Aquatic plants can turn any ordinary aquarium into a beautiful, miniature sea. They add life to your fish’s habitat and keep it clean and give off oxygen. However, real plants are high-maintenance. They require pruning and care, and if they die they leave all kinds of debris in your tank. If you lack the kind of time for this much care (or just do not want to do it), you might consider artificial plants.
Artificial aquarium plants are great because they require very little care. All you have to do is clean them. Even that is way easy; start by rinsing them under hot running water, then soak them in mild bleach water for an hour. Rinse again, and then soak them in water (with plant chlorine neutralizer in it) for another hour. Rinse once more. Once there’s no more bleach present, they are ready to be put back in the tank. Another great thing about artificial aquarium plants is that they still look great and they will not die, so that eliminates one kind of potential waste from the water.
There are a handful of disadvantages to fake aquarium plants. Plants help fish survive on so many levels. They are a food source, so if you forget to feed your fish for a day or two, they can eat off the aquarium’s plants. Oxygen is another thing an aquarium needs, and oxygen is a byproduct of photosynthesis. Fake plants can not keep carbon dioxide or nitrate levels low like real plants can, and real plants also fend off potential algae growth. If you have few fish and a smaller aquarium, or are an awesome advanced aquarist, then having artificial plants will not be too hard on your aquarium.
Silk artificial plants are much more natural looking than some of their plastic counterparts. Certain types of artificial plant look-alikes are more popular than others due to their realistic appearances. A golden rule to follow is to see what plants naturally grow to be tall and lean. When you put their replicas in an aquarium, they will move to the natural rhythms of the water, making them more convincing as real plants. Also look for a rock-like base. These tend to be weighted and blend in with gravel.
The best one to pick is a false Ludwigia plant. Ludwigias are tall and lean and naturally grow in bunches. They have smaller leaves and lots of them, which can provide cover for fish. When fish have a place to hide, their stress is reduced. Less fish stress means your fish are less likely to get diseases. Anarcharis also provides great places for fish to hide. Anarcharis plants are quite tall (about 24″) and come in bright green bunches. They have a sort of bristle, pipecleaner appearance. Hairgrass is another great cover. It resembles bunches of the kind of grass that grows on land and is bright green.
Hygrophila and Cabomba are two plants that do not provide cover but look stunning in freshwater aquariums, even when they are not real plants. Hygrophila are tall with very thin brown stems. Their leaves are a dark green translucent color and are wide and veiny. Place these in the background of your aquarium to achieve a sense of balance. Cabomba is exciting and adds variation. These plants are a bright green. Their leaves are unique, consisting of thin greenery that gathers itself into lotus-shaped bunches. Add these for an exotic look!
Real plants do have their scientific advantages, but if you seek a lower-maintenance aquarium there are definitely convincing replicas of the real McCoys out there. As always, do your research before shopping to consider what is best for your freshwater aquarium!
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Source by Garry-Ian Macdonald