Can I add plants to my aquarium if there already fish in there?

by Steve
(Hinckley, UK)

I really want to add some plants to my aquarium, but I really have fish in the tank. Can I still add plants or do I need to remove the fish first?

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Jun 15, 2011
by: Amy (site owner)

In response to your question, yes you can add plants to your aquarium while there are fish in it. However it will be more difficult and possibly more expensive.

There are two problems with adding plants after the fish;

Firstly, I'm guessing you have also already added the sand / gravel to the tank, this means you won't be able to choose the substrate based on your plants needs.

Secondly, plants which do not have an established root system tend to get uprooted easily and end up on the surface of the water. By planting while the tank is empty you give the plants chance to grow some roots to anchor them before the fish start bashing into them.

You have two choices, you can either try planting directing into the substrate or you can buy plants which are already attached to something.

Planting directly into the gravel / sand will be difficult and very frustrating, but it will be cheaper. I suggest going for studier plants, such as the Amazon Sword. I had success a while back with aquatic bulbs. They are heavier than normal plants.

The less stressful route is using plants which are already rooted to something. You can choose from a wide range of objects with plants rooted on them, such as wood and coconut shells. You expect to pay from £10 for a small bit of wood with a plant on it.

I hope that helps, come back and let me know how you got on.



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