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Why Are My Aquarium Plants Leaves Turning Transparent? (with 4 possible deficiencies)

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Did you buy an aquarium with the hopes of connecting to nature? So that you could have a piece of the beautiful oceans in your living room? Have you recently begun to notice that this activity that you once thought would be easy isn’t child’s play and requires loads of scientific knowledge? Especially now that your aquarium plant leaves are turning transparent?

We’ll be telling you the reasons why are my aquarium plants leaves turning transparent and what to do to prevent this trouble.

Having a beautiful, lively and healthy aquarium is the end goal of anyone who has gotten into this hobby. But maintaining this goal is not as easy as some might think. With the plants, fish, and water, you have a whole micro-ecosystem at your hands. And simultaneously maintaining a healthy existence of all of these requires heaps of effort.

You must give particular attention to each of the elements of this mini-ecosystem, especially if the leaves of your aquarium plant start turning transparent. Let us get into the answer to why are my aquarium plants leaves turning transparent.

Why Are My Aquarium Plants Leaves Turning Transparent 1
why are my aquarium plants turning transparent like this? – via Reddit

What Factors Affect Your Aquarium and Plantlife?

When you bring this little part of the sea into your home, there are many things you have to ensure for its health and safety. Many factors will affect the tank and the life in it. These factors vary from conditions for plant life to the necessities of the fish living in your tank. Some of these include plant type, pH, lighting, dimensions of the tank, nutrients, etc.

Why Are My Aquarium Plants Leaves Turning Transparent?

Seeing your aquarium plants turning transparent is not easy. Here are some common reasons why are my aquarium plants leaves turning transparent.

Nutrients Deficiency

One of the most common reasons for this can be the lack of nutrients in your aquarium for its plant life. Nutrients hold immense importance in the plants’ lives and existence and are very important to help them thrive in any environment, be it inside or outside. These nutrients are:

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide is a key ingredient in plant growth. If a plant is not absorbing enough carbon dioxide, then we know why the leaves are turning transparent. However, if you can rule out the lack of carbon dioxide, then the following reasons might be causing the transparency.


A nitrogen deficiency can be observed in your aquarium if it has increased fuzz algae or hair algae present in it. Moreover, the plants might face crippling, yellowing, a reddish hue, or even transparency. That occurs because nitrogen is a vital part of the plant that helps them during photosynthesis.


A potassium deficiency, in the beginning, can be pointed out if you start noticing black spots on your plant leaves. Again, it turns the plants yellow and stunts their growth, but can also make the leaves turn transparent because lack of potassium can be quite a hurdle for photosynthesis.


Iron is a micronutrient. Its deficiency can cause a lack of chlorophyll in new shoots. You can identify this lack when the new shoots will start to turn yellow or white.

Lack Of Light

Just like with all other plants, your aquarium plants also require light and a lack of it can prove to be deadly for the plants. The light’s type, brightness, and duration can make a huge difference. A lack of proper light can make the plants lose their bright and healthy look because the plants drop their green coloring and turn white or transparent.

Imbalance Of Carbon Dioxide And pH Levels

All plants absorb carbon dioxide, be it on land or in water, as it is a very important component in the process of photosynthesis. Another key component for the lives of underwater plants is the pH level of their environment. So your plants could be turning transparent because of the imbalance in the amounts of carbon dioxide and pH level of their aquatic environment.

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Plants turning clear – via Reddit

How to Fix Transparent leaves?


The transparent leaves on your plant can be caused by the lack of chlorophyll in your plant. This lack is caused by the different nutrient deficiencies.

As an aquarium owner, finding the perfect fertilizer that contains appropriate amounts of iron while also supplying the plant with the necessary amount of nitrogen and potassium is highly important. You could also simply keep using your previous fertilizer and instead start an iron treatment for your aquarium plants.

Proper Light

To figure out the accurate form of light required by your plants, you’ll have to experiment. This experiment will depend on the types of plants present in your tank and the amount of light they’ve been absorbing before.

The main goal is to identify the specific alterations you need to make to your bulb and timers so that they can provide the plants with the necessary amount and levels of light.

pH Levels

A considerable amount of your aquarium’s health depends on the pH levels. As an aquarium owner, it is your responsibility to provide the life in your tank with the appropriate environment.

The pH levels required by each tank will be different as this depends on the fish and plant life specific to every aquarium. It is recommended to research each species present in your aquarium and understand their needs so you can eventually provide an environment that is acceptable for all the organisms in your tank.

Knowing the basics of pH tank science is quite important for maintaining a healthy aquarium.


An aquarium is a tranquil addition to a home that brings life to any place. But before owning one, you should remember that keeping your aquarium healthy isn’t a piece of cake. It requires a lot of experimentation, care, and is overall a very time-consuming process.

When proper attention isn’t given to this micro-ecosystem, it will react with the plant leaves turning transparent or the aquarium slowly dissipating away. Hopefully, we were able to help you understand why are my aquarium plants leaves turning transparent.