Aquarists are lucky in that there are literally hundreds of plant species suitable for aquarium conditions. Not all these plants are found in nature; many are cultivated varieties developed by plant growers, wholesalers, and, in some cases, individual aquarists. As a result of crossbreeding and selective propagation, we can now choose from a wide range of plants with varied and interesting leaf shapes, colors, growth patterns, and care requirements. Many plants also have subspecies, which are usually slightly different in height or leaf shape. Whatever type of aquarium design you are aiming for, there will be a good choice of plants to suit those conditions. Most aquatic outlets stock a good selection of aquarium plants, which should vary slightly from week to week. But what happens if you are looking for a certain species or type of plant? If you are having difficulty obtaining a particular plant, you may find that one of the many mail-order suppliers will stock it, or something similar. Alternatively, your local retailer may be able to locate it from one of their suppliers. Whichever method you use to obtain plants, you should never be short of choices. Although welcome, this wide selection of aquarium plants can be quite daunting. For example, plants can be selected for suitability by their height, spread, lighting and nutrient requirements, temperature, as well as by location in the aquarium. A welcome challenge for aquarists is a biotope aquarium, where the fish and plants featured represent a natural habitat. In this case, plants can be chosen by their geographical origin. Or you can simply choose plants based on their colors, size, and leaf shapes. Plants in the aquarium should both contrast and complement each other, although choosing plants in this way is purely down to the artistic taste of the individual. However, a planted aquarium is not a static display and over tine, plants can be moved around, swapped around, trimmed, propagated, or removed as required. A planted aquarium is quite literally, a living picture, and as
has a somewhat magical property. Choosing the right plants needs time and thought, although mistakes are easily remedied. In this part of the website many plants are featured, along with detailed descriptions of their environmental requirements, growth patterns, origins, and recommended locations. Using this guide, you will find it easy to select a range of plants to create your own "living picture."