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Emersed vs. Submerged-Grown Aquatic Plants for Aquascaping

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Emersed vs. Submerged-Grown Aquatic Plants for Aquascaping

When setting up a planted aquarium, selecting the right aquatic plants is crucial. This decision often sparks a debate among hobbyists: should you opt for emersed or submerged aquatic plants?

Emersed aquatic plants, grown with their leaves out of the water, offer several unique advantages due to their biological traits. These plants quickly develop roots when submerged, are resilient against pests and deficiencies, and adapt swiftly, making them a top choice for dedicated aquarists.

In this article, we explore the merits of using emersed-grown plants in your aquarium. We'll also discuss why emersed plants are preferable for shipping and debunk myths about their conversion to submerged forms.

Continue reading to discover why emersed-grown plants might be the superior option for your aquarium setup!

This article will cover:

  • Advantages of Emersed Plants
  • Benefits of Shipping Emersed Plants
  • Tips for Transitioning Emersed Plants
  • Short-term Challenges with Emersed Plants
  • Final Thoughts on Emersed Plants

Advantages of Emersed Plants

Emersed aquatic plants offer significant benefits as they grow above the water, adapting leaves to terrestrial conditions. This exposure allows them to directly absorb carbon dioxide from the air.

The unrestricted access to atmospheric CO2 and light above the water enhances their growth, making them robust, with thicker stems and leaves. Some species also bloom, attracting pollinators like insects or relying on wind for pollination.

These plants are equipped to handle adverse conditions such as flooding or seasonal changes, enhancing their durability for growth and propagation in a freshwater tank environment.

Key Benefits of Emersed Plants Include:

  1. Rapid Root Development: Emersed plants quickly develop roots upon submersion, anchoring securely in the substrate. Species like Amazon Sword and Cryptocoryne are known for their swift root growth.

  2. Pest and Disease Resistance: Being less prone to pests and diseases is a notable advantage of emersed plants. Slow-growers like Anubias and Java Fern show fewer issues with snails and algae when grown emersed.

  3. Adaptation Advantage: Scientific studies have highlighted the crucial physiological adaptations of emersed plants, aiding their seamless transition to submerged growth.

  4. Efficient Nutrient Absorption: Emersed plants often develop specialized root systems that boost nutrient uptake, vital for their growth after submersion.

  5. Suitability for Low-Tech Setups: Many emersed plants adapt well to low-tech aquarium environments, thriving with minimal lighting and no need for added CO2.

  6. Enhanced Water Oxygenation: Due to their rapid photosynthesis, emersed plants significantly increase oxygen levels in the aquarium.

Why Emersed Plants Ship Better

Emersed plants are more robust during shipping due to their hardiness, developed from growing above water. This makes them more resistant to the stresses of transport, such as temperature and humidity changes.

Consequently, emersed plants typically arrive healthier and adapt better to underwater life, offering a higher success rate for aquarists.

Tips for Transitioning Emersed Plants

Upon submerging, emersed plants might initially lose their terrestrial leaves, quickly replaced by new aquatic growth. Here are key tips for a smooth transition:

  • Check Your Parameters: Ensure optimal water quality and temperature.
  • Supply Nutrients: Fertilize appropriately to meet the nutritional demands of transitioning plants.
  • Proper Lighting: Maintain suitable light intensity and duration.
  • Plant Pruning: Trim back dying or algae-infested leaves to promote healthy new growth adapted to submerged conditions.

These guidelines will help you successfully integrate emersed plants into your aquarium, leveraging their robust nature for a thriving aquatic environment.

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