If you’re looking to add some greenery to your aquarium, pothos plants are a great choice! Not only do they help to purify the water, but they also look beautiful as they trail down the sides of the tank. In this article, we’ll explore how to grow pothos in an aquarium and keep your underwater ecosystem thriving.
Why Pothos in Aquariums
Pothos serves several beneficial purposes in aquariums. One key advantage is their ability to remove nitrates and other nutrients from the water, which in turn helps to reduce algae growth over time. In some cases, pothos can even eliminate algae altogether, resulting in a cleaner and healthier environment for fish and aquatic life 1.
Apart from combating algae, this fast-growing plant contributes to providing shelter for fish. With their numerous roots and foliage, pothos creates hiding spots and safe areas for fish to swim, rest, and seek cover 2.
Additionally, pothos plants can improve the quality of the aquarium’s water by absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) expelled by fish and releasing oxygen back into the water 3. The misconception that these plants may be harmful due to CO2 release during nighttime is incorrect. On the contrary, pothos facilitates better oxygenation of the water.
Moreover, pothos can offer ideal breeding grounds for fish. The plant’s roots and leaves often create conducive conditions for fish to lay their eggs and breed 4. Furthermore, the plant’s hardy nature and low maintenance requirements make it an attractive choice for aquarium hobbyists. It can thrive both in water and substrate, regardless of its placement 5.
Overall, pothos plants present multiple advantages for aquariums, including improved water quality, algae reduction, and providing shelter for fish, making them an excellent addition to any aquatic environment.
Selecting Pothos for Aquarium
Types of Pothos
When choosing a pothos plant for your aquarium, it’s essential to pick the right type. There are several varieties of pothos, each with its characteristics and benefits for aquarium use.
- Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
This is one of the most popular types, featuring yellow and green variegated leaves. Its hardiness makes it suitable for many aquarium environments.
- Neon Pothos (Epipremnum aureum ‘Neon’)
This bright green variety is known for its vibrant foliage, adding a pop of color to your aquarium. It also thrives in low-light conditions.
- Jade Pothos (Epipremnum aureum ‘Jade’)
The Jade pothos has dark green leaves and is often used in aquariums for its attractive appearance and ability to tolerate lower light levels.
- Marble Queen Pothos (Epipremnum aureum ‘Marble Queen’)
The Marble Queen pothos stands out with its white and green marbled leaves. This variety requires more light than other types and is best suited for aquariums with proper lighting conditions.
When selecting your pothos plant, be sure to choose a healthy specimen with strong roots and no signs of disease or pests. To prepare the pothos for your aquarium, follow these steps:
- Take a few cuttings of the desired pothos variety and place them into dechlorinated water in a small container 1.
- Place the container in indirect sunlight, allowing the cuttings to develop roots 2.
- Once the roots are about 4-5 inches long, transfer the plants into your aquarium 3.
Remember to position your aquarium in an area where the pothos will receive bright, indirect light 4. If necessary, artificial lighting can be used to provide the optimal amount of light for your pothos.
Preparing Pothos for Aquarium
Before introducing pothos to your aquarium, you need to propagate it. First, take a few cuttings from a healthy pothos plant, ensuring each cutting has at least one leaf node. Place these cuttings in a container filled with dechlorinated water, making sure the leaf node is submerged. Position the container in an area with bright, indirect sunlight, and wait for the cuttings to develop roots that are around 4-5 inches long 1.
Clean and Trim
Once the roots have grown, ensure the pothos cuttings are clean, free of disease, and free of pests. Rinse them thoroughly under running water, gently removing any debris or substances that might be harmful to your aquarium’s inhabitants. Also, remember to trim the roots if they have grown excessively long, as this will help the plant establish itself in the aquarium more easily.
After preparing the pothos cuttings, you can safely add them to your aquarium, knowing that the plants are healthy and ready to thrive in their new aquatic environment.
Positioning Pothos in Aquarium
To successfully introduce pothos into your aquarium, begin by taking cuttings from a healthy pothos plant. Ensure that each cutting is a few inches long, has several leaves, and has the bottom leaves removed. Place the cuttings in dechlorinated water in a small container, allowing them to develop roots in an area with indirect sunlight. Once the roots reach about 4-5 inches in length, the pothos plants are ready for the aquarium 1.
There are a few methods to situate pothos in the aquarium. One popular method is to let the pothos float freely, which does not require any substrate or additional preparation 2. However, this method might not be suitable for aquariums with other floating plants or ornaments. Another option is to lower the aquarium’s water level by about 6 inches, allowing the pothos plant to grow submerged roots while keeping the leaves emerged 3.
Attaching Pothos to Decorations
Incorporating pothos into your aquarium design is simple, as it can be attached to various decorations. For example, try weaving the roots through the openings in rocks or driftwood, which will anchor the plant and provide an attractive, natural appearance. If you would like to keep the plant rooted at the back of the aquarium, you can attach the pothos stems to the aquarium’s back panel with suction cups 3. This technique keeps the plant secure and directs the roots and leaves to grow outward from the nodes.
In summary, there are several ways to position pothos in an aquarium, whether you prefer a floating method, submerged roots, or attaching the plant to decorations. Choose the best option according to your aquarium layout, keeping in mind the plant’s health and growth. Make sure to monitor the pothos plant for any changes in health, as it is an excellent indicator of water quality and nutrient levels within the aquarium.
Maintaining Pothos in Aquarium
Water Quality and Parameters
Maintaining good water quality is essential for the healthy growth of pothos in an aquarium. Ensure that the water is dechlorinated and has a stable temperature, ideally between 70-90°F. It is crucial to monitor the pH levels, which should be maintained between 6.0 and 7.5 to support the plant’s growth. Regular water changes, at least once a week, can help maintain optimal water conditions.
Pothos plants are excellent at absorbing excess nutrients, such as nitrites, from the aquarium water. This process helps control algae growth and maintains a healthy environment for the aquatic life source. It is crucial to ensure that there are enough nutrients for the plant to survive without depleting the nutrients required by the other inhabitants of the tank.
Pruning and Growth Management
Regular pruning of pothos is essential for its growth management. It is necessary to trim back the plant when it begins to crowd the aquarium or block the light. Pruning encourages bushier and healthier growth of the plant source. Remove any yellow or damaged leaves, and trim the stems at an angle to prevent disease.
Here are some tips for managing the growth of pothos in an aquarium:
- Ensure the plant receives adequate, indirect sunlight, or use artificial lights to supplement the light exposure source.
- Secure the pothos cuttings or plants to the sides of the aquarium using plastic-coated wire or other plant-safe materials source.
- Monitor the growth of the plant and adjust its placement or prune as necessary to prevent overcrowding in the aquarium.
Following these recommendations will help maintain the health and growth of pothos while benefiting the aquarium’s overall ecosystem.
Potential Issues and Solutions
Although pothos plants are efficient in removing nitrates and other nutrients from the water, they can still experience algae growth. This growth can affect the overall health of the plant and the aquarium environment. To address this issue, ensure the pothos plant receives sufficient light and consider adding other aquatic plants to compete for nutrients with the algae. Over time, maintaining proper aquarium conditions, including appropriate lighting and nutrient levels, can help reduce algae growth.
Pest and Diseases
Pests and diseases are another potential issue for pothos plants in aquariums. Some common ailments include:
- Root rot: Caused by overwatering or poor drainage, root rot can be solved by ensuring the pothos plant’s roots have adequate oxygen and preventing them from being submerged too deeply in the aquarium water.
- Yellowing leaves: Insufficient light or low nutrient levels can cause yellowing leaves on the pothos plant. Address this issue by providing proper light, and consider adding a suitable fertilizer to boost nutrient levels.
- Pests: Pothos plants can be susceptible to pests like mealybugs or aphids. Regularly inspect the plant for any signs of pests and treat them using appropriate methods, such as insecticidal soap or removing the pests by hand.
It’s crucial to monitor the health of your pothos plant and take action to address issues as they arise. Maintaining proper aquarium conditions and providing adequate care for your plant will help to mitigate these potential problems.
My name is Daniel Elrod, and I have been houseplant love ever since I was 17. I love how much joy they bring to any room in the home. I’ve always been amazed at how a few pots of flowing leaves can turn a drab and sterile office into an inviting place where people love to work at.