Category Archives: Plant Spotlight

Love Cryptocoryne? Then you’ll LOVE this…

When it comes to the most popular and easy to care for plants for aquariums, Cryptocoryne has to be number one. We have some excellent news for all Crytocoryne fans… this month we have a superb alternative plant that looks, and grows very similar to to most common Crytocoryne, but this plant has more colours! AND what’s more it’s 25% off until the end of May. Keep reading for more info….

Lagenandra meeboldii ‘Red’ is extremely similar to many Cryptocoryne. It’s like a broad leafed variety. It is also capable of displaying wonderful colours, ranging from pink new leaves, to dark violets, browns and greens in older more established leaves. The leaves can grow 4-8cm wide and 6-12cm long, so this plant becomes relatively wide once mature. It make’s the perfect focal placement plant. When surrounded by various smaller Crytocoryne, this would look very impressive!

What I love most, though, is anyone can grow this plant. Whether you’re a beginner or more advanced, this plant can be grown in a wide variety of conditions and tank set-ups.

To bring out the best in Lagenandra meeboldii ‘Red’, grow with high lighting, a nutritious substrate and CO2 injection. You will be rewarded with a spectacular array of colours, all on the same leaf normally.

Why not try this plant out now? This month we are offering a 25% discount, just because we love this plant so much! Click here to shop for this plant now.

Lagenandra meeboldii 'Red'

Micranthemum Umbrosum Potted

All about Micranthemum Umbrosum

Micranthemum Umbrosum – A Beautiful and Versatile Plant That’s Hard Not to Love

 

Introduction

Micranthemum Umbrosum is widely used in aquascaping. A popular choice due to it’s stunning appearance and adaptability. It is similar to Micranthemum Micranthemoides, however the difference is mainly down to leaf size and growth nature. It is also often confused with Hemianthus Callitrichoides, another stem plant will small round leaves. All three species are often sold under the same nick name of ‘Baby Tears’, adding to the confusion.

Characteristics

Micranthemum Umbrosum is relatively undemanding, and can be grown in both CO2 infused and non CO2 infused aquariums. It prefers moderate light levels. Too low and this plant will struggle. If you really want this plant to grow and get the best out of it, CO2 infusion is the way to go. With CO2, growth is denser and more rapid. When it starts to grow quickly, it will consume more nutrients so be sure to dose extra nutrients.

Each stem can grow up to 20cm. Leaves are only small, around 5mm-1cm. Micranthemum Umbrosum willing produces side shoots, especially when trimmed regularly.

Micranthemum Umbrosum Aquarium Plant

Uses in Aquascaping

Widely used as a mid-ground bush, you can simply trim to keep it’s size and shape. In Dutch aquascaping, this plant is cleverly trimmed to create round bushes in the mid-ground.

With a little bit of training, Micranthemum Umbrosum can also be used in the foreground. Plant stems horizontally and snip of any stems shooting upwards. Under high light and CO2 this plant will trail in the foreground.

In Nano scapes, it is commonly used as a background plant. It’s small leave size suits smaller aquaria to help maintain a sense of scale.

How to Plant

To prepare Micranthemum Umbrosum for planting:

  • Remove the pot from the rockwool
  • Carefully tear the rockwool away from the roots. Be carefully not to damage the roots
  • Separate tho plant into several small portions
  • Using aquascaping tweezers plant each portion into your substrate about 2-3cm apart from each other
  • Using finer gravel types makes for easier planting

Propagation

Like many stem plants, propagation is very easy. Simply snip of sections of the stem and re-plant using aquascaping tweezers. The old stem will fire out new shoots, and the new cuttings will take root in a matter of days. This practice allows for bushier growth and larger plant coverage.

Micranthemum Umbrosum from above

Maintenance

Growth can be rampant, so keeping on top of pruning is a must to prevent lower sections of the stem from receiving light. You might need to trim as often as every two weeks depending how fast it grows. More light = faster growth. With more light also becomes a higher demand for CO2 and nutrients. So if you have high lighting, ensure you are injection CO2, or dosing liquid carbon. Keep up with dosing nutrients as this plant will consume more and more the faster it grows.

Where to buy

You can purchase this plant here at Aquarium Gardens: Micranthemum Umbrosum

All our plants are kept in emsersed conditions to ensure our customers receive the highest quality plants that are guaranteed to be algae free.

Rotala Rotundifolia – Aquarium Plant Focus

After seeing a really cool video snap of Rotala Rotundifolia, it reminded me how beautiful this plant is in an aquarium. It produces spectacular colours, including reds, oranges, browns and greens. It make’s a perfect contrasting plant which can help break up an aquascape or create a focal point. Here’s the video that inspired me to write about this plant…

Rotala Rotundifolia is native to south east Asia. It has become widely available in the planted aquarium market and for good reason. It’s fast growing, easy to care for and eye catching. It’s leaves are needle shaped (2-3cm long), however oddly enough when in it’s emerged state, Rotala Rotundifolia has very small round shaped leaves, like this…

Rotala Rotundifolia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s why when you buy your Rotala Rotundifolia from Aquarium gardens, you will receive your plant with little round leaves, rather than needle shaped leaves. Do not panic, this is a good sign. Our Rotala has been cultivated emersed, meaning your plant will be fully rooted and in great health. The transitional stage from round leaves to needle leaves will happen over time, as your plants slowly adapt to being under water. Other sellers will sell cuttings in bunches, however these are normally of very low quality with no roots and have trouble adapting to new environments, which means they often suffer early on. Our potted Rotala will always arrive in superb health and fully rooted, allowing the plant the best possible start in your aquarium.

Here’s a few quick fact about Rotala Rotunidifolia:

ORIGIN: Southeast Asia
MAX HEIGHT: 30cm
GROWTH RATE: Moderate
AREA: Midground/Background
LIGHT: Medium to high
TEMP: 22-28C
CO2: CO2 and NON CO2 tanks
PH: 5-8
DIFFICULTY: Easy
WATER HARDNESS: Soft to hard

To get the best out of this plant I would suggest using CO2 injection (especially with high light). I would also suggest to prune regularly. This allows you to create a very bushy plant as each time you prune the Rotala, each parent stem will produce 2-3 new shoots. Using a good pair of aquascaping scissors will help you with your trimming. You may notice new roots appears from the sides of stems, do not fear, this is very normal and means the plant is growing. Cuttings from the plant can be re-planted straight into you substrate. You can plant them individually or in groups of 2-3. Each stem will quickly develop new root systems.

The plants colourations will vary under different light intensities. In the video above you will notice lots of bright oranges and reds. To achieve this you will need much light and CO2. Under lower light intensities this plant will stay more green and yellow.

It is very common for the lower sections of the plant to become overshadowed by the bushy sections of the plant above. It is therefore a good idea to prune regularly and not let the plant become too tall. I often like to use this plant as a midground plant and trim bi-weekly to keep the plant at the correct height and to ensure the lower sections of the plant stay strong and receive enough light.

You can purchase Rotala Rotundifolia here, you will get 6-8 stems per pot, fully rooted. Have fun with this plant!

Anubias in Flower

Anubias Species – Aquatic Plant Spotlight

Anubias is one of the most common species found in the aquatic industry. It’s hardy nature and attractive thick green leaves make it one of the most favourable species around. There are many varieties of Anubias, varying in size, shape and colour. 

One of it’s key strengths is it’s ability to thrive in situations other plants cannot tolerate, such as low lighting, it actually much prefers to be grown in shady areas, so you do not have to worry about other plants overshadowing your Anubias. This makes it an ideal mid ground filler, where other taller plants can grown upwards and over the Anubias.

Herbivores also tend to stay away from Anubias, due to it’s thick leaves. They also do not get uprooted by larger fish as this plant should be attached to wood/rocks.

Anubias tends to be a more expensive species to purchase, simply because it takes longer to cultivate and grow to a good size in order to sell. Expect to pay £1-2 more for a pot of Anubias than you would a regular aquatic plant.

Shop for Anubias Here!

How to keep Anubias – What you need to do…

Not a lot! Anubias will thrive in many tank environments. High light or low light, CO2 injection or no CO2 injection. Because it’s slow growing, Anubias is a particular favourite with ‘low tech’ aquariums, this being lower lighting intensities, minimal fertilization and zero CO2 supplementation. It will do just fine in such aquariums. Maintenance is also minimal with this plant as it’s such a slow grower!

One thing you must do with Anubias is bear in mind that this species should be attached to some form of hardscape such as wood or rocks. If you plant it in your substrate the Rhizome will rot and the plant will die. This can be done by simply using cotton, fishing line or super glue. Super glue works best for me, as it’s less hassle than using fiddly cotton or line. Super glue is not toxic and won’t harm your fish in any way. Did you know it was orginally designed for use under water!? Great for Anubias!

Flowering

Anubias is famously known for produce spectacular flowers, even under water! To get your Anubias to flower I would recommend using CO2 injection and a regular dosing of nutrients. This will encourage the plant to grow a bit faster and fire out some beautiful flowers.

Anubias in Flower

 

The flowers will last for around 2-3 weeks, once they start to look a bit tired just chop them off and more will come along soon.

Anubias Species List

Anubias Nana

The most common and loved of all Anubias. A.nana is the perfect anubias to get started with and widely available in the aquatic industry. Probably to easiest of all to care for and the easiest to get into flower. It’s quite a small variety, making a great all rounder for all different sized tanks.

Anubias Nana | Buy Online from Aquarium Gardens

Anubias Bateri

Leaf size is larger than A.nana, and the stalks can be much longer too. Therefore, I would recommend A.Bateri for medium to larger size aquarium. It could get a bit to out of proportion in a nano tank.

Anubias Bonsai

A superb mini version of the Anubias Nana, the leaves are even smaller. It makes the perfect Anubias for nano aquariums, or where the aquarist would like to give a greater sense of scale. Much the same demands as most Anubias, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Anubias Bonsai Plant

Anubias Minima

A great alternative to the more popular species, the A.Minima is just as easy to keep. What makes it different is its more slender long leaf shape. New leaves sprout a lovely light brown colour.

Anubias-Minima-Potted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anubias Congensis

A much taller species, which can grow up to 12 inches so suited to larger aquaria. Leaf shape is more spear shaped. It’s a very slow grower and it’s leaves can last for many years. Great choice for larger aquariums.

Anubias Lanceolata loose aquarium plant uk online

You can find all the listed Anubias Here!

How to: Prepare Hemianthus Callitrichoides for Planting

Hemianthus CallitrichoidesHemianthus Callitrichoides, or HC for short, is probably the most popular foreground carpeting plant of the moment. It is actually one of the smallest aquatic plants in the world and only been around the hobby for 10 years or so. If cared for properly, HC will trail along your bottom of your tank to form a lush green carpet. It does best with co2 injection and good circulation. This is often overlooked but a very important factor in the success of growing HC. Ideally you need a flow rate of 10 x your size of the tank, and you literally need to see the co2 bubbles rolling over the plant at the bottom of you tank. If you are not injecting co2, liquid carbon offers a great alternative method.

How to prepare your HC pots:

Here’s how we prepare our HC for planting.

First of all, remove the whole plant including rock wool out of the pot. Then tear the plant in to two pieces.

Remove HC from Pot

Next, carefully cut away the bulk of the rock wool. You do not need the majority of the rockwool that comes with the plant.

Cut off rock wool

Using scissors, cut the HC into smaller portions (about 1-2cm each). This allows you to cover more ground when planting.

IMG_0583

 After this you can start planting your HC. Using planting tweezers grab the roots of the plant and push into your substrate. Be careful not to bury too deep. Plant each bunch about 2cm apart and cover the desired area. It’s easiest to plant whilst you tank is yet to be filled with water. Every so often spray the plants to avoid them drying out.

Planting HC

Below is a good example of how far apart each piece of HC should be. Over the coming weeks, the plant will start to cover the substrate and fill in all the gaps to create a carpet.Planting HC 2cm apart

More news will be posted as this tank progresses. Watch out for the full aquascape to be posted soon!

You can buy Hemianthus Callitrichoides here.