Pothos in Aquariums: Types, How to Grow and Care

If you are thinking about putting pothos in aquariums, it is one of the best things you can do for the overall health of your tropical fish habitat. 

Why is pathos such an excellent idea for a healthier aquarium? This article will help you understand everything you need to know.

Pothos, often called Devil’s Vine for its tendency to grow everywhere, is a family of plants identified by waxy, multi-colored leaves and long, trailing vines. It is easy to grow, easy to propagate and grows great in freshwater aquariums. 

Some of the varieties of pothos that do well in aquariums include:

● Golden Pathos

● Ceylon Creeper

● Devil’s Ivy

● Devil’s Vine

● Hunter’s Robe

● Ivy Arum

● Money Plant

● Silver Vine

● Solomon Islands Ivy

● Taro Vine

Each species looks slightly different, but all have the same traits of growing well in soil or in water. 

If well cared for, pothos species can grow vines as long as 40 feet. They require frequent trimming to keep in check. 

Why are they so great for aquariums?

It’s their natural ability to filter significant amounts of CO2, ammonia, and nitrates from the water. This is the pothos superpower. Pothos even puts oxygen back into the water, enhancing and sometimes replacing filtering equipment.

Pothos is doubly useful in that they scrub carbon dioxide from the air through their leaves so your home air is fresher.

Growing Pothos in Aquariums

One of the best things about pothos is that it does great in water. Here is how to grow pothos in your aquarium:

  • Start with a mature plant This can be a newly purchased plant or one you want to relocate already in your home. Pothos like this has mature roots and transfer better.
  • Clean the pothos well Make sure the pothos is healthy with no brown, diseased spots on leaves or vines. Remove the plant from its pot and wash it thoroughly to remove all pesticides, dirt, and other contaminants. 
  • Trim the rootsUsually, when you take pothos from a pot, the roots will be tangled and matted. Straighten out as much as you can and trim the matted parts. The roots will lay better in the aquarium.
  • Place the pothos in the aquariumSet the plant in the water so that the roots are submerged and the leaves are above water. If the leaves are in the water, the plant will drown. 

Propagating Pothos for Aquariums

Propagating or cloning is a good way to take part of an existing plant and let it grow on its own. Doing this does not harm the host plant and gives you aquarium pothos for free.

  • Start with healthy plants If propagating cuttings from existing plants, start with a healthy specimen with whole, brightly colored leaves and branches. 
  • Pick a vine that has plenty of nodesA node is a junction where a stem and leaf bud from the vine. Cut below a node, leaving at least two more nodes on the upward side of the vine. 
  • Strip the leaves away from these nodes. You will want them submerged in water. Try to have at least 3 or 4 leaves above the water to help photosynthesis of light into the pothos’ growth energy.
  • Secure the cuttings in the aquarium, leaves upIf you look closely at the nodes, you will notice tiny brown root buds along the vine. These will begin to grow filaments of roots in approximately 7 to 14 days, depending on the amount of sun and heat the pothos receives. 
  • Put pothos in your filtersA smart hobbyist’s tip is to place pothos in aquarium filters so that the small cuttings are supported. Let these cuttings grow until the roots become visible. These advanced starts can then be placed in the aquarium to continue their growth.
  • Thin them regularlyOnce established, pothos plants grow quite rapidly. You will need to thin them both above and below water periodically to keep from crowding the aquarium.

Hanging Pothos in Aquariums

There are many ways to hang pothos in aquariums depending on the size of the plant. The ideal aquarium to hold pothos has a fully or partially open top so that the leaves can grow out.

  • Secure your pothos with coated wireSmall plants and cuttings can be held against the sides of the tank with sections of plastic-coated wire. Bend and shape it to fit over the sides of the aquarium. 
  • Don’t use uncoated wire Uncoated wire should be avoided as it will rust and introduce iron into the tank water.
  • Suction cups cause complicationsSome hobbyists use clear suction cups that hold tubes and wires to secure pothos. This works but can but can algae over time and make the aquarium more difficult to clean.
  • Let your pothos hangOnce the roots on a vine are well established, they can be left free as the roots act like an anchor to keep the pothos in place. Floating pothos in aquariums like this helps with a natural appearing aquarium display.
  • They love to rootAs they reach the substrate, pothos will root very well with the added benefit of keeping the aquarium substrate in place.

Pothos in Water With Fish

Putting pothos in water with fish and other marine life helps both the fish and the plants. The plants grow quickly, and the fish get so many benefits.

  • Pothos loves fish poopThe nitrates and ammonia waste produced by fish act as fertilizer for pothos. They thrive on it and remove the chemicals from the water.
  • Out with CO2 Pothos also removes CO2 from the water and returns oxygen, helping to keep the water fresh and fish healthy. It also reduces algae formation and prolongs the time needed in between tank cleaning.
  • Choose tank mates carefullySince pothos are best grown with the roots in the water and the leaves above tank level, they are not a good choice for escape artist species.
  • Avoid climbers and jumpersMudskippers and Rope Fish, both climbers, are not good choices. Known jumpers such as the Pink Tail Chalceus also can cause problems by leaping out of the aquarium.
  • Perfect for smaller fishPothos are a perfect match for smaller species such as Neon Tetra, Cardinal Tetra, Guppies, and other Amazon basin fish. These fish use the pothos roots as shelter and a place to lay their eggs. 
  • Line the perimeterPlacing pothos around the perimeter of a tank allows you to layer shelter-loving and open water species that all benefit from the cleaner water. 

Your aquarium will thank you

Getting started with pothos in aquariums is easy and makes the tank a better, cleaner habitat. It is the easiest plant you can add to your fish habitats. 

So be considerate with your aquarium tank and your aquarium will thank you.

If you are still looking for the fishes for your aquarium, you can read our guide on Goldfish Tankmates right here.

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