Monthly Archives: July 2014

Fast Growing Aquarium Plants

Fast growing plants can be oh so satisfying. Especially if you’ve never grown aquarium plants before. Plants such as Hydrocotyle Leucocephala, Cardamine Lyrata, Vallisneria, Bacopa, Rotala RotundifoliaHydrophila Angustifolia and Hygrophila Polysperma all grow incredibly quickly, with very little effort most of the time! They will give you an almost instant sense of achievement, as within a couple of weeks you will notice significant growth.

Sometimes they can even be a  job manage! As weekly or bi-weekly pruning is often required…especially in high light set ups. If you are going for the ‘Jungle Style’ look then these plants are perfect to leave running wild.

Hygrophila polysperma 'Rosanervig'

Hygrophila Polysperma Rosanervig ^

If you’re a beginner, I would always recommend going for a few fast growing stem plants. As well as the almost instant sense of achievement, they do an incredibly good job at helping fight away algae by eating unwanted nutrients and waste products that algae thrive off. They are particularly useful  in a new set up, where the aquarium is yet to mature. During start up, there is often a large build of of organic waste products (which is why we need to carry out more water changes until the tank has matured). Fast growing plants such as the ones mentioned above, help remove these impurities and fight algae away.

DO fertilize your planted aquarium in plentiful amounts when housing fast growing plants (such as TNC Complete). They will eat many nutrients quickly. You don’t want your water column drained from the vital nutrients plants need to stay healthy. A nutrient limited environment is also a perfect setting for algae to settle in!

With CO2 injection, growth can be rapid. Some plants will grow like weeds, especially the ones already mentioned at the beginning of this post.

When the time comes to prune your plants (when they have almost reached the surface) trim down over half way the first time you trim. Each place you cut, 2 or 3 new shoots will appear. This will encourage the plants to become more bushy, and have a more compact appearance. ‘Leggy’ plants are unsightly and do not bring out the true beauty of the plant. Cuttings can be re-planted to form a new plant. You can plant cuttings in groups of 2 or 3.

Ludwigia Glandulosa

Luwigia Glandulosa ^

My top 10 tips with fast growing aquarium plants look like this:

  1. Plant fast growing plants right from the beginning, as these plants help maintain stability of the tank whilst it matures.
  2. DO fertilize generously – these plants eat ALOT fast.
  3. If your a beginner, I would certainly recommend starting with some fast growing stem plants.
  4. Prune often to encourage bushy and compact growth.
  5. Re-plant cuttings to create new plants.
  6. Do not let these types of plants overshadow other smaller plants below.
  7. Ensure the lower leaves have access to light, else they might die off. Prune as necessary.
  8. Some fast growing plants send out runners, such as Vallisneria. These are also great for beginners. 
  9. If you have a hight light set up, CO2 is recommend as with all plants.
  10. Remove dead leaves as they appear, they will not recover and the plant will have a better chance of recovering with new fresh leaves.

Why not try some fast growing aquarium plants? I would definitely recommend them if your new to the hobby or planning on starting a new planted tank!

The future of Aquarium Plants – In-vitro

The future of plants for aquariums in here!! Say hello to In-Vitro plants…

Tissue culture aquarium plants – also known as ‘in-vitro’ plants – are manufactured in a laboratory using the latest tissue culture technologies to produce unique & high quality plants in plastic polypropylene pots.
They are grown in sterile conditions using a fertile gel/liquid.


GUARANTEED to be free from snails, pests, algae and pesticides, making them perfect for shrimp keepers and any planted tank enthusiast. You can order your plants in small or larger pots. Each pot is packed full, giving excellent value for money.

Staurogyne repens.jpgPogostemon Helferi Tissue Culture

£3.99 per pot

Mixed Tissue Culture Plants – equivilent to £2.99 per pot



Further detailed information…

In-vitro plants really are at the front of all the latest technologies in producing aquarium plants. In the laboratory, in-vitro plants are produced with state of the art equipment and in climate controlled chambers. New plants are experimented with and only the ones that meet the exceptionally high standards of Horti-lab get put through to commercial sale.

There is a 3 stage production of aquarium plants, in-vitro plants are sold at stage 2, potted plants are sold at stage 3:

  1. Plant multiplication: plants are multiplied until the desired quantity is required, this is done in sterile ‘in-vitro’ conditions.
  2. Next is the rooting stage, this is again done in sterile conditions and plants are built up until the desired size is achieved. Plants  can be sold at this level, or they are taken onto stage 3.
  3. This stage is where fully grown net potted plants are achieved. Plants are taken form in-vitro and acclimatised in nurseries until fully grown and ready for sale.

Buying plants at stage two (in-vitro) bring many benefits to aquarists:

  • Snail, algae, disease and pest free plants.
  • You get super healthy plants in pots that are super full!
  • Pots can be kept for 2-4 weeks until the aquarist is ready to plant – no rush to put plants into the aquarium.
  • Perfect for shrimp tanks, these plants are excellent for use with sensitive animals.
  • Many popular varieties available for aquascaping.
  • They ship exceedingly well.

Here’s a few snaps of the pots and packaging, showing key information about each plant such as light demands, temperature demands and how easy it is to grow:

Alternathera reineckii ''mini' Hortilab.jpg


eleocharis sp mini.jpg

Planting your Aquarium Plants - How to Guide

How to plant your Aquarium plants

One of the most common questions we get is ‘How do I go about planting my aquarium plants?’ Here’s how…

So you’ve received your plants in top condition from Aquarium Gardens, now what should you do? Many people who are new to aquarium plants wonder how to go about planting them in their aquarium. This step by step guide will advise you how to prepare your plants for planting in the aquarium.

  1. Plants from Aquarium Gardens are safe for use with all fish, shrimp and snails and can be added straight into your aquarium. No pesticides have been used in the production or holding of our plants, so there is no need to wash them under tap water nor is there a need to soak them in a bucket of water.
  2. Before adding any plants to your aquarium, remove the plastic pot and tear away the rockwool from the roots. The rockwool is used by the plants to root in whilst it grows. Once the plant reaches your aquarium there is no need for the rock wool anymore. You can remove the rockwool by hand or by using a pair of planting tweezers to aid the process.
  3. You can now split the plant into several plants, using scissors for smaller, delicate plants such as Hemianthus Cuba. Plants such as Cryptocoryne and Echinodorus can be gently torn apart easily by hand. Depending on the plant you can get 4-8 plants from each pot.
  4. If the plant has large root structures, trim the roots down using a pair of scissors. 2-3cm of root length is fine. Trimming roots also encourages new healthy root growth which helps the plant get off to a great start in your aquarium.
  5. Remove any yellowing/dead leaves. This will ensure dead leaves do not decay inside your aquarium and encourages new leaf growth.
  6. Lastly, push the plant into your substrate to bury the roots (using a pair of planting tweezers will help, especially with small fiddly plants). Give each plant  room to grow by spacing plants out. For smaller plants, space them about 3-4cm apart. For larger plants such as Echinodorus, you may need to leave extra room as they can grow quite big.