro T and three days later it’s here! Has had a brilliant effect on my plants and is starting to combat black hair algea.

Will continue to use this brilliant company!

Thanks team.

Testimonial By: Brian Biddle — Coventry

Incredible service

Saturday 28 March, 2015

Incredible service

I have used aqua essentials a few times now and I am always happily surprised by the postman the next day with my plants! Excellent quality plants they are too and very reasonably priced. I was also happy to find some of the harder to get hold of bulb plants for a great price. I highly recommend aqua essentials and have already recommended to my friends and family.

Testimonial By: Gill Breach — Portamouth

Useful place to find hard to locate treatment

Wednesday 25 March, 2015

I hunted everywhere in the usual UK dealers to find Aerocol Columbo to help get an outbreak of Blue Green Algae under control. It cost me around £16 including delivery at Aqua Essentials and arrived promptly.

I’d happily use them again if I need any other plants or fish keeping paraphernalia.

Testimonial By: Ed Bruford — Bristol


Monday 23 March, 2015

Every order I have placed has been delivered the next day without fail,the plants have been very well packaged,which meant they were in fantastic condition,i have no hesitation in ordering my plants from them,also I have asked many questions regarding lighting,plants,co2 etc & every time I have had a very good and detailed answer,great service
Testimonial By: John Parker — Southend

Great Quality

Sunday 22 March, 2015

I was so impressed with the speed of delivery, cost, and more importantly, the quality and quantity of plants supplied I have ordered more and decided to set up another aquarium just for plants.
Testimonial By: Gordon Jenkins — Stewarton

aqua essentials

Saturday 21 March, 2015

I am very pleased with the service from Aqua essentials–all plants received have been in the best condition I have ever seen–including from a ( well-known ) local Aquarist store. The items have been despatched and received in rapid time–cannot fault them
Testimonial By: G Cockings — Olney

Perfect Plants everytime

Friday 20 March, 2015

Perfect Plants everytime

simply put Wow!! excellent service speedy delivery and top quality plants. I wont go anywhere else!!

Testimonial By: Christopher Green — Liverpool

Excellent Service

Friday 20 March, 2015

First and foremost to let people know, I use to be a keen Aquarium keeper up until 18 months ago. Especially planted aquariums, which I what I wanted to get back into.What I ordered was: Nymphaea stellata Bul, Aponogeton boivinianus Bulb, Anubias on Wood – Floating, as well as other items. After I ordered my items which I did before the deadline for next day delivery, I received an email stating they would arrive in the next four working days, which confused me as I did it before the clock at the top of the screen ran down. However before I could get annoyed they actually did arrive the next day, which I was more than happy with. Packaging was excellent, all plants firmly packed and sealed to keep moisture in, although they were not labelled, which when you haven’t had bulbs before can be confusing. The Anubias hasn’t worked with one suction cup provided to fit it to look like it is floating so is currently on the substrate, the Aponogeton boivinianus Bulb however has grown like it is missing out on something!! And the Nymphaea stellata Bulb hasn’t surfaced yet, which is unfortunate but will not stop me using this company again. In all the years I have kept Aquariums this is the best delivery of live plants I have found to date.
Testimonial By: Gavin Oglesby — Cleethorpes — Na

Excellent service

Monday 16 March, 2015

Having used Aqua essentials twice I have found them to be very helpful and very speedy in their service. I will be using them again.
Testimonial By: Christopher Cooper — Market Rasen

Fantastic service

Monday 16 March, 2015

I am very pleased with Aqua essentials. Top quality plants at great prices and the service is fantastic. I would definitely recommend them to aquarium enthusiasts or even beginners as they offer sound advice on starter plants and other accessories to start a planted aquarium.
Testimonial By: Felicia Heard — Exeter

Nobody Better

Sunday 15 March, 2015

Since starting with my first aquarium (we now have 7) i’ve searched for a reliable place to purchase plants and other items.

AquaEssentials ticks all the boxes, reliable, rapid delivery, top quality items. Website is well laid out and easy to find the items you need.

Testimonial By: Susan Moores — Manchester

Best plant provider!

Tuesday 10 March, 2015

Since placing my first order with aquaessentials I have bought all my plants from them. Excellent plants, at good prices, backed by excellent advice and service.
Testimonial By: John Oliver — Wirral — Retired

Excellent service.

Tuesday 10 March, 2015

I would like to say that the customer service is excellent as I am new to buying from them so had a lot of questions to ask via email which were answered promptly . I ordered some good which arrived on time. As I already had some of my old products left I haven’t used the new ones yet.
Testimonial By: Wendy Sandy — Taunton

An Excellent Retailer

Monday 09 March, 2015

Being new to the aquarium keeping hobby, I have found this site invaluable.

The next day delivery is superb, and all the plants and products have arrived in pristine condition.

Testimonial By: Jacob Jenson — Bristol

As it should be.

Saturday 07 March, 2015

As an experienced online shopper I am used to the ups and downs of purchasing stuff remotely. Aqua Essentials does exactly what the customer reviews suggest. You order things and good quality items arrive very quickly with precise email communications. Exactly as it should be which is rare these days.
Testimonial By: Richard Harding — Bradfield St George


Saturday 07 March, 2015

I would just like to say a word about customer service, the best I’ve come across, a special thanks to the office & warehouse manager who was very helpful, the products are excellent the service is brilliant.
Many thanks.
Testimonial By: Les Langton — Shrewsbury

Best Service Ever

Thursday 05 March, 2015

Best Service Ever

I have used various sites to order plants in the past and I can truly say now I have found Aquaessentials I will go nowhere else!!!
There service and products are the best by far. The only online service that makes it feel like a personal experience. Many thanks to everyone who works here “loyal customer in the making” 🙂

Testimonial By: Eric Kane — Stewarton

Live plants

Wednesday 04 March, 2015

I have bought several plants and as always they have been delivered in top condition, also very fast delivery. Handled by by very efficient staff who were very friendly . Would recommend no problem
Testimonial By: Colin Mcavoy — Sittingbourne

Great Plants

Tuesday 03 March, 2015

The plants arrived on next day delivery, tthey were well packaged and each plant had a plastic identity tab. The quality of the plants were excellent, they are now fully established in my aquarium and are showing good growth, I will continue to use aqua essentials as I find all their products to be of a very high standard.
Testimonial By: Boyd Halley — Glasgow


Tuesday 03 March, 2015


I have been buying from Aquaessentails for over two years now and never been disappointed with the quality, price and speed of delivery. The plants are always healthy and free from pests and amazing quality and size.

Testimonial By: Helen Ritchie — Ayr

Great 🙂

Monday 02 March, 2015

Great :-)

I have only bought a few items from these guys (So far)
Each time I buy something I have confidence that my order will be dealt with efficiently, items always arrive quickly and well packaged 🙂
On the odd occasion I have emailed them, the reply was prompt, knowledgable and polite, overall a great shopping experience each and every time 🙂

Testimonial By: William Parker — Kendal


Tuesday 24 February, 2015

Plants arrived well packaged and in superb condition, incredible healthy compared to what you see in a pet shop. Very impressed. Thank you.
Testimonial By: Rob Peltell — Skegness

fast service

Tuesday 24 February, 2015

I ordered my plants and they arrived v quickly in good condition, each with a little plastic card containing basic info about their care. I am v impressed as have seen some awful plants in aquarium shops. I ordered some more yesterday 🙂
Testimonial By: Stephanie Heywood — Paignton

Great Overseas Delivery

Sunday 22 February, 2015

Being stuck in the ” Backwoods of Norway ” it’s difficult getting hold of quality products for my planted tank. Aquaessentials have now changed that, great choice of products on their webpage and a shipping calculator, products arrived very quickly and at a good rate, very happy :-).
Testimonial By: Michael Smith — Sandnes

Trusted Source

Wednesday 18 February, 2015

I’ve been an Aqua Essentials customer for many years and have never been disappointed. The quality of their plants is first class so AE is always my first choice.
Testimonial By: Chris Jackson — Falmouth

better than the shop

Monday 16 February, 2015

I have purchased plants for both my tanks. Arrived in perfect condition and no snails. The fish seem to have found new places they like to be and my plec greg likes to stay in them
Testimonial By: Brian Williams — Wirral


Saturday 14 February, 2015

Since my first order on Aqua Essentials I have never sourced my plants from anywhere else. Delivery is prompt and the condition of the plants have been nothing short of impeccable. Excellent variety means you can easily find what you’re looking, and the staff are enormously helpful with questions and have even suggested alternatives when a plant I ordered wasn’t in great condition. This should give you an idea of the high standards that Aqua Essentials maintain. 5 Stars!
Testimonial By: Sebastian Lovick — SWANSEA

Five star service

Tuesday 10 February, 2015

Five star service

Im new to planted aquariums and looked at a few options to source plants for my first tank. Im so happy I chose AquaEssentials, the service has been excellent. Delivery was very fast, the plants arrived in fantastic condition and the amount of plants provided was more than generous. Additionally the staff were quick to answer questions on products I posted on the website. All in all a 5* service.

Testimonial By: Lee Cosgrove — Widnes

Excellent service and products

Monday 09 February, 2015

Excellent service and products

Aquaessentials provide a superb range of aquarium plants and associated products alongside a highly-efficient service that is second to none. Plants are well packaged and labelled, of excellent quality and grow on rapidly. This is my one stop shop for aquarium plants.

Testimonial By: Christopher Shaw — Comber

Quality products

Monday 09 February, 2015

The plants arrived very quickly and in excellent condition. Will definitely use you again.
Testimonial By: John Valentine — Burghfield — Treasures

Excellent service

Saturday 07 February, 2015

Thank you so much for my Digital Aquarium Thermometer with Alarm, Really great service with fast delivery.
Testimonial By: Justin Watson — Congleton

perfect plants

Wednesday 04 February, 2015

thank you for a very fast delivery of my 1st order ,all plants were received in excellent condition. can not find anything negative to say. highly recommended.
Testimonial By: David Kewley — York — Fix It

first class

Wednesday 04 February, 2015

i ordered two micranthemum umbroson after phone call from aquaessentials that they were out of stock i asked for something similar they sent hydrocotyle m tripartita excellent plants in perfect condition i a so pleased with the plants suggested thanks
Testimonial By: Alasdair Williams — Renfrew

bravo aqua essentials

Saturday 31 January, 2015

thank you aqua essentials for restoring my faith in ordering plants online, was’nt sure what would turn up but i was really happy with my order will be using you again 5***
Testimonial By: Jonathan Robertson — Penrith

the best of the best

Friday 30 January, 2015

my experience with aquaessentials is an with any doubt an outstanding service.
i got a risk by buying from abroad but always the plants arrive in perfect conditions wisely wrapped incredible!
i want to thanks to aquaessentials for give me the oportunity of expending the beatiful diversity of my aquarium with plants not found in my contry. i want to stress i am a biologist and check the plants for any crustaceous, snails but always the plants are absolutely clean without any ecologic risk. Again, thanks a lot for you high profesionalism
Testimonial By: Abraham Borer — Eschol Moatza

outstanding service

Friday 30 January, 2015

Thank you, Aqua Essentials, once again for yet another display of outstanding service, impressive product information, and of course, goods of exceptional quality. The redwood you supplied looks amazing with your anubias bonsai attached to it. The plants, as always, arrived in superb condition and continue to thrive.

Go AE – love what you do!

Testimonial By: Emily Morris — Edinburgh


Wednesday 28 January, 2015

From excellent friendly customer service,high quality plants and aquascaping products,which come well packaged, to value for money,aquaessentials are a company to trust.Happy to shop with them.
Testimonial By: Alan Firth — Liversedge

Back into the hobby

Wednesday 28 January, 2015

I have only just got back into the hobby after some 30 years, a hell of alot has changed in this time. I wanted a tank that was fully planted and found that C0 2 was the way forward. Most of the aquatic shops that I tried didn’t seem to have what I wanted and didn’t give me much confidence. I came across Aquaessentials and thought that I would give them a try.
I am so glad that I did! The quality and choice is brilliant, also I found the blog very informative. I have found the staff very helpful and have always kept me informed regarding deliverys. Deliverys have always been prompt and well boxed. I would thoroughly recommend them. A very reliable company.
Testimonial By: John Cook — Bridgwater

Simply awesome!

Wednesday 28 January, 2015

i’ve bought many plants online and always had the same problem, poor packaging and poor delivery, THIS IS NOT THE CASE HERE!

Aqua Essentials very clearly take care in what they do. I ordered £££’s worth of gear including plants and co2 equipment, all of which arrived next day and in perfect condition. These guys are undoubtably the only retailer I will use in the future and if you want to be happy with your plants, they’ll be the only one you’ll use to x

Testimonial By: Jonathan Wills — Blackpool — Four Seaosons Fisheries

excellent condition

Tuesday 27 January, 2015

my shrimp came today in excellent condition, well packed ,great quality and fast delivery. thanks will be using you again
Testimonial By: Geraldine Omara — Birmingham


Tuesday 27 January, 2015

Plants arrived they were better than expected well packed delivery super fast.a very happy customer I will be ordering again as I know the quality is top notch even the labels have the height that they can obtain and information about requirements.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thank you
Testimonial By: Lucy Taylor — Bewdley

happy fish

Sunday 25 January, 2015

delighted to have founf this site and the service is second to none, will continue using as long as I have my fish. prices very reasonable.
Testimonial By: Margaret Wardlaw — Pittenweem

First time

Saturday 24 January, 2015

First time and will not be last,next day service, and by Royal Mail,recycled packaging no problem, we gave the paper packing to are 6 Gerbils they loved it very good bedding.
Items I ordered just what I needed for my just starting shrimp tank.
Testimonial By: James Nelson — Raynes Park

Marimo lava rock – easy maintenance

Marimo lava rock

We’re all looking for simplicity in our tanks, and most of all from our aquarium plants. We don’t want too much hassle and often want immediate impact. So this is where Marimo lava rock comes in.


Small – or some may call petite, this easy to grow and easy to keep aquatic moss can be placed pretty much anywhere in your planted aquarium. Due to its size, it’s more suited to the foreground of your planted aquarium unless you have a nano tank then you can pretty much place it anywhere.


Marimo moss itself has been around for hundreds of years so it has literally survived the test of time, and in your tank it will look great. In nature, the word Marimo derives from the japanese word meaning ‘ball seaweed’ but you may have also heard of them being called Cladophora. Found in Japan and Australia, they have even been found in Scotland! In lakes they are constantly pushed around and this is where they get their shape from.

The pieces of lava rock are approximately 7-11cm in diameter and each will vary from the next as they are all natural. Scatter a few around in your tank for more impact and nestle them down into the substrate to make it look natural – this will keep them where you want them to be. Marimo lava rock have proven so popular with a range of different hobbyists for a number of reasons. They’re great for people who are new because they pose no real difficulty and are almost impossible to kill, and similarly they’re great for experienced hobbyists because it adds something new and unique to any aquarium, and the vivid green from the Marimo is always eye catching.

You can find these wonderful pieces by clicking here.

Marimo lava rockMarimo lava rock  Marimo lava rock Marimo lava rock

The Largest Planted Aquarium In The World

Takashi Amano has done it again and boy can this man think big when it comes to planted aquariums. It’s TRULY HUGE! I mean, when most hobbyists think about planted tanks, they think, maybe a few hundred litres and if they’re thinking big, 1000L right? Well that’s a drop in the ocean compared to this beauty.

There’s a lot you can learn from this type of aquatic tank, in terms of how he plans the layout and then implements the plan. It really is impressive.

Enjoy the video

New aquarium plants

New aquarium plants

Once in a while the growers in Holland introduce new plants to their line. This is always a big deal because it takes major advanced planning to do this sort of thing (you’d be amazed at the production line). If you hazzard a guess at home many species they sell per week and then scale that up so plants are available week on week. It takes major planning and this is why when new aquarium plants show up, it’s a gradual thing to get excited about!

So we have 2 new aquatic plants in stock and one really caught my eye simply because of the colour. Introducing the beautiful Alternanthera Cardinalis variegata. Very attractive as you can see and without doubt the brightest pink plant we have. Everyone’s always looking for a centre piece or just a plant that catches your eye, and now you have it. Like other Alternanthera, they aren’t tricky to grow at all, but if you don’t give them enough light and nutrients, you will see a drop off of colour. They’re fine in aquariums without pressurised CO2 but if possible offer a liquid carbon such as this one.

New aquarium plants New aquarium plants Have you seen these new aquarium plants?

The second aquarium plant is Staurogyne bihar, which looks pretty similar to Rubescens, but actually grows quite a bit bigger. Originating from India, when it grows under water it looks a bit like Hydrophilia pinnafida. Again, an easy plant to grow so it won’t cause you any problems and ideal for those of you who are new to the hobby. Plant it in the foreground and then trim it heavily once it has becomes established (i.e. throwing out roots). If you trim too early, you can traumatise a plant which will either slow the growth or kill it.

New aquarium plants Staurogyne bihar Staurogyne bihar Staurogyne bihar

You can find both of these new aquarium plants on our website and to see our entire range of potted plants click here.

Improving your aquarium water circulation

Improving your aquarium water circulation

Everyone has issues at some point in their aquarium when they need to improve water movement. In fact, a common question I get asked is how can I do better than what I am? You see, by limiting the amount of water flow in your planted tank, you quite literally limit the nutrients available and that’s the last thing that plants want. The more nutrients they have, the better they grow and look. Think about it for a moment, you’ve put some lovely rocks in, maybe some big plants, some foreground one’s too but you haven’t given the thought of Improving your aquarium water circulation at all. You’re hoping your existing filter will do the job right? Or maybe you’ve already been smart and already bought a circulation pump (good on you). But sometimes, you just need to tweak things…

Improving your aquarium water circulation

I have always been a big advocate of circulation pumps and to be honest, Hydor seem to have the market wrapped up. Their range of pumps is great, they run quiet and do a super job on distributing water and pushing fertilisers and CO2 around a tank. But, there’s always a way to Improving your aquarium water circulation and once again, Hydor have come up trumps. They have a product called the

Hydor Rotating Water Deflector

This little device fits onto the end of their circulation pumps, and as your pump pushes out water, the Rotating Water Deflector turns around slowly. The benefit of this is that it distributes the water on a 360 degree basis, which means dead spots are avoided! Quite superb really. You can also fit it onto other filters outlets etc so it’s versatile too. Like the sound of it? Check the vid below:

To view this product on our website simply click here!

Aquariums Benefit From Aquatic Plants

Aquariums Benefit From Aquatic Plants

If you have an aquatic environment for your pet, then you have definitely been faced with the issue of either getting or holding aquatic plants. While some people enjoy the possible distractions to using them, there are many reasons to consider using various aquarium plants. Throughout this article we will take a closer look at some of the ways that you can benefit from using aquatic plants in your set up.

Nitrogen Cycling

Any person that is serious about the health of their fish needs to understand the nitrogen cycle that is completed in most aquatic conditions. The ammonia that is produced when a tank cycle occurs is toxic to fish but much appreciated by aquarium plants. Aquatic plants are able to absorb ammonia very easily and quickly which is why it’s always important to add plants from day 1. They help the cycle and plants grow very quickly during this period and a key reason why Aquariums Benefit From Aquatic Plants.

Providing Temperature Control And Comfort

Another reason that you should get aquatic plants for your aquarium is that they can help provide temperature control. Whether you have natural light or electrical lights above the tank, they can increase the temperature of the water (this is particularly important in warmer climates). By having aquarium plants, you can decrease the overall impact that light has on the temperature of the aquarium, allowing you to have greater control over temperature fluctuations.

Live Plants Help Your Fish And Invertebrates Thrive

Aquariums Benefit From Aquatic PlantsOne of the other reasons that Aquariums Benefit From Aquatic Plants is that they can help bring out more natural behaviour in your pets. This is important for two different reasons. First, your fish will have more places to hide in their environment that will make them more comfortable and less susceptible to stress. After all, fish wants to have a few rocks, water, and a light bearing down upon them. They need places to get away from the glaring outside world.

The second reason that aquarium plants are so useful is that they can bring out more natural behaviour in your pets. Fish will not approach a synthetic plant the same way that they approach and interact with natural aquatic plants. The result of this is not only more comfortable pets, but pets that have a more natural environment that can have health impacts on them.


One of the things that every aquarium owner knows is that aquatic environments can become inundated with a variety of different bacteria, algae, and flora rather quickly. That is why it is important to have plants in your aquarium to harvest some of these excesses to help their growth and keep the water clean at the same time. Not only will this result in a healthier environment for your aquatic pets, but it will also allow you to spend less time with maintaining your aquarium. That’s not to say you don’t need water changes (on the contrary) because when aquatic plants grow, they produce waste and this needs removing from your tank. This ‘invisible waste,’ if not removed, turns into nutrients that algae loves to feed on.

These are just some of the reasons Aquariums Benefit From Aquatic Plants. While these are some of the most important benefits, there are many smaller ones that you can discuss with a knowledgeable aquarium shop such as Aqua Essentials. If you are interested in viewing the range we have on offer of aquarium plants click on this link.

NEW 365 days returns policy!

We’ve updated this to make it easier for you to shop with us. It’s the best returns policy in the UK!

If you return goods within 7 days of receiving the items we can offer an immediate refund or credit. Refunds/credits are for the value of goods only excluding shipping. Simply fill in the details at the bottom of this page and send it back to us with your goods.

After 7 days and up to 365 days (from the day of purchase), you can still return the goods but we only offer a credit to your Aqua Essentials account. After 365 days we cannot accept returns. We believe this is THE BEST returns policy in the UK.

Note about returning goods: When returning goods, they have to be in perfect condition, un-used and arrive with us in perfect condition. This is a really generous returns policy so please don’t take advantage of our good nature 🙂

Goods that are damaged in transit are not accepted. If that is the case then no refund/credit applies. All goods being returned remain the risk of the customer until we have received them. Choose which ever postage method suits you most. We do not refund/credit for postage. If you received free delivery when ordering, our normal delivery charge will be applied and deducted from your refund/credit.

Special order items (i.e. those not held in stock) are non returnable items and are not subject to our returns or refund policy. If there is a delivery time scale on a product description, this indicates it’s a special order item.

Snails in Aquarium tanks

Snails in Aquarium tanks

There has been lots of information put out there about aquatic snail, some of which is total cods-wallop so I thought I would try and give a bit of information that is true so you now know the trust. Snails in Aquarium tanks are inevitable, and it’s the way it goes when you keep aquarium plants. Snails are a part of nature and will be found almost everywhere on earth. Although we try and be snail free with our aquarium plants as we keep them hydroponically (so the leaves outside of the water), being 100% snail free is impossible (unless you go for Tissue culture pots which you can find here ). Tissue culture plants are grown in a laboratory and as a result there are no bugs or snails anywhere! That is the only way to have 100% free snail tank. Below is an example of a tissue culture plant.

Snails in Aquarium tanks
tissue culture aquarium plant

If you do find that you have snails in your tank, you don’t need to worry about removing everything and decontaminating each plant. There is a simple answer. Stop putting so much food in your tank. You see Snails in Aquarium tanks are normal, so don’t stress! Snails live on the extra food laying around at the bottom of the tank. If you feed your fish slightly less than what they need then they will eat everything from from the bottom of the tank and the snails will go hungry and die – it’s really as simple as that. Anyone who ever moans about having lots of snails, means they are massively over feeding their tank and putting their water quality at risk. I’ve had Snails in Aquarium tanks many times before and a small tweak of the food and they disappear. No gadgets, no tricks.

Terrarium plants and what they are for

So what is a Terrarium plant and who can use them?

Well to know what a terrarium plant we first must look at a terrarium. A terrarium is is effectively is miniature ecosystem, generally in a sealed glass container. A sealed container can create a small scale water cycle. This will happen because water from the soil and plants will evaporate and then condense on the glass, effectively ‘raining’ back onto the plants and preventing them from drying out. Some terrariums are open to the atmosphere rather than being sealed.

So now you know what a terrarium is, whats so special about terrarium plants?

Firstly Terrarium plants, unlike aquatic plants do not need to be kept in water. These plants thrive in tropic conditions, high heat, high humidity and minimal water. Too much water and they will melt but without enough the will dry out and wilt. Examples of Terrarium plants can be found here

However there are some terrarium plants that have adapted to dry environments. These plants are perfect for open top terrariums. They are excellent for removing any excess moisture from the air in the terrarium.

Closed terrariums require a special soil mix to ensure good growth and to reduce the risk of microbial damage.

terrarium plant

Size of my aquarium plants

Many people often query us on why the plant they received is so small compared to a previous plant they purchased or if you can believe it, too big!!

Well I’m going to give you a brief understanding of what affects the plants and in what ways.

Firstly as I’m sure you know, most plants need good light and the right temperatures to really flourish. This means that during the summer in the high temperatures and lots of sunlight the growers will get lots of nice big, bright plants. These plants may well run into the first few months of winter.

However on the flip side during winter when its cold, dark and damp the plants will still grow but slowly. This will mean that they arrive with us small and as it even colder here that it is where the growers are we have very little chance of getting much growth.

These smaller plants will often run into the first few months of summer as there will be an overlap of when plants struggle and when they thrive.

Hopefully this has given you a bit of insight into how and when you will receive larger or small plants 🙂

Acclimatising Fish & Shrimp Properly

Making sure you acclimatise your fish and shrimp properly is essential. In fact, pretty much anyone who we have dealt with who has a problem with their shrimp have not acclimatised them properly – they’ve rushed it and it’s cost them and the shrimp dearly.

TMC Acclimatisation Kit

TMC have introduced a nifty device which means you no longer need to worry about getting it wrong. You drip feed the water in and take your time over it. You don’t guess, you get it right, each and every time. What I particularly like about the TMC Acclimatisation Kit is the simplicity and the fact that once you have invested in it, you can keep it for as long as you are in the hobby. Think about it – how often are you going to buy fish and shrimp in your lifetime? A LOT I suspect, so investing in this cool piece of kit means you won’t have to worry.

Interested? Click here for more info.

TMC Acclimatisation Kit

Freshwater shrimp additives….

The market is becoming very aware of shrimp additives and conditioners. Years ago, and I’m talking about 5 years, I took a punt and began selling shrimp conditioners and foods and to be honest it flopped. People just didn’t want to buy it. I was too early and ended up giving the stuff away – I was passionate but the rest of the UK market wasn’t. It was big in Europe but just not over here.

Ping forward 5 years and it’s a very different story. You only need to google the subject  to see. That’s a reflection of where the market is now. Fancy shrimp galore and now prices have come down, popularity increases. Supply and demand etc.

But the market has also been flooded with different additives that will effect shrimp in some way. And if you’re not careful you won’t know what to choose as you’re spoilt for choice. So just who should be buying these additives?

If you’re keeping Cherries, Tigers or Amano’s then I just don’t think you need to bother. Sure I could be telling you to buy it – that would be easy, but the bottom line is, those sort of shrimp don’t really need it. Additives like Genchem White Pellet,

will help improve white banding on Crystal Red Shrimp, but they won’t help Cherries or Tigers.

Genchem Polytase on the other hand

is excellent for higher grade shrimp (like Crystal Reds) that may be a little more sensitive due to their gene pool being much smaller and as a result their off spring could do with a little helping hand.

The message I am trying to get across is think about the sort of shrimp you have before committing to certain additives. And I’m not talking about foods (that’s a different subject).

The more ‘common shrimp‘ will need less attention and therefore don’t need some of the more exclusive additives. The more premium your shrimp, or the more you have paid for them, generally means they need a bit more looking after.

Shrimp lesson over 🙂

Ultimate Aquarium Algae Eaters

Algae is a massive issue in a planted aquarium and everyone suffers from it.

Some more than others. Those who have been in the hobby for a while will know the HUGE benefits of keeping shrimp in a planted tank, with particular reference to Amano Shrimp which are the LARGEST algae eating shrimp I am aware of. They’re SO HUNGRY for food is almost comical. Not only do they eat a lot, they’re big at roughly 3cm long.

Imagine this for a moment: The tank we keep them in has no algae left – they’ve eaten every last scrap and as a result we have to feed them shrimp food. We pop a few premium grade pellets in and within seconds they’re fighting over it. In the end, the largest shrimp wins and swims off the biggest chunk and eats it all to himself (greedy or what?!). The rest battle it out over the smaller pieces and in no time all the food is gone. Hopefully this demonstrates just how hungry these shrimp are for food. They will tirelessly eat algae 24/7, 365 days of the year.

Below is a wonderful picture of how good these shrimp are. The picture (from Tropica website) shows how efficient the Amano shrimp is when it comes to keeping a plant aquarium free from algae. The aquarium to the left had 3 shrimps, the one in the middle had none, while the one to the right had one shrimp during the start-up. They were all planted in the same way: 3 Anubias barteri var. nana and 3 Eleocharis parvula. The picture has been taken 3 months after the start-up.  A recommendation is 1 Amano shrimp per 5 L water during the start-up of a new plant aquarium. Once a biological balance has been achieved in the aquarium, you can easily settle for fewer shrimps – e.g. 1 per 15 L water. However, if you have many fish that you feed, then we recommend that you maintain the population of 1 Amano shrimp per 5 L water.

If this tickles your fancy, and you want a stress free way of keeping your tank algae free, then invest today in Amano Shrimp by clicking here. And if you want your order for (tomorrow) i.e. Saturday then you can – just make sure you order before 4pm today 🙂

Is this the best aquarium substrate in the world?

It was only a matter of time before Tropica created a substrate that is PERFECT for growing plants.

Let’s face it, there’s no other company in the world that I would trust more than Tropica to create a product that grows plants better than anyone else. I mean, you only have to look at their plants to know about their attention to detail and quality. Others might come close but they are the leaders.

So let me introduce to you the new Tropica Aquarium Soil in both normal and powder grain size. This substrate is designed to be used on its own, no topping is required and nothing needs to go underneath it. Simply place on the bottom of your tank, and then plant directly into it, then fill with water. Easy as A,B,C.

The two types refer to the different grain sizes. Normal is 2-3mm in diameter and powder is a touch smaller at 1-2mm. So why have two sizes? Well normal is ideal for bigger tanks, and by bigger I mean 100L and up. If you have a smaller tank then choose powder as it looks better with the smaller grain size. In addition to that (and what I like to do) is if you have a 100L tank, use the normal type as your substrate and then use a smaller powder bag (available in 3L) and pour it around the bottom of your wood and rocks. This gives a really lovely transition and is very subtle.

And one more thing. The powder type is more suitable for smaller foreground plants as the grain size is better at anchoring them down and stops them from floating to the surface.

In terms of how much you need, 1 x 9L bag is suitable for 60L of water.

So all in all, I’m very excited about this substrate and know why even though it’s new in to us has already sold well.

Where do your shrimp sleep?

Shrimp are essential for all planted aquariums but they’re also part of the food chain.

I can’t count the number of customers who buy shrimp for the right reason, only to turn them into expensive fish food. Now you always have to be aware of the tank mates and if they are compatible for obvious reasons, so you must plan.

But you always have to remember that as shrimp are part of the food chain, they naturally hide. Provide them with somewhere to shelter where fish can’t get to them and you will find your shrimp will not only be happier but will breed more quickly and more often.

Our Shrimp Shelters are awesome for that. Not only are the covered in moss so they look natural, but the tubes are small enough for only shrimp to shelter in. What more could they want 🙂

To find other cool shrimp accessories click here.

A diffuser you won’t break

Most people love a bit of convenience right? I mean look at how popular supermarkets are. Convenience and cheap (nice combo). Outside of supermarkets that lovely combination isn’t so common. But today, I’d like to show you a CO2 diffuser that is.

Tropica 3 in 1 Diffuser.

This rather excellent piece of kit has a diffuser, non return valve AND a bubble counter, all in one neat little package. Made of hard plastic, you can drop it and it’s unlikely to break like glass one’s. If the diffuser plate becomes dirty, we sell replacements so you can do a quick swap (more convenience). CO2 tubing easily pushes onto this diffuser (more convenience). So you can see it really is a great bit of kit with…a lot of convenience 🙂

Here’s what David Kearsley had to say about it:

Not only is this one of the better CO2 diffusers I have ever used in regard to creating a fine mist of bubbles, it also includes a bubble counter and non-return value within the diffuser. This means you have only one piece of tubing from the CO2 supply to the diffuser. With regard to the fine mist this took about 2-3 days to settle down and since I have not seen any further large bubbles.

Maintaining your planted aquarium like a pro

So I stumbled across this rather cool video that George Farmer did for Tropica and wanted to share. We’re often asked about maintaining a tank and what to do and what not to do, and there’s nothing like a video to demonstrate this.

A few things I picked up on:

  1. Notice how George hovers over the substrate – not plunging it. This keeps it clean enough.
  2. Use a toothbrush to keep the edges clean, the water line and the bottom of the tank where the substrate meets the glass. A toothbrush is unobtrusive and won’t stir your substrate up.
  3. Once he has trimmed the plants, he uses a net to remove the bits that float to the surface and siphons off any plants that haven’t floated anywhere. He also uses his finger to disturb the mosses where debris can get trapped.
  4. Lots of freshwater shrimp. I could see a combo of amano shrimp and crystal reds. No pro scaper will have a tank without shrimp, yet I know many of you DO NOT have shrimp yet you wonder why you have algae…
  5. Clean water goes back into the tank via a sieve. This is a great tip that avoids causing disturbance. Also notice how much water was changed (about 50%). Are you changing enough?

So you see this equipment does not need to cost the earth. Folllow George’s guide and you won’t go far wrong.

Aquarium plants dying

If you go onto Google and type aquariums plants one of the first things that comes up is the question

Why are my plants dying?

There are a lot of different responses to this questions, and most of them are wrong! so I am here to set you straight and tell you why your plants are dying and how to stop it from happening over and over again!

Firstly before you buy your plants you need to do research on what substrate you need….NO you cannot just use gravel..No you cannot just use sand! Most people believe that they can just chuck a bag of sand in the bottom of there tank and everything will grow, well i can tell you now it will not. Substrates provide your plants with nutrients, food. Can you imagine waking up in the morning and eating paper for breakfast? your body will struggle to survive the day. You want to wake up and have a big bowl of porridge or even a full English, SO DO YOUR PLANTS. Get the substrate right from the start and that will eliminate most of problems.


So you have a substrate, you buy your plants, stick them in your tank and immediately they struggle, Why? think about a time when you have gone on holiday, the first day in a nice hot country, whats happens? you get burnt. your body isn’t used to this change in environment and neither are your plants. you may well get leaves going brown and dying but that doesn’t mean your plant is dead….you need to wait to see the new growth that will come through. The growth that is used to your tank environment. As long as your root structure is healthy you will get new growth.

Alternanthera rosaefolia

So your plant has taken to your tank and you have seen new growth but after a month the plant starts to die off, Why? Your not feeding it right. your plants need to eat right. Almost all tanks need Liquid CO2,  the liquid CO2 will encourage growth and keep algae down. To go along with the liquid CO2 your plants need macro and micro nutrients. With out all of these your plants will wither and die off, which will then encourage algae to your tank.

NEUTRO have three Fertilisers all of which provide your tank with everything that your plants need

Neutro CO2, Neutro T and Neutro +

Check our other post on fertilisers here


What is so good about Neutro’s?

you have heard that your plants need food right? but what is the best food to give your plants, what would they like?

I’m here to tell you whats so good about Neutro’s and why you need to give it to your plants.

Firstly you need to know that there are three different Neutro fertilisers, you need to make sure you know what they are about and which ones are right for you.

To start with there is Neutro CO2. This is a liquid carbon fertiliser that is about a third of the strength of Pressurised CO2. Almost all tanks need liquid carbon, the only exception are and tanks that have plants that don’t like liquid carbon, such as Valliseria. Liquid carbon is a very important source of growth for plants. if you have plants in your tank that are living but aren’t growing and flourishing then you need to add liquid carbon.


Secondly there is Neutro T. Neutro T provides your plants with the Trace elements that need to really flourish. Trace elements included are Boron, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum and Zinc. These micro nutrients are key for plant growth.


Lastly there is Neutro + now it is key that you use Neutro + if you have pressurised CO2 set up in your aquarium. It is important that you use Neutro + because this fertiliser not only has the Trace elements that plants need it also has the macro nutrients that pressurised CO2 removes from your tank. The macro nutrients are Potassium, Phosphorus and Nitrogen.


When using Neutro fertilisers it is important that you dose correctly. over or under dosing can cause algae issues in your tank.

CO2 = 5ml per 100L daily

T and + = 10ml per 100L daily

What are your thoughts about Neutro fertilisers? have you found them to be beneficial?


Check out these tissue culture plants

These tissue culture plants come from HortiLab who are a new and exciting provider of tissue culture plants. The great thing about these plants is the quality that you get in each pot. They are 5cm high and the plants are often trying to burst out of the lid. The colours you get in the plants are really striking and bold, the blue vitro gel is really something!

The main benefits to tissue culture plants is that they are grown in a lab and then sealed so there is zero chance of them having snails or algae. Once they are in your tank they will grow stronger and healthier than any mature plants that you may have brought in from your local supplier or online would, as the tissue culture plants will have quite literally grown from nothing, into an adult plant IN YOUR TANK!

Hortilab Rotala rotundifolia

If you want to see the rest of these plants then follow this link.



Only stupid tank owners will ignore this

Have I caught your attention yet?

I hope so because this IS important. Getting the substrate right first time round will really save you a whole heap of hassle and stress, but it does mean you have to be organised. The reason for this is that the substrate has to be the first thing you put in your tank (and always before water). But I’m not talking about any old substrate, I’m talking about Colombo Flora-Base.

This is by far the best substrate for 3 reasons:

  1. It sets your parameters to be exactly what your plants need. It drops your KH, GH and pH so that your plants love the conditions it provides. You don’t need to do anything else to the water.
  2. It doesn’t need topping which means no other gravels or substrates are needed – so it’s 100% ready to go.
  3. It grows your plants AMAZINGLY well. Better than any other substrate I have used.

This is the number 1 substrate I recommend for all customers and if you want to get the best from your plants then this is the choice for you. Available in 3 different sizes and 2 colours, black and brown.