Retired moderator :)
- Aug 10, 2005
- Reaction score
- Miami, FL
When you purchase aquarium plants, it's important that you understand that not all plants available for sale are truely aquatic. Vendors have no qualms offering this plants for sale, because they are very easy to obtain, and it is rare that you will see the designation "non-aquatic." While these plants can often survive as long as a year submerged, more often than not, they begin to decompose in as little as a couple of weeks or months, causing an ammonia spike, which can lead to algae, or worse, prove toxic to fish. These plants are not meant to be grown in an aquarium long-term and it is best that you avoid purchasing them for your benefit and the benefit of the non-aquatic plant. They are terrestrial plants and are meant for either indoor or outdoor gardening. They are at their best when they planted and cared for the right way.
It is the purpose of this guide to introduce you to the various non-aquatics frequently seen in the trade. I have grown many of these plants successfully in my garden outside in Miami, FL, so I will vouch that they are non-aquatics! It is my hope that this guide helps you with the identification of these species and possibly avoid the wasted money and the problems that commonly occurs when they are purchased. Please feel free to comment and even add your own experiences with these species. By no means is this an exhaustive list, these are only the most common plants I've seen, and this only serves as a starter point. It is correct to the best of my knowledge, but taxonomy is a tricky business. I will leave this thread open and invite you to add to this list by following the format I give for each plant below. Be sure that you properly credit your photo source. I will cross-check the references and photo credits. If they are not correct, I will delete the post.
In addition to each photograph, I offer a brief write-up on how the plant typically behaves when submerged. I also provide Aquatic alternatives to these plants that for the most part are easy to care for.
Before I begin with the guide, I'd like to take the opportunity to cite the following sources.
-Baensch, Hans A. and Dr. Rudiger Riehl. Aquarium Atlas Volume 3. Mergus: Melle, Germany. 1997.
-Hiscock, Peter. Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants. Interpret publishing: New York. 2003
Images and Some Commentary
-All images are courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, unless otherwise stated, and are being displayed here because I am complying with Wikimedia Commons' license agreements
-Photos used in this guide are individually credited using either the photographer's full name or member name.
-The purpose of this guide is educational and I ask that you not reproduce any of the images without following the license agreement in Wikimedia commons or from other websites.
-The image of Borneo fern (Trichomanes javanicum) is taken from Plantgeek.net's Plant Guide. Some of the taxonomy in that website, however, is questionable or outdated. The confusion of the Acorus and Ophiopogon genera for example. This is the problem with common names. The same common name can be used for multiple species, especially if they look alike, as is the case with those genera.
-The image of Hemigraphis colorata is taken from the website Top Tropicals. It is a commercial site that sells tropical terrestrial plants. I put it up to make a point, not to make any endorsement of the site or what they sell. Most of the plants featured below will be on sale in this site, as terrestrial plants. Further evidence for you.
Photo by Wikimedia commons user Cliff originally posted to Flickr as Japanese Sweet Flag (Acorus gramineus) which is also a common name for Ophiopogon japonicus and the plants are very similar.
Photo by and ©2006 Derek Ramsey
Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Fanghong
Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Digigalos
Photo by Wikimedia Commons user SeanMack
Photo by Digigalos
Photos by Daniel J. Layton
Photos by Daniel J. Layton
Photo by Mark Landa through Top Tropicals
Public domain photo by Wikimedia commons user Stickpen
Photo take by Wikimedia commons user Omegatron
Photo by Ken Pei
Photo by Wikimedia commons user Fanghong
Photo by Fritz Geller-Grimm
Photo by Jerzy Opioła
Photo by Omegatron
Photo by Curt Dunaway through Plantgeek