Planting Tips & Care

How to Buy Live Plants for Your Aquarium

Published by eBay


Aquatic plants not only add a lot to an aquarium aesthetically, but also provide a more natural environment for fish and any other critters living in the tank. Plants help oxygenate the water and maintain a proper pH balance. Plants will also reduce the growth of algae by consuming the nutrients in the water before the algae can.

Many species of tropical fish use plants as their breeding grounds, laying their eggs on the plants. Some "shy" species are accustomed to living within foliage as a means of protection from predators. Plants reduce stress in these fish and thereby support more natural fish behavior. Additionally, some types of fish eat plants as part of their diet.

Aquarium plants can be purchased from pet stores, aquarium supply stores, online retailers, and from online marketplaces, such as eBay. Read on to learn how to select and purchase live plants for your aquarium.

Important Things to Consider

When buying aquatic plants, there are several important things to consider:

Type of Plant

Always verify that plants are truly aquatic plants before selecting them for purchase. Buying plants purely based on pictures and descriptions by sellers may prove to be a costly mistake. It is advisable to first identify the types of plants that are desired for decorating the tank, and then seek out those plants.

Plant Growth Speed

Different plants grow at different speeds; some are fast growing, while others grow slowly. When just starting out, fast-growing plants provide a way of making an aquarium look good quickly. However, these plants require more maintenance, as one must cut them back when they become too large. For this reason, most aquarium owners prefer to gradually replace fast-growing plants with ones that grow more slowly. This helps keep the appearance of the aquarium more consistent.

Plant Size

Plants also grow to different sizes. When selecting plants and planning how they will be placed in the aquarium, it is important to consider their visibility and whether they will receive enough light. Plants are generally placed with the taller ones in the back and shorter ones in the front, providing visibility to all of the plants. Some species of plants do not grow well when in the shadow of taller plants. This needs to be considered when determining the layout.

Water Temperature

Plants need to be comfortable in the climate the tank contains. If the aquarium is housing tropical fish, the temperature will need to be warm. Cold-water plants will not thrive in this climate. The reverse is true as well; warm-water plants cannot grow well in a cold tank.

Water Salinity

Just as some fish are saltwater fish and others are freshwater fish, the same is true for aquatic plants. Plants whose natural habitat is salt water will die in fresh water, and plants that come from freshwater environments will die when planted in a saltwater tank.

Preparing a Proper Environment for the Plants

Like all living things, aquatic plants need the right environment to thrive. This often requires adding more environmental control systems to the aquarium than are needed for the fish. Therefore, when buying live plants for an aquarium, one might also need to purchase things like aquarium lights and plant nutrients.


The substrate for the aquarium consists of the material on the bottom of the tank that the plants are rooted into. The best substrates are sand and gravel. These provide a good place for the roots of the plant to anchor and for the necessary nutrients of the plants to reach the roots. Gravel filtration is not recommended for plants, as the constant movement of water and air around the roots of the plants hinders growth.


Plants need light for photosynthesis. The lighting should be as close to daylight as possible. Lighting with a color temperature of 5,000 to 6,800 Kelvin is ideal. The brightness of the light is important as well. This is measured in lux.

Brightness Level

Measured Lux

Plant Types

Very Bright

At least 1,500 lux

Cabomba, Limnophila aquatica


1,000 to 1500 lux

Bacopa, Ludwigia


500 to 1,000 lux

Sagittaria, Anubias


Below 500 lux

Java moss, Cryptocoryne

Keep in mind that shadowing by other plants affects the actual amount of light the plants receive. Therefore, moss growing on the bottom of the tank will not receive 1,000 lux, even if the taller plants are.

To get the right amount of light in the aquarium, most people refer to the wattage of the incandescent bulbs used, rather than their lux. The following chart provides a simple reference for how much light is sufficient, based on total bulb wattage.

Tank Volume in Liters

Tank Volume in U.S. Gallons

Tank Volume in Imperial Gallons

Total Bulb Wattage




15 to 25 watts




31 to 47 watts




46 to 71 watts




62 to 95 watts




62 to 95 watts




125 to 190 watts

When reading this chart, use the higher wattage to provide bright lighting to the tank, and the lower wattage to provide medium light. Total bulb wattage refers to the wattage of all bulbs used to illuminate the tank, added together.

Lighting should be provided for 10 to 14 hours per day. If algae growth occurs, reduce the lighting time slightly until the algae stops growing.


Plants, like all living things, need food to survive. Most of this food will come from the fish’s waste products. However, if the fish population is not high enough or the plant population is too high, the amount of nutrients provided by the fish may not be enough. In this case, nutrients will need to be added to the tank.

Aquatic plants need the same nutrients that land-based ones do: nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and iron. However, normal fertilizers used for house plants cannot be used for aquatic plants. These fertilizers may not dissolve properly in water, may float on the surface of the water, or may clog filters. Aquarium plant fertilizer should be used; it should be added to the tank once a month in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Carbon Dioxide

Most aquariums do not have a high enough carbon dioxide level to support healthy plant growth. The only carbon dioxide they have comes from the fish that are in the tank. Carbon dioxide can be added to the aquarium from a carbon dioxide tank, via a bubbler placed in the bottom of the tank. These devices come in two basic types: one which automatically senses the level of carbon dioxide in the aquarium and adds carbon dioxide accordingly, and another that requires manual checking of the aquarium’s pH level.

The proper carbon dioxide level is from 5 to 12 mg/l. Higher levels could damage the livers of the fish. Additionally, the carbon dioxide should be turned off at night when the tank’s lights are off, as no photosynthesis is occurring during these hours.

Planting Aquatic Plants in an Aquarium

Plants should be selected as part of an overall decorative plan. There are three basic heights of live aquatic plants for aquariums: background plants, midground plants, and moss. Moss generally rests on the bottom of the aquarium, growing no taller than 0.5 inches. Background plants provide the background of the aquarium, giving the appearance of a natural habitat. The mid-sized, midground plants are those which provide the habitat for the fish.

Plants should be placed in clusters, to more closely resemble the way they grow in nature. However, at the same time, they need some space between them for growth and for light to reach the leaves. If the plants come tied together, be sure to remove the ties, as they can impede growth.

Never bury the crown of the plant. This is the "trunk" of the plant. It is not part of the root structure, but is directly above it. Although it may be lighter in color than the leaves of the plant, it will not be as white as the roots. After planting, check to ensure that there is no gravel trapped between stems, as this can cause damage.

Buying Live Aquarium Plants on eBay

A number of eBay stores sell aquarium plants, along with other decorations and supplies for your aquarium. The advantage of buying from an eBay store is that the seller is experienced in shipping these products in a way that prevents damage. Plants must be shipped wet to stay alive during transit.

The easiest way to locate aquarium plants on eBay is by doing a keyword search for "live aquarium plants." This can be done from the search bar located at the top of every page of the eBay website. Since this is such a specialized area, most or all of the listings returned should be relevant to what you are looking for. If you wish, choose filters to narrow results to include only nearby items, items with free shipping, and/or items offered by top-rated eBay sellers.

Rapid shipment is important for live plants. Most eBay vendors use expedited shipping to help ensure that your plant arrives in good condition. Most vendors will also guarantee that plants will not be dead on arrival. However, once you plant them, there is a high probability that some of the plant will turn brown, and then recover. This is normal for any type of plant, due to the shock of transplanting.


Adding plants to an aquarium not only adds to the aesthetic beauty of the aquarium, but also provides a more natural habitat for the fish living in the aquarium. Many species of fish are accustomed to living, hiding, feeding, and breeding among plants. In addition, plants help keep the aquarium clean by reducing algae growth and consuming the fish’s excrement.

When selecting plants for an aquarium, it is important to select plants that are compatible with the aquarium’s environment. This means that the plants must be comfortable with the temperature and salinity of the water in the tank. An assortment of different plants provides an attractive setting. Taller plants make a nice background, while mid-sized plants provide an excellent environment for the fish.

The aquarium will probably need to be properly prepared to receive the plants and stimulate growth. Measures to make an aquarium habitable for fish may include increasing the carbon dioxide level and adding fertilizer for the plants.



Basic Plant Care







As with most plants, whenever in doubt never plant too deep.  The Anubias genus has a root system called a rhizome meaning that it has a horizontal type root which have smaller roots that grow outward from the main root.  Never plant the rhizome, in which rot can occur,  only plant the smaller hair like roots.




As with most plants, whenever in doubt never plant too deep.  When you receive anyone of these particular species of plant, you may receive them with a bulb attached or as a bareroot plant.  In the case of receiving the bulb, plant in aquarium as so that the sprout of the bulb is facing up and that the sprout is clearly visible above the planting material/substrate.

In the case you have received just the plant itself plant only the roots of the plant leaving the entire stem above the plant material/substrate;  failure to do so may cause rotting of the stems of the plant and premature death of the plant.


Bunched Plants:


When you receive these plants they will arrive with a weight wrapped around the bottom of the plants.  First remove the weight and if any discoloration of the plant or any decay or dead leaves are present give the plant a fresh cut above this area of the plant(NOTE: the trimming of this material will in no way harm the plant).  Next; plant the individual stems of the plant in the planting material/substrate, plant anchors will aid in planting of these types of stem plants.

Cryptocorynes :


Plant ONLY the roots of the plant in planting material/substrate.  Planting these plants to deep can cause rotting of the stem and therefore premature death of the plant.


Potted Plants:


When you receive these plants, before planting remove plant from pot. For most plants with larger roots you can  remove as much of the potting material as possible without damaging the roots of the plant.  Next, plant ONLY the roots of the plant in planting material/substrate. For plants with finer root systems (dwarf baby tears, microsword, dwarf hairgrass, ect.) you can leave the potting wool intact. This material will help in holding the plant down into the substrate so it doesnt tend to float up.  Planting these plants to deep can cause rotting of the stem and therefore premature death of the plant.




Plant ONLY the roots of the plant in planting material/substrate.  Planting these plants too deep can cause rotting of the stem and therefore premature death of the plant.  Plant anchors will aid in planting of these types of plants




Plant ONLY the roots of the plant in planting material/substrate.  Planting these plants too deep can cause rotting of the stem and therefore premature death of the plant.



Plant ONLY the roots of the plant in planting material/substrate.  Planting these plants too deep can cause rotting of the stem and therefore premature death of the plant.  Plant anchors will aid in planting of these types of plants


Instruction for setting aquarium

Instruction for setting aquarium

Instruction for setting planted aquarium


Substrate, Aquarium lamp, External filter and Carbon Di Oxide are important and essential for aquascaping.

Substrate can be purchased from the nearest aquarium shop. Japan made substrate  will be available in the shop. Rate approximately Rs 1000/sq feet (2” height)

Aquarium lamp is essential for the betterment of the aquarium. 2 watt/litre of water.

External filter is good for planted aquarium.

It is also very important ‘Co2’, for good growth of the internal plants of the aquarium.(make co2 @home- visit this link )

3 or 4 no’s of tiger loach should be put in the aquarium. It will eat all the eggs of snails. One or two small succer cat fish is also important. It will clean the glass.

Make use of liquid fertilizer for one time in every week for good growth of plants.

Plant Supplement Guide for Overall Plant Health

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Feed Your Plants for Lush GrowthPlant Supplement Guide for Overall Plant Health
he importance of proper plant supplementation cannot be underestimated. Aquatic plants generally obtain nutrients from the aquarium environment. However, certain conditions make it necessary for supplementation. Factors including plant species, planting density, and lighting conditions influence the availability of plant nutrients necessary for healthy plant growth.

Without supplementation, deficiencies in certain plant nutrients occur. Symptoms of nutrient deficiency include lack of growth, poor coloration, yellow leaves, and leaf loss. Plant supplements provide vital nutrients to simplify aquarium plant care and help keep plants lush and healthy. There are several nutrients essential to plant health and growth. Major plant nutrients, also called macronutrients, include:

NITROGEN (N) Helps increase growth potential and improves leaf health

PHOSPHORUS (P) Aids in photosynthesis and helps accelerate plant growth

POTASSIUM (K) Helps develop healthy stems and roots

Essential minor plant nutrients and trace elements include:

CALCIUM (Ca) Helps build plant strength and helps with nutrient absorption

MAGNESIUM (Mg) Encourages healthy growth and increases plant coloration

SULFUR (S) Helps improve root and plant growth

BORON (B) Aids in plant's ability to use nutrients

COPPER (Cu) Aids in reproduction and root metabolism

CHLORIDE (Cl) Aids plant metabolism

Observe your aquarium plants for signs of nutrient deficiencies. Look for transparent or yellowed leaves, holes in the leaves, malformed leaves, or general lack of growth.

If you use reverse osmosis water, replenish essential minerals removed during the RO process with a re-mineralizing RO water conditioner.

Tap water tends to contain certain plant nutrients. Before supplementation, test source water for nitrogen compounds and phosphate to prevent over-supplementation.

Closely monitor water quality and perform regular water changes.

Use liquid supplements and tablets to ensure a proper balance of plant nutrients.

Avoid over-supplementation. More is not always better.

IRON (Fe) Helps in the formation of chlorophyll

MANGANESE (Mn) Helps plant metabolism break down carbohydrates and nitrogen

MOLYBDENUM (Mo) Aids plants in the use of nitrogen

ZINC (Zn) Helps with the use of carbohydrates and regulates sugar production

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