It might sound daunting, but crafting your own live plant aquarium is actually nearly as easy as properly setting up a regular one. A “live plant” aquarium merely means that your fish tank doubles as a garden as well as a home for your fishier family members. Keep in mind that setting up a live plant tank is best done with a tank that does not already have a settled ecosystem. If you are attempting to convert a previously-existing set up, you will need to transplant your fish into another tank for a period of time until their new home has been cycled and completed. Don’t let that stop you- having a live plant tank is more than worth the effort that goes into making it happen.
#1 Plant Food
This sounds scarier than it is. What is meant by “plant food” is merely appropriate substrates like fish tank bark that provide nutrients and room for plant roots to flourish. The construction of a proper live plant tank should always start with the proper use of a plant soil. Underwater plants are just like regular plants in that they need a place for their roots to expand and consume “food.” You can use regular gravel to steady your plants, but gravel does not provide the nutrients that those plants ultimately need, and may starve them before they have a chance to take hold. Check out your local pet store to see what sort of fish tank plant soil they have to offer.
#2 Cleaning Crew
Every tank should have a set of fish that work to clean bottom scraps as well as excess algae, and in the case of live plant tanks these fish can be the perfect complement in keeping leaves and stalks clean. Using catfish species of bottom feeders and loach species of algae consumers, for instance, ensures the perpetuation of a healthy ecosystem and helps prevent the need for excessive cleaning or scrubbing of the tank. There are all sorts of “cleaning” species of fish, so do some research and find out the ones that best suit your aesthetic preferences and tank needs.
Having appropriate lighting can also help with the growth and success of your live plant tank. Certain lights are made to cater to plant, rather than just fish, needs, and these lights, while not mandatory, can make a difference. You can also use bogwood pieces to add a decorative flair to your tank as well as provide trace minerals to promote the well-being of plants and fish. Bogwood will additionally reduce fungus and bacterial disease in a tank, and makes the water a pleasant tea-color, as opposed to the stark clear that it usually is.
There are tons of tricks to setting up and maintaining a live plant tank. With the proper research, you can have a breathtaking fish tank in no time that provides a better and more natural environment for your fish and a better and more artistic decoration for your home.