Benefits of Emersed Aquatic Plants (Pros and Cons):

Many submerged aquatic plants can also grow emersed. It is very important to add live plants to your aquarium because they have many benefits. They look attractive but many new fish keepers think that they need high maintenance & will probably not grow in harsh conditions. There are many live aquatic plants that are adapted to grow in aquariums in harsh conditions & they don’t need high maintenance. In this article, I have added pros and cons of emersed aquatic plants & aquarists usually prefer such plants for their ponds because they bury their roots in substrate or at the bottom of water, & grow most of the vegetation outside water.

Pros of emersed aquatic plants:

Emersed aquatic plants look very beautiful in aquariums. They grow inside water & their upper parts grow out of the water surface. Have a look at benefits of emersed aquarium plants:


Help fish:

Fish use plants for hiding & sleeping. They eat live plants. Tall plants can lower light intensity. Fish feel safe & plants can calm them which can lower the illnesses that are caused due to high stress. Fish show vivid coloration in the presence of plants & if they are not stressed, they will spend more time in the open.



If you introduce live aquatic plants to fish tanks then they will provide a natural appearance. Use fake plants to give a natural look to your fish tank, but still, they are matchless to the beautiful colors that live plants show, & bushy plants look more attractive than tall plants. Emersed plants have their upper part outside water & they may grow flowers & leaves at the surface of water. Many aquarists remove canopy & allow plants to grow outside. Your room will look more attractive with plants growing outside tanks.


Natural filters:

When the nitrogen cycle completes then the only remaining toxic chemicals are nitrates. However, they are less toxic than nitrites & ammonia. The only way to wipe out nitrates from aquariums is by using frequent partial water changes & by using live plants. Nitrates fertilizes the plants, & plants filter your aquarium water & keep aquarium inhabitants healthy. Emersed plants have their top part growing outside water but they absorb toxic chemicals from water.

Read: Pros & cons of floating-leaved plants

Encourage breeding:

Many fish use plants for depositing their eggs & they will not breed quickly if your tank does not contain live plants. If you want to setup a breeding aquarium then it is very important to introduce live plants. It can reduce the stress levels of your fish & allow them to hide their eggs inside plants.


Sell the cuttings:

Stem plants can propagate when you trim its stem. It helps in reducing the height of plants & allow lower leaves to have access to aquarium lights which is required for photosynthesis. Hence if you think that your plant is growing out of control & they are spreading abruptly then trim it & sell the cuttings. Many aquarists sell them online & fish stores can give you a little money or discount when you offer them your new plants.


Reduce algae growth:

Plants balance the ecosystem of aquariums & avoid unwanted algae from appearing by consuming nutrition that are responsible for the growth of algae.

Benefits of Emersed Aquarium Plants
Benefits of Emersed Aquarium Plants

Stabilize PH:

Live plants can generate oxygen during the day, which is consumed by inhabitants & assists in stabilizing the water PH. Fish exhale carbon dioxide, which is consumed by plants. CO2 acts as a food for the live plants.


Improve health of substrate:

Plant roots can help in improving the health of the substrate & keep your tank healthy.

The lack of oxygen in the lower layers of gravels can allow anaerobic bacteria to grow in these regions which is dangerous for the inhabitants. Keeping bigger layers of gravels can increase the chances of anaerobic bacteria which release hydrogen sulfide gas in bubbles from the depth of gravels. Roots of live plants break anaerobic pockets in the gravels that fix this issue.


Keep gravels in its location:

When aquarists build structures in aquariums, then plant roots will assist in keeping the gravels or substrate in its location. This will keep the structure strong & overtime it will not flatten out.


Decrease water temperature:

If you are using a tank light then it will heat water & plants will help in decreasing water temperature.



Certain emersed plants will provide shade. Hence that place of aquarium will have lower light & will allow fish to hide. Fish that like to live in the darkness can use this shade as a shelter.


Colonies of good bacteria:

Large surfaces of aquatic plants can promote good bacteria which is required for nitrogen cycle.

Read: Pros & cons of floating plants

Survival of fries:

Babies can use plants for hiding from adult fish. Adult fish consider little fries as food & eat then. Fries feed on plants.


Cons of emersed aquatic plants:

Everything has its pros and cons, & plants are not exceptional. Have a look at disadvantages of keeping emersed aquarium plants:



When aquatic plants die in aquariums then they decompose which pollutes water. It can be toxic to inhabitants that can’t tolerate chemical change.


Problematic fish:

Fish like Goldfish & Cichlids will eat your complete plant. Goldfish will uproot them.


Reduce filter efficiency:

Plants can hold waste particles & remaining food in its roots which can lower the efficiency of filtration.



Trim plants regularly to stop them from growing abruptly.


No canopy:

Emersed plants have their upper part outside water & many aquarists remove the tank canopy to allow the plant to grow taller.


Prevent photosynthesis:

Emersed plants grow their vegetation mostly outside water. The top part of emersed plants can prevent light from reaching the lower leaves. Hence it will prevent lower leaves from photosynthesis.

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