Oh Etsy, your siren song calls to me every time I feel like there’s a new spot in my house for a plant. This plant haul features a fun new way for me to spend money: by buying aquarium plants for beginners! I’ve begun dabbling (AKA spending way too much money) on my aquariums, going from silk plants to live, from gravel to sand, and a whole buncha different lighting switch-outs (seriously, you should see my return history on Amazon). So this very special plant haul edition features a lot of aquatic plants PLUS some updates on how things are going.

A few things to know about aquarium plants for beginners like me (and you?)

So, I’ll cover this in a different post I think but let me tell you if you’re new to aquatic plants they have a special issue where they…well…melt.

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Plant melt

I’m not an expert on this but I think it’s due to water changes from where they were cultivated vs. the water in my aquarium. So it happens…

Anyhow, let’s get back to the plant haul.

My Latest Plant Haul from Etsy

First, to go completely opposite from everything I’ve typed thus far, a non-aquarium plant:

Venus Fly Trap – ‘Akai Ryu’ Red Dragon from Ampelius Nada

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Dionaea muscipula (credit: Ampelius Nada)

I’ve given up hope that VFTs can be anything but annuals here in Upstate NY. They’re supposed to be one of the hard to kill houseplants so long as you have them in a sunny place and give them rainwater. However, the winters here are just too long I think…even when I put them in a humid place like our bathrooms for the winter they never make it. But I love them so…hope spring eternal. I’d never seen fly traps this color so obviously…*click* buy.

how are they doing? Not sure yet, still waiting for them to arrive.

Aquarium Plant Starter Pack from Greenpro

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Collection of aquarium plants from Greenpro (credit: Greenpro)

I got this since it seemed like a fairly cheap and hardy set of aquarium plants for beginners like me. The pack comes with six different species of aquatic plants. However, they don’t arrive labeled so it’s a bit of a Google treasure hunt to figure out the difference between some.

How are they doing? 50/50. The crypt(?) I separated from a clump into separate strands (you can see them in the foreground of the melt pic above) and they’re holding on but haven’t really carpeted anything yet. The java moss I gorilla glued to a grid in the hopes of creating a moss wall but that has yet to work and I might need to give up the ghost on that soon. Case in point:

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Failed (I think) moss wall experiment. Bacopa in the foreground

One of the swords is still kicking but the rest didn’t survive.

Sagittaria Subulata, Narrow-leaved arrowhead from Florida Aquascaping

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Dwarf Sagittaria (credit: Florida Aquascaping)

So, these don’t look quite like the picture. Here’s what I received:

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They have a bit of a short/fat root system and were a PITA to anchor into both sand and gravel. However, they seem to be doing well.

How are they doing? Overall they’re holding steady though you can see there’s some melt. I’ve lost about a leaf a week on each plant but you can see how tall some shoots are getting.

Water Sprite from Florida Aquascaping

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Water Sprite. (Credit: Florida Aquascaping)

I got this in a plant pack of 3 that also included the Ludwigia Repens and Hornwort below.

How’s it doing? I don’t know if it’s the sprites not being able to stick into sand or my fish and snails are ripping them out, but they rarely stay in the substrate for more than 1 day. However, they seem to be doing alright regardless.

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Water sprite on the left in front of the white rock

Ludwigia Repens from Florida Aquascaping

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Ludwigia Repens (credit: Florida Aquascaping)

I got this as part of the aforementioned 3 plant pack. I already had some happy ludwigia chilling in my 20 gallon, so I figured this would fill it in nicely.

How’s it doing? The stems I got are green and haven’t turned red yet but overall they seem to be alright.

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“old” Ludiwigia I had and the green stems from Florida Aquascaping

Hornwort from Florida Aquascaping

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Hornwort (credit: Florida Aquascaping)

The last of the plant 3 pack I mentioned, I was pretty excited to receive this because I know it grows SO fast. The stems I received are nowhere near this bushy and resemble rotala instead.

How’s it doing? I’ve used them as floaters for my maternity tank and they seem to be doing well. The bladder snails are big fans.

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Bladder snail stowaway hitching a ride

Water Lettuce from Florida Aquascaping

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Water lettuce (credit: Florida Aquascaping)

This was part of a 3 pack of floating plants that I got to give my new shrimp some cover, along with the anticipated Platy fry I expect to pop out within a week in my 10 gallon tank which has become the designated “maternity ward.” However, I ended up putting these in both my 20 and 29 gallon tanks instead since they have glass lids and full-spectrum lights.

How are they doing? A few leaves have melted but they seem to be doing alright. Side note: their roots are ginormous!

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Giant water lettuce roots

Water Spangles from Florida Aquascaping

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Water Spanges (credit: Florida Aquascaping)

Part 2 of the 3 floating plants pack. These are supposed to spread like wildfire. I put them in all 3 tanks.

How are they doing? Okay…they’ve been slow to propagate. I’d say about 30% have melted or died.

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Water spangles in the maternity tank

Parrot Feather from Florida Aquascaping

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Parrot Feather (credit: Florida Aquascaping)

The last of the floating plants from the 3-pack. These guys have been tricky to deal with because they catch so much debris on the surface.

How are they doing? They’re growing like the literal invasive weed they are! I didn’t keep them as floaters but instead drove them into the sand of my 29 gallon. They’ve already reached the top of the tank and it’s been less than a month.

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Go, Parrot’s Feather, go!

One note about Florida Aquascaping – I got serious Ich outbreaks in both of the aquariums where I put their plants. It could be a coincidence since they say their plants aren’t grown in fish-occupied tanks but in the spirit of transparency wanted to let you know. I can’t and don’t blame them for it since these things happen and Ich is just so common. However, the third tank where I didn’t use their plants has been Ich-free and the plants were the only addition to both tanks. I’d recommend sterilizing any plants you get regardless (which I didn’t do) but especially from there.