Introducing plants in a fish-only tank

An aquarium is a name given to a water tank which comprises fish and aquatic plants. Generally, the new aquarists concentrate only on keeping the fish inside their aquarium. The major reason behind it is the lack of knowledge about proper maintenance and upkeep of aquatic plants.

In general, it takes a good amount of time to get expertise in fish keeping. From meeting all the needs of the fish to maintaining their fitness- everything becomes a challenging task. When new hobbyists have to cater so many details, thinking about introducing live plants seems to them a daunting task.

However, once you have attained that proficiency, converting your fish-only tank into the planted one could become the next step. As the aquarium starts running properly without any hassles, you may give a thought to bringing in aquatic plants inside as well.

So, if you are finally thinking to introduce some plants inside your aquarium, the content below will help you manifolds. We will provide you with some essential tips that will help you convert your fish-only tank into the planted one.

But before we move further let us take an insight into the significant advantages and disadvantages of planted tanks.


  1. Aquatic plants bring colors to the aquarium and make it look attractive.
  2. Plants clear up the toxicity inside the aquarium by their natural respiration process.
  3. Planted aquariums have better flourishing fish due to the presence of more oxygen.
  4. Live aquatic plants provide a better, beautiful and more natural look to the tank rather than the artificial ones.

It won’t be an exaggeration to say that live plants are a blessing to the fish. Since plants clear up the harmful gases like ammonia and nitrates from the water and convert CO2 into oxygen, they provide an ambient environment to all the aquarium creatures. Moreover, they also create a natural eco-system which makes the fish feel relaxed and comfortable.

Another amazing benefit of plants inside the aquarium is they provide space for the fish to play, hide and for fertilization and to lay eggs. Although the entire process of setting up, running and maintaining a planted tank could be challenging, once it is done your fish will be forever happy.


  1. You need to supplement extra light for the plants to grow well and thrive.
  2. Supplementing essential nutrients for the growth of the plant becomes a must.
  3. You have to introduce a particular substrate to plant the aquatic plants which are not required in the fish-only tank.
  4. You need to pick plants that are compatible with fish.

These downsides of having a planted aquarium discourage many aquarists, not to bring-in plants in their aquarium. You really have to become more aware and vigilant to the movement of fish after introducing the plants. Sometimes, the temperature and pH requirements of the plants are different from that of the fish. It is when their growth and development may alter.

Tips for getting a planted tank

Now that you have made your mind of converting your fish-only tank into the planted one, the below tips will help to a great extent.

Choose the right plants

Research is the key while stocking the right plants for your aquarium. Generally, when we choose the fish for the tank, we make sure that each one of them needs almost similar requirements like water quality, its temperature and much more.

So, now you have to find out the plants that will grow well in those water conditions. There are many plants which can thrive well in a diverse range of water conditions including temperature, water pH. So research and make a perfect choice so that neither your plants suffer nor the fish.

Keep up the lighting requirements

As I have already told above, a planted tank requires light with high intensity for the proper growth of the plant; you have to update/upgrade the lighting system of your aquarium. Once you have picked the plants the next step is to study their light requirements.

In general, the aquatic plants need 10 to 12 hours of lighting with full spectrum every day. It is advised that planted aquariums should have 2 to 4 watts per gallon of lighting. Whether you supply the desired lights by introducing the bulbs or attach automatic timer but meeting the requirements becomes essential.

Likewise, you have to be cautious about introducing too much light to the tank. Although it will not harm the plants, it may favor the growth of algae.

Supplementing the nutrients

After lighting, nutrients play a significant role in the life of plants. The right nutrient in the right dose is essential for the right growth of the plant. Study in detail all the essential nutrients which are required by the different plants. Make sure all the plants have almost similar requirements.

You might need to replace the gravel with a right substrate that has a planting medium. If you don’t want to do that, using potted plants could become one of your choices. Another feasible option is using the root tab to fertilize the roots of the plants and supply the essential nutrients. Make sure you do no over fertilize the tank as it may cause more harm than help.

Do not forget that there are fish excreta and uneaten food that ultimately decomposes to become nothing but fertilizer for the plants. So, supply nutrients accordingly.


If you keep the above tips in handy, you can easily convert the fish-only tank into the planted one with no complications coming your way. Proper light and enough nutrients will make sure that your plants will grow, flourish and beautify the aquarium to a great extent.

All that you need to keep in mind is how and where to pace the plants so that they compliment the tank even more. A good arrangement is a key to make the aquarium look alluring. Try to include plants with different heights keeping the shorter ones in the front and longer ones at the back. Also, pick those that have diverse types of leaves to add to the beauty of the tank.

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2 thoughts on “Introducing plants in a fish-only tank

  1. Nithin says:

    After completing her doctoral degree in Agriculture and working in various government and non- government funded projects, she settled to become a freelance copy and content writer. Born and brought up in the foothills of Himalayas she loves traveling and exploring the untouched. She is passionate about fish keeping and has got a good experience in the niche.

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