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Foreground Aquarium Plants: Types & Methods of Planting

As a beginner or someone who is really into developing their aqua-system realizes that only fish can not make the atmosphere of the aquarium feel and look complete. To fill this missing charm you will definitely like to add Foreground Aquarium Plants because that is where all the attentions land.

These Plants influence every impression of your aquarium. Having a well-chosen collection of Foreground Aquarium Plants will ensure a great ambiance inside and presented look to the outside.

Making a choice of these foreground plants for aquarium is not that difficult even if you are a beginner.

But sometimes it is possible for you to end up having trouble in managing their growth and also the combination of these that will be appealing to look at. Ideally, carpet plants should serve the purpose.

But if you have the desire to give your aquarium a more lively look then you should also plan to add some short plants. This will give your aquarium a lot more natural look.

Selecting Foreground Aquarium Plants

A large number of Plants are available in the market that will do the needful. But it is important to choose the best suited for the foreground.

A brief knowledge about the characteristics of these available foreground aquarium plants will help you to decide on which one will complement the decor of your aquarium as well as the room it is to be kept in.

These plants set the background and interior of your aquarium and fetch the appearance of its bottom level. They support a more natural-looking bottom layer of the aquarium most of the time where your fish love to swim around.

This area must be neat in its look but still filled with lively short plants. These floating or fixed plants must be organized in a planned way and should be taken care of because it is these plants that hold the entire look of your aquarium.

While searching for the best fish tank plant, some factors that you must keep in your mind to put a check on are their height and appearance. Height is the most considerable factor that must not be avoided.

This is because the height of the foreground aquarium plants you are adding to your aquarium will be the deciding factor for the number of composition materials like driftwood and stones that will get covered due to the plants. Prefer short heightened plants that will not hide the designing and crafting details of driftwood arrangements and stones placed.

In comparison to the small plants, tall ones are usually installed as background plants placed towards the back of the aquascape. Their height makes them eligible for concealing the details of composition materials.

You should tall plants only if you desire to keep them in the backdrop that will add to the green background for your aquarium. Otherwise, considering looks-wise, small foreground aquarium plants are the best choice to give a more tidy and clean feel.

Another deciding factor is the virtual image created by each plant. The image produced by each individual plant will determine the ambiance of the aqua-space.

The hair grass resembles the soft grasses in the field while Glossostigma planted individually gives more orderly and clean leaves like the look.

Presented below is a list of carpet plants and other short plants that you should have the knowledge about while deciding the best foreground aquarium plant.

Red dwarf Hygrophila

This rare species of red plant are amongst the few that are available in the market. They have long needle-shaped leaves with different color variations ranging from reddish-brown to purple.

Once you put them in the water, their long leaves will start emerging gradually and slowly.

Because of its slow-growing nature, you will need to provide a fertilized substrate to increase the gibberellin (growth hormone) level.

Specifications

  • Usage: Carpet plant or foreground plant
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Growth: Average
  • Height: 4 – 8 or more inches (10 – 20 or more cm)
  • Lighting requirement: Medium
  • CO2 Emission: Medium

Chain Sword

Best suited for anyone who is a beginner to this aqua world. Smooth to handle and does not demand much of your time or attention, this plant for the foreground of your aquarium is very easy to be taken care of.

Either these can be grown as small bushes to cover the foreground or as bushy carpet plants in the large-sized aquarium that has enough space to get covered.

The growth process of this runner plant is highly rapid that makes it efficient enough to spread over the entire substrate within less time if provided with convenient conditions.

The leaves have a bright green colored pigmentation that makes this plant stand out from other dull-looking plants even in low light. This creates a lively impact within the aquascape.

Specifications

  • Other names: Helanthium bolivianum, ‘Quadricostatus’, Helanthium quadricostatus
  • Common name: Chain sword
  • Usage: High carpet, foreground or midground
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Growth speed: Fast
  • Height: 4 – 6 or more inches ( 10 – 15 or more cm)
  • Lighting requirement: Low
  • CO2 Emission: Low

Staurogyne Repens

A variety from the Acanthaceae family, Staurogyne repens is also closely related to Hygrophila. This a stem bearing plant full of leaves that resemble that of Hygrophila.

Compared to the latter, the leaves of this plant are a little smaller in size and compact looking. This a vigorous growing plant with the creeping ability that helps to keep this plant stay low on the ground.

This is even a medium growing plant with hard stems but can be easily maintainable at a short height. This will best be suited as a background plant or carpet plant and can be planted alongside the line of the order of driftwood and stones.

Specifications

  • Scientific name: Staurogyne repens
  • Usage: Carpet, foreground or midground plant
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Growth speed: Medium
  • Height: 1.2 – 4 or more inches ( 3 – 10 or more cm)
  • Lighting requirement: Low
  • CO2 Emission: Low

Whorled Umbrella Plant

This is the only species with the ability to grow umbrella-like leaves even when submerged underwater. This plant requires high lighting because, with bright illumination, numerous lid-like leaves show their growth in several layers.

Without proper lighting, it will grow to become taller and stingy. Otherwise, it has a small body structure with bright colored flat leaves.

The growth speed of this plant is easily manageable. The shoots lay superficially contacted to the substrate, so the rigorous swimming of fish around might lead to breakage or pulling out of it.

Specifications

  • Common name: Whorled umbrella plant, whorled marsh pennywort
  • Usage: Carpet or foreground plant
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Type: Stem
  • Growth: Medium
  • Height: 1.2 – 4 or more inches ( 3 – 10 or more cm)
  • Lighting requirement: High
  • CO2 Emission: Medium

Downoi

With its creased looking leaves, it will stand out amongst all other foreground plants in your aquarium. The aquascape will look extremely unlikely without this species in it.

It grows fast and can be created to have more off-springs from the same parent plant through vegetative propagation as it forms offshoots.

These offshoots when planted individually will grow into new independent plants. The gap of minimum 1.2 – 2 inches must be kept in order to form a thick carpet.

Pogostemon helferi are edible and some fish loves to eat them, so you should make your selection wisely.

Specifications

  • Common name: Down
  • Scientific name: Pogostemon helferi
  • Usage: High carpet, foreground or midground plant
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Type: Stem
  • Growth rate: Medium
  • Height: 1.2 – 4 or more inches ( 3 – 10 or more cm)
  • Lighting requirement: Medium
  • CO2 requirement: Medium

River Buttercup

River buttercup has beautiful leaves of different textures laying flat at the tip of the stem. The leaves are mostly forked shaped and look stunning as a foreground aquarium plant.

Proper lighting and CO2 availability will help this plant to grow low and look more lively. These usually have the feature of runners and grow vertically by spreading out with new plants over the substrate.

Specifications

  • Common name: River buttercup
  • Synonym: Ranunculus papulentus
  • Usage: Foreground, midground plant
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Type: None
  • Growth rate: Medium
  • Height: 2 or more inches ( 5 cm or more)
  • Lighting requirement: Medium
  • CO2 requirement: Medium

Crystalwort

Originally a floating species but can also be placed underwater to facilitate as a great foreground plant. It has a bushy look that is made with elongated green strips depicted leave-like structures.

These species spreads its branches and form smaller one horizontally.

This aquatic moss can be wrapped around stones or driftwoods to keep it underwater intact to a fixed place.

When these foreground aquarium plants grow submerged underwater, they form a cushion-like structure over the substrate.

These are used by the fry fishes or mother fishes as a place to hide out whenever required.

Specifications

  • Common name: Crystalwort,
  • Usage: Carpet, Foreground, midground or floating plant
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Type: Moss
  • Growth rate: Medium
  • Height:1.2 – 2 or more inches ( 3 – 5 cm or more)
  • Lighting requirement: Medium
  • CO2 requirement: Medium

Alternanthera Reinecki

This plant is available in a variety of size and color. This is the miniature version with color pigmented leaves of red to violet that can be preferred in the foreground.

The lighting requirement is high for this plant to help it flourish with greater carbon dioxide requirement also. The red leaves are not that easy to develop without the proper amount of lighting and carbon dioxide.

Amongst the rest of your green-colored plants, this will have its own beautiful place when installed in the foreground or midground area.

This will require effective trimming to be able to grow as a carpet plant for an aquarium.

Specifications

  • Usage: Carpet, Foreground or midground plant
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Growth rate: Medium
  • Height:2 – 4 or more inches ( 5 – 10 cm or more)
  • Lighting requirement: Medium
  • CO2 requirement: Medium

Marimo Moss Ball

This stunning looking moss is a cluster of filamentous green that has its natural occurrence in many lakes in Japan, Russia, Iceland, United Kingdom, and Northern Europe.

The ball is formed because of the heavy water current that constantly makes it move and hence forming a ball-like structure.

So, when kept in stagnant water, it requires the constant effort of turning to continue having its spherical shape.

Specifications

  • Usage: Carpet, Foreground or nano tank
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Growth rate: Slow
  • Height: 1.2 – 4 or more inches ( 3 – 10 cm or more)
  • Lighting requirement: Low
  • CO2 requirement: Low

Banana Plant

This plant is named so because of the shape of its base that resembles that of banana-shaped tubers. The leaves are not floating like any other Nymphaea.

These can not grow until root comes out from its base. For that, it must not be directly planted to the substrate. Rather it should just be weighed down.

The highly illuminated atmosphere is required for its healthy growth.

Specifications

  • Usage: Foreground or nano tank
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Growth rate: Medium
  • Height: 6 or more inches ( 15 cm or more)
  • Lighting requirement: Medium
  • CO2 requirement: Medium

Eriocaulon Cinereum

These stunning looking foreground aquarium plants spread out in the form of Rosset of narrow, brightly shaded green leaves. You should keep in mind to pluck out any flower-bearing stalk and dead leaves before you place it inside your tank.

Its growth rate is very slow and like any other beautiful thing, this also needs more care in terms of the lighting and carbon dioxide requirement.

Soft water and bright light are required which are suitably available in nano tanks. You should trim the root to have a length of about 1 inch only and then should plant it by inserting the roots into gravel with fine tweezers.

Specifications

  • Usage: Foreground or nano tank
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Growth rate: Slow
  • Height: 1.2 – 4 or more inches ( 3 – 10 cm or more)
  • Lighting requirement: High
  • CO2 requirement: High

Micro Sword

This is one of the grassy texture foreground aquarium plants that is quite easy to grow. But it is slow-growing and the density of it when growth starts to affect the density and its appearance in the later period.

It gives a green carpet stretched look when planted in the aquarium. The basic requirement for its comfortable growth is the low level of salt content in the water.

Specifications

  • Usage Carpet or Foreground
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Growth rate: Slow
  • Height: 1.2 – 2 or more inches ( 3 – 5 cm or more)
  • Lighting requirement: Medium
  • CO2 requirement: Medium

American Shoreweed

This cold temperature required plant have a very slow growth rate. Water-rich of the nutrient is also recommended to avoid if you desire for its healthy growth.

It grows on its own by spreading runners with adventitious plantlets once after it gets firmly attached to the substrate.

Specifications

  • Usage: Foreground or nano tank
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Growth rate: Slow
  • Height: 1.2 – 2 or more inches ( 3 – 5 cm or more)
  • Lighting requirement: Low
  • CO2 requirement: Low

Dwarf Cardinal Plant

This is one of the most popular foreground aquarium plants. It has a long life if it is kept trimmed regularly. This plant forms a smooth and well spread leafy surface when properly maintained and thus consider ideal as foreground or carpet aquarium plant.

Specifications

  • Usage Carpet, foreground or midground
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Growth rate: Medium
  • Height: 8 – 12 or more inches ( 20 – 30 cm or more)
  • Lighting requirement: Low
  • CO2 requirement: Low

Pearlweed

This species of foreground aquarium plants can be easily trimmed to arrange in a bushy form for the carpet like the look. This can also be added to the foreground or midground which depends on the size of the tank. For above 55 gallons, this water plant is used for carpeting. These are tolerant of trimming and grow better when trimmed regularly.

Specifications

  • Synonym: Micranthemum micranthemoides
  • Common names: Pearlweed, pearl grass, baby tears
  • Usage: High carpet, foreground, midground
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Growth rate: Medium
  • Height: 2 – 6 or more inches (5 – 15 or more cm)
  • Lighting requirement: medium
  • CO2 requirement: medium

Methods of Planting Foreground Aquarium Plants

Prepare by Dividing them into Small Bunches

You have to prepare these foreground aquarium plants in small bunches to make them easy to hold with tweezers and then place them on a tray. The base position must be aligned to be able to speed your planting procedure.

Starting the Planting Process from the Sides of Stones and Riftwood

If the quantity is less, then to avoid the incomplete look start planting from the sides of the composition material towards the front of the aquarium.

Water Level Should be Adjusted where the Substrate is Barely Submerged

Planting underwater can be a bit tricky and to tackle that you must adjust the water level during the planting process. The number of plants should be calculated keeping in mind about their growth rate.

Before planting, keep the substrate-free of water and then slowly pour some amount of water. The best tool for the planting process is long tweezers with pointed tips that can easily hold the small plants.

Plant Density Should be Adjusted According to the Growth Rate

The gap between the two plants should be more if they have a high growth rate and otherwise.

  • Fast-growing plants like Glossostigma will be able to cover the space between the two and hence should be planted with wider intervals.
  • Whereas, plants like Lilaeopsis brasiliensis with slow growth rate will not manage to cover the substrate if placed far apart.

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