Emersed and Submersed plants

aquatic plants emmersed plants planted aquarium plants plants planted aquarium submersed plants

Aquatic plants grow in a variety of water condition. In marshes, swamps, ponds, rivers, and more. Some are picky about PH levels and light needs. Some do not care at all. Many of these elements help to make your aquarium unique to you.


Another factor, when it comes to choosing the right plants for your aquarium, is whether to grow them emersed and submersed. Words you will come across when looking for the right plants and wondered what style would suit your set up.







1. relating to or characteristic of an aquatic plant reaching above the surface of the water.

Lobelia cardinalis Emmersed






1. relating to or characteristic of a plant growing entirely underwater.

"in its natural habitat it grows mainly in submersed form."

Lobelia cardinalis submersed


Many varieties of aquatic plant are interchangeable in their ability to live emersed or submersed. But, when you decide on the look you are going for, do not change their environment too often. It will cause them stress, and they will likely die. When you know what you want, and change their environment to suit, it can take up to months for a plant to adapt. Patience is key.


Your plants will develop physically and behave different dependant on its conditions. Growing emersed plants mean the roots and beginning of the stems are underwater. And they will rise above the water. They grow faster and produce blossoms for pollination. Which makes propagation easier. Submersed plants grow smaller and thinner. The stems need less structural support underwater.


Two easy options for growing plants emersed in tanks are:

· In a highly humid covered tank. Fill it one-half to three-quarters with water. This gives your plants room to grow above the water. Light can rest above the

glass cover, it will provided maximum amount of humidity. And, limit the plants height.

· Using an open-topped aquarium. Suspend the light above the tank. With this option is can let the plants grow sky-high.


Open top emmersed



If you change the environment of an emersed plant, to a submerse one, there will be a converting period. Because emersed plants have leaves that are acclimatised to air. They will likely die back and look completely different. Converting is more likely to happen this way, but it can apply vice versa. Leaves that function below water will change above. Make sure no dead leaves sit at the bottom of your tank as they will cause water pollution.


So, when transitioning emersed plants to a submersed environments, keep these in mind:

· Fertilisers are necessary

· Meet light needs

· Proper pruning of dying or melted leaves

· Again, time is key

· Provide good water conditions and appropriate temperatures


 Open Aquarium

You will find most submersed plants in an aquarium. Based on your setup, there could be an exception for one or two. Other environments like ponds, paludariums and vivariums are great for varieties of emersed plants.


All plants will benefit from more fertilisation and/ or CO2. We have many plant options here at The Fish Room. And in their descriptions you will find what kind of environments they enjoy the most.



Photos courtesy of Jordan Stirrat @aqua_planter

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