Plants Your Fish Won’t Eat!

Do you have a fish tank that houses herbivorous fish? You may have lost a few plants due to certain fish that actually eat plants as part of their diet! For me, I would steer clear of herbivorous fish if your planning on planting up your aquarium. Smaller varieties such as tetras and rasboras are perfect for planted tanks.

However, should you be so keen to keep herbivorous fish and maintain a planted tank, then there ARE some plants that can be kept with such fish….

Crinum Thaianum is the PERFECT plant to keep with such fish. It’s leaves are long and thick, almost like rubber. So tough that fish can’t actually eat them! It is also a very hardy and easy to care for. It has few demands and can be grown well in a variety of environments. It gets it’s nick name “Onion Plant” from the large bulb at the bottom, which looks like an onion. One potencial snag is it can grown VERY large, so it would be best planted in an aquarium of 100L+

Crinum Calamistratum  is another bulb plant which is perfect for tank with herbivorous fish. Leaves a long and tough, they are much narrower and more crinkly too. It too is a large plant, growing up to 120cm in length! Again, a plant for the larger aquarium.

Crinum calamistratum

Anubias Nana is another popular plant that your fish won’t eat. One of the most available plants around, it has been popular for many years. It’s small round thick leaves make hard work for your fish to eat, so they simply decide not to bother! This plant is very versatile and can be grown with or without CO2, High light or low light, and with very little effort most of the time! One thing to be aware of is that Anubias should be attached to wood or stone, NOT buried in your gravel/substrate. If buried, the roots will eventually rot and the plant will suffer. Using fishing line is the easiest way to tie this plant down to wood or rock.

Anubias Nana | Buy Online from Aquarium Gardens

Java Fern (Microsorum Pteropus)

A firm favourite among many aquarists and the ideal beginner plant! Java Fern (Microsorum Pteropus) requires similar handling to the Anubias, whereby you should tie it down to wood/rock using fishling line. It doesn’t take well if you bury it in the substrate.

Java Fern also has fairly thick sturdy leaves, and fish will stay away from these if they’re being fed well.
It comes in many forms, some with crinkly leaves, some with flared leaves, mini versions and needle version. All are pretty easy to maintain, so pick the one you like best and enjoy this easy care plant.

Microsorum pteropus (Java Fern) on lava Stone

 

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New year, New plants!

We’re now into 2015… doesn’t time fly!? New year calls for new plants!… We are always looking to increase our range of plants as we understand having a wide choice of quality plants is what our customers want. Don’t forget, if you can’t find a plant your looking for you can make a request and we will try our best to source it for you!

More plants means more possibilities, more ways to be creative, and more chances to experiment with new species. Perhaps you’ve got that new tank you wanted for Christmas? Well that sounds like a great opportunity to try out some of our new plants! Here’s what’s new for January 2015…

Hygrophila pinnatifida

Hygrophila pinnatifida

 

Hygrophila Pinnatifida and Moss on Wood

Hygrophila Pinnatifida and Moss on Wood

 

Marsilea Crenata Tissue Culture

Marsilea Crenata Tissue Culture

Marsilea Hirsuta Tissue Culture

Marsilea Hirsuta Tissue Culture

Ludwigia inclinata ‘Curly’ Tissue Culture

Ludwigia inclinata 'Curly' Tissue Culture

 

Cryptocoryne Wendtii Tropica Tissue Culture
Cryptocoryne Wendtii Tropica Tissue Culture
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The best value Tissue Culture Plants around!

Grabbed your attention? If you’re interested in the best value aquarium tissue culture plants (also know as in-vitro plants) that are fantastic quality then keep reading…

Our tissue culture plants offer superb value compared to other leading brands (such as Tropica 1-2 grow). Those of you that have used tissue culture plants before know that your getting superb plants that are free from algae, snails and pests. And they adapt to your aquarium REALLY well compared to regular net potted plants.

Tissue Culture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those of your that have never tried or never even heard of tissue culture plants then here’s a few things you need to know:

  • Tissue Culture plants are like no other. They are grown in a lab in sterile conditions, meaning they are free from disease, snails, algae and many other pests. This is very important if you’re after plants for a shrimp aquarium.
  • They adapt much better to aquariums and there is less ‘melting’ than what you would get from regular net potted plants. ‘What is melting?’ I here some of your ask….well some plants like to adapt to their new surrounds, during this adaptation period they shed old leaves and then new growth is produced which is better adapted to its new growing environment. Because tissue culture plants are much, much younger plants, they do not go through this adaptation stage like their grown up versions.
  • Tissue culture plants are actually a middle plant in the production process of bigger net pot plants. Producers are now selling this middle men plants because of the many benefits they bring to the aquarist.
  • You get many plants from one pot. Each pot can be separated into several portions or ‘plugs’ as I sometimes like to call it. Usually 8-12 portions is a normal rate when splitting up a pot of tissue culture plant.
  • There is also a benefit when it comes to shipping and storing these plants. As they come in sealed plastic sterile pots, these plants can be kept like this for weeks before you need to use them. Store them in a cool place and you can keep them until you need to use them (however the sooner the better). They also ship very, very well as they are in sealed sterile pots.

Here’s a nice looking tissue culture plant removed from the pot. As you can see you are getting a lovely healthy pot of plant with healthy root structures. This particular plant is called Eleocharis sp mini and is used mainly as a ‘carpet plant’ and will willingly produce runners and multiply.

tissue culture eleocharis

So what are you waiting for!? Give these plants a go. They are fantastic for aquascaping and work superbly in CO2 injected aquariums. You will find all our tissue culture plants here: Tissue Culture Plants

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Water Conditioners for Shrimp and Fish

 

We all know the benefits of shrimp in a planted tank!? Cleaning up algae and other waste is something they’re extremely good at! Well why not in return help your shrimp while they help you!? Tantora’s range of shrimp care products include a range of water conditioning products and food that will really boost the health and colour of your shrimp. Being such a delicate animal, a little care and attention is needed if we want them to thrive in our planted tanks and carry on doing what they do best! (know one likes algae so shrimp are our biggest friends in a planted tank). Tantora’s products, such as Catappa Leaves, Banana Leaves, Guava Leaf, Catappa Bark are all great water conditioners and will help create a more natural environment for your shrimp. Their antibacterial properties will boost the immune system of your shrimp. That’s one way of paying them back right!?

What’s more, Tantora products will boost the reproduction rate of your shrimp, as healthy shrimp who feel at home are much more likely to breed. This means you could end up with even more of these fantastic little fellas! That can’t be bad, only a good thing for our planted tanks. More shrimp = more cleaning…perfect!

Check on the range of water conditioners and shrimp food. It will be the best way to repay your shrimp for all the hard work they do in your planted aquarium!

 

 

 

tantora-dried-mulberry-leaves-x-10-1188-p[ekm]300x300[ekm]

Above: Mulberry Leaves are great food for shrimp!

Catappa Leaves Medium (13-18cm) x 10

^ Catappa Leavesa are used widely by shrimp keepers, known for their antibacterial properties

Tantora Bamboo Charcoal

^ Bamboo Charcoal absorbs harmful chemicals and improve water quality

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Popular Red Aquarium Plants

As we begin to increase our range of red plants, we’ve decided to list our top 5 …

Alternanthera reineckii ‘Rosanervig’

An absolutely outstanding plant, never ceases to catch the eye or go unnoticed. Alternanthera reineckii Rosanervig has vibrant pink leaves with light nerves characterise this vigorous culture form. The plant has a compact form of growth and the stalk does not grow as strong as other Alternanthera. Perfect for planting in the id section of your aquarium, or between wood/rocks. A good fertilization and high levels of CO2 is crucial to success with this vibrant plant.

 

Alternanthera Reineckii ”Mini’

Alternathera Reineckii ”Mini’ is a miniature version of the popular Alternanthera. This plant displays compact and low growth, making it perfect for smaller aquariums or larger aquariums as a foreground plant. It has lovely red and violet colours. Maximum height is around 10-15cm. High light and CO2 injection improves the growth rate and overall health of the plant.

 

Echinodorus Red Devil

Echinodorus Red devil produces leaves with a bright shade of red, turned darker as they grow. not a plant for nano aquariums. This one can grow big, up to 40cm tall. Perfect as a centre piece display. Good light and nutrition will promote the development of red leaves.

 

Echinodorus Ozelot Red Flamed

Another cracker from the Echinodorus Species. As the name suggests, the leaves have a red flamed pattern on them, very intriguing. Like the red devil, it can grow quite tall. They look great planted in groups of 2-4 plants.

 

Alternanthera Rosaefolia

A popular stem plant which can grow tall and bushy if maintained well enough. This plant originates from South America and needs plenty of light to grow quickly to the surface. A lack a micro nutrients will turn the leaves pale. Harsh pruning will encourage bushy growth.

 

Remember…

Most red plants are more demanding than most species of aquatic plant. They require plenty of light, CO2 and nutrients to perform well. They are not recommended for low tech tanks. I would always recommend using CO2 injection with red plants (in fact, I would use CO2 in any planted tank myself!). With the right parameters, leaves can turn pale and colours will not be at their best.
So be sure your set-up is adequate if you want your red plants to thrive in your aquarium!

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New Aquarium Soils & Substrates!

Tropica Aquarium Soil 9L

I am very pleased to say that we have added a exciting new range of aquairum soils and substrate to our ever growing number of products for planted aquariums…

  1. Tropica Aquarium Soil
  2. Tropica Aquarium Soil Powder
  3. Tropica Plant Growth Substrate

Getting things right from the beginning means starting with a good bottom layer for your plants to grow in. Tropica’s new aquarium soil is the perfect bottom layer for your planted aquarium. There’s NO NEED FOR CAPPING with gravel or sand, making this ‘all in one’ substrate a simple product to use.

First, layer the soil across the bottom of your aquarium 5-6cm deep, sloping towards the back to add depth. Next, add any hardscape such as wood or rock and fill the aquarium with 2cm deep of water. Now your ready for planting. Planting before you fully fill your aquarium with water makes the job much MUCH easier, and this is the way we recommend planting any tank. After your plants are in, fill the tank slowly with water, being carefully not to disturb any of the plants you have just put in. It really is a simple product to use. Tropica Aquarium Soil also helps promote healthy growth of your aquatic plants by altering the water parameters in the plants favour. It also promotes red colourations in your aquatic plants.
TIP: During the first 3-4 weeks of set-up, change 50% of your aquarium water 2 times per week. Aquarium Soil leeches ammonia initially which need diluting with fresh water. After this (around 4-6 weeks) you are ready to add fish. And you can slowly start to decrease the amount of water changes you do per week.

If you have a nano/small aquarium, Tropica’s Aquarium Soil Powder is the preferred choice, as the grain size is smaller which looks better in smaller tanks and with smaller plants. It is also useful in the foreground of larger tanks, and makes things easier when planting more delicate plants such as Hemianthus Callitrchoides and Eleocharis Acicularis.

We also now stock Tropica’s Plant Growth Substrate. This product is designed to sit underneath your chosen gravel or sand. It is a long term nutritious substrate ensuring healthy growth in the long term. You are required to layer 1cm of Tropica Plant Growth Substrate underneath 4-5cm of your chosen gravel/sand to ensure the substrate does not leak into your water column.

Top tips when purchasing aquarium soils and substrates:

      • It’s a good idea to purchase soils/substrate and any hardscape materials such as wood or rock before getting hold of your plants. This gives you time to plan your layout and make sure you have enough soil/substrate and hardscape materials before your plants arrive.
      • Remember to carry out 2 weekly water changes, 50% each time for the first 3-4 weeks. This is important in any new planted aquarium, but especially if your using aquarium soils.
      • If your wondering how much Aquarium Soil you need, 1 x 9 Litre bag per 60L of aquarium water is what we would recommend.
      • If your wondering how much Plant Growth Substrate you need, then this table will help you…

Tropica Plant Grow Substrate chart

 

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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!

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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

Pricing 
£3.99 per pot

Mixed Tissue Culture Plants – equivilent to £2.99 per pot

VISIT OUR WEB STORE TO ORDER NOW 

 

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

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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.
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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.

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