Aquarium plants are great additions to aquariums. They add aesthetics and even help create a better ecosystem inside the tank for the animals.
However, many keepers run into problems when it comes to keeping plants in an aquarium. The most common question asked about aquatic plants is how to anchor them.
If you’re looking for ways to keep your aquarium plants healthy and thriving, check out the following tips to anchor them properly to the bottom of your aquarium!
How to Anchor Aquarium Plants
There are various ways of keeping your plants anchored to the bottom of your aquarium.
Depending on the plants you’ve chosen, the following tips can guide you on how to keep those plants safely rooted.
Put a Heavy Weight around the Plant’s Base
If your plant is rooted in the sand, chances are it can be dislodged from the bottom. What you can do is plant your aquarium greens in a bed of sand and cover them up to their base. To hold the plant down, you can add some lightweight pebbles and aquarium rocks to hold it in place.
So if the sand does move, your plant won’t – it’ll be weighed down by the rocks you’ve arranged around its base. Remember not to put pressure on the roots and bury the plant a little above its base!
Tie the Plant Roots to Rocks
For plants that are rootable, this solution works the best. You can tie the roots of a plant gently around a rock to hold it in place. When the plant begins to take root, you can cover it with sand to keep it further protected.
Tying it to the rock is a solution that works for plants that tend to grow long and have many leaves because of which they can be tugged or pulled at depending on the tank conditions.
Wrap the Plant Around Driftwood
Another way to anchor your plants securely is by wrapping the plant around driftwood or its roots around the driftwood. Wood sinks to the bottom which means your aquarium plant will be held in place and won’t float to the top.
It’s also a smart way to keep the plant in place sturdily, lest some fish tug at it or try to pull at it. Because wood is not that heavy as rocks, you can pick an aesthetically pleasing one to serve the purpose!
Related article: How Long Should You Boil Driftwood for Your Aquarium?
Keep the Plants In Their Pots
Many aquarium plants come in pots, so instead of de-potting them into your aquarium’s base, keep them as it is. They look good and add a different touch to your aquarium and besides, the roots are securely packed in place, which means there’s no danger of any tugging or pulling.
You can even add rocks and pebbles to the base of the plant while it’s in the pot to keep herbivore fish and animals from eating it from the base down. These added weights and barriers will keep your aquarium plants protected and healthy.
Use Plant Anchors
Plant anchors are soft bendable strips that can be wrapped around a plant to hold them down. They’re mostly made of lead, which is how they’re weighed down. You can buy them at any pet store or aquarium shop, and they’re great to use in large tanks where the fish are many and big in size, too.
They’re also pretty subtle, so you don’t have to worry about your plants looking odd, hanging onto an anchor. This also helps to give your plants shape while they’re growing and also help them to spread their roots in place.
Try Nylon Mesh to Hold Them Down
Some keepers have also suggested the use of nylon mesh to hold some aquarium plants in place. Tank plants like moss and carpeting ferns can be covered using a thin nylon mesh, which is secured on the sides with some weight.
This helps the plants to stay in place and gives them something to attach to. It also aids them in rooting to a place, making them sturdier while protecting them from your tank fish and animals.
Use a Thick Base of Sand
Another way to anchor your plants without any hassle is to buy plants that have long roots and are already in their maturation stages and to plant them in a bed of sand. The trick here is to layer tons of sand to form thick bedding, which will hold the aquarium plant in place and also allow them to root.
Sand is gentle enough not to weigh the roots down or crush them, and when covered up to their base, plants can be pretty sturdy. It’s tougher for bottom dwellers to reach the roots and a bit hard for the swimming fish to tug at the plants, too.
Plant Them in Crevices
Another way to keep your plants anchored is by planting them in crevices. This is only possible if you have a large aquarium and textured rocks, which provide nooks and crevices that are ideal for supporting plant life.
Place your plant in the crevice or wrap it around one, and wait for it to take root. You can even plant them in crevices found in driftwood and even in aquarium décor, like a mini house that has an open chimney to let your plant grow and lengthen.
Why Do Keepers Have Problems Anchoring Aquarium Plants?
Keepers have been facing these issues since forever. The thing is, a tank is a thriving ecosystem that has other things in it. Whether it’s the fish or the plant itself, here are some reasons why anchoring plants can become an issue.
Some fish can be pretty aggressive when added to a tank with aquarium plants. Aggressive fish can either pull the plant out from its root in a show of domination or even de-root them in a fight! Either way, keepers are left with floating plants and usually, a dead plant, too, because the roots have been broken because of excessive tugging.
The best way to deal with this is to securely anchor the plants so that the fish are unable to tug them from their base. Or you can always separate the aggressive fish by switching to an aquarium with few or no plants.
Some bottom-dweller fish and animals alike can also pose an issue when it comes to anchoring plants in an aquarium. Bottom feeders can feed on the base of the plant which means they’ll eat at the root, rendering the plant incapable of holding its base.
What are you left with? A floating plant, unfortunately! One way to combat this issue is to securely cover the roots and the base of your aquarium plant if you plan on introducing fish and animals that are herbivores.
Fish and animals that like to burrow at the base of your tank can also pose a threat. If you have tank animals that are burrowers, you have to be careful not to create an environment near the plant that they can infiltrate.
Burrowing animals and fish can shift the base, which means the roots can become dislodged. When the roots and base of a plant are dislodged because of constant movement, they’re unable to hold their ground and chances are, the plant will begin to float soon.
Strong filtration can be pretty annoying. Not only does a strong filtration device create strong currents that don’t allow fish to swim smoothly, but the strong currents produced can also pull the plant with their strength and constant tugging!
One way of dealing with this is to check the settings on your filter—try to lower it so the current slows down. Another way to deal with this is to add two small, low-power ones so that your plants are pulled at and your fish are not affected.
Another reason keepers encounter problems with anchoring plants is that they’re unaware that the plant is unhealthy. A strong plant will begin to hold its ground once it’s firmly put in place, but an unhealthy plant will have weak roots, making it susceptible to floating.
To tackle this issue, make sure that the plant you purchase is healthy, vibrant and has roots that are long and strong enough to stick to the bottom of the tank.
With these tips, you’re bound to get the most out of your aquarium plants! Just remember to regularly keep a check on them and see if they’re doing well. Plants also need special lighting in an aquarium that penetrates through the water and reaches the bottom of the tank. They also require special fertilizer at times, so be careful when depositing it around the roots.
At times, when plants begin to grow longer roots, they need a change of place. So be wary of when it’s time to unwrap your favorite plant from the rock and plant it in the sandy substrate!
Happy aqua gardening!
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