Trimming your stem plants like a professional. An illustrated tutorial.

Freshwater Planted aquariums look amazing, right? But they can get unruly if you don’t trim plants that are growing rapidly. Different types of plants and their placement means they all grow at different rates. Maintaining the aesthetic of your planted aquarium requires trimming and pruning as a matter of routine maintenance. In this video, Kevin Kelly from Brooklyn Hardscapes shows us how easy it is to trim stem plants.

aquatic farmer live stem  plant

Aquatic Farmer Hygrophila Lancea Araguala

What are Stem Plants?

Often fast-growing, stem plants are the aquatic plant of choice for the background or the middle of a tank. They require a substrate to root into and under good water quality and nutrient balance, these plants will soon grow a new root system and grow tall. Some can reach the entire height of your tank! Many leaf shapes, sizes and colors of stem plants are available for the hobby, some require CO2, some are low tech varieties.

Watch the video to find out how easy maintaining a planted tank can be.

aquatic farmer live plant alternanthera lilacina stem plant

Aquatic Farmer Alternanthera Lilacina

How to trim Stem plants:

Stem plants can get unruly fast it’s important to keep them trimmed and tidy or they can take over your tank.
Maintaining stem plants is quick and easy after a little practice. 
First you want to find the nodes so you can trim between them.
The nodes are normally located where the leaf sprouts from the stem.
Each node has a chance of being a whole new plant.
Cut between the nodes with sharp scissors, now one plant has become two.
Repeat this process with the rest of those rebellious hedges!
Take the trimmed stems and place them in the established plant mass.
Using a gentle wiggle,  push the trimming into the established stems.
Repeat with your trimmings until your stem plants look like an upside-down bowl.
The leaves act like a barb or catch, holding the trimmings in place until they grow roots so you don’t have to plant all the way down to the substrate.
Your already established plants will hold the trimmings in place. The more plants, the thicker and nicer your plant bush will be.
Using the right trimming techniques, can help you add shape, create depth, and beauty to your underwater garden.

Rio premium dual sand flattener tool freshwater

Rio Premium Dual Sand Flattener Tool

What tools should I use?

We carry a variety of tools to help you trim those plants. You can choose a set or individual tools like scissors and tweezers. A small net comes in handy to scoop out leaves that float to the surface. There’s nothing quite like watching time lapse videos on Instagram showing plants being trimmed. Go ahead, post yours and tag @marinedepot.

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What lighting should I use?

There are many lighting options to choose from to fit every budget. The new UNS ONF Flat nano is a fan favorite. Check out the AquaMaxx Prism CC as well.

UNS Ultum Nature Systems ONF Flat Nano light
UNS ONF Flat Nano in Rose gold
AquaMaxx Prism CC Planted Tank light
AquaMaxx Prism CC Planted Tank light
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