There is a sense of calmness that comes with aquatic plants. Please put them in a glass box of water, and you’ve got a beautiful miniature garden. What makes them even more pleasing to the eyes is the variety of colors you can get. Live aquatic plants come in colors other than green. Some can even bloom flowers.
Moreover, aquatic plants don’t simply stop at providing your home or office a scenic beauty. They also create a fresh and healthy feeling with tons of benefits they have. This article will help you understand more about aquatic plants, the services, and how to care for them.
Which Are The Aquatic Plants?
Aquatic plants are plants that live in a watery environment. This is why aquatic plants are often put inside aquariums. They are not merely decorative features, though. If kept healthy, these plants are beneficial to the oxygen in the water. In the wildlife, they are considered foods for the animals in the sea and stabilize the soil in ponds and lakes.
However, it needs to be kept in mind that these plants are different depending on several factors. This means that you cannot merely adopt native wild plants to freshwater aquariums. They are more forgiving than fish as they have adapted to the transfer of freshwater and saltwater. Even some terrestrial plants are adapting to become aquatic plants due to flooding.
Names of Aquatic Plants and Their Characteristics
Several aquatic plants choose from but keep in mind that several species have different types and characteristics. Some familiar aquatic plant names are water lettuce, sacred lotus, common water hyacinth, victoria amazonica, vallisneria spiralis, and white water-lily. However, there are some common characteristics that plants that grow in water have, such as:
1. No or thin cuticles
Leaves in plants are coated in waxy cuticles. The cuticles help to retain water in the plate. Aquatic plants that are fully submerged in the water don’t need this, along with the fact that it’s harder for the plants to obtain carbon dioxide.
2. Permanently opened stomata
With the same purpose of reducing water loss, plants need stomata. Aquatic plants that live underwater don’t need this. The floating ones have stomata, but even the surfaces that are in contact with water don’t.
3. Less rigid
The structure of aquatic plants is less rigid if compared to terrestrial plants. This is because the pressure from water supports them.
4. Flat leaves on the surface and air sacs
The floating aquatic plants need to have flat leaves to stay on top of the water. In addition to that, they also have air sacs to help them float.
5. Roots are smaller, light, and feathery
The roots in aquatic plants are located at the bottom. They are small water plants, light, and feathery to spread freely and take the needed oxygen.
Types of Aquatic Plants
Aquatic plants can be classified using their structure, adaptation, and habitat. The most common way to explain the types of aquatic plants is based on the transformation. Their adaptation affects the system. There are three types of water plants: submerged, free-floating, and emergent. Aquatic plants rooted in the pond and live underwater are submerged plants, such as moss and seaweed. Free-floating plants are those that live on top of the water with their roots floating as well, such as duckweed. Lastly, emergents are swamp plants where the lower parts are submerged, but the top positions might grow and float on the water surface, such as reed mace and water lilies.
Aquatic Plants That Can Grow Inside Home
There are many aquatic plants, such as duckweed, salad, water lily, and alders. Even those that are used in aquariums have different species and characteristics. These plants are used to create a natural setting to showcase their pet fish. Not only aesthetically but also functionally as the plants enhance the quality of water for the fish. Some of them can even bear flowers, making your aquarium or pond even more beautiful. Growing water plants at home is amazing. You can also create a terrarium at home as a smaller option. Some aquarium plants are as follows:
Aquatic moss; one of the most common ones for aquariums and terrariums. Moss is carpet-like plants that are easy to grow and good for fish to breed.
Java ferns; a hardy plant that survives in low light. It grows around 2 to 3 weeks up until the size of the aquarium.
Anubias; a semi-aquatic plant for freshwater that can both live underwater or with the leaves out of the water.
Echinodoras; also known by the name amazon sword. It is also useful as centerpieces, although these might not suit some fishes that are rough to leaves.
Water hyacinth; a floating plant that can be put in an open aquarium. The flowers are beautiful and keep the water healthy by absorbing dirt, fish waste, and ammonia.
Water cabbage; the taste of the roots might be right for goldfish and koi.
Water fern, also widely known as a water sprite, is suitable for freshwater aquariums. This plant is newbie-friendly and fun for the fish as well.
Elodea; hardy plant that is easy to grow and perfect for aquariums.
Perhaps you’re not the aquarium type of person. The ponds or gardens in your house could use these beautiful aquatic plants as well! There is a trend called water gardening–aquatic plants that have flowers work best for these. Here are some of the common aquatic flowers that you can grow in your backyard garden:
Duckweed is a floating plant that might blossom small pink flowers around.
Watercress is fast to grow and fills out your pond. It is entirely edible and often used in salads as well. The flowers are tiny and white-colored.
3. Water lettuce
Just like the name, water lettuce looks like blossoming lettuce.
4. Water poppy
The yellow color of water poppy keeps your ponds looking fresh. Just like the color, the flowers blossom in the summertime. The leaves fall flat to keep them floating on the ponds. These are a perfect pair for lilies.
5. Water hawthorns
Now it’s time to add some white color to your home water garden. These plants are unique and bloom for quite a long time, also a perfect pair for lilies.
6. Water lilies
Water lilies blossom beautifully and are surrounded by lotus. These are commonly found in ponds with frogs. These water lilies keep the water in the ponds clean by reducing growing algae.
7. Pygmy water lilies
Basically the mini version of water lilies, which is even better for your home garden. They are small water plants but also provide shelter for the fish.
8. Calla lilies
Calla lilies are also called lilies, but they are not lilies. The flowers are different and colorful. It is easy to take care of, so if you are new at planting water plants, this is a good option.
9. Lizard’s tail
Lizard’s tail is cute and long, providing your garden with a bunch of pinkish white unique-looking flowers. The leaves are heart-shaped and bloom in the summertime.
10. Japanese iris
Lastly, if you are looking for bright colored flowers, Japanese iris is a perfect choice. The flowers are purple and white, sometimes dark red, and grow in November and December. It is an excellent pop of color for your water garden.
Keeping your freshwater aquarium clean is essential, especially if you have fish in the community. Fish tanks need to be taken care of regularly. These aquatic plants are beneficial to your aquarium’s health while reducing algae growth, which might interfere with light and nutrients that are supposed to be for your plants and fruits. Fertilizer is also essential to enhance their development, but make sure that they don’t overgrow! Some plants stop growing upon reaching the surface, which makes them a good option for aquariums.
Do Aquatic Plants Need Soil?
To shortly explain, most aquatic plants do require soil except the free-floating ones. Some plants such as java moss, amazon sword, jay fern, and anubias don’t need grounds to grow. The soils are clay-based that are not heavy in compost or peat. Those are lighter materials and make the stable float. This is why you probably cannot use random soils that are packed and sold for terrestrial plants. Soils are placed 2 to 3 inches in the bottom and topped with heavy pebbles and gravels. This is to prevent the soil from mixing with the water.
The soils provide an excellent and healthy ecosystem for your pond or aquarium. Another way to care for water plants is by using the right soils. The soils are moist and keep the roots attached, making them grow properly while bearing beautiful flowers now and then. The other ways you can care for water plants are by choosing the right kind of flowers with the habitat you will provide them with.
For instance, golden buttons and lobelia need a warmer climate compared to water lilies and water iris. A water filter is also essential, especially if you have a small pond or aquarium. The water filter keeps aerating the oxygen and makes the plants as well as the fish inside healthy. The level of oxygen and carbon dioxide needs to be balanced with the right amount of pH. Keep checking if the ponds or aquarium is invaded. If there is dead stuff in the pond or aquarium, clear the water so that bacterias do not infect the rest.
Ensure that you do enough research regarding each of the plants to ensure that you know the proper care for water plants. The environment plays a significant role in this due to the plants’ temperatures and lightings that might be sensitive. The light source is one of the essential factors you need to consider. Some plants can live in low light, but most require sunlight as a source of energy. Having LED lighting could also help your aquatic plants in aquariums. LED light provides your plants with a light spectrum that helps them grow, even better than fluorescent lighting. It also gives some spotlight, which makes your aquarium look even more astounding.
Benefits of Aquatic Plants
Aesthetically speaking, aquatic plants and their blooms are undoubtedly beautiful. There are various aquatic plants that, if combined, result in aquatic gardens that are mesmerizing to the eyes and beneficial to the health of the water and any living thing inside. These plants are natural oxygenators, as well as minimizing debris and dirt. Some plants are even more striking in this department by providing nitrogen cycle and nitrate removals, such as water lilies and watercress. The plants can also replicate the fish’s natural habitat and shelter them and lay eggs. In addition to that, plants are great for absorbing metals from wastewater.
Some plants are known to be edible and turned into herbal medicines. That is not an exception for aquatic plants. Some water plants are a nutritious food source that is often enjoyed as delicacies. You may find some of the vegetation in salad and garnishes are made from aquatic plants, such as watercress.
With many beneficial effects of aquatic plants, it is no wonder that the trend of aquatic gardens and aquariums never seems to vanish. This means that if you are a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, this is an excellent chance to open up a business. That is potential that should not be missed! With these amounts of benefits, people would prefer to choose these rather than fake, plastic ones. They become a part of your maintenance for the overall aquatic garden, keeping your water healthy and great for the fish.
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