Aquatic Plants Have Temperature Needs
Whether you’re aquascaping just for the gardening hobby or you want to provide your tropical fish with a more natural environment, you need to consider the requirements for the plants. Just as certain fish species have different temperature requirements, you’ll find that certain plants do better in the right environment, as well.
By pairing up species that thrive in the same temperature zones, you have a better chance of every plant (and fish) in your aquarium having better health.
Here is a rundown of general temperature needs, as well as a few examples of specific aquatic plants and the temperatures they do best in…
Best bet in general
For most species of aquatic plants, the best temperature range for growth is 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Many people will find that their home is warm enough to fall into this range, but if yours isn’t typically over 70 degrees, you may want to add a heater to your aquarium, like this ZooMed Paludarium Heater (25 watts):
Another reason to add a heater to your aquarium is if the plants don’t seem to be growing well at the lower end of this range.
Remember that the majority of aquatic plants used in aquascaping are going to be from tropical environments where higher temperatures prevail. This means they work well in tanks that are shared with tropical fish.
That said, some plants prefer cooler temperatures, and the best thing to do is check the temperature requirements of each individual species that you add to the tank. If you want to combine cold water aquatic plants with fish, goldfish are an excellent option as far as fish from temperate environments.
Java fern is a fairly common plant to find in aquariums, and it can tolerate a wide temperature range, all the way down to about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it good for cold water aquariums.
Bonus, this is a hardy species that can stand up to the rough handling goldfish tend to give plants.
Vallisneria (eel grass)
This plant looks like underwater grass, though it can grow either in substrate or out of it. It tolerates cold temperatures well, though it tends to grow slower in cooler water. This actually isn’t much of a problem though, since eel grass, or “vals”, generally grows very quickly.
Like java fern, vallisneria is a good pairing in a goldfish tank.
Like vallisneria, hornwort can grow either free-floating or in substrate. It grows extremely fast without the need for heating and is easy to take care of.
Whichever kind of aquatic plants you choose, they all help oxygenate the tank and provide places for fish and other freshwater animals to hide. And if you don’t keep fish, you’ll also find a variety of plants to create a beautiful aquascape in your tank.