OK another question about plants... - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 3 Old 09-22-2009, 05:08 AM Thread Starter
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OK another question about plants...

What plants can I buy that are sold as "Dry house plants" that can also be sumberged as "Wet plants"? I have seen many potted plants that look the same as plants sold for aquaria, but dont know for sure if they are the same because there is no name on the plants, usually just a discription of the plant and its sun requirements are included with it. I am going to experiment with a few that I have seen in a small tank to see if they will thrive under light with aquatic plant fertilizer. But I realy wish all house plants that are available to buy came with a household name and a scientific name so I could catagorize it. But like I said most just have a simple label that says how much light the plant should get.

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post #2 of 3 Old 09-22-2009, 12:14 PM
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Honestly, a fair number of plants 'sold for aquaria' are dry house plants. This doesn't necessarily mean they can be submerged. It is simply a rip-off because althought the plants will hold up for a month or so underwater, they will rot and die fairly quickly because they are not truly aquatic plants.
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post #3 of 3 Old 09-22-2009, 03:43 PM
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Yes, kelly528 is absolutely correct. Land plants (with leaves in the air--emersed) and aquatic plants (leaves under water--submersed) have two very different structures to their leaves to facilitate the different methods of obtaining nutrients, and the nutrients themselves that they require are not identical. A true land plant, such as house plants and garden plants, cannot be submersed; if they are, they will die as kelly529 said.

Some aquatic plants are fully aquatic, living their entire lifespan under water (submersed). To my knowledge, all the stem plants are true aquatic plants. But many of the rooted plants such as several species of Echinodorus (swords) are true bog or amphibious plants in nature. They spend six months emersed (during the dry season) and six months submersed (during the rainy/flood season). They flower during the emersed period, and some have different methods of reproduction when submersed [runners with no flowers but daughter plants]. Not surprisingly, such plants have different leaf forms for these two periods.

This is why when you buy potted aquarium plants in the store and plant them in your aquarium, the leaves on the plant when you bought it usually die off within a few weeks, and the new aquatic leaves will look (sometimes considerably) different from the original leaf. Most nurseries raise aquatic plants emersed because it is quicker and less expensive, so the leaves on the plants are the emersed form. The difference in leaf shape is connected to the leaf functions, and being emersed or submersed requires different leaf structures to manage those functions. So, as I mentioned at the start, the leaves of land plants are different in their structure, and will not survive long under water. And the two types of leaves on amphibious bog plants is an illustration of this fact. Fortunately, the bog plants we keep in our aquaria are able to live totally in the submersed form; land plants cannot do this.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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