“Five elements” required for aquatic plants

In this article, I will explain about “Five elements” required for aquatic plants.

This article will tell you the basics of learning to grow aquatic plants.
It is especially recommended for beginners.

Five elements

Five Elements

The Plant-tank is based on an exquisite balance, with five elements affecting each other.
If any one of the five elements is missing, a beautiful Plant-tank will not be possible.


Source of photosynthesis.
If there is no light, aquatic plants will die.
Let the light hit the tank directly above.

Explanation of [light] required for aquatic plants


Necessary for photosynthesis.
If you do not add it will run out.
The type of aquatic plants that can be nurtured with or without CO2 changes greatly.

Optimal amount of CO2 added to aquatic plantsOptimal amount of CO2 added to aquatic plants


“Water quality” is a factor that affects the effectiveness of CO2, fertilizer efficiency.
If you can manipulate it freely, you will be a senior member. You will be able to grow most aquatic plants.
Very important!

Optimal water qualityOptimal water quality for Aquascape Tank


The most difficult element to handle.
If you can use the fertilizer, you are already AquaticPlants master. Please spread the knowledge and technology to the world!
For beginners, let’s master how to use potassium.


It is an element that affects metabolism and growth speed.
Anyone can make the same environment by using heaters, coolers, air conditioners, etc.
Can be easily handled with just a heater except during high temperatures in summer.

The balance of the five elements is important.
For example, just because there is a very bright light does not mean that aquatic plants grow beautifully without fertilizer.
Just because CO2 is added, aquatic plants hardly grow unless the water temperature is only 10 ° C.
It’s important to balance as a whole, not too much, not too little.

Beautiful Plant-tank = well-balanced Plant-tank

The elements priority

There are no priorities because the five elements are equally important.

If something goes wrong, it is smooth if you respond in this order.


This can be solved by setting a heater.
Use fans, coolers, and air conditioners in the summer.


Set an excellent light to solve it.
Let’s be careful about light quantity and lighting time.


Let’s buy a high pressure cylinder type CO2 set.
Please note that it is necessary to change the amount added depending on the water quality.
If the problem is not solved by increasing the amount added, it is necessary to change the water quality.


If you are adding proper amount of CO2 or fertilizer, but there are problems such as slow growth or not growing, there is a problem with water quality.
Adjust the pH to 5.5 ~ 6.5.
This is especially problematic when using many stones.


The last thing to think about fertilizer!
If aquatic plants do not grow due to other elements, adding fertilizer is not effective. If fertilizer is left over, algae grows.

Therefore, it is probably best to think about fertilizer later!

Balance is important

Next, I will explain “balance”.
For easy explanation, we will explain “light”, “CO2” and “fertilizer” as an example.

e.g High spec tank

High spec tank

Let’s assume that each element of this tank is 100 points of “light”, 70 points of “CO2”, and 50 points of “fertilizer”.
In this case, the condition level of the tank is 50 points.

Even if you have a bright light and added CO2, you can’t use it without the amount of fertilizer to match it!
In such a tank, 50 points of “light” and 20 points of “CO2” will be left over and you will be troubled by algae.

The condition of aquatic plants depends on the lowest level of elements. This is called Liebig’s law of the minimum.

e.g Low spec tank

Low spec tank

Let’s assume that each element of this tank is 40 points of “light”, 30 points of “CO2”, and 35 points of “fertilizer”.
In this case, the condition level of the tank is 30 points.

However, there are only 10 “light” and 5 “fertilizer”.

Such a well-balanced tank is less algae trouble and can keep a beautiful aquatic plants.

No matter how well balanced, not all aquatic plants can be grown. For example, it does not mean that aquatic plants that require CO2 can be grown without additives. If you have 30 points, you must be aquatic plants that can grow even 30 points!

What happens if there are more elements?


It will cause algae more.

Algae is the biggest enemy of the aquarium.

Even if there is algae, the condition of the fish does not get worse. But it looks bad.


If you are a beginner, first learn “addition” and “subtraction” of elements!

Adjust the balance


Next, I will explain a specific balance adjustment method.

Once again, please take a look at the graph.

There are two ways to adjust the balance: adding and subtracting elements.



Reduce “light” 100 points “CO2” 70 points and bring it closer to “fertilizer” 50 points.

It is a method of suppressing and reducing the generation of algae by temporarily balancing the whole at a low level.

Currently, this method is recommended if you are in trouble with algae.

It is a way to suppress the generation of algae by eliminating the remaining elements. This method does not increase the activity of aquatic plants. When the algae is low, let’s “adding” and improve the condition of the aquatic plants!



Increase “CO2” 70 points “Fertilizer” 50 points and bring it closer to “Light” 100 points.

This is an ideal method.
However, in the situation where algae is present, care should be taken because a large amount of algae increase.

When aquatic plants are in perfect condition, algae is extremely reduced due to their own resistance.

Advanced users can make it before the algae develops! Once you get there, you won’t have to worry about algae.

In this way, “reducing lights” and “reducing the amount of CO2 added” are also important in some cases.

However, be aware that you can’t make a really beautiful  tank unless you feel the missing elements and balance at a high level.

Beautiful Plant-tank = well-balanced Plant-tank

The corresponding elements in addition and subtraction are “light”, “CO2” and “fertilizer”. Let’s adjust by adding light or darkening, increasing or decreasing CO2 addition amount, adding fertilizer or removing with water change.

Learn from “subtraction” first, and then challenge “addition”!