Live Plants for Nature Aquariums

Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Live Plants for Nature Aquariums
Most aquarists are quite naturally drawn to making their aquarium look as natural as possible. Adding the live plants in to aquarium is one of the better ways to make fish tank look stunning. Aquatic plants have some obvious advantages when it comes to looks as well as use. Most viewers are stunned by the beauty of lush green plants that grow abundantly in water. However, live plants have a much more serious role to play in aquarium than being mere decoration. The plants provide a hiding place for the fish too. So, you will find that many fish species are happier and more relaxed around plants. Aquarium plants will also produce oxygen and use up the nitrogenous wastes that the fish give out. This alone makes them desirable in your aquarium.

Natural aquatic plants have some inherent negative aspects. We should be aware of these before decided to keep them in aquarium. Keeping real plants in aquarium requires an equal amount of dedication as keeping live fish. Plants need to be maintained, nurtured and propagated. Dead and decaying parts will need to be pruned and cut off regularly. Real plants may also introduce snails and hydra into your water and they can be the transmitter of fish infections too. If your fish love to nibble on the plants that you have decided to put in, you will have a hard time keeping these plants alive.

Real plants also require some particular kinds of nutrients, fertilizers etc. That means you will have to go in for a particular combination of materials in your substrate. When the substrate becomes old, you will have to change it or fertilize it. A planted aquarium with real plants generally needs more light than a fish-only aquarium, since fish do not rely on photosynthesis. Without sufficient lighting, your plants will not be able to generate oxygen and can even begin to die and decay.

Live Plants for Nature Aquariums

If you do not have that much of time for the aquarium, I think you are not suitable for the aquascaping hobby and you can go in for fake plants. There are numerous gorgeous looking fake aquarium plants available in the stores. Fake aquarium plants are of course much easier to keep. And hopefully, your fish will not develop a taste for it.

A combination of fake and real aquarium plants can also be a good solution and give a more natural look to your aquarium. Maintenance will be less because a large chunk of your plants will not need to be maintained. When you select fake plants for aquarium, it is usually better to choose "silk plants" rather than "plastic plants". Artificial silk plants are easier to clean if you have an algae problem in fish tank and need to scrub out the algae. Plastic plants for aquariums tend to fall apart while cleaning. This will however vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and high quality plastic plants can still be a good choice.

So, why put in live plants at all, when you can have equally beautiful artificial plants? After all, artificial plants are so much easier to look after and maintain. And they NEVER wither or die. Well, here are some very valid reasons to go for live planting in aquarium :
Oxygen, the byproduct of photosynthesis, is a necessary ingredient for any fish aquarium to thrive.
In addition to keeping Carbon dioxide levels low, plants also keep a check on the nitrogen levels, thus protecting your fish.
The natural surroundings that the plants provide give the fish in captivity a sense of freedom and security. This is especially important if you plan on breeding your fish.
Plants are a source of food for many species of fish, provided of course that they do not nibble away too much and kill the plant.
Plants also help to keep your substrate in place, especially if you are using sand at the bottom. The tiny root systems of the various plants help to anchor the substrate to the bottom of the aquarium.
Small amounts of algae are a natural part of an aquarium, but excessive algae growth can be an aquarist's worst nightmare. Real plants inhibit the growth of algae by releasing certain chemicals. They will also compete for nutrients, since they live on the same substances as algae.

Live plants in nature aquarium are also useful as a simple indicator to ensure the health of aquarium. So, if you plan to buy the best freshwater fish for aquarium from the nearest pet store - and this is usually will spend your money a lot - you do not need to worry. Because as the healthy-aquarium indicator, live plants in nature aquarium also give a warning about the health condition of fishes. The unfavorable conditions within planted aquarium typically will affect the live plants firstly. This helps you to take timely precautions and emergency protective measures.