Aponogeton Plant Care: Growing Aponogeton Aquarium Plants


By: Teo Spengler

You aren’t likely to be growing Aponogeton unless you keep an aquarium in your house or a pond in your garden. What are Aponogeton plants? Aponogetons are a truly aquatic genus with a variety of different species that are planted in fish tanks or outdoor ponds.

If you are putting in a fish tank or garden pond, it’s time you learn about the Aponogeton genus. While some of the tropical plants are difficult to care for, growing Aponogeton that you buy in the aquarium stores is quite easy, even for a beginner.

What are Aponogeton Plants?

Aponogeton is the name of this genus of aquatic plants. Included in the genus are a wide variety of plants native to tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia, and Australia. Many of these varieties are simply too large or require too much of a resting period to be used as Aponogeton in aquariums.

Aponogeton aquarium plants are unique in that they grow from tubercles, starchy bulbs similar to garden bulbs. These bulbs store sufficient energy reserves to help the plant through the growing season. Healthy tubercles can live in sand for several months, even growing foliage; but to keep growing, they require a rich substrate that provides adequate nourishment.

Growing Aponogeton in Aquariums

The most popular (and least expensive) Aponogeton aquarium plants are Aponogeton crispus, native to Sri Lanka in southeastern Asia. Crispus grows in the wild in running waters and seasonal ponds, where it goes dormant in the dry season.

Crispus is a submerged aquatic plant with a small round rhizome. These plants are usually sold as “wonder bulbs” in hobby or aquarium stores and may be hybrids such as crispus x natans. A true crispus will develop reddish leaves that do not float, while hybrids have green leaves that may be floating.

Crispus hybrids are desirable plants for someone just getting started with aquatic horticulture since the plant care is quite easy. These varieties are very undemanding and will even produce flowers as long as they are given a fairly clean environment and some lighting. Hybrids often do not need to pass through a lengthy dormant period.

Aponogeton undulates and Aponogeton natans are other potential aquarium plants that require minimal Aponogeton plant care. If you opt for fancier aquarium plants, you may find that they have more difficult care requirements. Aponogeton ulvaceous, for example, is an exceptionally beautiful species. A large, lime green plant with wide, wavy-edged leaves, it needs a strong water flow and requires a significant rest period.

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Tony Newsom-Virr, of PlantedTanks, responds to some frequently asked questions on growing bulb plants in the aquarium.

What bulb plants are best for your tank?The choice is so wide it’s really a matter of personal preference. However, you could make the wrong decision, so heed the advice of one highly successful retailer.

Which of the popular aquarium plants are classed as bulb plants?

Among some of the more appreciated varieties to consider are: Aponogeton boivinianus, Aponogeton capuroni, Aponogeton henkelianus, Aponogeton madagascarensis, Aponogeton natans, Aponogeton stachysporus and Aponogeton ulvaceus.

There’s also Barclaya longifolia, Crinum natans, Crinum thaianum, Nuphar japonica ‘Spatterdock,’ Nymphaea rubra, Nymphaea stellata, Nymphaea ‘Tiger lotus green,’ Nymphaea ‘Tiger lotus red’ and Barclaya longifolia ‘Red form.’

What conditions do they need in the aquarium?

Each plant has its own ideal conditions. However, generally the Aponogeton listed here will survive in water with a pH of 6.5-7.5.

The notable exceptions are A. capuroni needing pH 5.8 to 6.5, Nuphar japonica requiring 5.5-7.3 and most Nymphaea which will need 6.2- 7.2.

Temperatures must generally be 22-28°C/72-82°F for tropical species, although Spatterdock can grow down to 18°C/64°F.

N. japonica’s cousin Nuphar lutea grows well in UK canals, so suggesting it will survive in colder waters! Where I live in Selby, North Yorkshire, a canal only 100m/110' from my shop is littered with Nymphaea and Nuphar lilies.

Which species is the best choice for the beginner?

Aponogeton, like the A. ulvaceus pictured above, are easy, but be prepared. They grow alarmingly quickly and we recorded a boivinianus reaching 2.4m/8’ within three months of arrival at the shop.

Best easy-to-grow tank specimen is the Nymphaea ‘Tiger Lotus.’

Obviously you get a choice of colour, green or red, but occasionally you get an oddball to appreciate and we got a brilliant pink one!

Being bulb plants, they come loaded with their own nutrients for the growing season ahead, so you need to do very little except plant the bulb three-quarters deep into the substrate.

Do I have to prune them — and if so how?

This is preference and dependent on the type of plant you have.

When leaves get ragged and too long on Aponogeton and Barclaya, pull them back to the bulb and cut them off close to the bulb — closer the better, so the stalk left behind does not rot and kill the bulb.

You don’t really have to prune Crinum, but if you want to trim these pull them back to the bulb and peel like an onion!

You decide if and when to trim Nymphaea and Nuphar. The plants will send leaves right to the surface and create shade in your aquarium.

However, if you want a tight compact ball of colour under the surface then trim leaves too tall for your aquarium.

Follow the stalk back to the bulb and cut it off as close as possible to the bulb. This will ensure no rot sets in and your plant will eventually reduce in size but have many leaves.

I was told you need to rest bulb plants. What does this term actually mean?

The purists say to rest the plants because where these grow in the wild, water heights are seasonal. During the dry season the bulbs are out of the water, the leaves die and they await the rainy season to grow again.

This can rarely be achieved in an aquarium. With water always present your plants will grow all year round. However, this means you need to really feed the plants as they will soon run out and deplete the stores of nutrition in the bulb, dying off.

To rest the bulb, remove from the tank and trim off any leaves. Put it in a polythene bag of damp sand and leave somewhere dry and cool to rest for around six months of the year.

If we supply the plant to you it is in the growing season. This is why many bulb plants become unavailable through the year.

Should I buy bulb plants as bulbs, bulbs with leaves, adult plants or just leaves?

A bulb is better as it may give you several plants at the same time.

As for purchasing a bulb or a bulb with leaves, this is down to your supplier. We do not supply bulb plants without leaves — instead importing them without leaves and growing them on here. This way you will know if the bulb is alive or dead.

Some of my bulbs have never sprouted. How do I know if they are dead?

If you ever smell an Aponogeton bulb with rot you’ll know it! It makes your entire room, as well as the water, smell rank.

However some bulbs just exhaust — mainly through lack of resting. These will float, they are light and can also be squeezed. They are not firm — but a good fresh one should feel firm, be dark and sink quite slowly.

Bin any bulb that oozes pus when you squeeze it.

Where should they be positioned in the aquarium?

Aponogetons are generally background plants — the exception being the madagascarensis which I would place midground. Nymphaea would also be midground, although N. micranthra is tiny, so this is definitely a foreground plant. Crinums, like the one pictured above, are mid to background as well.

Will any bulb plants flower?

Yes. Aponogetons are stunning in pink, white, purples and blues. They have really nice flowers, floating on the surface on a raised stalk. The Nymphaea flowers, although many are nocturnal so we tend to miss them. The Barclaya flower is amazing, but sadly you have to remove this before it completes setting seed or the bulb will die!

Orchid lily in the spotlight

The Orchid lily (Barclaya longifolia) is available in two colours, red or green, but both have a reddish hue on the underside of the leaf.

It’s simple to grow, yet has not appeared in many tanks due to an apparent lack of supply in the UK until recently. The leaves have been known to grow to 81cm/32” in length, with a wavy pattern to the edges, but the green form is not as large as the red.

The plant prefers a soft acidic water, both in full sun or partial shade. The water needs movement, but not a torrent, and it can be found in the slack waters of New Guinea and many parts of South-East Asia. In the aquarium it requires medium to bright lighting, especially the red form, but the green will survive and retain its coloration in either.

Water must be between 22-32°C/72-90°F with pH acid to neutral and must be soft as this plant will not survive in full hardness water. RO units or peat filtration will be needed to enjoy this specimen at full potential.

Barclaya longifolia is a corm, or bulbous-based plant, and this is where it stores food. It likes a good nutritious substrate, ideally clay based, but will survive in gravel or sand as long as it’s surrounded by a bed of clay-based nutrients.

Planting is simple. Put the corm half in the substrate and half out, laying it on its side.

Water column feeding is also required, with trace elements as a bare minimum. CO2 is not required, although it grows better with pressurised gas systems.

This plant suffers from melt, like crypt melt, so, once planted, don’t move it unless necessary. If the plant suffers melt when you first get it, normally from extended transit, don’t despair. It will go into a period of dormancy but grow back strongly, being known for rapid rampant growth.

Serious damage

This, in the correct conditions, can easily take over a full tank. Don’t pot this plant though as this will seriously damage the corm due to having reduced growing space.

Propagation is easy and spreads by natural division — and the corm may produce one or more plants. Each plant will then form a new tuber or corm to store its food. It can also be propagated from seed.

It flowers only at maturity and when water temperatures are as high as 30°C/86°F the seeds are easily collected. It is truly a stunning red showpiece and looks great when surrounded by a small carpet of greenery.

As this is a large plant it must be provided with space to grow. During flowering periods the leaves will stop growing and, following production of seeds, the plant will go into dormancy for a few months.

Don’t be tempted to move the corm at this stage as this could damage it. The new growth would then be stunted.

Instead leave it to re-grow and be prepared for a stunning plant to finally emerge.

Priced at only £1.51 per corm from PlantedTanks this plant comes highly recommended and certainly worth trying!

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Aponogeton Natans

Common name: Aponogeton Natans Aponogteon Natans is an aquatic bulb plant with long green wavy leaves that originally comes from stagnant waters in India and Sri Lanka. Like most Aponogeton species, this particular aquatic plant can grow quite large, making it a great addition as a background plant focal plant. With op. Read more

Description

Common name: Aponogeton Natans

Aponogteon Natans is an aquatic bulb plant with long green wavy leaves that originally comes from stagnant waters in India and Sri Lanka. Like most Aponogeton species, this particular aquatic plant can grow quite large, making it a great addition as a background plant focal plant. With optimal care, Aponogeton Natans flowers frequently and is a great additional to planted aquariums.

Half of the bulb should be buried into the substrate to facilitate growth. Avoid completely burying the bulb as this can promote bulb rot.

  • Do not make drastic changes to the aquarium. Unstable parameters will result in melt and rotting of the aquarium plant.
  • Aponogeton grows fairly large making this aquarium plant suitable for larger planted aquariums.
  • Please be sure to remove this plant from its lead bunch. Remove the cotton surrounding the roots and plant into a quality substrate. For instructions on how to properly prep "bunched" aquarium plants, click here .
  • CO2 injection and quality aquarium soil will yield better growth.
  • Please research appropriately to ensure your plant thrives.

Family Name: Aponogetonaceae

What Our Customers Are Saying

Aponogteon Natans is an aquatic bulb plant with long green wavy leaves that originally comes from stagnant waters in India and Sri Lanka. Like most Aponogeton species, this particular aquatic plant can grow quite large, making it a great addition as a background plant focal plant. With optimal care, Aponogeton Natans flowers frequently and is a great additional to planted aquariums.

Half of the bulb should be buried into the substrate to facilitate growth. Avoid completely burying the bulb as this can promote bulb rot.

  • Do not make drastic changes to the aquarium. Unstable parameters will result in melt and rotting of the aquarium plant.
  • Aponogeton grows fairly large making this aquarium plant suitable for larger planted aquariums.
  • Please be sure to remove this plant from its lead bunch. Remove the cotton surrounding the roots and plant into a quality substrate. For instructions on how to properly prep "bunched" aquarium plants, click here .
  • CO2 injection and quality aquarium soil will yield better growth.
  • Please research appropriately to ensure your plant thrives.

Family Name: Aponogetonaceae

Java fern Thor is an extremely rare variant of your typical Java Fern originating from Poland. They can grow in low light conditions and a wide range of water parameters. The leaves are thinner than regular Java ferns and the tips are uniquely shaped. The plant can be attached directly onto driftwood, rocks or any aquarium decoration using thread or glue. Make sure to keep the rhizomes above your substrate or the plant can begin to rot. Propagation is easy and straightforward simply cut or pull apart rhizomes to be replanted.

  • Java Fern is an epiphytic aquarium plant. This means it can grow fine when attached to aquascaping hardscape like driftwood and stones.
  • Java Fern will propagate through its leaves. Dots on the underside of its leaves are normal and not a cause for concern.
  • Do not make drastic changes to the aquarium. Unstable parameters will result in melt and rotting of the aquarium plant.
  • Remove the cotton surrounding the roots and plant above a quality substrate. For instructions on how to properly prep aquarium plants, click here.
  • Burying the rhizome will cause the plant to die
  • Plant is grown best attached to wood, rock, or sitting on top of substrate
  • CO2 injection will yield better growth.
  • Please research appropriately to ensure your plant thrives.

Family Name: Polypodiaceae

Propagation: Separate by Rhizome

Growth rate: Slow to Moderate

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Most commonly, Christmas Moss is typically used to wrap aquascaping rocks or aquarium driftwood. The addition of moss to hardscape adds an aged look that is enjoyed by enthusiasts of all skill levels. Moss is also commonly used in breeding projects and can provide valuable coverage for fry. There are many types of aquarium moss and each species will vary in growth patterns with slightly varying fronds! One of the most loved attributes of aquarium moss is its hardiness. Aquarium moss makes a wonderful beginner plant and is an easy introduction to keeping live aquatic plants.

You will receive one golfball size of Christmas Moss. This plant provides excellent shade and coverage for shrimp and fish. Moss is very versatile and can be attached to hardscape or left free-floating. It can be grown under a wide range of aquarium conditions and is recommended for breeders, beginners, and all.

  • Aquarium moss is extremely hardy and will survive in a wide range of aquarium parameters.
  • Please note, most moss species can contain brown bits and while suitable for low tech tanks, CO2 injection will yield better growth and coloration.
  • Do not make drastic changes to the planted aquarium. Unstable parameters will result in melt and rotting of the aquarium plant.
  • CO2 injection will yield better growth.
  • Please research appropriately to ensure your plant thrives.

Co2: Not necessary but recommended

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How to Grow Bulbs for Bettas

Bettas, commonly known as Siamese fighting fish, are one of the most popular types of tropical fish kept by hobbyists. This is because of their ability to survive in very small amounts of water with very little oxygen content. In addition to their ease of care, male Bettas are very colorful and often have long flowing fins. One way to spice up the typical Betta's fish bowl is to plant live plant bulbs and create a small underwater jungle for the fish. Aponogeton bulbs are fast growers, easy to care for and are often considered one of the easiest aquatic plants.

Rinse the fishbowl with warm, but not hot tap water. Do not use soap.

  • Bettas, commonly known as Siamese fighting fish, are one of the most popular types of tropical fish kept by hobbyists.

Rinse the gravel with tap water. Do not use soap. This removes any small dust particles that would cloud the water.

Fill the bottom of the fishbowl with gravel about 2 inches deep and spread it evenly over the bottom.

Fill the bowl half way with water.

Add a tap water conditioner that is available inexpensively from all pet stores. This eliminates chlorine, chloramine and heavy metals from the water. How much you need depends on your local water supply and how concentrated the product is, but it usually requires only a drop or two. Most local fish stores will test a water sample for free and recommend the correct product for the area. Be sure to add enough to condition a full bowl of water according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Rinse the gravel with tap water.
  • How much you need depends on your local water supply and how concentrated the product is, but it usually requires only a drop or two.

Plant the bulbs in the center of the bowl 2 to 3 inches apart from each other. They should be buried in the gravel only deep enough to keep them from moving around or floating to the surface. If any are already sprouted, dig a small hole and bury the roots. Most of each bulb should be above the level of the gravel. The top of the bulbs where the leaves sprout is the more narrow end. Sometimes it can be tough to tell top from bottom these bulbs can be planted on their side buried about halfway into the gravel.

Fill the bowl the rest of the way up with water.

  • Plant the bulbs in the center of the bowl 2 to 3 inches apart from each other.
  • Sometimes it can be tough to tell top from bottom these bulbs can be planted on their side buried about halfway into the gravel.

Remove 25 percent of the water from the bowl after one week and replace it with fresh water of the same temperature. Be sure to add the appropriate amount of water conditioner to the volume of new tap water. By this time the bulbs will have started to show signs of life and new shoots will be sprouting from the tops.

Remove and replace 25 percent of the water with conditioner after another week. This water-change process helps cycle the bowl and builds up beneficial bacteria the fish needs to survive. Now a Betta fish can be added to the bowl.

Provide a bright light source. This can easily be done with a screw-in daylight-spectrum compact fluorescent light bulb in a fixture immediately above the bowl or a manufactured fish bowl canopy with a plant light. A very bright window would also work, but avoid direct sunlight because it will cause the water temperature to fluctuate too rapidly. Normal overhead lighting in the home will usually not be enough to sustain the Aponogeton plant over time and needs to be supplemented.

  • Remove 25 percent of the water from the bowl after one week and replace it with fresh water of the same temperature.
  • Normal overhead lighting in the home will usually not be enough to sustain the Aponogeton plant over time and needs to be supplemented.

Most Aponogetons sold are dry bulbs about half an inch long and look a bit like a dark brown hairy peanut. Dry is the best way to buy them because they adapt more readily to local water before they start to grow. They can be found in the pet aisle of most big-box retailers in packs containing several bulbs. These are almost always hybrids bred for use in aquariums.

Aponogeton bulbs are inexpensive and many hobbyists consider them disposable. They choose to plant them and let them grow for several months. Once the plants exhaust the nutrients stored in the bulbs and decline, they throw them out and start over with new bulbs.

Already established Betta tanks do not need to be cycled and bulbs can be planted directly into the substrate at any time.

The 25-percent water changes need to be done every week as regular maintenance to cycle out dissolved nutrients such as fish waste, decayed leaves and uneaten fish food. This also keeps the water from building up minerals over time as it evaporates and is topped off with tap water. Be sure to always use water conditioner.

Avoid the commonly seen Madagascar lace plant (Aponogeton madagascariensis). These are notoriously difficult to cultivate and get too big for a bowl.

Actively growing Aponogeton plants do not like to have their roots disturbed if at all possible. Moving them can cause them to go dormant and they may or may not sprout again depending on the amount of nutrient storage the bulb has left.


Overview

Aponogeton bulbs originate in Madagascar and can be found in Africa, Asia, and regions of Oceania.
When you buy Aponogeton, you are likely to end up with a mix of different species. It would be hard to choose a specific species to buy you kind of get what you get.

Once it starts sprouting, however, you should be able to tell the origin story of your Aponogeton without too much trouble.

Aponogetons with multiple stems likely hail from Africa those with a single blooming stalk are likely from Asia. Whichever variety you get, you can be assured that it will be beautiful.

Benefits of Aponogeton

Aponogetons provide a number of benefits to your aquarium and its inhabitants:

  • Aesthetics–Aponogetons create a dense and lush feeling of completion to your tank. They recreate the natural habitat of many aquarium fish, including Betta fish. The Betta’s affinity for Aponogeton led to the plant’s nickname, the Betta Bulb.
  • Hiding Places–Because the leaves are so thick and dense, aquarium inhabitants will have plenty of places to hide with planted Aponogetons.
  • Nutrition–Dead leaves that fall off Aponogetons will serve as food sources for scavengers and detritus eaters.
  • Oxygen–Aponogetons convert CO2 to usable oxygen and improve oxygen access for your tank inhabitants.
  • Waste Removal–The prodigious growth of Aponogetons results in a need for more nutrition, so they will consume any nutrient in your tank, lowering ammonia and nitrate levels and preventing the growth of algae.

Author’s note: Betta fish really do love Aponogetons for a number of reasons. Not only do they provide hiding places for Betta, but they also provide resting places–Bettas like to sit on the leaves of the Aponogeton and just hang out!

Also, with so many leaves to swim through, Bettas will not get bored and will happily find adventures throughout the day. Bettas and Aponogeton also share most tank conditions for example, neither can handle a strong current. And since your Betta will most likely be the only fish in the tank, it is especially important to keep them happy and occupied.

However, do not think that Bettas are the only fish that appreciate these lovely plants. Cichlids also enjoy Aponogetons, as do many other species. Careful pairing Aponogeton with Goldfish, who are likely to snack on the live leaves.

Appearance

Aponogetons are lovely plants and really add a serene and flowing feeling to your aquascape. With their light green, transparent leaves that twirl into a fluted shape, Aponogetons create a lush background to highlight your aquarium inhabitants.

If the Aponogeton rises above the waterline, it will grow tiny white flowers that shine against the backdrop of the rippled leaves.

Each bulb produces about 40 leaves which are almost a foot long each, and the plants grow horizontally as well as vertically, reaching a width of nearly 20 inches (50 cm).

Habitat and Tank Conditions

Choose a tank that is at least 10 gallons for these rapidly growing bulb plants. Aponogetons will grow out and up, even sprouting tiny white flowers outside the water’s surface.

Lighting

One of the things that make Aponogetons easy to care for is that they do not need complex lighting systems that might be difficult for a beginner to navigate. These plants prefer low light, and controlling the light will actually prevent overgrowth. This means that lower light will equal less pruning.

I recommend 10-watt floodlights if you are running a 10-gallon tank. LED floodlights also provide a low-cost way to light your tank.

Substrate

Aquarium Soil is the best substrate option due to the high level of nutrients. Gravel would be the second choice, followed by sand. In the planting and growing section, I will discuss fertilizer and nutrient options if you are using gravel or sand.

Water Conditions

Aponogetons are tropical plants, so they thrive in warmer water that is soft to moderately hard. These warmer temperatures will be a good fit with most tropical fish, assuming the pH conditions are good for the fish.

Ideal Water Parameters for Aponogeton:

  • Temperature: 68 to 72°F
  • pH: 6.5-7.5

What Size Aquarium Do They Need?

You will need at least a 10-gallon tank for the quickly spreading Aponogeton. The bulb might seem small at first, but once you plant it and it starts growing up and out, you will realize the need for a larger tank. If you are planting multiples in a community aquarium, you might want to go even larger the Aponogeton can handle it.

You don’t want to overcrowd your tank, as ammonia and nitrate levels can spike, endangering all your aquarium inhabitants.

How Many Plants Can Be Kept Per Gallon?

If you are housing a Betta fish in a 5-gallon nano tank, limit yourself to a single Aponogeton bulb.

Planting and Growing Aponogeton

Easy enough for beginning hobbyists, Aponogetons grow fast and wide. Once you get the planting down, you won’t have to do much.

  • Select a background or middle ground place to plant your bulb(s), with the back of the tank being the first choice.
  • If you are planting multiples, bury them 2 or 3 inches apart.
  • Although you’re going to bury the bulbs in the substrate, don’t totally cover them only go deep enough to hold them in place.
  • Plant the thicker end of the bulb in the substrate if it has not already started to sprout.
  • If the bulb has started to sprout, make sure the roots get buried and not the sprout.

Aquarium soil is best since it is nutrient heavy. However, if you are planting Aponogeton in an already established tank, you will already have a substrate. In this case, you can supplement with fertilizer capsules or tablets near the plant’s roots.

If you don’t use aquarium soil, gravel is more optimal than sand.

Pro tip: Don’t read my recommendation for aquarium soil as marching orders to swap out your whole substrate. Doing so is contraindicated as you will put your fish at risk by changing the system’s biological filtration processes.

If you are growing Aponogeton in a nano tank, you may need to encourage growth with liquid carbon.

Aponogeton Care

Make sure the light is not too bright for Aponogetons they prefer low-intensity light.

If you are using a gravel substrate, you may want to add fertilizer, but keep in mind that Aponogetons grow really quickly, so there is a good chance you won’t need it even if you are not using aquarium soil.

Prune your Aponogetons as needed if they start to take over your tank. To minimize rotting, trim the stems as close to the bulb as you can.

Bulb plants growing outdoors need to be rested. Resting refers to the time during the dry season when the leaves are exposed to air and die this is a part of nature’s rejuvenation cycle and actually prepares the bulbs for the rainy season by allowing them to build up nutrients.

In a home aquarium, of course, your bulbs will remain submerged, the bulbs will not dry out, and the leaves will not die. That order of events seems like a positive, but it will mean that you will need to supplement nutrients with fertilizer, CO2 injections, or carbon dosing.

If you do choose to rest your Aponogeton bulbs, remove them from the tank, also removing all roots and leaves. Then put the naked bulb in a bag and surround it with damp sand. After two months in a cool, dry space with little to no light, you can replant the bulbs.

Is Aponogeton Suitable for Your Aquarium?

Adding a bulb plant to your aquarium not only adds to the aesthetic but also helps with oxygen levels in your tank gives your fish and invertebrates places to hide helps remove waste, and improves water quality.

If you’re trying to decide on the best bulb plant for your finned friends, Aponogeton is a great choice. It’s hearty, easy to grow and so suitable for beginning to advanced hobbyists, and has a unique and appealing appearance. And live plants just look so much nicer than plastic.

Do you like the twirly look of Aponogetons? Let us know why in the comments below.


Caring For Betta Bulbs

Once your betta bulbs are growing nicely, it’s also important that you give them adequate care. While they’re extremely beginner friendly, for you to get the most out of them you should make sure you’re caring for them properly.

PH, Temperature & Lighting

One of the most important things you can do is make sure the pH temperature and lighting in your tank are good for betta bulbs.

When it comes to pH, temperature, and lighting you’ll be pleased to know that betta bulbs don’t need any extra special care that your betta doesn’t.

pH wise you should try and keep the pH levels between 6.5 – 7.5. Bettas like a pH as close to 7 as possible so that falls nicely in between the two levels.

When it comes to the temperature a betta bulb can survive within 72 – 82°F. This is the optimal temperature for your betta bulbs to be healthy and happy. However, bettas require a more specific temperature. Your betta will need a temperature as close to 78°F as possible, however between 76 – 80 °F is fine.

Lighting

When it comes to lighting betta bulbs can survive in low-intensity light and high-intensity light. However, if you’re using high-intensity light you should be aware that betta bulbs grow extremely quickly.

Betta bulbs can grow to almost a meter in length so you’ll need to trim them often if you plan on using high-intensity light. (Don’t worry trimming them is easy.) That’s why I’d opt for a low-intensity light. While your betta bulb will still grow large over time, it’s going to take longer for it to occur.

What’s The Best Substrate For Betta Bulbs?

To give your betta bulbs the best chance of growing strong and healthy you should make sure you’ve provided them with the best ground to root themselves in. Substrate rich in nutrients and easy to dig roots into will be optimal for betta bulbs. Whereas a lack of nutrients and difficulty spreading roots will hinder the growth of Aponogetons.

The best substrate for betta bulbs is normally an aquarium soil that is rich in nutrients. However, if you don’t like the look of that then there are other substrates you can choose from!

When picking a substrate you should favor gravel over sand. Gravels less compact so it’s easier to bury a plant into as well as letting it spread its roots. However, the ideal substrate for plants is aquarium soil. But don’t worry if you don’t have that in your tank already.

If you’re using a substrate such as gravel then it won’t have much nutrients in it. So you’ll have to add fertilizer into your tank. Don’t feel overwhelmed by adding fertilizers, all you have to do is place a fertilizer tablet near the roots of your plants, where it will feed your plant for many months.

This is normally a better way of keeping plants alive rather than changing the substrate. Changing the substrate would remove a lot of the beneficial bacteria in your tank which often results in a huge ammonia spike.

Pruning Your Betta Bulbs

Because betta bulbs can grow rather rapidly you’re definitely going to have to prune them at some point. So when you prune them you should make sure you know what you’re doing.

When you need to prune the plant, you should follow the leaf you want to get rid of down the stem to the bulb. Once you’re at the bulb you should cut the stem as close to it as possible. This way you minimize the risk that the bulb will begin to rot in the tank, which is bad for your tank and gives off an incredibly foul odor.

Resting Your Betta Bulbs

Have you ever heard of resting plants before? If not, don’t worry. It’s what some fish keepers do with plants that aren’t meant to grow all year.

Some plants aren’t in water all year. When it’s rainy season they grow loads, but when it comes to the dry season they can spend many months out of water. Because of this, it’s believed you should rest betta bulbs for a few months of the year. Or to put it simply remove them from the tank.

One of the biggest reasons to do this is to give the nutrients in your tank time to grow back. Betta bulbs will consume a lot of nutrients, especially in tanks with high light intensity. Because of this, they can begin to starve themselves.

If you plan on resting your bulb you should remove it from your tank and remove all the leaves. Remember to cut as close to the bulb as possible. Once you’ve done this place it in damp sand or soil and wrap it in a plastic bag.

Then you just have to leave it for a few months (ideally 6) and then place it back in your tank and let it grow again!

However, remember this step isn’t necessary, but if you don’t plan on resting your bulbs you should make sure you’re adding fertiliser to your tank so they get enough nutrients.

Recap

Betta bulbs are a great choice of plant for any beginner plant owner. They’re incredibly easy to keep and the main thing you have to worry about is trimming them often. When you’re keeping betta bulbs remember:

  • When you’re growing them make sure the thinner end of the bulb sticks out of the substrate. This is the end that the plant will sprout from.
  • Don’t bury the bulb entirely in the substrate. Instead, just bury it enough that it will stay in place.
  • If you use a high-intensity light you will have to trim the bulb a lot more than if you use a low-intensity light.
  • If you’re using gravel or sand then you’ll have to use fertilizer to make sure your betta bulbs have enough nutrients to grow.
  • To prune your betta bulb, follow the leaf down the stem and then cut the stem as close to the bulb as possible.
  • Some plant keepers recommend resting your betta bulbs. To do this every few months, remove them from the tank and cut all the leaves off them. Place them in a bag of wet sand or soil and leave them for a couple of months.

If you have any more questions you can leave them in the comments below. Otherwise, have a great day!

Other Great Plants

  • Java Moss – One of my favorite types of plant to add to a betta tank is java moss. It can be used in a variety of different ways to add character and vibrancy to your tank, in a way other plants can’t!
  • Marimo Moss Balls – If you’re looking for a plant that requires even less effort then why not try marimo moss balls! They are next to effortless to look after, and bettas love them.
  • Hornwort – Hornwort is another unique plant and one that is going to be a slightly harder challenge. However, don’t let that put you off! Hornwort is still a relatively easy plant to look after and it goes great in betta tanks.

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