Fishy view


Accessed through the lower section of the Temperate Lands glasshouse is the Aquarium. The 15 aquarium tanks are primarily for the growing aquatic plants. They are also filled with tropical fish; from shoaling fish like the neon tetra (Paracheirodon innesi) from the acid waters of the Amazon to the more agresive Malawi cichlidsMalawi cichlids  from alkaline African lakes, that have entertained generations of children on rainy days.

shy neon tetra

The plants


The aquatic plants they live in the waters of our planet
have originated from many plant families.

Algae, the aquatic weeds of fish tanks.algae

Non flowering plants, the ferns such as Java fern (Microsorum
pteropus).Java fern

Flowering plants such as giant vallis (Vallisneria gigantea).Vallis

Seaweeds are not vascular plants; rather they are
multicellular marine algae.seaweed

Learn more about seaweed and their uses at the Seaweed Health Foundation and about our seaweed identification at the Natural History Museum.

They grow in water in many different ways. Plants that are adapted
to live either submerged or on land are known as Amphiphytes, Anubia lanceolata is
typical.Anubias lanceolata

Elodeids are plants with stems that complete their entire life cycle submerged, or with only their flowers above the waterline, Giant Red Rotala (Rotala macrandra).
Red Rotala

Isoetids are plants which form a rosette of leaves that
complete their entire life cycle submerged, Japanese water weed (Blyxa japonica).Blyxa

Helophytes are plants that root in the bottom but have
leaves above the waterline, Anubias hastifolia.Anubias hastifolia

Nymphaeids are plants rooted in the bottom, but with leaves floating on the water surface. Waterlily (Nymphaea sp.)Nymphaea

Pleuston plants are vascular plants that float freely in the
water’s surface. Water lettuce (Pistia stratiodes)Water lettuce

See how many types of aquatic plant you can find in our aquariums while you enjoy watching the fish.

Growing in water is not without its problems, the plants need to bubble off oxygen. Absorb carbon dioxide from the water to derive carbon one of the building blocks of cell growth. Light becomes ever more diffuse as the water becomes deeper. Nutrients have grabbed from the water as it passes or sucked from the mud at the bottom. Indeed it can even be a challenge to stay in one place in fast flowing water, extensive roots can help. Seeds must be able to float until they can find a suitable place to germinate. Predators must be repelled by tasting unpleasant or by being difficult to bite.


Despite these difficulties, with our help some non-native aquatic plants are becoming invasive and threatening our own native aquatic plants. Be a responsible aquarist, always dispose of aquatic plants responsibly by drying them out and composting them. Find out more at Plant Life



Videos of some of our tanks

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