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how i prepare emersed plants for an aquarium

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hey all, i love shopping through the garden section and picking up plants to use in aquariums that most people wouldn’t think of. the other day i came across some sweet flag and fountain grass on clearance (only $3 per pot!) which are both popular pond plants. here is how i prepped them to go into a tank.


first you want to remove all of the soil from the roots of the plant. this while take some time and you want to be thorough, you really don’t want to introduce any of the ferts, bugs, and other stuff in the soil. i use a hose outside and blast the plants, these plants are pretty hardy and can handle a little abuse. i also trim the roots before i start washing to make it easier to wash and to plant later.


once inside i spray the plants and roots down with a mixture of 50% isopropyl alcohol/water mix and a little dish soap. i let the plants sit and evaporate. this is actually how i disinfect my house plants as well, it’s a great way to kill off fungus gnats and eggs in the soil.



while the plants are sitting i made some planters to put them in. 1/2 of the plants will be going into a planter and the other 1/2 will be in another tank planted directly in the soil.


i bought these little storage containers from target, it was a 4 pack for $2 i believe.



i used a puncher to punch some holes to allow tank water and flow.


i used my favorite substrate mix which is fluval stratum and fluorite (dark or red).



i had the perfect spot in the back behind the driftwood that fit the planter perfectly.



i use the planters to keep these plants from spreading too much. i didnt do that with the charlie mint and creeping jenny on the left and they’ve taken over the tank (not complaining). i wanted this grass to be a bit more contained.


i encourage everyone to branch out from just your lfs and see what you can play with in your tanks. experimenting with plants and emersed plants is one of my favorite parts of this hobby.

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