Freshwater Aquarium Plants
Adding aquarium plants to your aquarium can be a good idea because these plants use nitrates which may be troublesome to your tropical fish if your nitrate levels are high enough. Live plants do more than that though, they simply look nicer than their plastic counterparts.
Some are easier to take care of than others. The more hardy aquarium plants include the Java Fern, Hygrophila polysperma and Vallisneria spiralis.
You will need to check out a couple of things before embarking on your live plant adventure.
Plants are just like your tropical fish when it comes to water parameters. Different aquarium plants require different water conditions. Be sure to find out the required water conditions for the plants you want. You need to know things like ph, hardness levels and lighting levels for each plant.
You will need to have a good substrate in order for your plants to survive. There are clay planters you can get to place your plants in or you can even place some plants directly into the gravel. If you place your plants directly into the gravel you will need to use an iron supplement for your aquarium water since these plants won't be getting the nutrients they need from the iron fortified clay.
Different aquarium plants require different levels of aquarium lighting, usually measured in watts per gallon. If you want your plants to thrive you must pay attention to this measurement in order for photosynthesis to take place. CO2 is also required for photosynthesis. CO2 can come from the fish respiration process going on in your tank. However, if you have a heavily planted tank, you may want to get a CO2 injector for your aquarium because you won't be getting enough CO2 from your fish.
Certain fish species will make aquarium plant keeping a nightmare. For instance, Silver Dollars really enjoy nibbling on live plants. Likewise, Oscars and Goldfish will enjoy uprooting any aquarium plants you place in the tank. If you already have fish, do some research on your particular species before embarking on your live plant journey.
Save yourself some money and dead plants by researching the plants you want to get before buying them so that you can determine their exact needs and whether or not you can meet those needs.
Aquarium Plant Profiles
Argentine Sword (Echinodorus argentinensis)
Java Fern (Microsorium pteropus)
Umbrella Plant (Spathiphyllum wallisii)
More profiles on the forum: Aquarium Plant Profiles
So You Want to Grow Aquatic Plants
Keeping Aquarium Plants
Why have a planted tank?