Tag Archives: Aquarium plants

Used flowerpot WARNING

25 Jan

A Spring ritual is putting aquatic plants in clay flowerpots and placing them in my small outdoor pond.


A few years ago this killed some of my fish.

I start with flowerpots plus some clean sand and gravel.


Gravel goes on the bottom.

Then the plant, maybe a little soil, then sand on top.



As I mentioned,  a few years ago there was a problem. I had fancy goldfish, platies and swordtails in the pond. Everything seemed fine but after a week the goldfish were dying and the small fish had quit eating and were sitting at the bottom.

I captured the remaining fish, then completely cleaned the pond. I still had no idea what had happened.

It was a year later that the president of the local fish club (Mr. LVH) said something about pesticides in used flowerpots. It became clear as a bell.

I had bought some used flowerpots at a garage sale. My first use of them was in the pond. Things were fine for a week but then the poison began leaching out.

Another week went by and I had dead fish. The ones that were brought inside were thin and disfigured but, if they could be induced to eat, recovered quickly.

So if you buy used clay flowerpots soak them for several days in a bucket of water. Pour out the water and do it at least 3 times over a week.

Also in Springtime I put Water Lettuce outdoors that has been growing in an aquarium.


First, I put the plants in a plastic container and tuck it in a shady spot to avoid sunburn.


If I move it into sunshine too soon it looks like this.


Water Lettuce can recover and eventually gets accustomed to bright sun, but I think it does best in partial shade.

Partway through summer I have to remove handfuls of Water Lettuce from the pond.


I also have flowerpots in several of my aquariums.

Amazon Swords do best growing in soil.

The only problem growing aquatic plants in pots is that the plants grow too fast.  The tank becomes a jungle. Not a bad problem  to have.



Water Sprite takes over the world!

17 Oct

A few months ago I found a thumbnail-sized plant floating in one of my aquariums. I still don’t know where it came from, I hadn’t bought any plants for a long time.


It was a little Water Sprite plant. I hoped it would grow, expecting it to get maybe 3 or 4 inches across.

It grew…

CAM01438…and grew…

CAM01419…and grew.


Eventually, it started reaching out of the aquarium. It’s leaves take a different fern-like form when they are above water.


This thing is crawling out to get me! Help!!!!


The main plant covers half of a 55 gallon tank. It’s 24 inches across!!

Also, the plant forms baby plants along the big stems and I have many Water Sprite plants now and have given some away.


The Water Sprite can float or be be planted in the gravel. It’s leaves are soft and the snails will eat some of it. I crush the snails and that makes my Angelfish and Swordtails very happy.

CAM01596If you look up Water Sprite on the Internet you will mainly see reference to a fine-leaved variety of plant called Ceratopteris thalictroides. I believe my plant, I mean PLANTS, are Ceratopteris cornuta, which is the broad-leafed Water Sprite, even though it sounds like a dinosaur.  I think both varieties of Water Sprite take the same care: Water, light, fish poop.

Water Lettuce in the aquarium

7 Mar

Water Lettuce is a plant normally grown in outdoor ponds. I brought some indoors 2 years ago. At first the plants exploded in growth, multiplying like a weed.  But, over time, these plants got smaller and their reproduction slowed.

Eventually I was left with thumbnail-size Water Lettuce plants. Outdoors they can be 4 or 5 inches across.

A few months ago I moved some of these weakling plants into a half-filled 55 gallon tank. I keep this tank half-filled because I don’t totally trust the stand that the tank is on.


At first there were about 20 little plants.


In a few weeks I had 40 plants.


A few weeks later I had 80 plants. I gave my brother 20 of them. Now there are way over 100 plants, probably close to 150.

I have a 48″ fluorescent light fixture over this tank with 2 forty watt bulbs. These bulbs are new and bright but are just cheap bulbs like you would have in a basement or garage.

I have read that Water lettuce does not like too much humidity but this tank is sealed tight and it is very humid above the water line. Below the water line it is even more humid.

Spring is coming and I have a head start on my pond plants. I’ll be able to put 100 of these outdoors as soon as it is warm enough.

The Temple Plant

24 Nov

Here’s another good plant for a tank with moderate light. The Temple plant. There are various species of this plant but it looks like I have  Hygrophila corymbosa.

I bought a bunch a few months ago and it has already stretched to the top of a 55-gallon tank so I broke off the tallest pieces and re-planted them. Those small pieces rooted into the gravel in a matter of days.

The plant has a light, bright, green color. My Silver Angelfish have laid a few batches of eggs on the leaves, too.