Aquarium >> Plants

Originally when I got the 500 Litre aquarium it was used to hold Silver Dollars and Red Tailed Barbs. Both these fish loved eating plants and along with the plec's it was just not worth putting anything green in the tank unless it was food. Now however I have not long got the same fish and I have started to change the tank into a planted aquarium. Its alot more hard work and requires alot more maintenance which I tend to be a bit lax on.

The plants in a tank are separated into three areas, foreground, midground and background. Normally with the taller plants at the back and the shorter plants towards the front.


Most of the back of the tank is filled with bog wood, however between the wood and to the sides are plants. On the right side of the tank I have a large Amazon Sword, which has broad leaves which grow from the center of the plant leaving the older leaves on the outside. Every now and then I have to cut away the older leaves due to decay and plec damage.

On the left side of the tank is a Java Fern mother plant. This is a recent addition to the tank and I hope I will be able to use it to spread across the bog wood and to provide cover for smaller fish and fry.

Inbetween the wood, are a selection of Valius which are grass like plants which grow up in long narrow blades. This plants spreads via runners along the surface of the tank generating new plants, which can be cut from the runner and replanted. Very easy to grow plant but does tend to spread to much. I have found that during maintenance of this plant you have to pull the longer blades out from the base rather than cutting them otherwise the blade rots where you cut them.


Mostly in the middle layer of the tank surface I have Pigmy Amazon Swords. These are very similar to the larger Amazon swords. However the leaves are narrower and the plant does not grow as high. Currently mine have got to around 7-8 inchs in height. Where as the larger Amazon sword can reach from the base to the top of the aquarium which is 2 foot. Unfortunately the Pigmy Amazon swords take a beating from the plec's and currently I am struggling to keep them alive. I have moved them a big now so that they are more bunched together hoping that this will allow new growth that the plec's can reach.

I have also recently purchased some Anubius plants, which I will be using to grow over the bog wood. If its successful I will try and bring this down towards the middle of the tank so that the layers blend a bit more.


At the front of the tank I have a selection of plants which I do not know the name of. When I figure them out I will update this and provide a bit of information on them. The first are a reddish leaf plant which produces runners very close to the original plant. In a dark tank this plant grows about four inches high. However in mine its nicely spread across the bottom.

The second plant type at the front of the tank I collected from a tank in Czech and grow rather well in my tank. Starting with 1 cutting I now have about 10 plants. Which grows upwards with many light green leaves. Every time its gets to a certain height I pick out the middle of the plant and start a new cutting. I am using this plant to create a carpet in the tank to provide shelter for fry if any survive the other fish.

Moving around the tank I have a large moss ball, its meant to be near the front however it does get moved around by fish activity and sometimes will end up in strange places within the tank. This is a very slow growing plant, but its also said to provide filter qualities within the tank. It often gets very dirty and needs to be removed and gentle squeezed to clean it up. Once rinsed in clear tank water it returns to its normal colour. Sometimes after cleaning it will float due to the air in the moss. This sorts its self out eventually and its sinks.