Origin And Variety Of Plants

The vast majority of aquatic plants are not taken from the wild but are grown by specialist firms. These plants serve as decorative elements in the aquarium, but this is not their only role, as they also contribute to its ecological balance, especially via their production of oxygen when in the light.

An enormous variety of plants can be cultivated, in this case under glass, in an extremely hot and humid atmosphere.

THE ORIGIN OF AQUARIUM PLANTS

All aquarium plants will reproduce in tanks, so there is no point in collecting them in their natural setting, unless you want new species or a pure variety. Some plants sold in aquatic stores are mere hybrids bearing the name of one of its two "parents", which can sometimes lead to confusion. The collection of certain plants from the wild is prohibited. Aquarium plants are cultivated by specialist companies, mainly in South-East Asia but also in Europe and the United States. Agricultural greenhouses are used, partly heated by solar energy, or sometimes geothermically, using hot water pumped into irrigation canals. Sunlight may be complemented by artificial lighting if the plants demand this.

Most species are raised with a large part of the plant - or even all of it - outside the water, although the environment is extremely humid. They adapt to the aquarium setting, but tend to change the shape of their leaves when introduced into this different environment.

Most aquarium plants are raised out of water.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF PLANTS

Contrary to what one might expect, most of the plants found in aquariums are not really aquatic. They generally live partly out of the water, with only the lower portion permanently submerged. Their leaves are sturdy, unbroken in form, and quite big. When the level of rivers and ponds rises due to rain - sometimes very heavy in tropical regions - the plants end up almost entirely, or sometimes even completely, covered by water. They develop submerged leaves, which are different from those which appear outside the water, being finer and more delicate. At the end of the rainy season, the water returns to its initial level, and the plant reassumes its previous form. Other plants are totally aquatic, with the upper part of their stems only rarely seen above the water level - usually to produce a flower.

There are also amphibian or totally aquatic mosses, that are very useful in aquariums, as they provide a place for some fish to lay

Different types of plants in freshwater aquariums

Some types of ferns can adapt to freshwater aquariums. ▼

Different types of plants in freshwater aquariums

Types

Characteristics

Observations |

Stemmed plants.

1

Leaves of varying degrees of fineness, on either side of the stem.

Fairly rapid growth, easy to take cuttings. They are generally truly aquatic, but can survive outside water.

Plants without any apparent stem, with roots and sometimes a 1 bulb.

The petiole (leafstalk) grows directly from the base. Sturdy and often large leaves.

Fairly slow growth, reproduction by runners or by separation of the base. Amphibious plants adapt to ' total submersion. i

Floating plants.

The leaves spread out over the surface, with the roots visible to some extent under the water.

Rapid growth if the light is intense.

They provide a refuge for fry. Swept along by currents in the water.

Plants without buried roots.

Rhizome (aerial root) developing on a support, with leaves growing out of it.

Slow growth.

They attach themselves to various supports (rock, wood, artificial decor).

Mosses.

No stem visible, somewhat tufted appearance. They attach themselves to a support.

Useful for some fish species to lay eggs.

Floating plants are useful for providing shade, as well as a shelter for fry. ▼

Some types of ferns can adapt to freshwater aquariums. ▼

Floating plants are useful for providing shade, as well as a shelter for fry. ▼

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