Pothos Destroyed My Aquarium- How to Fix It?

It was shocking to me when I found that pothos destroyed my aquarium. As a hobbyist and gardener, I have experience in both of these fields.

That’s why I tried to introduce pothos in my aquarium. But being ignorant, I didn’t manage enough maintenance for the pothos. 

However, after researching for a long time, now I can manage pothos inside the aquarium. As I love to share my experiences with you, I will also include the problems of pothos and how to adjust them in the aquarium. 

Some problems can be matched to you also. Hence, carefully follow the problems and their solutions related to pothos 

6 Common Problems Caused by Pothos Plant Inside the Aquarium

1. Remove Algae

Let’s start the discussion about the problems that are caused by pothos. Recently, one of my friends informed me about his problem which was about the antagonistic issue between algae and pothos.

I went to him and saw that as soon as the pothos grew up, the algae population of his aquarium was near to vanishing. 

Now you can tell me that it is a beneficial fact. But if you think intensively, you can find that though excessive algae is problematic, limited algae formation balances the carbon and nitrogen cycle.

Hence, if the algae population disappears, the anaerobic bacteria won’t produce nitrogen materials interacting with algae.

As a result, the nitrogen cycle will be imbalanced. The bacteria population will attack other fish and plants and the ecology of the aquarium will be destroyed. 

At the same time, as the proper amount of nitrogen can’t be fixed, the available nutrients for the fish and other plants will not be of the proper amount. Thus, the whole community will be at risk.

2. Cause Irritation to the Fish 

Next, the second is about the irritation to the fish that is caused by pothos. You know that the leaves and stems of the pothos contain calcium oxalate which is an irritating element. 

For human beings and other animals, it may create an allergic condition that is similar to the body irritation of the fish. Though some people believe that they are poisonous, that’s not true.

Pothos are not poisonous to the fish community. Their roots are also safe for the fish. But if the fish come into contact with the leaves, they may face some rashes in their body.

This effect differs from fish species to species. But, you can be sure that your fish won’t die. However, no hobbyist wants their fish to become diseased or irritated by any materials.

3. Create Nitrogenous Waste

You may not have noticed it yet in your aquarium. But pothos create excessive nitrogenous waste in the aquarium if they have died.

As you know, pothos are mainly terrestrial plants. That means when you are about to introduce it in a submerged condition, you have to take proper care of it. 

Many hobbyists, especially beginners, can’t maintain the growth and maintenance of the pothos properly inside the aquarium. 

As a result, they start to rot and within time, the root system becomes completely disastrous. If you don’t notice this, the rotten elements or roots will start to release excessive nitrogenous materials in the water.

An aquarium having too many nitrogenous materials in the water seems to be poisonous for the fish and other inhabitants. Thus, decomposed pothos will destroy the aquarium ecology. 

4. Nutrient Deficiency  

I have told you before that pothos is a terrestrial plant. As a hobbyist, you also know that pothos need more amount of food than other aquatic plants.

Though pothos maintenance is not so tough whenever you are putting them inside the aquarium, they will need more food materials.

Outside the water, they can also collect their nutrient materials from the atmosphere by their aerial roots. However, this mechanism is not available inside the water environment. 

As a result, they will need an excessive amount of food. But if you don’t manage their food, they will consume the available nutrients from the water.

Consequently, the fish and the other plants will not get enough nutrient materials as their requirement. In this way, nutrient deficiency will be created in the aquarium and the fish community may die also.

5. Quickly Take Over the Aquarium 

The second last problem that I want to mention is about the quick growth. If you have any pothos available in the garden, you can observe properly how quickly pothos grow.

In favorable conditions, pothos can grow at an extreme rate. If you don’t manage them at that time, they will quickly disperse to the whole parts of the aquarium. 

It is tough to maintain them when they are out of control. As a result, the problems that I mentioned before will increase by a high amount.

From that phase, returning to a healthy and admirable environment for the fish is almost impossible. I also had to change my entire fish tank once due to this ignorance. 

6. Need Additional Care

Lastly, let’s finish by talking about their requirements. Other types of aquatic plants do not require much care as pothos.

Being a terrestrial plant, you have to invest more in the plant. Also, you have to go through regular maintenance to avoid those problems that I already mentioned before.

You can’t imagine how fast they can cover up the whole aquarium if you haven’t nurtured it yet. You have to fertilize more to make them alive to avoid root decomposing. 

On the other hand, you have to trim regularly to prevent their covering. This means you have to be always conscious of your aquarium. 

How to Adjust Pothos With Your Aquarium? 

Hopefully, you have gone through the above parts properly that I insisted and maybe you have found a similarity between your problem and one of the mentioned problems.

It may also happen that you have more than one problem in your aquarium. Hence, to fix it, you should get an idea about how to adjust pothos in your aquarium. So let’s start knowing it one by one.

Firstly, you should be careful about the proper planting of pothos in your aquarium as rotten pothos can create excessive nitrogenous materials in the water.

While planting, keep in mind that they should not be planted in a deep corner. Before planting, cut a stem from a healthy and disease-free plant that is mature and hardy enough to tolerate water conditions.

Then, place the stem part in the bottom part of the aquarium in a corner of the aquarium. Cut a few leaves from the below part of the stem and place it properly dipping a little portion. 

It is better to take the stem part with aerial roots which help to grow roots fast. Next, ensure enough light to the aquarium and keep the water temperature within 72-78°F.

The aquarium must be of freshwater as they can’t tolerate saltwater. If you can maintain all these set-ups appropriately, the roots or stems won’t rot and won’t pollute the aquarium water.

Secondly, maintain intensive care for them. Take a small break in trimming and provide enough fertilizers once a month. But not provide too much at a time which can be toxic. 

Proper fertilization will reduce the need for nutrients available to other fish and inhabitants. Thus, nutrient deficiency for other inhabitants can be sorted out.

Then, you must remember that I have told them to plant in a corner and to cut several leaves from below. This will help the fish from touching the leaves.

As a result, the fish community will not come in contact with the pothos and thus you can save them from skin irritation or other problems.

is pothos good for aquariums?

The above-mentioned description may have discouraged you from thinking of pothos for your aquarium as you have to maintain a lot of things.

But trust me, pothos can be also helpful for your aquarium if you can maintain them properly. Let’s allow me to mention some useful facts about them-

Pothos are hardy and that’s why the fish which eat plants don’t like to have them at all. Thus, the plant community in your aquarium can be secured from the voracious fish and the ornamental look won’t be suppressed.

Pothos help to remove algae from the aquarium. As proliferation in algae is not suitable for the aquarium’s health, pothos will help to save the aquarium from the negative effects and anaerobic interaction of the algae and bacteria. It is important for your fish’s health.

Pothos may create a beautiful and different look for your aquarium decorating the corners and also the outside of the aquarium. This also looks so modest and will express the efforts for your aquarium. 


Which pothos grow well in aquariums? 

Almost all types of pothos may grow in aquariums. But among them, neon pothos and golden pothos are adopted the most. Also, their varied colour creates a vibrant look in the aquarium.

Can pothos kill other aquatic plants?

No. Pothos won’t kill other aquatic plants as they are not poisonous. They can only suck up the nutrients. Hence, if you manage proper fertilizer for them, they won’t disturb the other plants.

Is it bad to keep pothos in water? 

No! Pothos can thrive in water by proper caring. Even new stem cutting is better to prepare by keeping them in water even if you want to plant them in soil-bearing pots.

Final Thoughts

Finally, I have managed to share all the experiences of the last 3 years in a few words. I don’t know how much it will be helpful for you.

However, I hope that you will get at least some hints to save your aquarium along with pothos. If you have any confusion related to pothos or other parts of aquarium management, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

I try to upload my different types of experiences regularly about different aquarium issues. Maybe you can get your information from there.

Howard Parker

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