How to Convert Aquarium into Planted Aquarium: A Step-by-Step Guide

Looking to give your aquarium a new look and feel? Converting it into a planted aquarium might just be the change you need. Not only does it add an aesthetically pleasing touch to your underwater world, but it also has numerous benefits for your fish and plants. With a little bit of planning and some patience, you can transform your aquarium into a lush green paradise that your fish will love.

But where do you start? What do you need? Fear not, because we’ve got you covered. In this blog, we’ll guide you through the essentials of converting your aquarium to a planted aquarium, including selecting the right plants, lighting, substrate, and equipment. Whether you’re a seasoned aquarium enthusiast or a beginner, this guide will provide you with valuable insights and tips to create a thriving ecosystem in your aquarium.

So, are you ready to take your underwater world to the next level? Let’s dive in!

Assessing Your Aquarium

If you’re considering converting your aquarium into a planted aquarium, the first step is to assess your current setup. Look at the size of your aquarium and the type of fish you have. Some fish may not be compatible with a planted aquarium as they may eat or damage the plants.

Once you’ve determined which fish can coexist with plants, consider the lighting in your aquarium. Plants require specific types of light and intensity to thrive, so make sure you have the appropriate bulbs or fixtures. Next, take a look at your substrate and choose a type that will facilitate plant growth.

A good substratum will allow for the proper circulation of water and nutrients. Finally, choose the right plants for your aquarium. There are a wide variety of species to choose from, but make sure to select ones that can adapt to the conditions in your aquarium.

With proper planning and execution, your aquarium can be transformed into a beautiful aquatic garden.

Checking for Compatibility

Checking for Compatibility Assessing Your Aquarium When setting up an aquarium, it’s crucial to make sure all the species you plan to keep together are compatible. There are various factors to consider before introducing fish, such as their behaviors, sizes, and feeding habits. For instance, aggressive species should not be kept with peaceful ones, or they will end up harming them.

Similarly, the aquarium’s size plays a significant role in determining how many fish you can keep in it. Overcrowding can lead to stress, poor water quality, and even death. It’s also essential to consider the requirements of each species, as some fish prefer specific water conditions, such as temperature, pH, and hardness.

Therefore, it’s vital to research the species you plan to keep and assess their compatibility to ensure a healthy and thriving aquarium.

how to convert aquarium into planted aquarium

Measuring Light levels

When it comes to assessing your aquarium, measuring light levels should be at the top of your list. Light is essential for plant growth, which in turn, contributes to the overall health of your aquatic environment. One way to measure light levels is through the use of a PAR meter, which measures the Photosynthetically Active Radiation in your aquarium.

By using a PAR meter, you can determine the intensity and distribution of light in your tank. This information is important as it will allow you to adjust your lighting levels accordingly to provide your plants with the right amount of light they need to thrive. Remember, too much light can lead to algae growth while too little light can stunt plant growth.

By regularly monitoring and adjusting your aquarium’s light levels, you can create a healthy and balanced environment for your underwater pets.

Checking Water Parameters

Assessing Your Aquarium: Checking Water Parameters Regularly monitoring the water parameters of your aquarium is essential to the health and well-being of the aquatic life within it. Ensuring that the pH levels, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels are within the recommended ranges can prevent stress and disease in your fish. pH levels should be maintained between

5 and 5, while ammonia and nitrite levels should be kept near zero. Nitrate levels should not exceed 40 ppm (parts per million).

Testing kits are simple to use and available at most pet stores. Additionally, performing partial water changes and vacuuming the substrate can help remove excess waste and keep the aquarium environment clean. Remember, a little effort and regular maintenance can go a long way in keeping your aquarium thriving.

Choosing Your Plants

When converting your aquarium into a planted aquarium, it’s essential to choose the right plants. The ideal plants for a planted aquarium are those that thrive in aquatic environments and provide benefits for your fish. One of the best plants to include in your setup is the Amazon Sword plant.

Not only does it look great, but it also releases oxygen and absorbs nitrates, improving the overall water quality in your tank. You could also consider adding some Anubias Nana or Java Fern to your aquarium. These plants don’t require bright light or advanced CO2 injection, making them easy to care for even for beginners.

It’s always best to choose plants that are compatible with your fish and take into account the size of your aquarium. By selecting the right plants, you can create a stunning and thriving planted aquarium that both you and your fish will enjoy.

Selecting Hardy Plants

Selecting Hardy Plants: Choosing Your Plants If you’re looking to start a garden, it’s essential to choose the right plants that can thrive in your climate and growing conditions. The key is to select hardy plants that can withstand extreme temperatures, drought or excessive moisture levels, and pests or diseases. When choosing your plants, consider their adaptability, growth requirements, and maintenance needs.

Look out for plants that have a high tolerance for your area’s weather conditions and don’t need frequent watering or fertilizing. Suppose you are starting a beginner garden or prefer low-maintenance plants. In that case, you can look for shrubs, perennials, or native plants that grow slower, require less upkeep, and can withstand harsh conditions.

Some great examples of hardy plants include lavender, coneflower, sagebrush, and yucca. Developing a garden filled with hardy plants that thrive in your area ensures a successful and rewarding gardening experience.

Choosing Proper Lighting

When it comes to indoor gardening, selecting the right plants is crucial. Some plants need more sunlight than others, and not all of them thrive in indoor environments. Those with lower light requirements, such as POthos, Spider Plants, or ZZ Plants, make great indoor plants, especially if you don’t get much natural light indoors.

However, if you have a sunnier spot to place your indoor garden, you may opt for high-light plants like Ficus, Peace Lily, or Bird of Paradise. Remember, the care instructions that come with your houseplant should give you an indication of how much light it requires. Choosing plants that match your home’s lighting will benefit not only the health of your plants but also your own satisfaction with the results.

Adding Substrate

When it comes to adding substrate to your aquarium, choosing the right plants is essential. Not all plants will thrive in all types of substrate, so it’s important to consider the specific needs of the plants you’re planning to add. Some plants prefer a sandy substrate, while others do best in a nutrient-rich soil.

You’ll also want to take into account the lighting and water flow in your tank, as these factors can affect the growth of your plants. Once you’ve chosen your plants, it’s time to think about the substrate itself. Consider the depth of the substrate, as well as the type of nutrients it contains.

Some substrates are specifically designed for certain plant species, while others are more general and can be used with a wide range of plants. With a little planning and research, you can create the perfect environment for your aquarium plants to thrive.

Planting Your Aquarium

If you’re looking to convert your aquarium into a planted aquarium, there are a few things you need to consider. First, you need to decide on the type of plants you want to include in your aquarium. Some plants require more light and nutrients than others, so be sure to research the needs of each plant before making any purchases.

Once you’ve decided on the plants, you’ll need to create a substrate for them to grow in. A nutrient-rich substrate is best, such as soil or gravel enriched with fertilizer. Next, you’ll need to add a light source that provides the right spectrum of light for your plants.

LED lights are a popular choice for planted aquariums, as they are energy-efficient and provide the necessary light. Finally, you need to maintain the proper balance of nutrients and CO2 levels in the water for your plants to thrive. This can be achieved through regular water changes and the use of a CO2 injector.

With these steps and a bit of patience, you can successfully convert your aquarium into a beautiful and thriving planted aquarium.

Preparing your plants

Planting Your Aquarium can be an exciting endeavor, but preparation is key to ensure the success of your aquatic plants. First, make sure you have chosen the appropriate plants for your tank size and lighting conditions. Adding too many plants or incompatible species can result in overgrowth or poor growth, leading to an unbalanced ecosystem.

Before planting, it’s important to clean and condition the substrate and rinse the plants to remove any excess dirt or debris. Additionally, fertilizers and CO2 injections can be beneficial for plant growth, but it’s important to carefully measure and monitor dosages to prevent harm to fish and other aquatic life. With proper preparation, your plants will thrive in a healthy, vibrant aquarium environment.

Planting techniques

Planting your aquarium can be a fun and rewarding experience that can also greatly benefit your aquatic pets. Before getting started, it’s important to choose the right plants for your specific tank and to consider factors such as lighting, substrate, and water quality. Some popular options for beginners include java ferns, anubias, and java moss, which are all low-maintenance and resilient.

When planting, it’s important to bury the roots or rhizomes of the plants securely in the substrate and to ensure they have enough space to grow. You may also want to consider adding CO2 and fertilizer to promote healthy growth. As your plants begin to flourish, they can help absorb excess nutrients in the water and help keep your tank clean and balanced.

So why not try adding some greenery to your aquatic oasis? Your fish will thank you!

Caring for Your Planted Aquarium

If you’re looking to convert your aquarium into a planted aquarium, there are a few important things to consider. First, it’s important to have the right type of substrate for your plants. This can include gravel or sand that is specifically designed for planted aquariums.

It’s also important to choose the right type of plants for your setup. Consider factors like lighting and water chemistry when selecting your plants. It’s also important to regularly test your water parameters and make any necessary adjustments to ensure the health of your plants.

Finally, maintenance is key when it comes to caring for your planted aquarium. This can include regular water changes, pruning plants, and keeping an eye out for any signs of illness or disease in your fish or plants. Overall, converting your aquarium into a planted aquarium can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience as long as you take the necessary steps to ensure the proper care and maintenance of your setup.

Fertilizing your plants

Caring for your planted aquarium involves many crucial aspects, and fertilizing your plants is one of them. Plants require nutrients to grow and thrive, just like any other living organism, and a lack of essential nutrients can lead to stunted growth or even death. The main nutrient required by plants is nitrogen, which is responsible for promoting leaf growth and photosynthesis.

Other crucial nutrients include phosphorus, potassium, iron, and micronutrients such as calcium and magnesium. One way to provide these nutrients is through the use of fertilizers, which come in various forms such as liquid, tablets, or substrates. It’s important to choose the right type of fertilizer and follow the instructions, as overfertilizing can lead to algae blooms and harm your fish.

By regularly fertilizing your aquarium plants, you can create a thriving, healthy ecosystem for your aquatic pets to enjoy.

Maintaining water conditions

When it comes to maintaining water conditions in your planted aquarium, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First and foremost, it’s important to regularly test your water parameters to make sure they’re in the right range for your fish and plants. This means checking pH levels, ammonia and nitrate levels, and the overall hardness of your water.

You’ll want to make adjustments as needed using products like pH reducers or water softeners. Additionally, it’s important to perform regular water changes to keep the water fresh and remove any excess waste or debris. One helpful tip is to use a gravel vacuum during water changes to suction out any leftover food or debris that may have sunk to the bottom.

By staying on top of your water parameters and performing routine maintenance, you can ensure a healthy and thriving environment for your aquatic pets and plants.

Trimming and Pruning

Trimming and pruning are essential tasks to keep your planted aquarium healthy and visually appealing. Overgrown plants can overshadow smaller ones, hinder their growth, and create an unbalanced ecosystem. To maintain a healthy environment, you must trim damaged or dead leaves, stems, and roots regularly.

You can use specialized scissors or pliers to remove the excess growth without harming the healthy parts. Pruning, on the other hand, involves cutting back the entire plant or trimming certain sections to promote branching and denser growth. It’s particularly useful for stem plants, which tend to grow lanky and sparse if left unattended.

By pruning them at regular intervals, you enable them to produce more side shoots and leaves, resulting in a fuller and more vibrant appearance. Overall, trimming and pruning help keep your plants in check and make your aquarium a pleasant and thriving habitat for its inhabitants.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, converting an aquarium into a planted aquarium is a great way to bring life and color to your aquatic world. It may seem daunting at first, but by following the proper steps such as choosing the right plants, substrate, lighting, and filtration, it can be a fun and fulfilling process. Keep in mind that a healthy balance is key in maintaining a thriving planted aquarium, so regular maintenance and attention are important.

With a little patience and effort, you can create a beautiful underwater garden for you and your fish to enjoy. So why not give it a try and see how much more vibrant and lively your aquarium can become?


In conclusion, converting your regular aquarium into a lush planted aquarium is a fun and rewarding project that requires just a few simple steps. By choosing the right plants and adding the proper lighting, substrate, and nutrients, you can transform your aquarium into a verdant oasis that not only provides a beautiful home for your fish but is also a sight to behold for anyone who visits. So why settle for a plain old aquarium when you could have a stunning planted aquarium? Dive in and let your creativity flourish!”


What are the benefits of converting an aquarium into a planted aquarium?
Converting an aquarium into a planted aquarium can provide numerous benefits such as improved water quality, reduced algae growth, and a more natural and aesthetically pleasing environment for fish and other aquatic plants.

Can any aquarium be converted into a planted aquarium, or are there specific requirements?
Almost any aquarium can be converted into a planted aquarium, but there are some requirements to ensure optimal plant growth, such as proper lighting, substrate, and CO2 levels.

Do I need to completely empty my aquarium before converting it into a planted aquarium?
It is not necessary to completely empty your aquarium, but it is recommended to remove any artificial decor or substrate to make room for the plants and ensure optimal nutrient uptake.

How do I choose the right plants for my planted aquarium?
There are countless species of aquatic plants to choose from, but it is important to select plants that are suitable for your aquarium size, lighting, and CO2 levels. Researching and consulting with a local aquatic expert can help you choose the best options.

Do I need to supplement CO2 in my planted aquarium, and if so, how?
Most planted aquariums will benefit from supplemental CO2 levels to support plant growth. This can be achieved through the use of CO2 injection systems, carbon supplements, or natural solutions such as adding floating plants.

How often should I fertilize my planted aquarium, and what should I use?
Frequency and type of fertilization will vary depending on your specific plant species and aquarium setup. Generally, it is recommended to fertilize once or twice a week using aquatic-specific fertilizers.

How can I maintain my planted aquarium and ensure long-term success?
Regular maintenance such as water changes, pruning, and monitoring water parameters can help ensure the long-term success of your planted aquarium. Additionally, maintaining proper lighting and CO2 levels, as well as selecting appropriate plant species, can also improve overall health and longevity.