Tag Archives: potted 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.

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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.

 

Scaped For You Collections

Scaped For You Collections

We just thought we would introduce you to our new Scaped For You Collections that we have just started offering here at Aqua Essentials.

What are Scaped for You Collections?

Scaped For You Collections are essentially ‘ready made’ aquascapes if want of a better phrase. They are aquascapes that have been created by professional Tropica Aquascapers and come with guidelines explaining how to replicate the scape in your own aquarium.

Some people admire scapes they see on Facebook, pinterest, Twitter etc done by the likes of George Farmer & Dan Crawford who are very talented Aquascapers and so many more out there.  They think to themselves “Oh I wish I could have that in my aquarium but just do not have the time to research all the plants needed nor spend time aquascaping it”. Well this is why we are offering you these Scaped For You Collections compliments of Tropica.

So what do I get?

We are offering a variety of Scaped For You Collections for different sized aquariums. We send you all the plants, wood and rocks you will need to produce your chosen aquascape.  You can refer to the product page on our website for easy to follow instructions which guide you when planting, positioning your rock and wood. You can also view the You Tube video by Tropica which explains step by step and guides you along the way. We even tell you which gravel or sand to use too.

What do it do?

So go to the product page (highlighted links) and choose the right Scaped for You Collection and then just ‘buy’! All that you will need will be packaged up and sent to you.

When will I receive it?

As you are no doubt aware we hold a large quantity of plants in stock so it is very rare that we will not have the plants in stock that you order.  However there may be occasions where a particular plant is not in stock or out of season or we are short of quantities (some Scaped For You Collections do require a large quantity of a certain plant) so we will have to order it in hence the reason why we give 1-7 days depending on availability however these Scaped For You Collections are well worth the wait…trust me! We have our plant deliveries in every thursday and friday and will always email you informing you of any minor delays too.

What level is it for?

We offer Easy, Medium and Advanced Scaped For You Collections here at Aqua Essentials.  Some people might like to start with Easy and progress up the ranks once they have gain knowledge and confidence and some keen and experienced Aquascapers might go straight for Advanced. You choose what suits you.  Easy set ups contain plants that are pretty hardy, need low lighting conditions and non CO2 so need little maintainance and easy to keep. Medium and Advanced set ups require more attention and some will require CO2 and good lighting.

What if my aquarium is bigger than the one I have chosen?

That’s no problem at all! Just either add the Scaped For You Collection you would like to your basket and then just add additional plants to make it up for your sized aquarium or just email us or call and tell us which scape you are looking to order and we will advice you how many more of each plant, wood or rock you will need for your size.

We are here for all the help and guidance you need so only a phone away or call 01363 774787 or email info@aquaessentials.co.uk.

This is a typical Scaped For You Collection we offer which is the finished article.

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This is the type of diagram you will be able to refer to when scaping your chosen Collection.

Layout43 diagram
Scaped For You Collections

Along with the Scaped For You Collection you can refer to additional images which will show you the progress and growth expected over time.

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Scaped For You Collections
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Scaped For You Collections
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Scaped For You Collections

More Scaped For You Collections will be available in due course.

Aquascaping Layout & The Golden Ratio

Aquascaping Layout & The Golden Ratio

Some of you may have heard of this and some of you may have not and its called ‘The Golden Ratio’ which is widely used in planning the layout and perspective of an aquascape.  We have put together a simple ‘Aquascaping Layout  & The Golden Ratio’ guide on how to create a scape that is pleasing on the eye and has the right composition and design in mind.

The Golden Ratio

Firstly we will look at the The Golden Ratio which will guide you in creating perspective in your aquarium. This ‘Aquascaping Layout  & The Golden Ratio’ guide is used when wanting to acheive the perfect balance when placing objects in a space.  So let’s begin and these 3 steps explain what the Golden Ratio is.

1. Stand back and look at the front of your tank. Imagine there are four lines going across the front of the glass, two vertical and two horizontal, giving you now nine sections.

2. Where the lines cross are the Golden points where you should consider placing your key features to the tank i.e. rock, wood or prominant plants such as reds or plants that stand out.

3. You can use the Golden Ratio to plan the height layout of your plants too.

Symmetry

Basically symmetry does not work in a planted aquarium. It is too formal, structured and unnatural. Think about it would you see symmetry in the wild? No, so lets not make it neat and symetrical in the aquarium.  The focal point (as we mentioned earlier your key feature so wood, rock, red plant etc) should be slightly off to the center. 1 : 1.62 was calculated long ago as the point which is the most pleasing on the eye.  This is where you could consider having a slope on one side too, like a riverbed.

Shape

Please don’t have all your ‘tall’ plants lined up along the back and try and create a ‘hedge’ or ‘wall’ of plants to cover up the background! It is not needed and only looks dated. Try replicating a mountain look by trimming your plants to be taller on the sides and slightly shorter in the center.  You could also add some rocks either side (not symetrical remember to add to your mountain look).

Positioning of the plants

Depending on the scape you are looking to achieve, I like to keep my rocks or wood positioned amongst the midground plants as the stems can easily be hidden amongst the rocks plus you can carpet foreground plants around the base of the rocks to create a really natural look.

Creating depth

Creating depth is not the easiest task however keeping the golden ration in mind it can be done.  The first thing to remember is to avoid positioning the rocks from left to right across the middle in a straight line which just looks two-dimentional and very unnatural looking.  So I recommend planting and positioning in layers starting from the front to the back leaving a small gap in between and from low to high. With time and experience you will become more bold and challenging with your aquascaping and start creating some amazing looking scapes.

Another element to consider when planting your scape is to take note of the estimated growth guides that come with the plants or you can use the guide we use on our plant product page. Obviously you dont want to have to be trimming your plant all the time as it grows quicker than the one behind it so it really plays off to carefully plan your scape and even put pencil to paper first and sketch it out.

With all the above considered when putting a scape together, you should be impressed with the results. If however you need further advice we are only a phone call away on 01363 774787.

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Importance of Maintenance guide

Importance of Maintenance guide.

So, with only about three weeks ago until the big day it’s that time of year again where you will be inundated with those Christmas visitors bearing gifts & the one thing always grabs peoples attention is your aquarium. So you’ll want to impress your visitors for sure! The Importance of Maintenance guide is here to help as usual and have put together a simple step-by-step guide to get that aquarium in tip top shape.

Is your water quality good enough?

Firstly Importance of Maintenance guide would start here and I would be firstly testing the water with a test kit. It’s always a good idea to routinely test your water especially if some of your fish have been poorly or new fish have been recently added to your aquarium.  So a simple test kit which tests pH, water hardness, nitrate, nitrite and ammonia will do the trick.

Is it due a water change?

Importance of Maintenance guide would recommend water changes on a weekly basis and consider this to be an important part of maintaining good quality water. We say about 30% and that can easily be done with a syphon set which sucks water up and out.  This can also be used to plunge into the gravel too for cleaning up any unwanted food waste and debris from the aquarium bed.  We also have a selection of gravel cleaners that are great for this too.  Remember that tropical fish naturally live in environments where they have running water from a current or rainfall so it’s important to stimulate this natural environment.

Could your filters do with a good cleaning?

Filters are designed to clean and purify your water however if it is clogged with waste it can not do its job properly and the water quality will not be as good.  So get cleaning the sponges (of course using about two cups of the aquarium water) and give the tubes and filter casing a good old clean and scrub. These filter brushes are very useful for this too. By following the Importance of Maintenance guide your sure to have the cleanest of filters.

Are your plants in need of a good trim?

This is a simple process which if done correctly and regularly can really pay off so follow the Importance of Maintenance guide. Not only does this improve the growth of your plants but it will also improve the overall health of your plants. We would never recommend household scissors as they can easily damage the stem structure so I would always recommend a good pair of Aquascaping scissors such as these.

Could you do with more plants?

Depending on the type of Aquascape you’re looking to achieve depends on how many plants you will need. Many people are hesitant adding more plants to their aquarium because they fear they will die, are too fragile to keep or too difficult. However this is not the case at all and most plants are actually very hardy and if kept in the right conditions will flourish in your aquarium.  The two main reasons for loss of plants is due to 1) incompatible plants that need different water parameters 2) incorrect lighting.  Don’t fear adding more plants to your aquarium as long as they’re compatible with your existing ones.

Could your rocks, wood or decor need a good old clean or need replacing?

The Importance of Maintenance guide would recommend a good old scrub of your aquarium decor which can be done under fresh water. It is surprising how much they can gather green algae and the difference a good old scrubbing can do. However after a while some wood, rocks and aquarium decor can look tired and no matter how much you try scrubbing away at that green algae build up, the staining can be stubborn. Sometimes you just want to try something a bit different, try out a different aquascape. Here we have a selection of great quality aquarium decor.

Can you see your reflection through the glass?

And now the finishing touches, get yourself some glass cleaning wipes and give your glass a good wiping over until you get a sparkle! Also a glass scaper is very good for getting to those hard to reach dirty spots as the long rod enables you to reach a little further. Its also a good idea to invest a magni-cleaner too as they cleaner both sides of the glass for you…meaning less work for you!planted-aquarium-lighting

Following our guide you too could have an aquarium as perfect as these .

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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 .

Fittonia Forest Flame

Fittonia Forest Flame

Fittonia Forest Flame is a relatively new strain of an already established vivarium plant that has recently been introduced to the hobby.  It has an incredible wow factor which comes from the vibrant colours it displays on its leaves.  These range from flame red (hence the name) to a shocking pink.  Your eyes will not miss this plant if it is in a vivarium.  The fittonia forest flame is an ideal plant for instant impact as it will have very vivid colours when you buy it.

Origins

This new cultivar was discovered in Haaren, in The Netherlands and is a naturally occurring “whole plant” mutation of Fittonia verschaffeltii ‘Josan’ which is very similar looking but with a more muted green and pink coloured foliage.  Terminal cuttings were taken of the first fittonia forest flame plant and successful cultivation produced uniform and stable plants which were then introduced into the hobby.

Planting and Growth

Fittonia forest flame is a relatively easy plant to keep.  The plant does not like direct sunlight so a vivarium environment is perfect for them.  Plant fittonia forest flame directly into well drained loose substrate that is nutrient rich.  Fittonia forest flame grows extensively in a creeping manner and can spread up to 40cm in size with an eventual height of about 20cm.  This plant will need regular watering but do not “drown” it!

Availability

Fittonia forest flame is available as a small potted plant ready for use in a vivarium.  The plant comes set in rockwool, to get the best from this beautiful plant simply re-pot into a container of your choice with a suitable substrate and away you go.  Should look spectacular in a planted vivarium and provide a good contrast against rocks and wood.

fittonia forest flame
Potted Fittonia Forest Flame

fittonia forest flame fittonia forest flame

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.

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

 

 

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.

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

how to plant aquarium plants

So I’ve chosen this question as I know A LOT of you who are new to planted aquariums, wonder how to plant aquarium plants. So I wanted to cut straight to the point and I have combined this post with a YouTube clip I made sometime ago now.

1) assuming you have purchased the plants from us, there is no need to clean under tap water – our plants DO NOT contain any pesticides or anything that would harm you tank inhabitants. So relax about that one :)

2) Remove the plant from the plastic pot and if you can please recycle the pot as most recycling centres now accept them.

3) You are now looking at your plants and on the bottom of it is rockwool. This is totally inert and safe for your tank. It’s used so that the plants can root into. The easiest way to remove rockwool is to physically remove what you can by hand, and the remainder run it under tap water and it comes off very easily that way. If you are using plants such as Hemianthus then I recommend that you leave about 10mm of rockwool as this will help to anchor the plant down as they are very light and likely to bob up to the surface otherwise. For those of you unsure about this plant – it looks like this:

Hemianthus callitrichoides

4) You now need to split your plant into several sections (if possible). Using Heminathus as an example, you can cut this with scissors into 5-6 pieces. Other plants like cryptocorynes you will be able to gently tease apart and  plant as 4-5 new plants. But, not all plants can be split – most Echinodorus are only one plant and that is how they will stay.

5) Some plants will have a decent root structure to them, others will not. If the roots are big and you find they will get in the way, simply cut them off with scissors. Leave about 20mm – you will find this does not effect plants at all and can actually have the reverse effect and create positive plant growth. A bit like stemmed flowers – they’re always trimmed at the base before putting in water to improve nutrient uptake and the same goes for aquarium plants.

6) So you’ve now removed the pot, removed rockwool (if necessary), split the plant and trimmed the roots, all you need to do is plant into your substrate. You need to make sure you give your plants room to grow so for smaller plants give them at least 30mm between each plant. With larger plants, realise that they will grow a lot more and spread out so bare this in mind. Stem plants you can plant fairly close together but bare in mind if insufficient light makes it down to the bottom, then the leaves will fall off and you’ll be left with strange looking plants. Push your plants about 50mm into the substrate and I recommend using tweesers for this – it makes the job so much tidier.

7) Now your plants are in place, let them settle in. Try and avoid moving them and certainly don’t trim them for at least 2 weeks. They need to become acclimatised to their new world – which may be dramatically different to their old one. It’s your job to make sure you give them what they need, and in most cases that’s lots of CO2, lots of fertilisers and plenty of water changes.

Any questions? Ask away :)

Aquarium plants dying

Sounds familiar?

It is to me. But then I am on the receiving end but if you go onto forums you’ll see this sort of statement all the time. I often here the same reason as to why aquarium plants are dying and it’s normally due to the fact that they have algae. They’ve been told (normally by shops) they need to starve the algae. Advice like this is sooooo old school yet the message is continually advised from shop owners who in my opinion clearly don’t know what is best.

So hobbyists follow the advice given to starve their algae and totally stop the nutrients they are putting in. Algae dies back a little and plants totally disintegrate – the reason why is simply

you’ve just starved your plants to death…

My advice to anyone who is looking for advice is speak to experts, like us (and a few others) who know what is best, and not generic shops which peddle out these toxic messages. If your plants are dying you need to first work out why. First, are they actually aquatic plants? Sounds a funny thing to ask but there are still a lot of shops that sell non aquatic plants! This only adds to confusion to hobbyists who may be doing everything else right. Below are pictures of a few non aquatic plant – looks nice heh?

 

problem is they will last a couple of weeks then start breaking down. These plants should live in your garden or conservatory, not in your tank. So if you have a plant that looks like these (normally they come without plant labels for identification), remove them and start again.

Secondly, are your plants getting the right nutrients? I’m recommending Neutro T for non CO2 tanks and Neutro+ for CO2 infused tanks.Your plants need no other nutrients with these ferts below.

neutro t aquarium fertiliser

neutro+ aquarium fertiliser

You add these ferts daily because that’s what plants want. Just like us, they want feeding every day – not so crazy is it? Feeding weekly is nuts and just marketing spiel to make it appear that the fertilisers are more economical then they actually are.

Are you providing your plants with carbon is gas or liquid form? If not, why not? Carbon is the backbone of plant growth and without it, your plants will suffer. Try Neutro CO2

neutro CO2 aquarium fertiliser

Are you performing weekly water changes of at least 30%? Plants need clean water unless you want to grow algae and I’m guessing you don’t.

If you follow these very basic steps I guarantee that you will have success with the majority of plants. Some that you might struggle with are advanced one’s but we’ll get onto that at another time.

If you’re still having troubles, reply to this post and let’s talk :) Call us on 01363 774 787.

World class aquarium potted plants

It’s a bold statement isn’t it? I mean what truly is world class and how do you really know? So I checked out t’internet and this is what it said:

1. (adj.) world-class
ranked among the world’s best; of the highest caliber:

I believe this is Aqua Essentials for a few reasons. I know my standards are really high and the feedback we get from customers to the quality of the packaging, the plants themselves, the quick despatch and the free advice we give day after day in the quest to help hobbyists with their planted aquarium. World class isn’t just one aspect in my opinion, it’s a number of factors based over a period of time and compared to others in the field.

Top of the range potted plants
Amazing plants delivered to your door
Our classic mixed box of aquarium plants

We only send out plants that I would be happy with. No point in sending out anything substandard – no one wants to be disappointed when what you were hoping for ends up not being quite what you were…hoping for. You just pull this expression then :(

We’ve been there, done that and didn’t enjoy the experience…

So the plants we send out are World Class. Kept hydroponically just like the growers. They get nice and warm air with plenty of O2 and ferts, and guess what some even flower. Not only that but because we keep them hydroponically, they ship really well and will take to your aquarium much quicker.

What’s more is that most of our plants now cost only £2.99 each and if you buy 5 or more this price drops to £2.69. Not bad heh for world class?

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.

Top 3 most popular foreground plants

What’s the easiest, what’s the best, what’s the quickest, what’s the nicest…?

We get asked all sorts of things regarding foreground plants and the answer is always the same “it depends!!”….

it depends on what you are trying to achieve, what your skills as a hobbyists are, if you’re using CO2, what your lighting levels are etc etc. So there’s no easy answer but here’s my personal top 3:

Pogostemon Helferi – probably the easiest foreground plant to grow as it will happily flourish in CO2 and non CO2 tanks. Lighting wise it’s not too fussy either and again likes low and high light. Great for beginners and upwards.

Eleocharis Acicularis – a long term favourite amongst planted aquarium hobbyists you can see why this plant became so popular so quickly. Relatively easy to grow, it looks great and reproduces quickly by throwing out runners pretty much everywhere. In a CO2 infused aquarium, it really motors and you will have a lushous carpet in no time.


Echinodorus Tenellus – a cracking plant that has been in the hobby since the mid 80s. A plant with lovely shaped leaves which when submersed become slimline and grass like so it sways in the current (very relaxing to watch). Suitable for non CO2 tanks, however if you’re looking to create a carpet effect (which most are with foreground plants) then CO2 would be necessary along with a decent fertiliser such as AE Design Aqua Nourish and Aqua Nourish+.

 

Pogostemon Erectus – a foreground and background plant

This really is a cracking plant and new to the scene too, having only arrived about 6 months ago, and never seen before in the hobby. New plants are always exciting as it opens doors to new aquascapes…

Pogostemon Erectus is a fine leafed stem plant which has conifer likes stems (very unusual) which are bright green and vivid. Extremely eye catching, it becomes an instant focal point and one of the reasons it has shot to fame. Like all stem plants if you keep the lighting bright it ensures the plant stays low and compact making it a great plant if you’re looking for something on the foreground. Of course, you can still grow it as a background plant if your lighting is less powerful; expect it to grow up to 40cm in that case.

It’s a fairly easy easy plant to grow, but you need to make sure you have decent fertilisers and of course CO2 is always beneficial if you want to get the best from this plant. Failure to do this always results on algae taking hold and settling quickly of the leaves. Temperature wise, 22-28° C is recommended so this won’t cause problems for most of you. Always plant Pogostemon Erectus in a group of 3 pots or more as it will look best that way, and what is even more wonderful is watching it sway in the current – it’s quite mesmerising…

To see the complete range of our aquatic plants for planted aquariums, please click on this link.

Need Aquarium Plants but can’t decide which one’s?

Sometimes it’s tough deciding how many plants you need and sometimes you just can’t decide which one’s you want either. So we decided to come up with a solution.

We’re offering potted plants in quantities in lots of 5, 10 and 15. These are a selection of aquatic plants which are suitable for the foreground, midground and background and also for aquariums of 35L, 70L and 100L.

It takes the hassle out of choosing, fills up the relevant area of your tank but what’s more they’re available at a discounted rate so you make a saving too.

Find the offers here.