How to Grow Moneywort in Aquarium?
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Live plants are vital additions to any aquatic setup. They oxygenate the environment, consume CO2 and nitrates, and keep the water cleaner and fresher.
However, you have a lot of plant species to choose from, and you better choose wisely because even plants require different environmental conditions.
If you’re a novice aquarist on the lookout for an adaptable and hardy plant species, look no further than the moneywort. This plant is the go-to option for most aquarists for multiple reasons, which we will discuss here today.
But what makes moneywort so special, and what should you know about it? Let’s jump into it!
What is Moneywort?
Moneywort is a freshwater plant that has proven to be adaptable and hardy, allowing aquarists to use it in various aquatic environments.
This plant is generally used for its medicinal properties throughout Nepal and India but has gained tons of popularity in the aquarium trade as well.
No matter how hardy and adaptable a plant species might be, it still requires specific environmental conditions to thrive.
The same stays true of moneywort. Here are the core elements to consider when housing your batch of moneywort:
It is no surprise that lighting is the most important thing for your moneywort. Plants use sunlight to kick-start the photosynthesis process.
Moneywort requires approximately 10-12 hours of light per day, which is standard for most plants, land-oriented or aquatic. Aim for 2 to 3 watts a gallon of water in terms of light intensity.
As an interesting point here, the amount of light available can actually influence the plant’s development differently. More light results in bushier and more compact plants, while low-light conditions force the plant to grow taller.
The reason is that the plant instinctively looks for any light source it can find. If there isn’t enough light near the tank’s bottom area, the plant will grow taller to get closer to the light source.
However, you should pay attention to the light intensity. Too little light can cause the plant to lose its coloring and even showcase signs of death.
Too much light can also cause chemical imbalances in the plant and support algae development, which causes different problems altogether.
Aim for temperatures between 72 and 82 °F. These are standard for tropical tanks with warm water-loving fish.
Your moneywort won’t mind some temperature fluctuations occasionally, but make sure that the temperature remains stable in the long run.
Excessive or overly frequent temperature fluctuations will eventually stress the plant and cause it to experience health problems.
Water conditions are, naturally, the key to preserving the plants’ health and supporting their growth.
Moneywort requires a nitrate content of up to 40 ppm, although nitrates never get that high in a well-maintained tank, neither should they. Most fish species only accept a nitrate content of up to 20 ppm anyway.
Ammonia and nitrites should read 0, no exceptions allowed. These chemicals are poison both for fish and for your plants. Finally, aim for a pH level of 6.5 to 7.5.
Also, consider the fact that moneywort, like all plants, requires specific minerals in the water to thrive. These include magnesium, iron, phosphates, and other components which support the plant’s growth rate.
Liquid fertilization may be necessary in some cases to prevent nutrient imbalances, but be careful with that. Algae are also fond of liquid fertilizers and they don’t need much to grow and take over the environment.
Moneywort Benefits in Aquarium
Moneywort doesn’t produce special benefits in an aquatic ecosystem. The benefits associated with moneywort are the same as those linked to any other live plant.
- Extra hiding spots – Fish often get into scuffles and showcase territorial tendencies and food/mating-related aggression. Plants like moneywort are great hiding areas, allowing fish to lose their pursuers and breaking the line of sight between combatants. This means that moneywort, along with other lush plant species, is a great addition to a community setup with different fish species.
- Protect the fry – Ideally, you have a nursing tank to house the fry soon after hatching. This will prevent the adult fish population from targeting them as food, which is typical behavior in the fish world. Live plants will solve that problem easier by sheltering the harmless fry while they’re fragile and defenseless in the face of adults.
- Algae competition – Moneywort consumes nutrients from the substrate and the water column, depriving the algae of the sustenance they need to survive. If you want an algae-free tank, consider adding more moneywort, or live plants in general, to your aquatic setup.
- Clean the environment – Moneywort cleanses the water column by consuming excess nitrates and removing organic residues resulting from decaying fish matter and food leftovers. This is why planted aquariums tend to be cleaner and healthier hubs than non-planted ones.
- Improve oxygenation – Live plants like moneywort are the primary producers of oxygen in the water column. Oxygen is the byproduct of plant activity, as plants consume CO2 and produce oxygen via photosynthesis (plant breathing). So, live plants are essential for boosting oxygen levels in the water but tread carefully. The photosynthesis process reverses during nighttime, causing the plant to consume oxygen and produce CO2, just like fish do. This can quickly lead to oxygen depletion, especially in a small and heavily planted aquarium. Always keep an eye on oxygen levels to make sure things don’t go out of hand.
Moneywort also has some downsides, such as the production of dead plant matter. Trimming is necessary to control the plant and eliminate dead leaves if the situation requires it.
How to Plant Moneywort in Aquarium?
The planting process shouldn’t take long, but extra caution is necessary. Moneywort is sensitive to the touch, especially when young.
It’s not uncommon for the plant to break and lose its leaves due to rough handling.
When planting your moneywort, consider the following:
- Go for a fine substrate to provide the plant with proper anchoring support
- Plant the stem with care, careful not to break it
- Place a rock or some decorative element on the substrate at the stem’s base for additional anchoring support
If you plant the moneywort before filling the tank with water, add the water gently; use a hose to direct the water onto the tank’s walls to avoid splashing or disturbing the substrate
There’s not much else to it. Your moneywort should grow roots fast, although you shouldn’t expect an astounding growth rate. Moneywort is a slow grower, so patience is a core requirement.
How Fast Does Moneywort Grow?
Moneywort grows up to 1 inch per month in good conditions. If you want to boost the plant’s growth rate slightly, increase light intensity, ensure sufficient space, trim it regularly, and provide adequate nutrients for optimal intake.
How to Propagate Moneywort?
You will propagate moneywort the same as you would any other plant species. In short, you can propagate the plant both before rooting and after, depending on the plant’s health state.
Even if the moneywort doesn’t have visible roots yet, make sure it’s strong and healthy enough to allow for proper propagation without losing its vitality.
The process itself is pretty straightforward. You simply cut the stem below the leaf node and replant it nearby or in a different setting. The separated appendix should root shortly, depending on water conditions and available nutrients.
As a side note, plant the new stems in a fishless environment, preferably. You don’t want the fish to eat, nip, or unearth the fresh moneywort before it has the chance to root itself.
Why is Moneywort Melting?
Most, if not all, aquarists will experience moneywort melting when setting up the environment first. The melting process itself refers to the plant’s leaves losing their coloring and even becoming transparent.
This happens during the transition between land and submerged living, so pretty much all plants experience this phenomenon.
The good news is that melting is temporary in most cases. Provide your plant with adequate nutrition and ideal water conditions, and it will bounce back fast.
How to Fertilize Moneywort?
Moneywort doesn’t necessarily need extra fertilization or CO2 injections, for that matter.
This hardy and adaptable plant species takes its nutrients from the substrate and the water column. You can plant moneywort in the substrate or allow it to float freely; either will do.
That being said, extra fertilization and CO2 can support the plant’s growth rate and overall size. You can use root tablets for planted moneywort specimens or liquid fertilization in case of floating ones.
In either case, moderation is key to preventing algae growth and nutrient imbalances in the water.
Is Moneywort Invasive?
Yes, moneywort is invasive. Regular trimming is necessary to keep the plant under control because, despite its slow growth rate, it can invade its habitat relatively fast in ideal conditions.
Can You Grow Moneywort in Pond?
Yes, you can. Just make sure that the water conditions are adequate and that you can control the temperature and light input. Moneywort will take over the pond if it has access to direct sunlight 10-12 hours per day.
So, even in a pond, you should find ways to control the light that the moneywort will receive during the day.
Moneywort is a great plant species for all types of aquatic ecosystems. It doesn’t need fertilizer or CO2 in most cases and can adapt to a variety of aquatic conditions with equal ease.
It will take a bit of work initially to get it started, but it will thrive with proper propagation, trimming, and water quality control.