Tag Archives: plants

Eloquent Echinodorus

Eloquent Echinodorus

Aqua Essentials are expanding all the time and expanding our plant range is top of our agenda. Three NEW varieties from the Eloquent Echinodorus family have just landed on the door step and are ready to go!

Echinodorus spectre

Firstly, I would like to introduce to an Eloquent Echinodorus which is the Echinodorus spectre.  A classic background plant that is stong and sturdy and will add immediate impact to your aquascape. Echinodorus spectre have large long leaves so will need plenty of space and light inorder to flourish in your aquarium. When planting Echinodorus spectre up they must not be over-shadowed by larger leaved plants. These really are perfect for beginners due to the easiness of keeping.

spectra
Echinodorus spectra

Echinodorus gabrielli

Secondly, we also have new in to us and to add to our Eloquent Echinodorus family is Echinodorus gabrielii which is a foreground plant ideal for more skilled hobbist’s. This Echinodorus is quite unusual in comparison to all the other Echinodorus due to it’s size. A tidy looking compact plant that is very pleasing on the eye.

gabrielli
Echinodorus gabrielli

Echinodorus parviflorus

And finally another Echinodorus to add to our range of Eloquent Echinodorus is Echinodorus parviflorus which is another easy to grow plant. It is most suited to large aquariums due to the fact that it can grow up to 70cm if given plenty of space. Perfectly suited to the background of the aquarium, this Echinodorus looks amazing when planted in bunches.

parviflorus
Echinodorus parviflorus

Three new Eloquent Echinodorus additions to our range which is very exciting and more to come so watch this space!

Any questions or advice please give us a call on 01363 774787 and we will be happy to help.

 

Aquascaping our way to health

Aquascaping our way to health

Why is it so important to of have an Aquarium in our lives?

The National Marine Aquarium, University of Plymouth & University of Exeter have conducted new research and found that people who spend time sitting and watching an aquarium can improve their physical and mental well being according to research that they published in the journal Enviromnent and Behaviour.

What were the findings?

The team assessed peoples responses both physical and mental to different aquariums with various amounts of fish. The team found that blood pressure and heart rate lowered whilst viewing the aquarium and the more fish they watched, they longer they held their attention and improved their mood which is why we can Aquascaping our way to health.

Deborah Cracknell, PhD Student and Lead Researcher at the National Marine Aquarium, conducted the study and found that spending time in a ‘natural’ enviorment such as underwater has a calming effect on us ‘stressy’ human beings! She says that the use of aquariums in doctors surgeries and dental practices have always been associated with calming techniques however there is now ‘robust evidence’ that proves that being amongst aquariums definately improves your overall wellbeing.

Dr Sabine Pahl, Associate Professor in Psychology at Plymouth University, said: “In times of higher work stress and crowded urban living, perhaps aquariums can step in and provide an oasis of calm and relaxation” and encouraged aquascaping our way to health.

In summary

So from this research carried out, its obvious the effects that having an aquarium in your home can improve your mood and overall wellbeing, thus your physical and mental health. This is why this hobby is so important in our every day lives. We all work hard and tend to put so much pressure on our shoulders these days with day to day living. Our aquariums not oly remind us to ‘stop, sit back, relax and enjoy the view’ but also to ‘bbrreeaatthhhh!!!

Aquascaping our way to health
Fantastic use of dragon stone – click on picture for more info

To find out how aquascaping our way to health and improve your well being by either setting up an aquarium or improve an existing one, call today on 01363 774787 and we will help you get there.

 

Freshwater Shrimp Seclusion

Freshwater Shrimp Seclusion – the Ultimate Shrimp Hide.

A little bit about it…

What I love most about this Freshwater Shrimp Seclusion is that it not only does this hide give your aquarium a natural yet urban feel with the vibrant green, lush and thickly grown moss. The somewhat industrial looking pipes is this great little hideaway is ideal for your shrimp to feel safe and at ease in your aquarium.

Hand crafted into these robust grey ceramic tubes making it a perfect refuge for not only just shrimp however other small crustacians, dwarf crayfish and youngsters too.

Why is it so useful?

Moulting is an important time for all shrimp where they need a quiet, safe haven. Moulting is part of their natural growth cycle however this time makes them very vulverable to other fish as once moulting has taken place their new skin is relatively soft so they hide from anywhere between 48 to 72 hours to give their new shell time to harden. The Freshwater Shrimp Seclusion is the perfect place for them to be as if your shrimp are unable to moult in safety they can become stuck in their old shell and perish.

Sit back and watch as your shrimp make their way through the tunnels and hop onto the plush moss for a clean up and tidy.

Where do I put it in my aquarium?

The Shrimp Seclusion is all ready to go – simply place in the desired spot in your aquarium. I always think slightly nestled away amongst your aquatic plants to give a real indigenous look and feel and allow your shrimp to take their fortress.

How big is it?

Measuring just 8 x 8 x 5cm so ideal for both nano and larger aquariums.

Freshwater Shrimp Seclusion

Freshwater Shrimp Seclusion

Freshwater Shrimp Seclusion

Tempted? Click here to go straight to the product.

Anubias nana Mini

Anubias nana Mini

This is by far the smallest Anubias I have ever seen and if you have a quick look at the pictures below you will see just how small the leaves are! Quite incredible really. The number of leaves that are packed into Anubias nana Mini is really amazing because it’s absolutely loaded.

Anubias nana Mini Anubias nana Mini Anubias nana Mini Anubias nana Mini

The pot is the usual 5.5cm in diameter so no surprises there and Anubias nana Mini doesn’t throw any punches there either because like the rest of its family it’s dead easy to grow. Because Anubias nana Mini is a slow growing aquarium plant it naturally prefers a low tech tank so anything where the lighting is relatively low and not on for too long every day. It’s 100% fine without pressurised CO2, but similarly if you do have it, it will bring the plant on quicker assuming you’re using lots of fertilisers.

Anubias nana Mini should be tied onto wood or rock – just like the other Anubias the reason for this is simple – if you planted it in the substrate, the rhyzome would rot and the plant would die.

Suitable for beginners and up, this delightful aquarium plant is unchallenging, rewarding and easy to grow. Looks best in aquariums which are smaller due to the leaf size so if you have a nano aquarium (say 30-40L is size) then it will look a pretty picture.

You can find this particular plant by clicking here .

hydrocotyle tripartita

hydrocotyle tripartita

This is a really easy aquarium plant to look after so first and foremost, if you’re new to the hobby then look no further! It’s unchallenging but still has the beauty of the very best types of aquatic plants, but before we go into that, let’s look into the history of hydrocotyle tripartita.

History

Referred to in the hobby as Hydroctyle sp Japan, its true name is Hydrocotyle tripartita and it originates from South East Asia – as do most aquarium plants due to the warmer climate. This plant grows fast and is a major reason why it’s so popular – we all want results fast and don’t want to wait and this plant certainly ticks that box. The leaves are small and a brilliant green colour, some might refer to the colour as intense.

Planting

Best to plant hydrocotyle tripartita as a carpeting plant as it hugs the foreground and sends out runners on a daily basis. If the light is dim, you may find it stretches up the tank, but you really would have to minimise the light for this to have an impact. Once you’ve taken hydrocotyle tripartita from the pot, you’ll be able to split the plant into several portions and at the beginning it may look slightly scruffy and unkempt, you need to give it time to start to grow and take shape. If any of hydrocotyle tripartita pops back up, just push it back in.

Check out this video to see how you plant and maintain hydrocotyle tripartita:

Availability:

hydrocotyle tripartita is available in two types for you and is available as a potted variety or available as hydrocotyle tripartita on lava. Both are great, just depends what you prefer the look of. If you’re planning on planting hydrocotyle tripartita direct into the substrate choose the potted variety but if you want to move it around because you might not be able to decide quite where you want to place it, use hydrocotyle tripartita on lava.

hydrocotyle tripartita
hydrocotyle tripartita pot
hydroctyle tripartita
hydrocotyle tripartita on lava

 

Anubias nana on driftwood

Anubias nana on driftwood

Having aquarium plants on wood is hugely beneficial and Anubias nana on driftwood is one of the more popular one’s a for a variety of reasons. First of all Anubias nana is one of the oldest plants that have existed in the hobby partly because it was found very early on but also because it’s easy to grow. But unlike many aquarium plants, Anubias nana must be planted onto wood or rock, and our favourite is Anubias nana on driftwood. If you try and plant this aquatic plant directly into the substrate there’s a very high chance that the rhyzome will rot and as a result the plant will break down and the leaves fall off one by one.

Anubias nana on driftwood
Anubias nana on driftwood

By attaching Anubias nana on driftwood, not only is the rhyzome above the substrate but it has a dual function. You can move it to where you want, when you want! This means if you get bored of it in one location it’s easy to shift to a new place.

Keeping Anubias nana on driftwood

You need to give this plant very little care which makes it absolutely ideal for beginners and up. It’s happy in a very wide range of conditions from cooler water all the way up to warm water (30C making it ideal for discus tanks). In terms of lighting, we’ve experimented in low to high light and it’s done surprisingly well. although be careful with too much lighting as Anubias nana on driftwood is a slow growing plant and even with lots of CO2 it won’t throw out more than 1 leaf every few weeks.

Does Anubias nana on driftwood flower?

If you are lucky yes – the flowers are white and very beautiful but it won’t last long – maybe a day or two. If you are keeping the plant above the water line then it will stay in flower for a week.

Where can I buy Anubias nana on driftwood?

You can find it by clicking here – they are always in stock and ready to ship to your door on a next day basis.

Cryptocoryne wendtii

Cryptocoryne wendtii

You have probably heard of Cryptocoryne wendtii before and for good reason too – it’s one of the most well known cryptocorynes because it was introduced into the hobby in the early days..

History: Originating from Sri Lanka, Cryptocoryne wendtii is a bit of a generic name for cryptocorynes in general. Although there are several different species with lots of different colours such as green and brown (as these are the most common). You might also find them in reds, but these are probably more brown – we actually sell 4 different varieties and you can find them by clicking here. Cryptocoryne wendtii will have a variety of different shaped leaves and some being surprising lengthy at 30cm. Another positive is how easy Cryptocoryne wendtii are to grow. Perfect for beginners as you can grow them in low to high light which makes them unchallenging. In some tanks you don’t even need to fertilise as they are heavy root feeders (but I don’t personally recommend this).

Cryptocoryne wendtii
Cryptocoryne wendtii green

Where to position: Generally Cryptocoryne wendtii should be placed in the foreground of your tank because of the height they grow to. In general most are quite small but there’s the odd taller one that would suit a midground location. Once they have settled in, I recommend that you leave them where you planted them – moving them can cause issues.

Cryptocoryne wendtii
Cryptocoryne wendtii brown

Cryptocoryne wendtii melt: Yes crypotocorynes definitely can and do melt and some are more susceptible than others. Melting is when the plant is placed into an aquarium and then over the period of a few days, the Cryptocoryne wendtii will literally appear to rot away and look terrible. If this happens, the cryptocoryne is simply readapting to its new environment. Simply cut off all the leaves leaving about 2cm from the base and then within a week you will see new growth.

How to stop Cryptocoryne wendtii melting: Lots of CO2 and fertilisers. If you give this plant what it really wants then its unlikely that you will see this problem – add some root tabs to into the base. Crypotocryne’s such as Mi Oya are less likely to melt.

Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut

Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut

If you’re one of those people who is looking for something a bit different, or dare I say it even a bit cool, then consider the Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut – it’s a new product into us and on first impressions it looks pretty darn neat! A really bright plant that has been carefully grown on a 1/4 coconut and then suction pads glued on.

You can place this aquarium plant pretty much anywhere in your planted aquarium and the beauty of the Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut means you now have a 3 dimensional look to your tank. The suction cups are designed so that you stick the coconut to the side of your tank and bingo, you’ve got something that looks totally unique!

So who is it for?

Perfect for any level of hobbyist from old to new. In terms of difficulty it’s very easy as the aquarium plant Microsorium pteropus windelov is extremely easy to care for. Doesn’t really matter what sort of lighting your provide it does well. This means you can place it near the bottom or top of your tank, although not too close to the top or else it can look a bit odd. If you have fish that tend to enjoy consuming plants, then this could be another good reason for you to invest in this because Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut is generally left by fish due to the taste!

What maintenance does it need?

Very little. Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut is slow growing and the piece you receive will probably be many months old. As soon as it’s placed in your aquarium, growth rate will probably slow a little. Once in a while you can trim the ends off but that’s pretty much all you will need to do.

Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut

Carpeting Aquarium Plants

Carpeting Aquarium Plants

Everyone loves carpeting aquarium plants right? I mean there’s nothing more delightful than looking at a beautiful green carpet of plants that are growing very happily at the bottom of your tank. They’ve always been popular and a question we’re asked fairly regularly so it made sense to put down in detail the plants we recommend, why we do that and how easy they are to grow. You see, the thing with carpeting aquarium plants is they’re not necessarily tricky but are neglected due to their location and this is why some fail. In addition a lot of carpeting plants have small root structure so you need to make sure you offer plenty of fertilisers and liquid carbon, AND a nutrient rich substrate. By covering all the bases you give yourself the very best chance of creating a carpet you have always dreamed of.

But let’s start with the easiest and work our way down to the trickiest. Note that our selection will be very different from other shops, most probably because we know what we’re talking about as we’ve been aquascaping for over 20 years. So here’s the top 5 Carpeting Aquarium Plants:

In FIRST PLACE THE Easiest Carpeting Aquarium Plant – Micranthemum ‘Monte-Carlo’

Micranthemum ‘Monte-Carlo’carpeting aquarium plant. This beautiful carpeting aquarium plant is suitable for beginners and up is unlikely to cause you any problems whatsoever. In fact its very tolerant of beginners which makes a refreshing change in the carpeting aquarium plants section.The leaves on this plant are small but not too small if you know what I mean. Now this is key because it’s able to photosynthesise very nicely doe to leaf shape and number. You can tell by the pot that this plant is absolutely loaded – literally thousands of leaves per pot. You can have high light, low light, CO2, no CO2 and it will still do well. There’s very little negative to say about it which is why it gets the top spot that beginners and above will love. If you’re after a bit more detail, view our other blog post on it by clicking here.

And here’s a rather neat video of the plant being trimmed.

In SECOND PLACE in carpeting aquarium plants is Staurogyne porto vehlo. Now you probably haven’t heard of this plant nor considered it as a carpeting aquarium plant but it seriously is a huge contender. Not quite as straight forward as Monte Carlo but if you kill this plant I’ll give you your money back (actually I won’t but it’s really Carpeting Aquarium Plantseasy to care for plant!) Once settled into your tank, you need to do very little to it for it to start creeping across the bottom of your nutritious substrate (you have got one right?! If not you need to). Suitable for both high and low light planted aquariums, only start to trim once it throws down roots. Apart from that you need to do VERY LITTLE for this plant to flourish and become and excellent Carpeting Aquarium Plant. Buy this plant now by clicking here.

 

In THIRD PLACE in carpeting aquarium plants is Micranthemum umbrosum. Not too dis-similar from the easiest of the carpeting aquarium plants as you can tell from the name. Very easy to care for and creeps perfectly. Leaves are small and round, maybe 5mm in diameter. But can you see the way it hangs down over the pot in the picture? This is why it’s another perfect carpeting aquarium plant – gravity forces it down. In termCarpeting Aquarium Plantss of lighting, it would benefit from slightly higher light, so you might get away with it in a low tech tank, but the addition of liquid carbon would always help and benefit the plant. Like all plants once you’ve placed it in the substrate, avoid trimming it for a few weeks so it can become established. The trigger for me is new roots – once you see them, it’s fine to trim, otherwise you can end up traumatising it. Apart from that, dead easy and ideal for beginners.

 

In FOURTH PLACE in carpeting aquarium plantsis Elecharis acicularis which has been in the hobby for donkeys years. In fact when I first startCarpeting Aquarium Plantsed to aqusacape (back in the 20th century!), I remember this plant being very popular but it was always sold in clumps. I vividly remember thinking I was getting a bargain as a bought two lots of 50. When it turned up I was severely disappointed because it was 2 bunches of 50 stems, which was maybe the equivalent to 2 pots at best. But I digress, this is a brilliant contender in Carpeting Aquarium Plants, but I’ve placed it at number 4 because it’s somewhat tricky as if it gets too much light and not enough CO2/fertilisers it clogs up with algae. It can also clog up with general debris so it does need cleaning and syphoning every week unless you have plenty of freshwater shrimp that will clean it for you. Apart from that it looks delightful when swaying in the current and you can trim it very short to give a manicured effect. If you want to see this plant being trimmed have a look at the video below.

Carpeting Aquarium Plants
The famous carpeting plant Hemianthus callitrichoides

FIFTH PLACE in carpeting aquarium plants, but certainly one of THE most popular Carpeting Aquarium Plants of all time is the famous Hemianthus callitrichoides. Now you might be surprised this wasn’t at the number one spot but we’re talking about easy carpeting aquarium plants and whilst this one isn’t necessarily difficult, it is unforgiving. Hemianthus callitrichoides can die  quickly – in fact you can do a pretty good job at killing it off in a couple of days if you don’t give it plenty of CO2 and lots of fertilisers. With minimal roots, it needs to take all of its nutrients from the leaves and if it doesn’t get just what it wants, it dies off. I know customers who have bought 20+ pots from us, for them all to die because his conditions weren’t quite right. This was a very tough lesson for sure, but it’s a reality. But if you get the conditions as it needs, it’s so beautiful and I’m suggesting that you work up to this plant. Imagine it to be the gold medal of all carpeting plants, because if you can master this one, you will have no problems with any others. If you want to see how fast this plant can grow then check this video out – took a mere 78 days to carpet.


and similarly if you want to see how you can trim Hemianthus callitrichoides, then check this video out

 

 

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.

Description:

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.

History:

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

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.

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.

Filtration

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.

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.

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.

COLOMBO FLORA BASE 5 LITER BACK(1)

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

 

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.

 

 

Plant Symbols – making it easier to choose

We’re making things even easier for you on the plant pages. We’re often asked which plants are suitable and what would we advise? So by introducing plant symbols makes it really easy for you in deciding if a certain plant you like is right.

Breaking it down into Apprentice, Skilled and Master – so what level are you?

Apprentice is as you might expect is geared towards new hobbyists – we have categorised these plants that even your Grandma could grow.


Skilled – Suitable for enthusiastic newcomers or better still if you’ve had  a planted tank for a few months and want to try something a bit more advanced (yet not too tricky).


Master – Suitable for CO2 infused tanks where you have plenty of experience, lots of lighting, good water circulation and lots of water changes.


All you have to decide is which category you belong to and choose plants to suit.

Do you love Vallisneria? Here are the top 5.

Who doesn’t like Vallis? If I cast my mind back it was one of the first plants I grew extremely well by doing…nothing. In fact it grew like a weed and provided a wonderful curtain effect that made me feel like a pro :)  I’m not sure which specific Vallis it was but it was dead easy. In fact the entire Vallis range is very simple to grow and unless you have very soft water you won’t have any problems.

There are currently 5 different types available – all similar (ish) with a variant. Let’s start with the biggest first:

Vallisneria gigantea rubra – large thick and wide leaves that grow fast. Great for bigger tanks and the leaves can grow up to about 2m (impressive heh!).


Vallisneria spiralis – suitable for beginners and up, this plant has narrow long leaves that look rather attractive. Grows in pretty much any tank.


Vallisneria spiralis red – just like the plant above but with a red tinge. A bit slower growing though.


Vallisneria torta – the smallest of the Vallis, this rather neat one tends to stay quite small as the leaves twist as they grow. Also great for beginners and up.


Vallisneria nana – the narrowest of all the Vallis, the leaves are a few mm thick. This makes them sway delightfully in the current. Not such a fast grower but very easy on the eye.

Just in case you’re not aware, Vallisneria do not appreciate liquid carbon. It can make them melt so best to avoid adding it.

Have you seen these plants before?

Found in the rice fields of Asia the Murdannia ‘keisak’ is a stem plant from the bamboo family. New in to us from Tropica, they describe this plant as easy to grow and unchallenging. We’re yet to give it a whirl ourselves but it looks the business.

Murdannia-keisak

Originating from North America the Penthorum sedoides is a low maintenance, easy growing stem plant. Another new plant from Tropica. Seems like they do the sourcing of this plant and then other growers jump on their ship. I might be wrong though (just seems like that). Anyway, looks pretty cool.

Penthorum-sedoides

What’s your concern about tissue culture plants?

I know a lot of you are unsure about tissue cultured plants, which concerns me! A lot of you don’t understand them too as I was recently asked about storing these plants and if they are for a conservatory! The simple answer is these plants are so easy, so adaptable that they really should be at the top of your list when it comes to choosing plants for your aquarium and for a few good reasons:

  1. They take much better to a new environment than potted
  2. They often are extremely well grown it and completely fill up the pots
  3. Better for the environment (wash away the jelly and recycle the plastic pot)
  4. They ship better
  5. They look better
  6. They grow better

That’s a lot of reasons. I’ve taken a few snaps this morning so you can see what they’re like and how full they are. Tell me what you think and if you have tried them.

tissue culture plants

tissue cultured aquarium plants Easy Grow Didiplis diandra Easy Grow Didiplis diandra Easy Grow Sagittaria subulata Easy Grow Eleocharis acicularis Easy Grow Eleocharis acicularis Easy Grow Eleocharis acicularis Easy Grow Eleocharis acicularis

You can see the range by clicking here

Vitro plants are expanding

With the popularity of Vitro plants (aka tissue culture plants) it’s really great to see that Aquafleur are taking it to the big stage too. They’ve brought out a dozen plants that are free from snails and algae GUARANTEED. So this means Tropica need to step up and continue producing more vitro plants to remain competitive.

This is refreshing because it gives you the choice of more plants that are not only perfect but are free from a lot of the concerns that hobbyists have. So this is a super exciting time for aquarium plants that are grown in vitro and you can find the range of Easy Grow plants here.

Easygrow-micranthemum-umbrosum

Cryptocoryne petchii grown on lava rock

You’ve gotta love this little Cryptocoryne on lava rock – perfect in every way. It’s dainty at only 7cm square so ideal for smaller tanks. The great thing about plants on decor from Tropica is that they’re well established which means they have cared for then for months so when you receive it, it looks perfect. Roots attached to the rock naturally.

The other benefit to this plant is very simple to grow (suitable for beginners and up) and you can move it about if you decide where you place it first isn’t quite right.

Tropica Cryptocoryne petchii on lava stone

You can find our other plants grown on wood or rock by clicking here.

Another cracking floating plant for aquariums

We’re really loving floating plants – they not only look good but offer shelter to fish in two ways – shelter from very bright light above them and somewhere to rest. Small fish can in particular rest in the trailing roots that floating plants offer, and odd as it seems, some roots can actually look quite attractive. I think the main reason is that they give your tank a very natural look as floating plants would be very common in the wild.

Ultimately we’re trying to replicate what nature offers and no better way than by offering floating plants. The latest one we have available is called Trapa natans – it’s been around for a long time throughout Europe and Asia (Eurasia) and if you like the sound of it you can find it here Trapa natans.

trapa natans

Also check out our other post on floating plants which details 4 others by clicking here.

don’t starve your plants…

starvation hurts doesn’t it? There’s nothing worse than seeing a plant go downhill and wondering why…

Common emails to me are customer sending in pictures of their plants and wondering what is wrong with them. It’s very clear in most cases that it’s a nutrient deficiency and I often wonder why hobbyists limit food for plants and then wonder what’s wrong with them. We all know by now that excess nutrients DO NOT cause algae, so it begs the question, why would you ever limit their food? This problem stems from years of incorrect advice floating around the web and forums. If you want a successful planted tank (and I know you do), give your plants plenty of food.

If you see algae in your tank, the answer is not to limit the nutrients. Algae can thrive in a tank with zero nutrients so quite why some hobbyists think limiting nutrients is the answer when they’re doing just fine without!  If you see any leaves that are shaped a bit odd, or they have holes in them or they’re not growing quite right it’s because they need more food! Simple as that. There are lots of different brands available (email me if you want one I recommend), and some are much more simple to dose than others but which ever brand you choose, give it plenty. And don’t forget the dosage on the bottle is the starting point and you only ever go up. As your plants grow and become larger, their food uptake has to be increased. Failure to change their dosage always results in plant deterioration.

So my message is short and sweet. Do not limit the amount of food that you offer your plants. If you are running a non CO2 tank, you only need to provide Micro Nutrients (trace elements) and if you are running a CO2 infused tank you need to offer Micro and Macro Nutrients (Macro being nitrates, phosphates and potassium).