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LiveAquaria® Step-by-Step Planting Guide for Freshwater Aquarium Plants

Live plants are beneficial additions to your freshwater aquarium. They offer an exciting and fulfilling dimension to your hobby and is arguably one of easiest way to improve aquarium water quality and aesthetics.

Live aquatic plants help recreate a natural ecosystem in miniature and keep your aquarium fish happy and healthy by providing shelter and a sense of security, especially for timid species. Live plants enhance your aquarium's appearance and provide a much more natural environment for its inhabitants. Above all, live plants optimize aquarium water quality by providing additional biological filtration, which helps support overall fish health.

Adding new aquatic plants to your aquarium is a simple process. However, keep in mind that different types of live aquarium plants have different planting requirements in order to thrive.

LiveAquaria® highly recommends quarantining all new aquatic plants in a separate aquarium for a period of two weeks to reduce the potential introduction of snails into your aquarium. Be sure to visually inspect the leaves of the plants for snail eggs and remove any you find using your fingernails. Then, thoroughly rinse each plant in water. In addition, all dead leaves should be removed from the plant before being added into the display aquarium.*

Rooted Plants

Rooted Plants

Use these recommendations for either potted plants or bare-root plants.

  • If potted, carefully remove the plant from the pot.
  • • Potted Rooted Plants are planted in mineral wool. Gently remove (and discard) the mineral wool and carefully expose the roots.
  • Cut off one quarter of the roots using a sharp pair of scissors. This will stimulate new root growth.
  • Make a depression in the substrate about as deep as the plant will sit. Place the plant into the depression.
  • Fill the hole in with the substrate, being sure to keep the crown of the root barely visible at the surface of the substrate.
Stem Plants

Stem Plants

These plants are usually planted in groups, but each stem should be planted in its own individual hole to prevent any potential decaying stem from contaminating the rest.

  • Remove the lead weight from the bundle of plants.
  • Trim any decaying part of the stem. Then, strip off two to four leaves, exposing the nodes on the stem. This is done to prevent leaves from rotting under the substrate.
  • Plant the stem two to four nodes deep. New roots will grow from the buried stem nodes.
Rootless Plants

Rootless Plants

Because these plants do not have a root structure, they need to be secured onto decorative wood or stones. To make this procedure easy, we recommend you tying down rootless plants out of the water.

  • Position the decoration the same way that it will be arranged in the aquarium.
  • Situate the plant on the decoration.
  • Use suitable thread such as monofilament line to wrap and tie the plant to the decoration.
Bulbs, Tubers, and Rhizomes

Bulbs, Tubers, and Rhizomes

The roots of these plants should be trimmed if they are damaged or black. However, caution must be used to not damage the actual body of the plant when cutting the roots.

  • Bulbs and Tubers: Plant so that about half of the bulb is visible above the substrate. All the leaves should be clearly visible.
  • Rhizomes: The roots of this plant grow from the nodes on the rhizome, but the point where the leaves sprout from the rhizome must not be buried. To achieve this, plant the rhizome at an angle under the substrate surface so that the majority is underground. This plant can also be planted in the same manner as a rootless plant.

*Learn More about why you should quarantine all new aquatic plants and what you can do to prevent the potential introduction of unwanted hitchhikers.

Acclimate New Fish, Corals, & Inverts

Plant Pond or Water Garden Plants