Live Plants I - My luck (or in some cases lack there of) with them..

When I began keeping bettas, especially in the very beginning with Jabu-Jabu, I didn't really intend on keeping him or any of my fish with live plants.  But when I decided to get my second fish and a 10 gallon tank, I decided if I was going this big I may as well go total balls out and plant live plants.  Some have flourished.  Others haven't.  In any case, here's what I've tried to grow and what I've learned about live plants.

¤ Lighting and Food ¤

First of all, all of my aquariums are lit by fluorescent lights.  This wasn't cheap to do, as far as cheap goes in my opinion.  The two hoods for my two 10 gallon tanks cost me $47 all in all, one was $29.99 and the other I got on sale at petsmart for $17.  It's pretty much necessary to have lights if you don't have your tanks in direct sunlight.  

Even when you do get lights, it's a good idea to get plant food.  I chose to get the Aqueon brand of plant food for aquariums and it's thus far worked out pretty well for me.  I've had very brief, minor algae issues that were completely harmless to my fish and have since become not a problem at all.  It's kept the majority of my plants healthy and green.  Seachem products have also all worked really well for me, so I don't doubt their plant food would also work very well.   I may end up switching to their plant food in the future because of how good their other products have been.  I'll definitely mention them in another article.

I'll also mention in this section that all of my tanks have gravel (mostly naturally colored, some black) as a substrate.  It's been very easy to clean with a Siphon and because of how small it is, acts as both a good substrate for me and keeps my fish from doing stupid stuff like getting their heads mashed under marbles. :P

¤ Plant Types I've had Luck With ¤

Java Ferns
My first plant that I gave a go was a Java Fern.  It has been my most successfully kept plant to date and is easy to propagate new plants from it.  It does it all for you!  I've split off many new plants and moved them around.  It tolerates fairly low light conditions as long as you give it some plant chow here and there and will likely out grow your aquarium's height if you have long instead of tall tanks like I do.

They're a great beginner plant, like their counter part in names Java Moss.  They've grown great in my gravel and tolerate being moved around.  They don't shed like other plants I've tried have and deal with a range of temperatures for tropical fresh water aquariums.

Cabomba w/ Algae Growth
Another plant I've had a fair amount of luck with has been Cabomba, with a few things I should mention about them.  Cabomba prefer slightly lower temperatures than bettas do, or so I've been told.  I've had the best luck growing them at 78 degrees or below.  They've also been the chief culprit for harboring green and a wee bit of brown algae when it happened.  The picture to the right shows my cabomba in what used to be Jabu-Jabu's 3rd of a 10 gallon tank growing with green algae film covering it.  I have to assume it happened because conditions were right and I was feeding it plant food.

Cabomba, visually, is definitely my favorite plant I've had luck with so far.  It fills a great amount of space that otherwise is left empty and provides great hiding spots for bettas.  It's the softest plant I've grown so they definitely prefer exploring it to, say, the slightly more rigid Java Fern.  It's easier on delicate halfmoon fins than most of the other plants, too.

The only downside I've found to cabomba is that it's a smidgen delicate and can easily break if you move it around.  It does NOT like being replanted so plant it with thought.  It also grows like crazy when given the room so keep an eye on it or you may find too much of it for your fishes to swim in!

Mikau swimming in Anarchis
I've also had some luck with Anarchis in more than one way.  I decided to pick some up after reading about it on the plant post written by PewPewPew on  It's my second favorite plant thus far and Mikau, my green dragon halfmoon, adores it for hiding and floating in.  

It has grown with relative ease compared to almost every other plant I've tried, fills a lot of negative space visually and just looks good all around.  I hope to propagate some of the plant I've managed to grow well and put some in my other tanks.

¤ Plant Types I've Not Had Luck With ¤

The only plant I've really not liked at all has been Hornwort.  I'd read about how it had shedding problems but figured I'd give it a try anyway and see if I had any luck with growing it.  It has definitely been a pain to keep up with the shedding of needles it does. It makes a mess and seems to grow even when you don't want it to.  It won't die but it'll keep your aquarium bottom a mess. 

As far as appearance goes, in my opinion it has a very rugged, very messy woods kind of look.  If you keep natural aquariums like I do, it can be a great looking addition if you're willing to provide the upkeep necessary to keep your tank's bottom clean and free of shed needles.

I also haven't much cared for Wisteria.  I've had some wisteria successfully grow in my tanks, but the majority seemed to 'melt away' and die.  Perhaps I don't have enough lighting for them or perhaps my fish kept them from staying routed well enough.  I've thrown out approx. half of the wisteria I've tried to plant, some in my male and female tanks.  Some still successfully grows in Mikau's part of the male tank and one stalk is still growing and healthy in the girl's tank.  

It's a very pretty plant, very zen in appearance.  I've seen tanks with buddha themes where it looks fantastic along with bamboo plants.  I just won't be trying to grow it again.

There are many kinds of plants I simply haven't tried but wish to in the future.  For more information about aquarium plants, I really truly recommend reading PewPewPew's guide to aquarium plants found on  She's a fountain of information and I thank her greatly for all that I've so far learned from her and everyone else on that website. :)

Stow aways!
I also want to mention that when you bring your new plants home, you may be bringing home a few new 'friends' too!  It's a good idea to quarantine your new plants in a separation tank for a day with open air just to make sure you aren't bringing any diseases or other goodies with it.  
My anarchis that came from petsmart had several hitchhikers as well.  A few days after planting it, I noticed I also had several small snails now crawling around Mikau's part of the tank.  Be prepared and alert for just about anything to happen. :)

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