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Pothos for Aquarium? Get Best Using Guide

Adding green pothos in the aquarium is an efficient way of controlling nitrogen waste, but proper installation is essential for optimum yield.

Before adding pothos to an aquarium, ensure they have well-developed, legit long roots rooted in water. Attach pothos plants in an aquarium using suction cups, ensuring leaves do not touch the water.

Pothos may exhibit telltale signs like yellowing upon improper installation and cause damage to the aquarium.

Thus, keep reading till the end to keep your aquariums clean and healthy using pothos, so your fish and turtles live long.

How do you Prepare Pothos for your Aquarium?

Although pothos does well in water, they do not survive when immersed underwater completely.

Furthermore, young pothos with delicate, tender roots may not adapt to the aquarium without prior hardening.

With patience and luck, you can grow good-sized pothos for your aquarium in a few months.

rooting pothos in a clear jar
Root the pothos in separate containers before placing them in an aquarium.

Here are a few simple steps to follow if you want to adorn your aquarium with pothos.

  • Find healthy pothos and thoroughly wash the dirt using clean water.
  • Cut the pothos stem (10-15 cm) at a 45° angle below the leaf node and remove any leaves close to the node.
  • Ensure each cutting has at least 2 to 3 leaves.
  • Place cuttings in a jar filled with chemical-free water.
  • Keep the jar in a low-light area to avoid wilting or drying.
  • Replace the water now and then to avoid stagnant water.

Within one or two weeks, the pothos cutting will have a new set of root developments.

Once the roots outgrow over 4 to 5 inches long, you may transplant pothos plants for an aquarium.

Remember, keeping the pothos in the same container for at least two months before introducing them to an aquarium is advised.

Pro Tip: Wash off the roots before placing pothos in the aquarium to avoid any fertilizer or dirt contamination.

The pothos will take about a month to be correctly established in the aquarium. Thus, it is normal if pothos does not produce any new leaves.

How do you Attach Pothos to the Aquarium?

The random placement of pothos won’t help the aquarium. Moreover, the pothos may die off.

Thus, let me help you with the proper ways to attach pothos to aquariums so your aquatic pets can enjoy the shade.

  • Use suction cups to hold the stem on the wall of the aquarium so pothos roots float freely.
  • Place some rocks and sand to attach the roots with the proper placement of suction cups at the base of the aquarium.
  • Add some driftwood and attach pothos to them for a more natural look.
  • Let your pothos trail via the filter tubes.
  • Ensure no leaves are touching or submerged in water to avoid rooting.
  • Trace the top border of the aquarium using growing pothos vines to provide shade for your fish.
  • Avoid placing the pothos near the motor unit.

How to Take Care of Pothos in Aquarium?

Although the pothos plant is simple to grow and care for, it does require a specific set of conditions to thrive.

So, here are the ideal conditions for this fish keeper’s friend to thrive.

1. Provide Indirect Light

Pothos proliferates in bright indirect sunlight but suffers in intense direct sunlight. 

If your aquarium is somewhere in a darker corner, use a fluorescent grow light for about 12 hours.

Moreover, aquariums are often decorated with different colored lights.

Thus, choose artificial grow lights best for your pothos plants while adding aesthetic colors to the aquarium.

2. Replace Water Regularly

Although the watering schedule is no longer a matter of concern for pothos in aquariums, the quality of water matters.

You must change the aquarium water to keep the water fresh and healthy for fish and plants.

A general rule of thumb is changing 1/5th of aquarium water every 10 to 20 days.

Likewise, let the tap water sit for a week before pouring it into the aquarium to avoid any chlorine accumulation.

Also, ensure pothos roots are immersed entirely in the water.

3. Keep the Temperature Warm

Pothos thrives the most when kept at a relatively warmer temperature of 60°F to 85°F.

Moreover, the aquatic animals will stay happily in your aquarium within that temperature range.

But temperature is rarely a problem as many aim for heaters during winter to keep aquarium water warm.

That said, do not exceed the temperature above 90°F as it results in curling leaves.

4. Regular Pruning of Roots

Pothos grow comparatively faster in the ground but grow slowly in aquariums.

Nonetheless, their roots need regular pruning to control their spread using sterilized pruners. 

You can focus on trimming old, damaged or dead roots to focus the plants’ energy on new growth. 

Remember you should not trim more than 30% of the roots in one pruning session.

To keep the pruning less messy, gently uproot the pothos and cut off the selective roots.

5. Feeding Pothos

Pothos are not heavy feeders but need fertilizer once in a while to sustain their foliage.

You can aim for liquid fertilizers that are safe to use for aquariums.

To avoid excess fertilization, carefully read the label on the fertilizer and apply it accordingly.

Remember to use high-quality fertilizer products from reputed, verified retailers only.

Will Pothos Kill Other Aquarium Plants?

As long as you monitor their growth and keep pruning, pothos won’t kill other aquarium plants.

When your pothos gets too big with extensive roots, they eat up all nutrients in the fish tank, leaving nothing for other aquatic plants.

Other aquatic plants may die off with no nutrients to sustain their life.

plants like pothos kept on top of aquarium
Ensure the pothos leaves are not touching the water to avoid decaying.

Therefore, it is best to prune your pothos occasionally and ensure the roots do not get too big.

Benefits of Using Pothos in Aquarium

In addition to a natural look, pothos plants are beneficial when kept in an aquarium. 

Let me put some light on their fascinating benefits for aquariums.

  • They absorb nitrates and ammonia relatively faster in an efficient fashion.
  • They reduce the growth of algae by sucking up all nutrients from the water.
  • Pothos roots will serve as a cover for your fish mates.
  • They will make your aquarium look clean and green.
  • Pothos has strong roots, which helps to discourage fish from eating aquatic plants kept in aquariums.
  • They give off fresh oxygen while absorbing carbon dioxide and other harmful gases, helping with air purification. 
  • They boost water aeration via roots and increase oxygen content in water.

Alongside their benefits, they may also bring problems under poor maintenance.

For example, their sturdy roots can get stuck and damage mechanical motors.

Similarly, they can eat up all nutrients, threaten other aquatic plant life, and take up all aquarium space.

Common Problems of Pothos in Aquariums

Pothos growing in an aquarium need more care than when grown in soil or land.

Furthermore, the pothos problem differs from those in soil, needing different treatments.

Here are some common causes that may introduce problems with pothos in aquariums.

1. Filtration

Aquarium filters can suck up all the water’s carbon dioxide, resulting in nothing for aquatic plants.

Although CO2 is not good for fish, they are an essential nutrient for plants.

Thus, corporate CO2 diffuser in your fish tank if you notice your pothos with no new growth.

2. Fish Food

Fish and turtles love the food you are feeding them, but as for your plants, that’s a different story.

Fish foods can release harmful substances like sulfur during decomposition, which plants absorb, causing them to deteriorate.

Roots begin to rot, resulting in the degradation of water quality and affecting the livelihood of fish.

Remember, root rot can cause a bloating syndrome in fish, disabling them from swimming.

Thus, aim for proper filter mechanisms to take care of floating or excess foods.

3. Unfriendly Tankmates

Some fish and turtles love to nibble on plants and roots. In contrast, the others might be a little more aggressive.

They might enjoy playing and pulling the plants until they float hopelessly.

However, the pothos plants have sturdy, rigid roots that may not falter with fish bites. 

You can place less aggressive fishes like goldfish in the aquarium to have undisturbed pothos.

Is Pothos Safe for Aquariums?

Pothos plants are completely safe and harmless for aquariums. But instead, they are more beneficial and help to keep aquariums clean.

Moreover, they do not pose any threat to aquatic life but are poisonous to cats and dogs.

Similarly, placing a freshly cut pothos stem in your aquarium is not recommended for rooting.

Thus, ensure you root the cutting in a different container, then only introduce them in the aquarium.

A freshly cut stem will release numerous toxins in the water, which is harmful to aquatic life.

However, once the cuttings are healed and rooted, they are good to go.

Frequently Asked Q&As

How long will pothos survive in water?

With proper growing conditions, pothos will survive almost 10 to 15 years in the water.

Can I fully submerge my pothos in water?

No, you should not fully submerge the pothos in water. Submerged leaves begin to rot and decay shortly after submerging them in water.

Let the plant leaves stay away from the water level to avoid decay.

3. Is pothos poisonous to turtles?

No, pothos is not poisonous to turtles, and there have been no reports of pothos causing harm to turtles.

4. Does the pothos plant absorb ammonia in the aquarium?

Pothos in an aquarium absorbs nitrates, ammonia and other chemicals more efficiently.

Wrapping Up!

Add golden pothos to your aquarium to keep the nitrate level low, discouraging algae growth.

But ensure to harden the pothos in a watering medium before placing them in the aquarium.

Happy Gardening!

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