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What are true aquatic plants?

Retailers are often guilty of selling plants as aquatic plants when if fact they are not. Some are perfectly happy growing emerged, and some can tolerate only being submerged for a few weeks, and will then die.

So what are true aquatic plants? Here is a classification system that will help you identify what is and what isn't a true aquatic plant.

True aquatics - Vallis, Cabomba, Egeria, Myriophyllum. These plants can only survive under water.
Water loving plants which can thrive underwater indefinitely, but are also happy growing as emerged - Echinodorus, Saggitaria, Java Fern, Anubias
Bog and water tolerant plants these can survive for a a few weeks under water but will eventually die - Acorus, Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily), "Wheat Plant" Dracaena.
Terrestrial plants which start to die almost as soon as they are submerged - Chlorophytum (Spider Plant), Ophiopogon

If you want plants that will thive and grow in your tank, only choose plants from the true aquatics, and water loving plants groups.

The other two categories should be considered ornamental plants only - they will grow in your tank for a short while, maybe a few weeks, but will eventually cease to thrive and die. It's best to think of them as temporary tank decorations.

True aquatics e.g. anubias

Water loving plants e.g. echinodorus

Bog and water tolerant plants e.g acorus

Terrestrial plants eg Ophiopogon


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