Receiving Mail-order Aquarium Plants

1. DO NOT let aquarium plants dry out when your working on them.
2. Carry plants upside down to prevent leaf breakage.
3. Do not try to remove plants from the top or bottom if it's
packed in a plastic bag. Slit the bag from top to bottom, then remove
the plant.
4. Remove any broken leaves, soft stems or brown leaves.
5. Some aquarium plants may do a melt down when subjected to
adverse conditions. More often than not, if the roots are white, the
plant can grow back.
6. Many aquarium plants are raised or collected emersed. Most
aquatic plants that are raised emersed and then submersed must change
there leaf structure to survive underwater. This is a very interesting
event. Some plants like Wisteria and Rotala make very dramatic leaf
changes, others like swords and Sag. usually drop their leaves and grow
new ones.
Bunch plants are actually single stem plants or cuttings bound together
by a band (rubber or lead). The purpose of the banding is to make it
look like one plant with a great deal more sales appeal than a single
stem would have.
I like to remove all leaves from the bottom portion of the stem that is
going into the substrate. Usually an inch or so depending on the plants.
Many experts don't bother to remove these leaves and just plant the way
they come in. Regardless, of which way you do it, on medium to large
plants, try to get several leaf nodes in the substrate. The node is the
little bump on the stem where the leaf is attached.
Small aquarium plants like Rotala indica or Mayaca can be planted
tightly as if the bands were still holding them together. The bigger the
type of plant, the more space you should give the individual stems.
A typical bunch plant is usually 5"-8" with many exceptions. To a
newbie, this might suggest these are front or middle ground plants.
These plants won't care where you put them, but they're fast growers and
even the little guys will be at the top of your tank in no time.
Bunch plants are propagated, or more to the point, controlled by
cuttings. I don't like do to any pruning until the plants have had at
least a month to grow roots. Top cutting of 5"-6" are the most common.
The cutting are the most viable part of the plant and are often planted.
The remaining portion has a tendency to branch and become thicker.
Sometimes when a plant has been trimmed to many times it gets scrawny
looking and should be replaced with fresh top cuttings.
These are aquarium plants where the stems (leaves) meet at a central
place at the base. Swords, Cryptocorynes and grass like plants are the
1. Remove any, old, dead , soft or broken leaves as close to the
base as possible.
2. Only the roots should be planted in the substrate.
Bulbs- In most cases the bulbs should be planted about 3/4 into the
substrate. Aponogetons, Lilies, Crinums.
Rhizomes- Should never be completely buried, or they may rot! .
Cryptocorynes, Anubias
Ferns- The roots on a fern are not functional for nutrient uptake in the
gravel. Instead they are used mostly to hold onto objects like driftwood
or rocks. Java Fern, Bolbitis, Borneo fern.
Removing Pots and Wool
In most cases, it is not a good idea to leave the plant in the pot, as
it is quite small and restricting. The rock wool is said to contain
growth chemicals and hormones, and even nitrate or phosphorus. Plants
that I pot myself contain none of these things...plants that I buy
wholesale...I have no idea!
If the plant has not been growing in the pot for to long, it will pull
apart easily, but if the opposite is true, there will be a tangled mess
of roots around the pot and wool. If it does not come out easily, simply
cut away the pot and trim off the roots. Split the wool at one side and
gently pull it apart. A thick root mass can be easily trimmed, but if
small amounts of wool are left in the root ball close to the plant, it
is nothing to worry about.