Many of the plants we keep and enjoy in our
aquariums will grow well in both submerged and emersed above water. Many plants we keep in our aquariums are actually
not true fully aquatic plants. Emersed growth is possible because in nature,
many of these species are actually amphibious, living along the edges of streams, lakes or
in low flood plains. During rainy seasons, they quite happily spend
a considerable amount of time completely submerged. You’ll need a shallow container. Fill the container with about 1 inch/2.5cm
deep of regular potting soil. Pour water in until the soil is just submerged
but thoroughly wet. Then, take your plants and just put them gently
in the soil. Once you have all of your plants planted,
use plastic wrap to cover the container. You’ll want a tight seal so the moisture
doesn’t evaporate. It might be necessary to use some tape to
keep the plastic wrap from coming off. This will create a nice humid environment
for your plants to transition to emersed growth so they don’t dry out. Once you have your container all set up, you
can either put it in a sunny window or underneath some full-spectrum lighting. By planting all those interesting and odd
species in the emersed tub you can free up your existing tanks and really aquascape them
properly. However, there are physiological difference
in the plant’s leaf structure that make this transition difficult. How difficult varies from plant to plant. The basis for the difference in leaf structures
between emersed and submersed growth comes down to nutrient transfer and respiration. Emersed growth plants have direct contact
with a supply of air with all the CO2 it could need. Conversely, a plant underwater in submersed
growth has to transfer CO2 and Oxygen throught the limits of what can be dissolved in the
water column. The limits to CO2 in the water colum leads
to a dramatically different leaf structure. Aquarium plants that are grown and sold as
Emersed, having leaves that are acclimated to air, are sometimes more vibrant in green
coloration compared to a submersed example. The leaves are sometimes a different shape
and texture. Tips for Getting Your Emersed Plants Transitioned
to Submersed: provide good water conditions for the plants
(appropriate temperature). provide fertilizers necessry for plant load
provide light intensity and duration appropriate for selected plants
proper pruning of dead or melting leaves time