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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Care Guides > Aquatic Plants

Aquatic Plants

Experience Level: Beginner

Aquatic Plants

Step 1Choosing an Aquarium

Aquarium
(A) Aquatic plants can be grown in any size aquarium. Your aquarium should be suitably sized for the amount of fish and plants you will have in your tank.
• It should be placed near a power source, out of direct sunlight, and away from drafts. aquarium stand (not pictured)

Aquarium Stand (not pictured)
• Aquariums weigh as much as 10 lbs. per gallon capacity and require aquarium-specific stands.
 

Step 2Lighting

Hood and light Fixture
(B) Place an aquarium hood with light fixtures on the aquarium to reduce water evaporation, splashing, and prevent fish from jumping out.
• Plants use light to photosynthesize—a vital process that allows a plant to create its own energy (food) reserves. Without sufficient light, photosynthesis will be impaired and plant health will diminish.
   
• Aquatic plants require 8-12 hours of light each day to thrive. Simulated sunlight can be provided by broad-spectrum fluorescent bulbs. Automatic timers can be used to consistently turn on and off lights.

• The rule of thumb to properly light plants is approximately 1.5 watts per gallon of water, based on standard aquarium types. Taller tanks require more intensity, which can be increased by using bulbs that emit more watts. The following chart indicates proper wattage in standard-size aquariums lit for at least 12 hours each day.
 

 

10-Gallon Tank One 15-Watt Tube
20-Gallon Tank One 30-Watt Tube, or two 15-Watt tubes
30-Gallon Tank Two 20-Watt Tubes
40-Gallon Tank Two 30-Watt Tubes
50-Gallon Tank Two 40-Watt Tubes
85-Gallon Tank Three 40-Watt Tubes

 

Step 3Substrate and Decor

Aquarium Gravel
(C) Use 1.5 lbs. (680 g) of aquarium gravel for every gallon (4 L) of tank capacity to make a 2-3" (5-8 cm) layer on the bottom of the aquarium.
Rinse the gravel in a clean container before adding it to the aquarium.

Plants
(D) Use foreground plants that stay short to fill in the front part of the aquarium.
(E) Middle-ground plants grow 4-10" tall and are good in the middle and along the sides.
(F) Background plants are the tallest plants and can be used to hide filter tubes and heaters.
• Bury the roots of aquatic plants in the gravel up to the base of the stem.

• Bulbs and tubers should be planted with the growing tip just exposed above the gravel substrate.

• Semi-aquatic plants can be used in terrariums or with their roots submerged in aquariums. If fully submerged, they may grow for a considerable time, but do best when able to grow above the water surface.

Ornaments and rocks
(G) Use ornaments and rocks that are designed for aquarium decorations.
 

Water Quality Testing
PetSmart offers free aquarium water testing. By bringing in a sample of your aquarium water, we can test the quality within minutes.
• Pets may transmit disease to humans; be sure to wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling your pet, their food or cleaning their home. Adults should assist children with hand washing.

• Persons at an increased risk for health concerns (children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, infirm or elderly), should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat.

• Do not clean aquariums in the kitchen or food preparation areas.

• Do not release pets into the wild as they most likely will not survive and may impact the native environment.

Safety & Cleanliness
Pets may transmit disease to humans; be sure to wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling your pet, their food or cleaning their home. Adults should assist children with hand washing.
• Persons at an increased risk for health concerns (children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, infirm or elderly), should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat.

• Do not clean aquariums in the kitchen or food preparation areas.

• Do not release pets into the wild as they most likely will not survive and may impact the native environment.
 

PetSmart Cares
Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program; a program designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well-being of our pets.
The program includes:
• Specific standards our vendors agree to meet in caring for and observing pets for common illnesses.

• Specific standards for in-store pet care.

• The PetSmart Promise: If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.