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Can I mix plants from different Continents?

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So....bear with me. I don't know how ignorant this question is. I am making my first aquarium this week. My husband and I have watched about 15 hours of YouTube videos from AquariumCoop and I don't know if this is such a simple question that it doesn't seem to be a problem, but I just wanted to double check that I can get plants from different areas of the world and put them all in the same tank....as long as they get proper light, fertilizer, and the water is balanced properly with bacteria, nitrate, CO2 etc....they will all be okay.....is this the right assumption?

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That's completely right! Most plants can be kept together given the correct conditions and adequate nutrition.

Usually people will only be selective when doing biotope aquariums and they're trying to replicate an ecosystem in the wild. Some common examples are rift lakes, Thailand blackwater, and Amazon river.

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All of the plants that us hobbyists use for aquariums are sourced from all over the world. Have a blast! Just be sure that they are actual aquatic species. Having said that, some aquatic plants are just temperamental and do better in different types of water. Usually, that comes down to your tanks water hardness. But yes, assuming your “balance” is correct and your plants are aquatic species, you can grow plants from anywhere.


Concerning the “balance” and plant choices: Although we can grow plants from all over the world, different plants do require different “balances”. Sure, you can grow low-energy plants in a high-energy tank but the “balance” has to be set for your high-energy plants. Why? Because to keep your high-energy plants thriving you’re going to need to provide them with the correct tools (the “balance”) in order to expel all of that energy created through photosynthesis (growing plants). If your high-energy plants are using most of the tools it leaves just enough tools for your low-energy plants to use. Usually, the low-energy plants will be utilized in shadowy areas so the high-lighting won’t affect them (concerning algae build-up). 

Now, what about setting the balance for a low-energy setup? Can you still have high energy plants in a low-energy tank? Sure can! This is where plant choices really matters and where those finicky plants I mentioned above come into play. You want a dwarf baby tear carpet in your low-energy tank? I’d probably pick a different plant. Why? DBT needs more photosynthetic energy to thrive than what the average low-energy tank provides, 2 things will most likely happen; The DBT will slowly die off because it isn’t getting enough light OR you’ll have to crank the light up too high for the low-energy plants and assuming the low-energy tank isn’t using Co2, all of that light is just going to create algae and then your just back to square one (reseting the balance to high-energy). This is where choosing a nice stem plant that can handle a range of lighting conditions can be really handy. Wisteria is a great “all-rounder” plant that’s good at consuming energy to help maintain tank balance in all tank-energy levels. A great “all-rounder” carpeting plant one could use in a low-energy setup, in my experience, is Monte Carlo. Like wisteria, it can handle a large range of lighting conditions.

Just have fun and do your research. Planted aquariums is one of those things that you don’t really know until you do it yourself. You can watch as many videos as you can but until you do it yourself you don’t really know what to do. Remember, every tanks water chemistry is different. Having said that, most of all the plants on the planet want the same thing and when you can properly provide those things your plants with thrive. The challenge (and fun) comes in finding that “balance”.

Full disclaimer that most planted aquarium enthusiasts never tell you:  1) Be prepared to kill some plants and feel like you’re wasting money sometimes. 2) Just because a certain plant works in someone else’s tank doesn’t mean it’s going to thrive in your tank. 3) If your scape looks good to you, it is good! 

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