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The Shrimp Farm, Aquariums  Dealers, Bloomington, IL
 

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planted shrimp tank

  • Growing water wisteria (Hygrophila difformis)

    Hygrophila difformis, also known as water wisteria, is a popular aquarium stem plant. It's a great, fast-growing addition to any shrimp tank and its easy care even makes it suitable for beginners. Its feathery, deep green leaves are sure to brighten up any aquascape!

    Keep reading for everything you need to know about water wisteria care and growing water wisteria in your own aquarium.

    Requirements

    Water wisteria is considered an easy aquarium plant suitable for beginners in the planted tank hobby. Added Co2 is not necessary to grow it (although it does always help) and just regular nutrient medium to high light should be enough to get this one growing very quickly. High light gives very finely feathered leaves while lower light conditions result in a less 'pretty' look. Do keep in mind that fast growth means lots of nutrients being used. Regular (micro)nutrient dosing is a good idea if you want to keep your water wisteria looking its best.

    Water quality isn't much of a concern with this plant. It can withstand a very wide range of water values and temperatures as long as plenty of light and nutrients are available. Temperatures between 68-86 °F and maybe even higher or lower are not a problem, which makes this plant perfect for unheated shrimp tanks. pH can be anywhere between 5 and 8.

    Water wisteria is a stem plant, which means it can grow very high and needs regular pruning to maintain a full and bushy look. To prune your water wisteria, just cut off the top with a pair of aquarium scissors. This helps keep its length in check and also create a full look: the 'beheaded' plant will grow multiple new shoots.

    Difficulty: Easy

    Lighting: Medium

    Placement: Background

    Temperature: 68-86° F

    pH: 5-8

    Uses

    • Water wisteria has fine, feathered leaves and a bright green color. This makes for a very decorative, bushy plant with interesting texture that works perfectly in the background of any aquascape. Do keep in mind that it grows quite large (up to 23 inches!), which means it works best for larger tanks unless you're prepared to prune very regularly.
    • Like all stem plants, water wisteria will be appreciated by shrimp for the many hiding places and foraging grounds it offers. The feathered leaves offer a great hiding place for young shrimp, which comes in especially handy in community aquariums with potential predators.
    • Water wisteria grows very quickly and can work well to keep a tank a little more stable by absorbing nitrates, which are harmful to shrimp and fish in large amounts. It can also help keep algae at bay by outcompeting them for nutrients.

    Other

    Emersed form - Like many aquarium plants, water wisteria is grown emersed in many plant nurseries. It might initially respond badly to being underwater: leaves might die off and the leaf shape can change a little.

    Propagation: As discussed above, water wisteria is a stem plant. This means propagation is easy, as you can just replant the tops you cut off while pruning. New roots will soon form and your water wisteria 'bush' will look even more lush than before.

    Buying water wisteria

    Water wisteria is a common aquarium plant and you shouldn't have too much trouble finding it at your local aquarium store. If you don't want to leave the comfort at your home, The Shrimp Farm also sells water wisteria and ships it right to your doorstep! You can find and buy water wisteria here.

  • Growing dwarf hair grass (Eleocharis acicularis)

    Dwarf hair grass (Eleocharis acicularis) is a popular aquarium foreground plant often used in aquascapes to create a grass-like carpet look. It's decorative, not too difficult to grow and shrimp love it. You can keep it short by trimming regularly or let it grow tall to provide your shrimp with a great place to hide and forage. You can even grow it emersed!

    Keep reading for everything you need to know about Eleocharis acicularis care and growing Eleocharis acicularis in your own (shrimp) aquarium.

    Requirements

    Like many other carpeting plants, Eleocharis acicularis does have some requirements. If these aren't met, the plant will quickly start losing its shape or fall prey to algae, which can quickly cover and suffocate it. This leads to brown patches and very slow growth.

    To keep your Eleocharis acicularis looking its best, provide medium to high light. In low-light conditions it will start to etiolate and grow too tall to work as a carpeting plant. Extra nutrients in the form of root tabs, Co2 and liquid plant food are definitely appreciated. Be sure to keep an eye out for any deficiencies by regularly testing your water. Keep in mind that very fine sand or very coarse gravel aren't ideal for this plant: a coarse sand works best and allows the roots to take hold and spread quickly.

    Regular trimming is a must with any carpet plant and this is no different for Eleocharis acicularis. Cutting the tops of the leaves helps it maintain its grassy look and actually stimulates new growth. If you want to expand your carpet you can always separate a few clumps and replant them in different places - this plant will spread by itself but it can take a while before it covers the entire bottom!

    Difficulty: Moderate

    Lighting: Medium

    Placement: Foreground

    Temperature: 50-83° F

    pH: 6.5-7.5

    Uses

    • eleocharis acicularisAs discussed above, Eleocharis acicularis is usually used as a foreground plant. Its grass-like look and creeping growth pattern make it a striking carpeting plant. If you prefer the overgrown jungle look over the meticulously maintained carpet style you can also let it grow free and tall by only trimming once in a while.
    • Eleocharis acicularis isn't actually strictly an aquatic plant; it can also be grown emersed. This makes it a great option for paludariums that have part of the plants growing above the water line.
    • Its abundant needle-like leaves make Eleocharis acicularis a great choice for shrimp aquariums. Both small fry and adults will appreciate being able to use the leaves as a hiding place and will gladly forage on the infusoria that grow on them.
    • Because this plant can handle a very wide temperature range it's suitable for use in coldwater aquariums. If you aren't using a heater and are looking for a carpet plant, this might be the one for you!

    Other

    Aquascaping - Eleocharis acicularis looks great when combined with taller (stem) plants. Many aquarists also use it in combination with one or more other foreground plants for a little extra variety in textures. Hydrocotyle verticillata (whorled pennywort) is an example of a foreground plant that looks great when combined with dwarf hair grass.

    Buying dwarf hair grass

    When buying dwarf hair grass, keep in mind that, like many other aquarium plants, it might not always be labeled correctly. For example, Eleocharis parvula is another aquarium plant commonly known as dwarf hair grass and the scientific names are often used interchangeably. Luckily this isn't much of a problem unless you're really set on one particular hair grass type, as care requirements are pretty much the same.

    You can find dwarf hair grass in most aquarium stores. You can also buy it online at The Shrimp Farm! Just order here and we will ship it right to your doorstep.
    the shrimp farm

  • Caring for hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum)

    If you're looking to set up a planted shrimp tank, hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) is one of the plants you might consider. This easy plant is perfect for the beginning plant lover and will be appreciated by all types of shrimp.

    Keep reading for everything you need to know about growing hornwort in your aquarium!

    hornwort

    Requirements

    Hornwort is not too difficult to grow and this plant is actually known for its very fast growth. It will adapt to almost all water values and tolerates a wide range of temperatures, which makes it a great plant choice for unheated shrimp tanks.

    Added Co2 and fertilizer aren't necessary, although hornwort does appreciate these and will respond by growing faster and fuller. Use medium light to keep this plant healthy; very high or low light conditions can cause shedding and result in a rather ugly plant.

    When planting hornwort, keep in mind that this is naturally more of a floating plant. Although it can be planted in the substrate it might start losing its bottom leaves after a while, which doesn't look too great. You can prevent this by just letting it float free or by cutting off and replanting the full tops once the bottom of the stems start looking too bare.

    Although hornwort leaves are very fine, they are quite hard and not very easy to eat, which prevents the plant from falling prey to most herbivorous fish.

    Difficulty: Easy

    Lighting: Medium

    Placement: Background

    Temperature: 59-86° F

    KH: 5-15

    pH: 6.0-7.5

    Uses

    Hornwort has many uses in the aquarium. Its feather-like leaves and bright green color make it a decorative addition to planted tanks, but there's more!

    • Its fast growth and need for plenty of nutrients make hornwort a great nitrate buster and many aquarists actually use this plant to help keep their water values stable. You'll still have to do regular water changes, but a buffer is nice, especially if you keep fragile shrimp species.
    • Because hornwort can be grown as a floating plant, it can be used to dim the lighting and create a natural look in the aquarium.
    • Hornwort makes the perfect hiding place for young shrimp and fish. If you're interested in breeding shrimp in a community tank, growing fine-leaved stem plants like this one can really help keep the fry survival rate up. Young shrimp can hide between the fine leaves and feed on infusoria until they are large enough to forage out in the open.
    • As discussed earlier, hornwort is one of the few plants that can withstand "attacks" by herbivorous fish such as goldfish. Its leaves are too hard to eat and its fast growth makes up for any damage. This makes it a great option if you find other plants are being eaten too quickly.

    Other

    Propagation: Propagating hornwort is not difficult at all. As with many other stem parts, any part of the plant can be cut off and regrown. This means stem tops can be reused after pruning and you can also remove side shoots or any other part of the plant to propagate it.

    Buying hornwort

    The Shrimp Farm sells hornwort and ships it right to your doorstep. You can order hornwort online from The Shrimp Farm here!

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