This page contains some tips about (the purchase of) aquarium plants. Most of these tips are derived from my own experience with aquarium plants.
One general thing I've noticed about aquarium plants is that plants with thin, light-green leaves attract more algae's than plants with thick, dark leaves. Especially the thickness of the leaves seems to be a major influence. Therefore it's wise to use not to many light-green plants with thin leaves in a newly set up aquarium or a aquarium which suffers from algae's.
Algae eating fish prefer to be lazy. Therefore algae eating fish generally will start with eating the algae's of plants with big leaves. This because this is much easier for them than eating algae's of plants with small leaves. In a newly set up aquarium or aquarium which suffers from algae's it's therefore wise to use few plants with small leaves. This because if the algae eating fish ignore these plants, a algae plaque can start easily on these plants.
Some plants are more effective in removing nitrogen and other nutrients of the water then other plants. Plants which probably helped me lowering the nitrate level of the water in my aquarium (from 10 to 5 mg/l) are Hygrophila difformis and Ceratopteris thalictroides. Although I can't say this for sure, because there are other factors in the aquarium which also effect the nitrate level. A minor disadvantage of Hygrophila difformis is that it attracts algae's quite easily. Other plants which like nitrogen are Hygrophila corymbosa and Ceratopteris cornuta.
Often fast growing plants are advised to prevent algae grow in the aquarium. I myself think this isn't always the most important factor. Some plants attract much easier algae's than others (see also the first tip). Therefore there are also slow growing plants that can prevent algae grow. Slow growing plants which didn't attract many algae's (in my aquarium) are Cryptocoryne cordata, Cryptocoryne undulata and Hygrophila corymbosa "kompact". Other plants that didn't attract many algae's in my aquarium are: Ceratopteris thalictroides, Echinodorus x barthii, Echinodorus 'Ozelot', Echinodorus 'Rubin', Hygrophila polysperma, Nymphaea lotus "green", Vallisneria americana var. biwaŽnsis en Valisneria spiralis var. spiralis.
In a newly set up aquarium it's wise to use as many as possible 'real water plants' (plants that always live under water). This because these plants don't have to adjust to the under water environment. However there are only few real water plants for sale in the shop and therefore they are often hard to find. Three well know real water plants are the different Valisneria species, Egeria species (less suitable for high water temperatures) and camomba species. But real water plants aren't always the best choice only because of this reason. I think that for example fast growing "no" real water plants which adjust easily to the under water environment (like Hygrophila polysperma and Hygrophila difformis) are a better choice for a new aquarium than difficult real water plants (like the most Cabomba species). More info about real aquarium plants can be found on Internet site of 'The aquarium guide'.
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