How To Trim And Replant Aquarium Plants?

How to trim and replant aquarium plants is an art in itself; that is why most aquarists hire professionals to maintain a healthy and beautiful tank – as it is convenient to let the professional handle the aquatic plants to keep the perfect water parameters for your aqua life.

Perfectly trimmed and properly distributed aquatic plants are necessary for the healthy aquarium tank; it’s the dream of every aquarist who has a planted tank or pond. Some plants grow rapidly, such as water wisteria, Amazon sword, Rotala Rotundifolia, etc. and some other plants and bushes grow slowly, such as Java fern, Anubias, etc.

Hence, it is essential to monitor your plants’ size, especially when they reach the water surface, preventing the light from passing to the dwarf plants.

Here, we will see how to trim and replant aquarium plants to have a visually attractive and healthy tank.


How to trim Stem Plants and replant?


red aquarium stem plants

Stem plants are trendy for the background and the middle ground of an aquarium; they are planted into the substrate with proper nutrients and the water parameters; they can quickly grow to the height of your aquarium tank. Thus, it’s better to have a clear vision of how your planted scape looks ultimately – as it helps to decide on the length and shape of the aquascape.

You can trim the stem plants by taking the top off 2 inches (approx. 5 cms) depending on your aquarium heights, and it’s best not to trim beyond half of its current size.

Plant the cut stems an inch (2.54 cms) into the substrate, where they root themselves and proliferate.

Always remember, stem plants grow quickly; hence buy only a handful of them as you can multiply before you know it.

How to trim potted plants?

Potted plants such as tiger lily, crypts, amazon swords, etc., need very little maintenance as their growth rate is much slower than stem plants. When the plant becomes widespread bushy, just cut off few leaves around the plant from the base; the same thing when the leaves turn yellow and with the dying leaves.

Leaving decaying leaves in the tank will pollute the water with ammonia throwing the nitrogen cycle off balance; it’s unhealthy for the plants and dangerous to the fish and invertebrates inhabiting the tank.

Checking and proliferating Mosses:

Keeping a check on the growth of moss is essential as it can take over and cover the entire tank. Mosses, such as Java moss, are pretty common in any aquarium tank owing to their versatility; they can be used as a carpet on the substrate, or you can let them float as a ball of moss or attach it to driftwood or other decors, etc.

Trimming the mosses is straightforward – cut off the unwanted parts and remove them from the tank.

How to maintain Rhizomes?

how to trim rhizome


Ferns and Mosses are widely used in the aquarium trade. They are hardy and perfect for herbivores tanks; they propagate themselves by cloning rather than producing seeds; hence no fertilization is required. Their uses are both functional and aesthetics.

They balance the water parameters and provide shelter to the eggs, newborns, and shy species; they also house infusoria, the first fry food. No one can deny the fact the aesthetics they add to any tank or pond.

Ferns like Java fern, Anubias, etc., and mosses do not root themselves in the soil or sand; they have hair-like growth called Rhizomes, which store starches and proteins and enable plants to perennate. Thus to propagate Rhizomes, just split them and attach them to driftwood or any decor or anywhere you want to.

Trimming Techniques:

There are different techniques for cutting aquarium plants. After cutting the plants, the classic approach uses the upper part of the plants, which has freshly sprouted beautiful leaves to replant while discarding the lower part, which somewhat looks tattered with its old leaves.

The drawback with the classic method is that the water will turn cloudy as the substrate is stirred to replant, and also, this method will not allow the aquarists to dream of having a bushy appearance.

However, in the nature aquarium, you invert the technique; you leave the plants as it is without disturbing just cut off the upper part; either you discard the upper part or replant them in another area or among the existing group of plants. This method is used with rocks and other decoratives to aquascape the midground section of the tank.

How to trim and replant aquarium plants? – Wrap up –

Live aquarium plants can completely transform your tank aesthetically while helping to maintain the water parameters and providing shelter to the newborns and the shy species.

Either you can plan from the beginning your aquascaping, or you can work your way through as it progresses by trimming and propagating using only a few plants; later helps you to achieve an alluring tank by stimulating your creativity with the minimum money spent.

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