Where Do I Plant It?
Hornwort is an oxygenator that is generally happiest if allowed to root in the bottom of the pond, but will also root and thrive in pots with dirt, or really anywhere they can.
What Is Hornwort?
Hornwort is one of the easiest freshwater plants to grow. This is demonstrated by its success in the wild where it has spread to every continent except Antarctica, after originating in North America. Its high tolerance to various water conditions makes it ideal for beginners, while its fast growth rate and easy to propagate means a little will go a long way.
As a plant, hornwort photosynthesizes. The main byproduct of photosynthesis is oxygen. As a result, it will oxygenate the tank for your fish. Furthermore, it provides areas of shelter for fish looking to escape each other or the light. Plants like this may be used as a nursery for fry as well.
It also helps improve the quality of the water. It takes in small amounts of the waste that fish produce, as well as nitrogen compounds, keeping the water cleaner and lightening the workload for the filter.
Another reason for hornwort’s success is that it has allelopathic abilities. This means that it can produce chemicals that prevent the growth of other species, leaving more space and nutrients for itself. The allelopathic abilities can inhibit the growth of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria). This is an alga that can quickly get out of control in conditions with too much light or lots of organic waste.
Hornwort thrives in a wide range of temperatures and in almost any lighting. Lighting should be kept on the low to medium side, and limited to about 8 hours a day. Any more than this and the hornwort will take on a long stringy form, with large unsightly gaps between the needles.
It can be planted or allowed to float freely, but when planted the lower sections of the plant will often die. It does form a root-like structure when placed in the substrate but quickly starts to look terrible as it loses needles near the base of the plant.
Hornwort is incredibly easy to propagate. It will naturally grow side shoots off the main stem, and these can be pinched off to grow another full plant. Sections of the main stem can also be broken off, and both pieces will grow into full plants.
Hornwort is compatible with all fish and is one of the few plants that will survive with goldfish. That’s not to say that the goldfish won’t nibble on the plant, but it’s spiky nature and phenomenal growth rate, ensures that it will survive in a goldfish tank – as long as they aren’t too hungry.
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