Pothos in Aquariums: What is It, Benefits, and How to Plant

pothos in aquariums

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Are you thinking of adding some pothos plants to your aquariums? Like other live plants, one of the biggest benefits of doing so is that they can help absorb harmful nitrogen compounds. They are extremely hardy and tough to kill, making them the perfect option for most aquarists.

Moreover, pothos can inhibit algae growth in the tank, which means the water will stay clean for longer. Not to mention that it can provide shade and shelter for your fish residents.

What is Pothos?

Pothos has the scientific name Epipremnum aureum, and is a tropical trailing plant also known as money plant and “devil’s ivy”. That’s because they are very tough and adaptable, even if you plant them in dark conditions.

In the wilderness, they can grow up to 40 ft long with the individual leaves reaching up to 12 inches. It is truly beautiful foliage that can embellish your aquarium. Some people also like planting it in hydroponics and terrariums.

This evergreen plant species has heart-shaped green leaves interspersed by some yellow colour. Of course, there are other variations, but all of them come in long vines.

Additionally, Pothos can actually grow in soil and sometimes used as a hanging plant. Simply let its vines dangle and create an attractive leafy curtain in your home.

Is Pothos Safe for Aquariums?

First off, note that Pothos is toxic to pets like dogs and cats. It is poisonous if they chew on the leaves and stem. That is because the plant contains dangerous amounts of calcium oxalates that might cause internal irritation.

You may be asking: Are pothos leaves toxic to fish? The answer is no. It is completely safe to plant Pothos plant in your tank. There has been no report of a fish getting sick or poisoned by the presence of Pothos. They may even provide more benefits for your fish!

Still, there are some things to pay attention to.

Don’t immediately place cuttings into the aquarium, but root them in some water separately first. This will heal the cut so that the plant doesn’t release any harmful toxins into the tank that could otherwise be dangerous for the fish and other creatures.

Once the cuttings have developed roots and completely healed, you can then safely place them in the aquarium.

Some people have also wonder if Pothos will kill aquarium plants, and the answer is also no. Just make sure to plant or add them correctly, as we have outlined.

pothos plant in fish aquarium-min
Image by aquariumviews.blogspot.com

Benefits of Pothos in Aquariums

So, what are some of the benefits of putting Pothos in home aquariums? How can they improve your underwater world and boost the lives of the animals inside?

First and foremost, the most common use for Pothos is as a natural water purifier. It absorbs nitrates from the water at a much higher rate than other live plants. As such, you can prevent nitrate poisoning and keep your fish as healthy as possible. This makes it an indispensable player in your tank’s nitrogen cycle.

Algae growth is something that every fish tank will experience. While it is only natural, too many algae can be dangerous and harmful for the lives inside the aquarium. It may lead to nitrite spikes, dirty water, and several other disadvantages.

The good news is that you can suppress algae growth by adding some Pothos plants! As they absorb nitrites from the water, algae will grow less rapidly. It is an easy, affordable, and natural way of combating the problem. Sure, you can always introduce some effective algae-eaters, but sometimes you do not want to overcrowd your tank even more.

Another great benefit of this plant is that it improves the oxygen level in the water and helps the aeration. Through photosynthesis, it transforms the carbon dioxide produced by your fish into more useful oxygen. Yes, Pothos may release some CO2 at night, but this amount is negligible compare to how much they take in.

In addition to the biological advantages it can provide, Pothos plants may have physical benefits too. Most freshwater aquarium species are native to green rivers and rice paddies that have many plants. Thus, the long vines of this plant can mimic that natural habitat.

Pothos can also provide shade and shelter for a lot of fish who enjoy spending time under the shade. This includes species like Betta fish and Angelfish.

Not to mention that it can offer much-needed hiding places for certain fish and also fry. Because some species are territorial and aggressive, the more peaceful fish would need to hide away to feel safe. The large roots of Pothos can be the perfect spot for these fish to rest.

On that note, your fish may even breed and lay eggs on the roots!

Considering that this plant species has an intricate and strong root system, it can also provide a great foundation for the substrate. Even the more aggressive fish who like to dig into the substrate will not be able to uproot Pothos.

Finally, there is also the simple visual appeal of adding Pothos plants to your aquarium. As we have said, the trailing leaves and vines can grow very long, even in a tank. You can use this to decorate the glass and make it look so much more interesting.

How to Hang Pothos in Aquarium

How do you put Pothos in a Betta tank, or any other fish aquarium, for that matter? Don’t worry, it is actually not that hard!

The first step is to take some cuttings from an existing Pothos plant and place them in a separate tank of water. Make sure to keep it away from direct sunlight as you let them develop roots.

Wait until the roots reach around 5 inches and have completely healed from where you cut the plant, it’s time to transfer them.

Secure the plants so that the roots and stem are submerged underwater but try to keep the leaves above water level. They can still grow in the water, but much less healthily.

It will then take roughly three weeks for the plant to completely adapt to its new surroundings.

In terms of the conditions, we recommend low light and indirect sunlight, though artificial light is often preferable. Try to keep the temperature stable at around 60 to 86 F, or simply follow your fish’s requirements.

Different Types of Pothos Plants

The variation of Pothos is mainly based on its leaf colour. From the regular blue to gold and even neon, there are some exciting options you can choose to jazz up the tank.

Cebu Blue Pothos have leaves that look like arrows in a blue-green shade. The leaves may become broader if the water conditions are optimum. Meanwhile, Pearls and Jade Pothos have multicolour leaves with some silver-grey and white splotches. It can be a stunning look to have in your aquarium.

There is also the Manjula Pothos, with its heart-shaped leaf coloured in light green, white, and silver. Golden Pothos is a popular choice for many aquarists as it has beautiful green leaves with gold splashes.

But if you want something brighter, Neon Pothos is perfect for you! Unlike the mere splashes of other variations, this one has mainly golden leaves that can immediately bring some eye-catching colour into the aquarium.

Should You Plant Pothos in Your Aquariums?

As we have detailed today, there are plenty of advantages of having Pothos in a fish tank. Whether it is inhabited by Betta fish, shrimp, or other creatures, Pothos may be an ideal option for a live plant. All in all, it is almost always a good idea to add them.

We hope this post has been comprehensive enough to tell you about everything you need to know. Once you’ve decided to hang Pothos for your fish, it is time to introduce them in a safe and proper way. Good luck!

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