• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up
  • You can now follow UKAPS on Instagram.

Using stem plants as a filtering aid at Start Up!

Not open for further replies.


Global Moderator
14 Dec 2008
Hemel Hempstead
The subject of using fast-growing stem plants as part of a filtering aid has cropped up a few times recently.
This idea has been around for a long time so not new,....it has benefits especially for a new set - up.
I try and cover at least 50% of the water surface minimum.

1. Improves water quality.
2. Reduces excess light.
3. Reduces diatoms.
4. Reduces Nitrite.
5. Reduces Nitrate.
6. Helps reduce algae out-breaks.
7. Indicator of a Nitrate shortage.
8. Oxygenates the water column.
9. Increases beneficial bacteria.
10. Plant cover.

Using fast-growing stem plants as a floating plant filtering aid has always worked well for me!
Although every aquarium is different the application is the same.

The stem is stripped of the lower half of the leaves, this is to encourage aerial root growth which in turn draws up excess nutrients from the water column.
The leaves that you have removed are probably emersed leaves, therefore they will be replaced with new leaves and aerial roots as it adapts to surface/underwater life.

Below is an example of Hygrophila sp Difformis with some of the lower leaves removed to encourage aerial root growth.
Hygrophila sp Difformis 2 (Custom).jpg

On the surface.
Hygrophila sp Difformis 3 (Custom) (Custom).jpg

There are a number of fast-growing stem plants that can be used for this purpose, below are some of those I've used in the past.
Hygrophila polysperma
Hygrophila difformis
Ludwigia palustris
Ludwigia repens
Limnophila sessiliflora
Rotala rotundifolia
Ceratopteris thalictroides
Heteranthera zosterifolia

hoggie :thumbup:
Last edited:
Not open for further replies.