Temperate water plants in the tropical Aquarium

Exactly what is a 'temperate' water plant? One definition is that it's a water plant that has a mechanism for surviving winters when the water is frozen. However - most freshwater never freezes completely, there is almost always liquid water beneath the ice. Water as a place to survive a winter is actually less hostile than is land.

In summer, however, many temperate ponds reach temperatures very similar to tropical waters, 25°C or more being not uncommon. So temperate plants can usually cope easily with the temperatures met in tropical aquaria.

Other than temperature - the main difference is light levels - for many tropical aquatic plants grow in jungle conditions and there is not a lot of light available underneath the jungle canopy! Nevertheless there are many 'tropical' plants that don't grow in the jungle and need similar light to many temperate plants.

Another factor is a modern tendency to treat aquarium plants as replaceable: as long as they last a reasonable time and look good for this time, then you are expected to remove and replace them. So many plants sold for aquaria nowadays are really bog plants that can stand significant immersion buy which do not grow too well under water.

These things considered, there really is not a lot of difference between plants sold for aquaria and plants that you find in the local waters. In either case you simply try a plant and if it does well and you like it, you use it. If not, you replace it. So if you are near a pond or other water feature, then gather water plants and see if they thrive in your aquarium!

The following are some of the plants I have tried, with links to pages (some of which are still to be prepared - please ask) giving photos and details of my findings.

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Last modified: Mon, 08 Jul 2024 09:18:17 BST
Page first published 20th January 2003.
Page written and © by Richard John Torrens