Many believe that if you have an aquarium, you have to put fish in it. But a plant filled aquarium can be a lovely addition to a home, even if it has no fish. Some aquarium owners will choose to buy artificial plants because they've had bad luck attempting to keep real plants alive. But preserving the health of your plants is relatively simple if you recognize what their likes and needs are. Here are a few of the chief reasons that aquarium plants end up dying or not thriving well.
Failing to provide enough light for your plant. Light is extremely important for a plant. You can provide a plant with buckets of food and nutrients, but if you don't give it enough light, it won't last long. Now these days, most of the tanks that you find will come with a light attached to the tank top. Alternatively, it will come with pre-drilled holes that have been setup to allow you to install a light relatively easily. If not, most acrylic tanks will allow you to drill your own holes and set up your own lighting. Of course, another perfectly good alternative is simply to place your aquarium on the south side of your apartment or house, near a window where it will be sure to get plenty of light.
Not paying attention to your plant's roots. If the plant is a new one, the brown leaves may be nothing more than the plant adjusting to it's new home. Most plants experience some sort of shock when transplanted from one place to another. It's nothing unusual. Just give it a bit of time to adjust and it should do fine. However, if your plant is an established plant and has been doing fine for a long time but suddenly the leaves start to turn brown and fall off - the roots may simply have come loose from the soil or gravel. It's not unusual for roots to come loose in aquariums, especially if you have fish that love to dig. In this case, simply replant or reposition the plant making sure that the roots are well covered and secure.
Too many plants for the space. Plants are alive and need room to grow. In the closed confines of an aquarium, it's easy to have a crowded aquarium. You have too many plants fighting for too few resources. Give your plants plenty of room to grow by providing it with a large enough aquarium to accommodate it's future growth spurts. If it starts to get a bit unwieldy, it also helps to trim it every once in a while to control it's growth.
Choosing the wrong plant for your environment. Plants, like most people, do best in their native environments. When they're transplanted, they can sometimes have trouble adjusting to the new surroundings. For example, you may have fallen deeply love with a beautiful tropical plant that you think is perfect for your aquarium. But, if your aquarium is in the northern part of Alaska, chances are your plant is just not going to do well. Many times the cause of a dying plant can be traced directly back to it not being right for the habitat that it has been moved to.
Many times the poor performance of a plant is where it was purchased. It's not unusual to discover that most animal and fish stores are set up to deal with animals, not plants. To many of them, plants are simply a side line. If you notice that a store has only a few types of plants for sale and a rather small stock, it's a good guess that they aren't very knowledgeable about the types of plants that will do well in your environment. Also, if most of the store's plants are yellowing or brown, or if the plants seem to be not well cared for, it's probably best to continue to look elsewhere. The last thing that you want to do is to introduce a diseased plant into your aquarium.
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Jim F. Johnson is webmaster and owner of www.aquariumtropicalfishsite.com. find more information on aquarium plants at his web site.
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