Do Aquarium Plants Need a Heater, Can They touch

By Jecinta Muturi @aquariawise

Do Aquarium Plants Need a Heater, Can They touch

Aquarium plants give a fresh-water aquarium a natural appearance, oxygenate the water, absorb ammonia and provide habitat for fish.

Even so, for these plants to thrive in a fish tank setup, you’ll need a few crucial items; filter, light, carbon dioxide, and so on.

But is a heater one of these items?

Almost 90% of aquarium plants do not need a heater since they can tolerate a wide range of water temperatures.

However, there are a few plant species that require strict water temperatures to survive and thrive in a tank meaning you may need a heater.

Overall, there are only two circumstances where an aquarist may require a heater

  1. If they are keeping some delicate aquarium plants that require strict water conditions
  2. If the temperature of the tank is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit

It is also imperative to make sure that the aquarium plants do not touch the heater because sometimes they can get burnt.

You may be wondering, what’s the best temperature for aquarium plants?

Well, there is no ideal temperature for all plants because different plants have varying needs, though most species will thrive in a temperature range between 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you live in cold regions, it’s best if you install a thermometer in your aquarium and regularly check on it when it’s cold. If the temperature is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, turn on the heater in the aquarium.

This is an interesting topic?


I’m certain you want to learn more about aquarium plants and heaters, come along and let’s get into it.

Can Aquarium Plants Touch a Heater

What would happen if aquarium plants are constantly touching the heater?

Can the leaves get burnt?

A big question, right?

Answering our question very simply, aquarium plants can touch the heater but it is not recommended.

Well, after you have carefully added a heater to your aquarium, it is best to make sure that no plants touch the heater at all times because, with strong heaters, the leaves may get burnt.

You also should avoid putting plants underneath the heater since any leaves pressed against the glass or plastic case will get damaged even when the heater doesn’t get very hot.

Water should flow around the heater unobstructed because the water flow is essential in distributing the heat in the aquarium. If plants are blocking the flow, the aquarium water will be colder than we want

Another thing that can bother an aquarist is, Can a heater burn your fish?

It is rare for a heater to burn the fish, but in some cases, it happens.

This mostly happens with algae eaters like Bristle Nose or large Plecos

If there is any case of a fish burnt, you need to up your water changes game and perform a 20% water change daily.

Can Aquarium Plants Grow in Cold Water

For an aquarist who does not want to add a heater to the aquarium, they may want to know if aquarium plants can grow in cold water and which ones.

There are a lot of aquarium plants that can grow in cold water but it depends on the type.

Since different plants have different water requirements, do your research to learn what water conditions a plant needs to survive.

Here is a list of plants that can grow in cold water.

  1. Cryptocoryne/li>
  2. Java moss
  3. Cambomba
  4. Water cabbage
  5. Brazilian pennywort
  6. Java Fern
  7. Vallisneria

Do Aquarium Plants Need a Filter

If you are wondering if aquarium plants need a filter, then you are in the right place.

Even though you have live plants in your aquarium that do the work of a filter during photosynthesis, it is recommended you add a filter to help control algae growth and also contribute to the healthy growth of live plants in the aquarium.

Your aquarium plants will absorb nitrogen but still need extra help with biological, mechanical, and chemical debris.

Snails and organisms living under the soil also poop, reproduce and die, and leaves degrade. As such, adding a filter will come in handy to handle this part of filtration.

Lastly, you may want a water pump for water circulation, which helps prevent algae and make the plants look wavy and alive.

Do Aquarium Plants Need an Air Pump

You may be wondering, is an air pump necessary in a planted fish tank?

The answer is No

If the level of oxygen in your aquarium is optimum and there is good circulation, then you do not need an air pump.

If this is not the case, then you need a water pump.

The two purposes of a water pump are:

  1. To ensure your tank maintains an adequate concentration of oxygen
  2. To force water through the filter, which then cleans it.

Since the primary use of an air pump is to increase oxygen, the next question would be, do aquarium plants need oxygen?

Aquarium plants undergo respiration and therefore need oxygen.

At night, aquarium plants take in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide into the water.

For this case, you will require an air pump because fish in the aquarium may not be getting enough oxygen during the night if there are many plants in the tank.

There are two ways to know if the oxygen in your tank is low.

One, using an oxygen meter kit, which measures the level of dissolved oxygen in your aquarium.

And two, observing the behavior of your fish.

If oxygen is low, your fish will start showing signs of deficiency like coming to the surface of the aquarium water gasping for air, be less active than they’re used to, and rapid gills movement in your fish.

In which case, you should consider adding an air pump because the oxygen in your aquarium may be insufficient.

There are a few reasons for the cause of low oxygen level in your aquarium, which include one or more of the following

Overstocking, high water temperature, stagnant water, chemicals, and excess waste.

Therefore, we can say that an air pump helps to ensure that there is enough amount of oxygen in the aquarium and to help circulate water in the tank and keep algae under control.

Do Aquarium Plants Need Light

Yes, aquarium plants need light.

Deciding how much light you need in your aquarium depends on several factors that include the type of plant you want to grow, how fast you want them to grow, whether or not you are injecting carbon dioxide into your water, and the time you have to take care of your plants.

Some plants also have higher light demand than others and are often more challenging to maintain.

As such, when starting out, opt for a low-light aquarium because although your plants will grow slower, it is much easier to grow healthy plants.

Another factor is how tall your aquarium is!

Because light does not penetrate water very well, a strong source is needed for taller, deeper tanks.

In terms of quality, aquatic plants do best under full-spectrum light with a Kelvin rating of between 5000K-8000K. Plus, choose a light source specifically designed for growing aquarium plants.

10 to 12 hours of light per day is considered adequate, and to maintain a consistent schedule, adding a timer is recommended as well.

An aquarium light timer is more so helpful if you often work long hours or when away on vacation.

Happy Aquascaping.

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