How to Easily Plant Your Live Aquarium Plants in Pots

How to Easily Plant Your Live Aquarium Plants in Pots

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Live aquarium plants do more than just make your fish tank attractive. They also remove nitrates and phosphorus from your water, absorb carbon dioxide, and fix oxygen in the tank.

This make your tank clean and healthy for your fish and starve algae by outcompeting them for nutrients.

Conviniently, there are several ways you can add live plants in your fish tank, each with its own pros, and attraction.

From adding them in gravel or sand to floating them or even planting them in pots. Whichever method, you will get all the benefits and beauty planted aquariums.

Essentially, you will want love adding your plants in pots if you love to move things around your tank every now and then.

Potted plants do not need to be fixed in one spot in the tank like those that root in the substrate, thus are simpler to move around. Moreover, decorative pots have good aesthetics and will add to the overall look of your aquarium.

Below is everything you need to know about planting live aquarium plants in pots.

Can You Leave Aquarium Plants in Pots

It perfectly ok to leave your aquarium plants in pots or even add them in bigger containers instead of pacing them in a substrate, attaching them on driftwood and rocks, or even floating them.

Even so, it is imperative to note that this planting method is feasible, only when you are sure you want your plants growing inside a small area. This is especially true since pots are somewhat infamous for limiting the spread and rooting of plants including aquatic types.

But like I stated above, potted aquarium plants are easy to move around when you need to redecorate or while keeping fish species like cichlids that love to dig or move things around.

How to Plant Aquatic Plants in Pots

Most questions I get around this topic can be interpreted in two ways.

One, maybe you want to know how to starts plants that come in pots from inside your fish tank once you de-pot them. Or two, you need to know how to grow them in pots while inside your aquarium.

Well, to start plants that come in pots in your fish tank without necessarily needing to use a container, the first thing you’ll need to do is retrieve them from the jar and potting media with minimal destruction of the roots.

Most packages are not placed too compactly inside the pot, and you should be able to retrieve them with just a few gentle squeezes or shakes.

Pinch the plant at the top to remove it from the pot. If by any chance the roots are wrapped around the container, just cut it off.

Start on one side of the pot cutting vertically, then go all the way round to the other side and cut it as well. Then pull the pot apart into two separate halves trying not to tear up any of the roots.

Next you’ll need to cut out (you’ll love having this kit)the bottom half of the rock wool or whichever potting media was used for growing the plants, and only remain with the small portion still holding the roots.

Even so, make sure you do not cut too high rest you slice through the young plant roots, though most do not run too deep, so it should not be too much of a hassle.

Use you fingers to dust off the tiny rock wool pieces that remain once you slice the bigger patch off, then divide your plants into smaller pieces before placing adding them in the substrate.

Of course, mostly its carpet plants that would need to be divided, other common species like anubius and Bucephalandra might need to be planted as plantlets depending on the size.

Get more insight on planting and caring for live aquarium plants here.

That being said, for the second interpretation for the question, that is, adding aquarium plants in pots inside the tank, see below.

Adding Potted Aquarium Plants in Your Fish Tank

As you would expect, the first thing to do when starting potted plants is adding the plants in the pot. Of course, you will need to make sure your container is aquarium safe.

To add the plant in the pot, what I do is hold it above the container with the plants about halfway inside. Then I start adding my gravel or growing mix inside till it covers the roots, just above where they meet the stalk.

I do recommend adding planting fertilizer in the substrate before adding the plant to ensure it starts healthy from the get-go. However, please note that the amount you’ll need will be lesser than whats you usually add for plants rooted in the tank substrate.

Using a small cup or spoon to scoop the gravel instead of your hand is quite easy and is a brilliant trick you should consider. To ensure your plant is firm, move the gravel around the plant with your finger gently compacting where need be.

Regarding your container selection, I would recommend using this aquatic plant cups made of glass as they do not leach any harmful chemicals in your fish tank, plus they are aesthetically pleasing.

Most plastic pots are fish safe as well but don’t spruce the fish tank as impressively.

To further create a spectacle in your tank, add decorative rocks inside the pot on top of the potting mix or gravel. Contrast the color of the stones with those of the substrate for best results.

Aquarium Plants in Terracotta Pots

As I’ve mentioned above, I consider glass cups and pots to be more aesthetically pleasing for potted plants in aquariums. But this is not to say that other alternatives are not ideal as well.

Depending on what you prefer, you can use terracotta pots or other alternatives instead of glass.

Terracotta pots are a lot better than glass cups when planting bigger plants or in larger fish tanks where you want small pots will fade in the background.

As you would while planting any live aquarium plants, just add a layer of eco-soil and a gravel bed on top of it then add your plants.

For better aesthetic, contrast the color of your pot with that of the gravel.

Happy planting.

Eddie Waithaka

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

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