Category Archives: aquarium plants

Common Planted Aquarium Misconception

Common Planted Aquarium Misconception is that plants are difficult to grow!

We get to speak to a LOT of customers throughout the day and most of the calls are regarding problems with plant growth however it is a Common Planted Aquarium Misconception.

“Aquarium plants are difficult to grow”

“My plants keep getting algae”

“My plants keep dying”

These are just a few of the issues customers call up about however they are not difficult to grow at all, you just have to grow them in the right way and it is simply a Common Planted Aquarium Misconception .

1. Is your lighting on too long?

The problem here is that people overestimate how much light aquarium plants actually need throughout the day and end up flooding their plants with light.  Plants make their food through photosynthesis and nutrients will give them. Maximum lighting duration is 8 hours per day and if you have algae problems drop that to 6 hours (and don’t forget minumum water changes per week is 30%).

Classica OTL LED luminaire
Common Planted Aquarium Misconception

Another Common Planted Aquarium Misconception is that Red plants hard very difficult.  Red plants will need most amount of light so make sure you place any red plants directly under the light and not overshadowed by larger plants especially those with large leaves such as Echinodorus. Lighter green plants are fine with a little bit less than red plants and dark green plants such as Microsorums, Anubias and come Crypts such as the Wendtii varieties cope with the least.  Another thing to consider with your lighting is some lights are only designed to last between 6-12 months so they will need replacing in time so if you are thinking your plants are starting to take a downward turn and you have had your bulbs for a while, it may be time to replace them.

Red plants such as this Alternanthera cardinalis variegata will require a decent amount of light.

Alternanthera cardinalis variegata
Common Planted Aquarium Misconception

This Java Fern will require the least amount of light as they have drak green leaves.

microsorium-on-wood-small
Common Planted Aquarium Misconception

2. Are you fertilising enough?

Another reason for this Common Planted Aquarium Misconception is that some people are just not fertilising their plants enough. Whether you are fertilising liquid form or using root tabs this needs to be done regularly. This is why with recommend Neutro T & Neutro CO2 as you dose daily which gives you a chance to look over and check your plants and aquatic life on a daily basis thus keeping on top of things.

3. Are your plants overcrowed?

Also another Common Planted Aquarium Misconception that plants are hard to grow is caused by overcrowding. Plants will need to be trimmed and nipped back to allow sufficent light to get to all plants.  We recommed this is done on a weekly basis to ensure that you keep your plants in the best shape and condition.

Handy tools for planted aquariums
Handy tools for planted aquariums

So with the right substrate, lights and fertilisation it is just a Common Planted Aquarium Misconception that they are difficult to grow!

Any questions regarding this we will be happy to assist, just call us on 01363 77 4787.

You too could have an aquarium that looks as healthy as this one.

 

 

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.

Ever seen microsorium grown on Lava Rock?

It looks great. Super fresh, super healthy and (the best bit) super easy to grow! You can position these rocks anywhere and that is part of their charm. The plant itself has been growing for a good 6 months and you will see when it arrives with you that all the roots are embedded onto the rock itself (in fact this is what makes lava rock so good for plants).

microsorium-on-wood-small

microsorium on lava rock

You can literally place these wherever you want. Use them to cover up filters or maybe fill in a gap. Which ever place you decide, I’m sure you’ll be happy with it.

Currently available in 2 sizes – click on the pictures to take you right to the product :)

You want BIG? You got it

I hear you…

I know what you are saying…

I know you want BIG PLANTS…sometimes. You want a feature plant or you just have a HUGE tank and the normal 5cm pots don’t cut the mustard. Like I say, I’m on your wavelength; I’m down with you.

So here they are and we call them Mother Plants. These plants are considerably bigger than your ordinary potted plants. In fact they’re much older, the leaves are much bigger and they’re much more…impressive lets say.

Unlike other suppliers who order them in for customers, we actually have them in stock because we know that when you’re ready to order, you want the plants like…tomorrow right? I know some of you want them today but tough ;)

Check em out and big really is beautiful.

mother plants

if you click here it will take you straight to the page you want

 

Hair Grass…Elocharis acicularis? Which one is it?

Both actually! If you’re looking for what is commonly known as Hair Grass, then you’ll find there are a few varieties. However the Latin name to this lovely plant is Elocharis acicularis. And whilst we’re on the subject, I thought now would be a good time just to detail it a little.

Now this plant has been around for donkeys years and there’s good reason for it too. It’s a really lovely plant. Typically the pots are full as well – meaning that it grows quickly for the commercial growers. In fact I was only talking to them about it the other day and I was double checking the conditions that it needed (or rather the conditions they grew them in). Lots of light and high humidity. So if you give it that, guess what?! It grows like a weed.

But in the aquarium, to get it to grow fast and healthy you need to give it 2 things (imagine only needing 2 things in life to be happy…):

  1. Lots of CO2 – and don’t be tight here. You need to see you tank like a glass of champagne. I spoke to a customer today who was using a CO2 system with a 95g bottle. He could never get his drop checker to go green and he didn’t want to add more CO2 as it was costing too much for the 95g bottles. Answer, get a new reg and buy a big, cheap refillable pub style CO2 bottle. Pick up a 5kg bottle for less than £20. Then crank the CO2. WARNING. Restrict CO2 levels and you’ll grow algae, not plants.
  2. Lots of ferts. When adding pressurised CO2, you need to add trace elements and macro nutrients (NPK). WARNING. Restrict fertilisers and you’ll grow algae, not plants (Catch my drift here?! :))

When you do plant Eleocharis into your nutrient rich substrate (notice I am not suggesting pea gravel), give it a couple of weeks at least before you start trimming. If you go hard at it with the scissors from the beginning, it won’t be happy. Start trimming when you see new shoots growing – that’s when the time is ready.

Apart from that it’s an easy plant to grow. Carpets very very well in high lighting and will make you very happy if, and only if you give it what it wants.

and here’s a sweet video how to trim it

Mixed Boxes Of Aquarium Plants

I’ve written a post about our rather excellent mixed boxes of plants, so I won’t repeat myself. What I will do is remind you of the benefits of them and how the more you buy, the cheaper the plants are.

The benefits of mixed boxes are that we decide for you which plants are a best. Typically a mixed box of plants is suitable for hobbyists who are either new to the hobby, or they just can’t decide! We put in pots that are considered relatively easy to grow, so we won’t put in plants that would only survive with CO2. Not only that but don’t forget all our plants come with a full root structure which means not only do they plant easily and anchor down, but they also begin growing immediately in your tank.

When you invest in a mixed box of potted plants, not only do we select a superb range of foreground, midground and background plants but we also give you free fertilisers. That’s right, totally free. And, if you go for one of the mixed boxes of 40 or 50, the price of the potted plants drops down to £2.75. This becomes incredible value for such high quality potted plants when you consider a typical potted plant costs £3.99.

You can find our mixed boxes by clicking here and if you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you.

Potted Aquarium Plants

Aquafleur Plants – and a video!!

We’ve been a big fan of Aquafleur plants for a long time now. Not only are they great value for money, but they’re darn good growers of plants too. I knew they were a pretty extensive organisation and they’ve recently produced a video that is well worth a watch. Now I know you’re busy, but it’s only 4 minutes long and is a super watch detailing their premises and the plants they grow along with how they grow them.

It’s fascinating to see how some plants are sprayed really intensively (you wouldn’t want to be stood under it when it happens) and others are sprayed for less than 1 second. I wonder how they know this and what the time is from spray to spray. Do you know – if so let me know!?

Anyway, you can see their video by clicking here and then clicking their video on the top right of the screen.

I would love to hear your thoughts on it and don’t forget our range of Aquafleur plants can be found by Potted Plants.

How We Hold Our Aquatic Plants

As you know we’re a serious shop which specialises in the planted aquarium – a life long passion of ours. Plants as you might expect are very important to us and have always intrigued us due to the variety and the types of species available. But there are lots of other plants retailers in the UK, admittedly they’re not specialists, but they ‘hold’ plants. The definition of ‘holding’ plants varies enormously and you may have visited these shops before, a metal halide on the ceiling and lots dead or poor quality plants floating about. Some are much better (not many) but you get the idea.

We’re in business because we love what we do and strive to be the best. So why do some aquatic shops not look after their plants and why don’t they care? They lose money every time a plant dies but for some reason this makes no difference. Even in the current economic climate few retailers are able to hold plants for longer than one week without them deteriorating or dying – the end result means chucking them straight in the bin. Of course the question should why are they not worried about throwing away money and why are they holding their plants in a tank anyway with no CO2 and fertilisers anyway? Because they don’t really care….

It is perfectly feasible to keep plants looking great in aquariums, providing you know what you are doing, but there is also a better way. Have you ever wondered how Tropica and Aquafleur keep and grow their plants?  The answer is hydroponically – it’s much easier. But shops will not embrace this way which is a shame as they would have so much more success, and if they really loved their plants they would care.

I find this really sad because I love plants and want to make sure they look their best at all times, particularly as they will be sent in the post and customers rightly have even higher expectations of plant quality when they are buying online – because you can’t see the exact plant you will receive. Some shops will take advantage of this situation and maybe send a plant which shouldn’t be posted in the hope that the customer won’t be bothered to complain but we’re different. You expect the best and when shopping with Aqua Essentials, and that is exactly what you receive, the best. So how do we achieve and maintain this standard? The answer is a simple one, and incredibly no other shop in the UK, holds aquatic plants like we do. That’s right, no other shops in the UK, and possibly in the world. Intrigued? Read on…

We spoke to the growers of Aquafleur and Tropica plants and asked about their systems. We wanted to know all about humidity, temperature, air movement, nutrients and so on but the biggest question was how to replicate their conditions in our own warehouse. Because if we are serious about plants, which we are, why wouldn’t we want to keep plants the same way as the growers? Makes sense doesn’t it?

After taking on their advice, we invested in a climate controlled environment in which all plants are held hydroponically. This means that the pots are kept in nutrient rich water but the leaves are kept out of the water. The humidity is high, so we invested in equipment that creates humidity. We also needed to make sure that there is plenty of air movement so intake and extraction fans are used – this makes sure plants receive fresh air and oxygen. Temperature has to be specific for aquatic plants so, we’ve invested in equipment that maintains a specific temperature at all times. But the message is not what we have invested in, it’s the dedication we make to ensure your plants (which is essentially what they are) are kept in the very best condition. Our plants don’t have algae, they don’t have snails but do have the strength to survive in the post for incredibly long periods of time because we have replicated as close as possible the growing conditions of the plant farms we buy from.

We want you to feel safe and secure that you’re buying the best. We’re proud to be the first aquatic retailer that has replicated plant farms in Europe and we wanted to share this news with you. In the future we will be holding at least 3 times the amount of plants we currently stock which is pretty exciting – this means you’ll be able to get a wider range from us along with better stock levels meaning if you have an idea for a planted tank and specific plants, odds are you’ll be able to get them from us and know that they are being held in the very best environment, just like the growers.

If you have any questions about the way we hold aquatic plants, ask a question on this blog :)

Another lovely crypt for the planted aquarium

Crypts are truly lovely aquarium plants. They are undemanding, require little maintenance and are ‘easy on the eye’. What’s more is they come in many different styles and this particular one is a cracker.

Aquafleur Crypt Wendtii Brown

This particular crypt is brown and one of the reasons it is so popular in the planted aquarium. It provides a refreshing change to most plants which are green and looks particularly nice if planted in groups around stones. Other plants are available and can be found here.

A delightful aquarium plant

Tropica 1-2 Grow Aquarium Plants

We can pretty much guarantee you have never seen anything like this before. The new style plants from Tropica which are guaranteed no algae, no snails and no pesticides. So how do they do it?

Tropica grow their plants in a special gel and this contains everything they need from a very early stage. The major benefit of these plants is that they do not need to be stored in water so from a retailers point of view, they are ideal (no deterioration) and from a consumers point of view, they arrive in perfect Tropica style condition.

We’re currently stocking the entire range available from Tropica. If you’re after stem plants, consider Tropica 1-2 Grow Alternanthera reineckii ‘Purple’ and if you’re after a low growing foreground plant consider Tropica 1-2 Grow Glossostigma elatinoides.

For a limited time only we’re offering these amazing plants at a discounted rate. Buy 2 or more and get a 10% discount at the check out by using the following code 1-2grow.