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Do Aquarium Plants Absorb Ammonia? (5 best plants to reduce ammonia in a fish tank)

If you are wondering, do aquarium plants absorb ammonia then you are in the right place.

In this article, I am going to answer the same question.

So let’s dive into it.

Do Aquarium Plants Absorb Ammonia? (5 best plants to reduce ammonia in a fish tank) image

So, do aquarium plants absorb ammonia?

Yes, aquarium plants absorb ammonia from the water of your aquarium. Ammonia is toxic for the inhabitants in your tank. And plants help to improve the water quality by absorbing ammonia from the water of your fish tank.

Why do aquarium plants absorb ammonia?

While ammonium is toxic to inhabitants in your aquarium like fish, it is actually beneficial to the live plants in your aquarium.

Ammonia provides nitrogen to the plants which is important for plant growth.

Nitrogen is also essential for the process of photosynthesis.

It is a process by which aquarium plants create their own food by converting light energy into chemical energy.

Besides ammonia, plants can also absorb other nitrogen compounds present in your tank viz nitrates and nitrites.

But plants prefer ammonia over nitrate and nitrites. This is because when plants consume these nitrogen compounds, first of all, they’ve to convert it into ammonium which is easier to do with ammonia than nitrate and nitrite.

9 Ways to Lower Ammonia Level in Aquarium and Get Rid of it

5 Best aquarium plants that absorb ammonia in your aquarium

1. Pothos

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PARAMETERSVALUES
PLANTPothos
COMMON NAMESGolden pothos, silver vine, taro vine, devil's vine, devil's ivy
SCIENTIFIC NAMEEpipremnum aureum
FAMILYAraceae
CARE LEVELEasy
LIGHT REQUIREMENTLow to high
GROWTH RATEFast
PLACEMENTHanging out site the aquarium
MAXIMUM SIZE6 to 30 feet

Pothos plant is one of the best plants you can keep in your aquarium to lower ammonia levels in your tank.

It is actually not an aquarium plant and so it is not very common in the aquarium hobby.

It is actually a house plant but you can grow it in the water that’s why you can easily keep it in your aquarium.

Besides, this plant is very hardy and easy to care for. And it can survive in almost any environment.

How much light does the Pothos plant require?

Pothos plant is not very demanding and it can do well in almost any lighting condition.

However, for fast growth, you will need to provide strong lighting conditions.

What’s the best place to keep a Pothos plant in an aquarium?

Pothos plant is a trailing vine type of plant so you cannot keep it submerged in the aquarium.

You should only put its roots into the aquarium. And keep it hanging outside of your aquarium.

Ideal water parameters

Pothos is a very hardy plant. It can do well in almost any environment so you don’t need any particular environment to keep it in your aquarium.

Substrate requirements for Pothos plant

You don’t need any substrate to keep pothos plant in your tank so it doesn’t have any particular substrate requirements.

Fertilization requirements for Pothos plant

Pothos plant can do just fine without any additional fertilizers.

But if you want to encourage faster growth then you can supplement it with liquid fertilizers.

Check the price of this plant at Amazon here

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2. Amazon Sword

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PARAMETERSVALUES
PLANTAmazon sword
SCIENTIFIC NAMEEchinodorus grisebachii
FAMILYAlismataceae
CARE LEVELEasy
LIGHT REQUIREMENTModerate
GROWTH RATEFast
TEMPERATURE 60.8-82.4°F
pH6.5-7.5 pH
HARDNESS8-15°dH
PLACEMENTBackground
MAXIMUM SIZE16 Inches
MINIMUM TANK SIZE10 Gallons

Amazon sword is one of the most popular plants in the aquarium hobby.

This is a pretty fast growing aquarium plant. And it is also very easy to care for which makes it an ideal choice for beginners.

This plant is commonly used in the aquariums to create a Jungle effect.

How much light does Amazon sword require?

Amazon sword is not very demanding when it comes to lighting.

But for proper growth, you should provide it at least moderate lighting conditions of 2 to 3 Watts per gallon or 35-50 micromoles if you’re using LED light.

If you want to encourage faster growth then you should keep it under high lighting condition of 3 to 4 Watts per gallon or 50+ micromoles if you’re using LED light.

What’s the best place to keep Amazon sword in an aquarium?

Amazon sword is a tall-growing plant and it can grow as tall as 16 inches.

So, you should keep it in the middle ground or background of your tank

Substrate requirements for Amazon sword

Amazon sword can do well in any substrate.

But you have to make sure that the substrate is at least 2.5 inches thick.

This is important because Amazon sword creates a very complex roots system in the substrate. And it needs some space to create the root structure.

Fertilization requirements for Amazon sword

Amazon sword is a pretty hardy plant and it can do well without any additional fertilizers.

However, to encourage faster growth, you should regularly supplement it with fertilizers in the form of root tabs and liquid fertilizers.

Check the price of this plant at Amazon here

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3. Hornwort

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PARAMETERSVALUES
PLANTHornwort
SCIENTIFIC NAMEAnthocerotophyta
CARE LEVELEasy
LIGHT REQUIREMENTMedium
GROWTH RATEFast
TEMPERATURE59-86°F
pH6.0-7.5
HARDNESS5-15 dGH
PLACEMENTBackground
MAXIMUM SIZE10 foot
MINIMUM TANK SIZE15 gallons

Hornwort is a very popular plant in the aquarium hobby. And it is also one of the best oxygenating plants.

This plant is very easy to care for and it can tolerate a wide range of water parameters which makes it an ideal choice for beginners.

Besides, Hornwort is known for its rapid growth in the aquarium.

How much light does Hornwort require?

Hornwort does well under moderate lighting conditions of 2 to 3 Watts per gallon or 35-50 micromoles if you are using LED lights.

However, to encourage faster growth you should provide it high lighting condition of 3 to 4 Watts per gallon or 50+ micromoles.

What’s the best place to keep Hornwort in a tank?

Hornwort is a tall-growing plant that can grow as tall as 10 feet.

So, you should keep it in the background of your tank.

Substrate requirements for Hornwort

Hornwort can be planted in any substrate. It doesn’t have true roots so you should use its leaves to anchor it into the substrate.

You can even keep it floating in your tank.

Fertilization requirements for Hornwort

Hornwort is a very hardy plant so it can grow without any additional fertilizers.

However, to encourage faster growth you should regularly supplement it with liquid fertilizers.

Check the price of this plant at Amazon here

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4. Amazon Frogbit

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PARAMETERSVALUES
PLANTAmazon Frogbit
SCIENTIFIC NAMELimnobium laevigatum
FAMILYHydrocharitaceae
CARE LEVELEasy
LIGHT REQUIREMENTModerate
GROWTH RATEFast
TEMPERATURE64 to 84 °F
pH6.0-7.5 pH
HARDNESS200 ppm-240 ppm
PLACEMENTSurface
MAXIMUM SIZE20 Inches
MINIMUM TANK SIZE10 gallon

Amazon Frogbit is one of the most attractive floating aquarium plants in the aquarium hobby.

This plant is also known as the American sponge plant because its leaves are similar to a sponge.

It is also very easy to care for which makes it an ideal choice for beginners.

How much light does Amazon Frogbit require?

Amazon frogbit does well under moderate lighting conditions 2-3 Watta per gallon or 35-50 micromoles if you’re using LED light.

Usually, lighting is not an issue with floating aquarium plants. Because, as they are floating on the surface of the water of your tank, they’ll most likely get the light they require.

What’s the best place to keep it in the aquarium

Amazon Frogbit is a floating aquarium plant so you should just let it float on the surface of the water of your aquarium.

Substrate requirements for Amazon frogbit

Amazon frogbit is a floating aquarium plant so it doesn’t require any substrate to keep in the aquarium.

Fertilization requirements for Amazon Frogbit

Amazon frogbit is a pretty hardy plant so it can do well without additional fertilizers.

However, for robust and faster growth, you should regularly supplement it with liquid fertilizers.

Check the price of this plant at Amazon here

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5. Java Moss

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PARAMETERSVALUES
PLANTJava moss
SCIENTIFIC NAMEVesicularia dubyana
FAMILYHypnaceae
CARE LEVELVery easy
LIGHT REQUIREMENTLow to Bright
GROWTH RATEFast
TEMPERATURE59-86°F
pH5.0 to 8.0
HARDNESS60- 240 ppm
PLACEMENTForeground
MAXIMUM SIZE4 inches
MINIMUM TANK SIZE5 gallon

Java moss is one of the most popular plants in the aquarium hobby. It is available widely in most of the aquarium shops as well as online.

This plant is especially popular in aquascaping because it can be placed at several different locations in an aquarium.

Java moss is also very popular among breeders because it provides protection to the eggs and fry.

Besides, Java moss is a very hardy plant and it can do well in almost any environment which makes it an ideal choice for beginners.

How much light does Java moss require?

Java moss can do well in almost any lighting condition.

However, to encourage faster growth, you should keep it under moderate to high lighting conditions of 3 to 4 Watts per gallon or 40-50+ micromoles if you’re using LED light.

What’s the best place to keep Java moss in an aquarium?

You can keep Java moss in at several different locations in your aquarium. This is the reason it is very popular among aquascapers.

You can use it as a carpet plant by spreading it on the substrate of your tank.

You can also tie it to any ornament like Driftwood or Rock and then put it inside your tank.

You can also keep it as a floating plant.

However, after some time it will get attached to something in your aquarium.

Substrate requirements for Java moss

Java moss doesn’t require any substrate to grow in your aquarium so it doesn’t have any particular substrate requirements.

Fertilization requirements for Java moss

Java moss is a very hardy plant and it can do well without any additional fertilizers.

However, to encourage faster growth, you should regularly supplement it with liquid fertilizers.

Check the price of this plant at Amazon here

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Fast growing aquarium plants absorb more ammonia!

All the live aquarium plants can absorb ammonia in small or large quantities.

Basically, fast growing aquarium plants are good at absorbing ammonia from the tank because they actually require more ammonia to keep up with the growth compared to slow-growing aquarium plants.

So as you now know that fast growing aquarium plants absorb more ammonia, you may think that if you just keep fast growing plants in your tank, the plants will suck out all the ammonia.

And it is true! The fast growing plants will absorb more ammonia than slow-growing plants under similar conditions.

However, if your tank contains a lot of bio-load or ammonia, even after keeping fast growing plants, your tank may still contain ammonia.

In this case, you’ll need to provide the optimum conditions to the plants so that they can grow even faster and absorb more ammonia from the water of your tank.

For plants to grow faster, they not only require ammonia but they also require other elements such as strong light, more micro and macronutrients, and added CO2.

When the plants get all the elements in a balanced quantity, the plants start to grow faster.

So basically, you have to optimize your tank for the faster growth of plants.

12 Benefits of Live Plants in an Aquarium

How to make your aquarium plants grow faster?

To optimize your tank for the faster growth of the plants, you will need to provide them good lighting, additional CO, and fertilizers

Light

There are several fast growing live aquarium plants that do well under moderate to high lighting conditions.

Basically, what this means is that, if you provide high lighting conditions to the plant then the plants will grow much faster compared to when you provide them moderate lighting conditions.

So for faster growth, you should provide high lighting to your plants. You can check out my light recommendation here.

Do Aquarium Plants Need Light? (Do they really need a special light)

Additional CO2

As mentioned above, under high lighting conditions a fast growing plant can grow faster. But if you just provide high lighting condition then it will not grow faster. Instead, algae will take advantage of the high light and grow in your aquarium.

So if you want your plants to actually take advantage of the high lighting you will also need to provide it additional CO2 because CO2 is essential for the process of photosynthesis.

It is a process by which plants create their own food and convert light energy into chemical energy which they then used for their growth.

The simplest and cheap way to add CO2 in your aquarium is by using a liquid CO2 supplement like API CO2 Booster. Check its price at Amazon here.

Another way is to set up a CO2 system to inject CO2 into the tank. You can DIY the CO2 system or you can buy one online. Check the price of the CO2 system at Amazon here.

Do Aquarium Plants Need CO2? (Can you keep them without co2)

High-quality fertilizers

In addition to high lighting conditions and optimum CO2, plants also require other elements such as phosphorus, carbon, iron nitrogen, etc for fast growth.

You can easily provide all these elements to your plants with high quality all in one fertilizer like Seachem Flourish Excel. You can check the price of the fertilizer at Amazon here.

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FAQ

What removes ammonia from the fish tank?

There are several ways to remove ammonia from your fish tank depending on the situation.

In case of an emergency, you should do at least 50% water change and it will help to reduce ammonia level in your tank.

Besides, you can also use a water conditioner to keep the ammonia levels low for at least a couple of days until you find the solution to permanently fix the problem.

I recommend Seachem Prime water conditioner. It is one of the best and most popular water conditioners and it is very effective.

It will bind the ammonia for 48 hours so in the meantime you can find a permanent solution to fix the problem.

Check the price of Seachem prime Amazon here.

If fixing the ammonia problem is going to take a few weeks then you can get zeolite and put it in your filter.

Zeolite absorbs ammonia from your tank!

But it will not last forever. It will absorb ammonia until it is “full” and then it will stop absorbing any ammonia.

But the good thing is you can always replace Zeolite with a new to set.

You can buy Zeolite online. API sells zeolite under the Ammochips brand name. You can check it out at Amazon here.

Live aquarium plants also absorb ammonia from the water.

To permanently solve the ammonia problem you will need to increase beneficial bacteria in your tank.

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Do plants help cycle a tank?

Yes, aquarium plants can help to cycle a tank.

Aquarium plants can absorb nitrogen compounds such as nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia from the water which helps to speed up the nitrogen cycle process.

13 Best Aquarium Plants For Gravel Substrate

Can plants absorb ammonia directly?

Yes, plants can absorb ammonia directly. In fact, plants prefer ammonia over nitrites or nitrates.

Because to use these nitrogen compounds plants actually have to convert them into ammonium which is simpler to do with ammonia than nitrate or nitrites.

9 Best Flowering Aquarium Plants

Do plants like ammonia?

Yes, you can say that plants like ammonia because ammonia works as a fertilizer for plants.

Basically, plants require nitrogen for the process of photosynthesis and create their own food and grow.

Ammonia is a very good source for plants to get the nitrogen.

11 Best Red Aquarium Plants (Beginner Friendly and Undemanding)

What are the signs of ammonia in a fish tank?

You can easily detect high ammonia levels in your tank if you regularly pay attention to your fish.

The signs of ammonia levels in a fish tank are as follows

  • Lethargy
  • The gills turn purple or red and start bleeding
  • Torn or jagged fins
  • The fish come very frequently near the surface of the water gasping for air
  • Inflamed eyes or anus
  • Fish may lose its bright color and it may appear darker

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Conclusion

So in a nutshell, aquarium plants absorb ammonia from the water of your fish tank.

Ammonia is actually fertilizer for plants that helps them to grow.

I hope you found this article helpful.

If you do, please share it.

As always, happy fishkeeping!

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