Hornwort Care Guide

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If you have an aquarium in your home, then you know important it is to have plants inhabit your tank.

Not only do they make the tank look brighter and better, but they can also keep your tank healthier for your fish. You want your fish to live a nice long life – having a cleaner living environment can help make this happen.

But, did you know that plants can also make your aquarium a more interesting place for your fish? If you have little fish, or shy fish, then you know they like to hide. While rocks and caves can be great for this, these things aren’t safe for all fish.

For example, if you have very sensitive fish, then you can’t really put rocks and toys in their tanks. Having nice, leafy plants in your tank can give them a place to hide and play peek-a-boo.

If you’re looking for a great addition to your 15-gallon tank, try the hornwort. It may not sound pretty, but this plant can make your aquarium a much healthier and greener space. Here, we’ll talk about the hornwort plant, its benefits and how to care for it.

What is Hornwort?

Hornwort is a hardy, non-fussy plant that’s perfect for your large tank or aquarium. There are about 150 species of Hornwort on the planet and you can find them on every continent but Antartica. But, we can’t imagine there are all that many fish tanks there anyway!

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Hornwort is a dark green plant, but it can be lighter green if you live in a warmer climate. It is one plant but it has many stems. There aren’t any true roots which is what makes it ideal for your fish tank.

They use their leaves to anchor the plant. In addition, there are tiny, hair-like roots at the bottom that can help ground it. If you’re going to plant it in your fish tank, it’s a good idea to put some fine-grain sand along the bottom.

Hornwort is a flowering plant. They can grow to be quite large. In fact, one thing to watch out for is how fast they grow. Before you know it, the plant will grow along the entire surface of your tank.

Hornwort is known to grow as long as 10-feet. But, if it starts to grow too large, just trim it back. Most people trim back their hornwort at least every week or so. This way, it doesn’t take over your tank.

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What is the Best Tank for a Hornwort Plant?

If you plan on using hornwort in your tank, make sure the tank holds at least 15 gallons of water. These plants tend to take over – if you have a small tank or bowl, it will overwhelm your fish.

Here are some other helpful hints for caring for your hornwort:

  • They need a lot of light so position your tank near the windows
  • The water has to be clear!
  • Do a partial water replacement every couple of days
  • The water can be anywhere between 59-86 degrees
  • pH level is safe between 6.0 and 7.5
  • They will grow up to 10 feet so prune often
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As long as you follow these guidelines, your hornwort should grow safely. You can even plant them in your pond because, unlike a lot of other plants, hornwort can be planted or left floating.

Is it Better to Float or Plant Your Hornwort?

If you’re wondering whether you should plant your hornwort or let it float, you’re not alone. It’s a good question. It comes down to two things: your taste and what kind of fish you have in your tank.

It may be better to plant your hornwort if:

  • you have a lot of shy fish or fish that like to hide 
  • Your tank isn’t that big and you’re afraid letting them float will harm your fish

It’s good to let it float if:

  • You want to provide some shade for fish that don’t like the light all that much
  • If you have surface fish

Just keep in mind – never plant your hornwort near a filter!

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What are the Benefits of Having Hornwort in Your Tank?

Hornwort does more than make your tank look pretty. While it doesn’t provide an awful lot of color for your fish’ home, it does a lot to keep your tank clean and healthy. Here are some of the major benefits of having hornwort in your tank or aquarium:

  • They produce oxygen so it makes the water healthier for your fish
  • They shed debris that your fish can eat
  • They produce a certain chemical that helps prevent other forms of green and blue algae from growing
  • They enhance the look of your tank
  • They actually ingest some of the waste your fish produce, keeping the water cleaner
  • They can create a shelter for your fish
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The other thing about hornwort is that it is hardy and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. It’s one of the easiest freshwater plants you can grow. This is why it’s great for a beginner. They can survive most water conditions. That’s why you’ll notice the water temperature can be in a wide range from 58 all the way up to 86 degrees.

Are There Any Downsides to Growing Hornwort in Your Tank?

As wonderful as hornwort can be, there are a few potential downsides to growing it in your tank. For one, it is a dominant plant. It grows fast and it grows long!

You need to make sure you keep an eye on how big it gets. You also need to trim and prune your hornwort often or it will take over your tank.

Another thing about hornwort is that it does shed. While your fish may eat some of the debris from the plant, they can’t eat it all. You will need to clean your tank a bit more often if you intend to grow hornwort.

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