Aquatic Plants Q&A

What do I need to start my planted aquarium?

We always recommend putting a “soil” under your gravel before setting up your planted aquarium. There are various options on the market but Dennerle DeponitMix is our preferred choice as it contains nutrients and trace elements needed for plant growth as well as clay minerals and quartz sands.

What type of gravel should I use in my planted aquarium?

When choosing gravel for your planted aquarium, a fine substrate is advisable. This allows the plants to grow through the gravel but is not fine enough that it doesn’t hold the soil below down. You can use larger size gravels if you wish but we would not advise the use of sand as it will struggle to hold down the DeponitMix below. There are also other options, which include all-in-one substrates that feed the plants whilst also maintaining the aesthetics of the aquarium.

How do I feed my plants?

There are two main parts of a plant that need feeding - the roots and the leaves and there are a vast variety of products on the market to aid with this. If you are using soil, there is unlikely to be any need to use something like API Root Tabs but if you decided to add plants after you set up the aquarium, these root tabs will feed the plant from the roots up.

We also recommend you add daily doses of CO2 - either via a liquid such as API CO2 Booster or Seachem Flourish Excel or using a CO2 injection system. You will find that there is more of an initial outlay when it comes to the CO2 systems but they are more cost effective in the long run.

It is also good to add API Leaf Zone weekly as this targets the growth of the leaves specifically. You can also get liquids that add the trace elements plants need into the water so they can take these to grow. Red plants also require iron and either Dennerle’s E15 FerActiv or Seachem Flourish Iron are good for this.

What kind of lighting should I use for my planted aquarium?

Aquarium lighting is particularly important for plant growth, particularly when you are caring for species that demand more light. LEDs are increasingly popular and it is best to look for ones which have an output between 6700k and 10,000k. We stock a variety of lights within this spectrum to suit different budgets.

What fish are best for planted aquariums?

Selecting what fish you’d like for your planted aquarium is generally down to personal choice and compatibility with the plants you’ve selected. Tetras, corydoras catfish, guppies or a beautiful Siamese fighting fish (betta splendens) are all popular choices but best to pop in and the staff can guide you with your livestock choices and compatibility between species.

What plants can I attach to bogwood or rocks?

If you’re looking for plants to attach to bogwood or rocks, we would advise either java fern (microsorum pteropus), or anubias or moss. There is a large selection of different types of anubias - broad leaf, nana, nana gold, for example - and java moss is the most popular although weeping moss, Christmas moss and triangle moss are becoming increasingly popular.​