top of page

13/15 Adding Fish Without Consideration - Harmony Below the Surface

Creating a harmonious underwater ecosystem in a planted aquarium involves thoughtful consideration of the inhabitants. In our exploration of common mistakes made by aquarium enthusiasts with plants, we turn our attention to Mistake #13: Adding Fish Without Consideration. This misstep involves introducing fish without regard to their potential impact on plants, the aquarium environment, or the compatibility of their habitat requirements. By understanding the delicate balance required for a successful planted aquarium and adopting a mindful approach to fish selection, enthusiasts can ensure a thriving and balanced aquatic haven.


The Significance of Considerate Fish Selection in Planted Aquariums:

The selection of fish for a planted aquarium goes beyond mere aesthetics, influencing the overall health of the ecosystem. Thoughtful consideration is crucial to avoid disturbances to plants, potential conflicts among inhabitants, and the creation of an environment where all species can thrive.


Common Mistakes when Adding Fish to planted Aquarium:

1.       Dietary Conflicts: Herbivorous fish can wreak havoc on your plants, treating them like an all-you-can-eat salad bar. Solution: opt for fish that don't solely rely on plants for sustenance, or select robust plants such as Anubias, supplementing their diet with regular feedings of plant material like lettuce and zucchini, might work.

2.       Plant-Nibbling Tendencies: Certain fish species are prone to nibbling on plants, compromising their health and aesthetics. Solution: Select fish that are not known for plant-nibbling tendencies to preserve the integrity of your planted aquarium.

3.       Plant Disturbance and Uprooting: Some fish species (especially cichlids) are known for their digging or uprooting behaviours, which can disturb planted arrangements. Solution: Research and select fish that are less likely to disturb or uproot plants or do your scaping in such a way as to prevent them reaching the roots of your plants, ensuring a tranquil aquatic environment.

4.       Incompatible Water Parameters: Fish (discus are a great example) have specific habitat requirements, including water temperature, pH, and hardness. Adding fish without considering these parameters can lead to stress or health issues. Solution: Choose fish species that thrive in similar water conditions to your planted aquarium.

5.       Aggressive Behaviour: Aggressive or territorial fish can disrupt the harmony among inhabitants and may even damage plants. I had a pair of Oscars totally redecorating (destroying) my aquarium every time they wanted to breed. Solution: Avoid aggressive species or carefully plan the layout to provide hiding spots and territories.

6.       Disturbing Substrate: Some fish species sift through substrate for food, which can affect the stability and survival of plant arrangements. Solution: Choose fish that are less likely to disturb the substrate or incorporate hardy plants with robust root systems.

7.       Compromised Water Quality: Overstocking or adding fish without consideration can lead to increased waste production, compromising water quality and ultimately the survival of your plants. Solution: Plan stocking levels carefully and incorporate adequate filtration to maintain optimal water conditions.


Adding fish without consideration is a misstep that can disrupt the delicate balance of a planted aquarium. By carefully selecting fish based on their preferred food, behaviours, habitat requirements, and compatibility with plants, enthusiasts can cultivate an environment where both flora and fauna thrive. Stay tuned for more insights into the art and science of cultivating planted aquariums in our ongoing blog series!


38 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page