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Planted Freshwater Aquariums.
Live Aquarium Plants
There are a wide variety of aquarium plants available, and these plants have a wide range of needs.

Some aquarium plants are very easy to keep and grow and need very little special care.

But there are other type of aquarium plants that are very difficult to keep.

Most aquarium plants range somewhere between easy and difficult. Not too easy but not too difficult. Of course, we recommend the easy ones to beginners.

Aquarists, who are new to keeping aquarium plants, will probably enjoy these easiest to care for plants like Water Sprite and Vallisneria, which usually do well in most aquariums and grow fast, which is fun!

Getting Started
Adding a few Potted Plants to an existing aquarium is probably the best way to get started with live aquarium plants.

Potted aquarium plants come with their roots in a small pot, so there is less stress  Shown in the picture above is a big bunch of Wisteria, and you can just barely see the top edge of the small black pot the wisteria is growing in.

Wisteria is very hardy and does well in many water conditions, including hard water and soft water and a range of pH values.

Click here to see more potted plant varieties.

Wisteria and Vallisneria will do well in aquariums with most but not all types of fish.

Some types of fish eat plants. Others types of fish like to remove plants to enhance their territories.

Most smaller mild-tempered pet fish will not bother plants. Some types of fish remove algae and help plants.

In the Beginning Keep it Simple.
Adding a couple of hardy potted plants to your aquarium is a very good way to get started.

If there are fish in the aquarium, the plants will be fertilized by the dissolved fish waste in the water, and it is probably best to not start adding fertilizer.

But adding a few potted plants to your existing aquarium will not turn that aquarium into what aquarist call a planted aquarium.

What is a Planted Aquarium?
Planted Aquariums usually have lot of plants. Not necessarily lots of different types.

Many people who keep Planted Aquariums, say they prefer just a few species of aquarium plants.

They usually give a number between 3 and 6 species. One or two taller types in the background, plus one or two medium height plants in the middle of the aquarium, and one or two types in the foreground.

If you started by adding a few hardy, fast growing potted plants to your existing aquarium, as recommended above on this page, then you may have cuttings from those plants to add to a planted aquarium.
Quite often aquarists with planted aquariums add special lights, fertilizer, and carbon-dioxide.

If the combination of these three ingredients is properly balanced, the plants will grow very rapidly.

Click here for more information about how to add carbon-dioxide to a planted aquarium.
How to Create a Planted Aquarium.
Mr. Jonathan Dooley of Pondscapes INC. in Fishers, Indiana, calls Pet Fish Talk and give lots of good advice about "How to Grow Live Plants in an Aquarium".
Pet Fish Talk a Podcast about keeping pet fish in aquariums, fish bowls, and ponds.  
Click here now to hear Jonathan from Indiana talk about keeping plants in aquariums. Note: Jonathan calls after about ten minutes.
After the show Jonathan sent an email with several lists of the items that he discussed during the show. Thank you, Jonathan!
"Here's some of the links from things I talked about today. :) "
Web Sites
With Information about Planted Aquariums.

"Also, from the NOVA program you were referring too, one of the people that had tanks on the show was Diana Walstad, author of "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" (shown below). Her tanks are setup using a soil substrate, which is a completely different way to keep plants. :) "
Click on this image to buy Ecology of the Planted Aquarium by Diana L. Walstad.   Ecology of the Planted Aquarium
A Practical Manual and Scientific Treatise for the Home Aquarist, by Diana L. Walstad.
Hardcover: 194 pages. Second Edition.
Highly recommended.
Click here to buy this book.
"As far as a beginner setup for plants, here's a good shopping list. :) "
1 10-gallon tank.
1 bag Flourite (15lbs)
1 glass top for 10-gallon tank
1 20" 28 watt power compact light strip (ESU makes one)
1 bottle SeaChem Flourish
1 bottle SeaChem Flourish Nitrogen
1 bottle SeaChem Flourish Potassium
1 bottle SeaChem Prime for water changes.
1 two-liter bottle, and airline for DIY CO
1 small filter (I use Aquaclear filters on small tanks, sans carbon, run airline from CO
2 into intake)
Recommended Plants
4 bunches Saggitaria subulata
4 bunches Bacopa monnieri
2 pots of Cryptocoryne wendtii
1 Anubius Nana
1 Microsorum pteropus (Java fern)

Clean up Crew
6 Neocaradina japonica "Amano shrimp"
2 Crossocheilus atrilimes "Siamese Algae Eater"
6 Red Ramshorn snails (will start the breeding process, I usually have about 1 per gallon. Make sure you get the small ones, not the big Ramshorn Snails, as they WILL eat plants)

Other Recommended Fish.
"Smaller fish, such as Endler's Livebearers, Briggitae rasboras, Bluefin Killis, etc ... "
"Follow all directions on SeaChem bottles for dosing.
2 re-charged bi weekly.
25% water change bi-weekly, keep siphon 1" from gravel.
As stem plants grow, prune the healthy top growth, and replant.
lights run 10-12hrs daily, on timer if possible."
Jonathan Dooley
Aquatic Design and Maintenance Company
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