Plants

How to Grow Aquarium Plants From Seeds—How Long Do They Take

Aquarium plants are gems that spruce—up a fish tank, adding lush aquascapes, while still providing food for fry, inverts, and tropical fishes. Most aquatic plants will also add oxygen in the water and remove harmful elements such as nitrates and phosphates.

That said, many of the species don’t have seeds and are replicated through cuttings or rhizomes only. But there are a couple that will reproduce from seeds and grow in aquariums, albeit a little more challenging to start.

So, which is the right way to grow aquarium plants from seed you ask!

For best results, I recommend starting the seeds in an environment outside an aquarium till they germinate before introducing them in the tank.

Sow the seeds in wet peat or soil until they turn into seedlings, then introduce them inside your fish tank.

In new, plant only tanks, it is ok to increase your water level slowly, only covering the seedlings lightly until they grow to a reasonably big size.

But, when you have fish in the aquarium, keep your water level at an agreeable level, and only add the seedlings when they are big and hardy to withstand any disturbance from boisterous fishes.

How to Grow Aquarium Plants From Seeds: 5 Quick Steps

There is a wide variety of aquatic plants in the market that will grow in a fish tank. You only need to make sure the species you choose will adapt to the conditions inside your aquarium.

Below are the 5—quick steps you should follow when looking to grow your aquarium plants from seeds.

**Step #1.**Get The Seeds

To get your aquarium plant seeds, I suggest you make a trip to your local fish store before you go looking in other places.

If the store does not stock the seeds, ask for recommendations as store owners usually have a huge network of fish keepers, breeders, and other shop owners, one of who may have what you are looking for.

Alternatively, you can purchase the seeds from an online market place such as E—bay, Amazon, or Aliexpress, which cost anywhere from two dollars depending on the packaging.

Once you get the seeds, prepare to plant them.

You can either hold them in a container filled with clean water or keep them in the packet until you are through with preparing a seedbed for them.

Please note that some aquarium plant seeds are usually tiny, so you need to be careful when handling them.

**Step #2.**Make a Seedbed

Take a tray or normal garden pot with holes at the bottom and fill it with potting media, you can use garden soil or peat if available. It’s also ok to use any appropriate container with holes punched at the bottom.

To keep the soil wet at all times, place a plate or saucer filled with water below the tray. You’ll also want to spread the potting media evenly to make sure there are no dry spots anywhere in the seedbed.

The last thing to do when preparing the bed is to water the peat generously making sure you get to every part of the bed.

**Step #3.**Place The Seeds in a Bed

With the bed ready, get the seeds from the packet or the holding water and place them in the bed.

Ideally, sow the seeds just above the potting media (surface sow). If the seeds are too tiny, leaves them uncovered, but if they are fairly large, cover them slightly.

Germination will follow, and the seed will turn into seedlings in the seven (7) and 15 days .

**Step #4.**Transfer Your Seedling

Transefer the seedling into your aquarium when they grow to between two (2) and three (3) inches in height.

When transplanting the seedling, make sure you remain gentle because the little plants are usually fragile and a small amount of damage will keep them from developing.

Especially, make sure you the plants have a well—developed root system. Also make sure your fishes are well fed before you transfer the seedling, particularly if you have species that show a preference for plant matter in their diet.

**Step #5.**Care for Your Aquarium Plants

The last step is to care for the plants in the aquarium. Provide your plants with adequate light and supplement them with CO2 and fertilizer.

However, too much fertilizer could melt small, fragile plants, so be careful when dosing your fish tank.

Remeber not to overstock your fish tank with fish or plants, making sure any other aquatic plants you may have in the tank do not shade the seedling.

Proper aquarium maintanance and cleaning, including cleaning your gravel is advised, albeit a need to be careful not to uproot your seedlings.

How Long Do Aquarium Seeds Take to Grow?

Aquarium plant seeds take between seven (7) and 15 days to germinate, with the average time being 10—days. However, for the seeds to get from germination to full growth, it can take several months, depending on the plant species.

Moreover, how fast your aquarium plants grow will depend on the aquarium conditions. Usually, plants will grow faster with adequate lighting, CO2, and extra fertilization.

Planting Seeds in Established Aquarium

As I’ve mentioned above, the easiest way to grow aquarium plants from seeds, including in established aquarium, is starting the seeds outside the tanks then transfer the young seedlings into your aquarium.

This is especially important if you have fish in the tank, including bottom—dwellers that forage at the bottom looking for leftovers food and algae.

Nonetheless, another realistic approach for germinating aquarium seeds in an established tank, assuming you do not want to start them in a tray—bed, is to add the seeds in a complete setup, but without the water and fish in it, just a wet substrate.

This trick is more so feasible if you have an empty fish tank as you would when you’ve had major algae or snail infestation that prompts you to remove everything from the aquarium.

Ideally, give your seeds 10—days to germinate then slowly add water in your fish tank making sure not to submerge the young plants too far.

Once you are confident the little seedlings will survive while fully submerged, then you can fill your aquarium with water and add fish and what have you.

As always, light plays a very crucial role in the development of all plants, so put your fish tank in an area with enough daylight if you can, or add a good source of artificial lighting (fluorescent or LED bulbs) in your tank.

I should also point out that a few of your plants will most likely float when you fill your aquarium with water, meaning you may need to do some replanting.

The replating process is, however, not too much of a hassle, all you have to do is place the seedlings back in the substrate with the roots lightly buried.

It’s perfectly fine to use your hands, but a pair of tweezers will probably give you a better grip of the seedlings

Lastly, you can try planting seeds in a fully established tank, plus the fish and everything, but it is more likely than not a fool’s errand, with limited success if any.

How to Plant Carpet (Grass) Seeds in an Aquarium

Carpet plants and grass in aquariums form lush greenery and is among the easiest way to aquascape. Moreover, a carpet is one of the few aquascapes you can establish by planting seeds.

Having said that, please note that the process can be quite tasking, especially if you do not have much experience growing plants in aquariums.

Plus the process requires a generous amount of patience as it may a while for the carpet to establish fully.

So, how do you plant carpet seeds in an aquarium?

Well, there are two ways you to go about it. First, you can sow your seeds in something like a seedbed, then transfer the seedlings into your aquarium once they establish.

Alternatively, you can start your seeds in an aquarium substrate inside a tank that’s setup, but not filled with water. Then once your seeds grow into tiny seedlings (usually takes 7 to 15 days), transfer them and finish setting up your tank.

Below are four (4) different ways you can establish seeds outside an aquarium then transplant your seedlings. Also, I have made a quick guide on how to start carpet seeds in an aquarium, albeit in a little later; towards the tails end of the article.

Method #1

  1. Get a small cup and make holes that are big enough for water to sip through, and fill it with soils or peat.
  2. Gently place the carpet seeds on top of the soils. Be careful as carpet grass seeds are pretty tiny, almost like dust particles.
  3. Get a medium—sized container relative to the size of your cup and fill it with water, though not deeper than what the cup is.
  4. Then place the cup with the seeds in the container with the water, making sure the water does not get into the cup from the top.
  5. Place the setup under light and wait for seven (7) to 10 days for the seeds to germinate.

Method #2

  1. Fill a medium—sized container with soil or peat about an inch thick.

  2. Place carpet seeds on top of the soil.

  3. Cover the seeds with soil about 0.1 inch thick to keep them from floating.

  4. Gently fill the contaier with water making sure you do not expose the seeds.

  5. Place the setup under light and wait for seven (7) to 10 days for the seeds to germinate.

Method #3

  1. Place cotton wool inside a small but deep container.

  2. Fill the middle of the cotton wool with soil or peat for compaction.

  3. Place your seeds between the cotton wool and the side of the container.

  4. Fill the container with water.

  5. Place the setup under light and wait for seven (7) to 10 days for the seeds to germinate.

Method #4

  1. Get a small and shallow container.

  2. Fill it halfway with soil or peat.

  3. Wet the soil with water, but not too much that the seeds float.

  4. Place the seeds on top of the wet soil to keep them moist.

  5. Place the setup under light and wait for seven (7) to 10 days for the seeds to germinate.

Once the plants in either of the four methods have germinated, all you need to do is move the seedlings into your aquarium and replant them.

Sees in the four methods will not all germinate at the same pace. For instance, the plants in one may start to grow within two (2) to three (3) days, while the others take five (5) to six (6) days or even up to 10 days.

Therefore, be patient and make sure you keep an eye on the pots every day.

How to Grow Carpet (Grass) Seeds Inside an Aquarium

To start your carpet plants inside an aquarium, follow these steps.

  1. Pour 0.06 ounces of macro fertilizer in a bottle of water and a sprayer. Apportion about 0.03 ounces between the bottle and sprayer then shake them well.
  2. Pour the bottle of water with fertilizer around the aquarium.
  3. Put your seeds in a bowl then with your hands, spread them on the substrate making sure they are evenly spread.
  4. Once you are done place the seed on the substrate, spray the solution you put in the sprayer in your tank till the substrate is properly covered.
  5. Cover the top of your aquarium with transparent plastic to release evaporation, then place the tank under light and leave it for between seven (7) and 10—days. However, within the period, if you notice your substrate is too dry, remove the cover and spray the tank a little more then put back the cover in place.
  6. Once the plants establish, you can set up the rest of your fish tank. You may want to add water slowly as the plant continues to develop.

Eddie Waithaka

Resident Content Creator and Marketer at AquariaWise who talks about aquariums and fish and aquascapes a lot.

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