Ever since artificial aquarium plants appeared on the market, there’s been debate on what’s best for an aquarium and its inhabitants. Read on to learn about the pros and cons of live and plastic aquarium plants so that you can better decide what’s best for your tank.
The Pros of Live Plants
Aquatic plants promote the natural exchange of gases in your tank and help prevent algae from growing in your tank. Much like algae, they consume the toxins from the waste that your fish create. This process regulates the amount of ammonia and nitrates in your tank and ensures algae don’t take hold. Additionally, while your fish absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide, live plants will do the opposite and exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen, naturally maintaining oxygen levels.
The Cons of Live Plants
If you don’t have a green thumb or know much about aquatic plant care, you’ll have plenty to learn. You’ll need to spend time pruning the plants and removing dead leaves from your tank while also making sure more aggressive fish aren’t eating them. And when you’re considering how many fish can fit in your tank, you’ll have to consider how much space your plants consume to prevent overcrowding. Lastly, cleaning your tank becomes more difficult, as vacuuming substrate can disturb root systems and remove critical nutrients for growth.
The Pros of Fake Plants
While some may argue that fake plants just don’t look as nice, there are fake plants that look quite realistic and can be just as beautiful as the real thing. They’re also much easier to remove from your tank when you want to clean or perform water changes. Additionally, you don’t have to worry as much about aggressive fish taking their pick of the leaves, as plastic plants are more durable. Plus, you don’t have to worry about rotting dead leaves messing with your tank’s water quality.
The Cons of Fake Plants
It’s crucial to choose fake plants that don’t readily fit in their mouths or lose parts easily; fish can digest live plants, but not fake ones. Your tank also won’t benefit from the natural regulation that live plants provide. Finally, if you want plants that look more high quality, you’re going to have to dish out more money, as lower-quality fake plants don’t look as nice.
Which One Is Best for Your Tank?
Now that you know the pros and cons of live and plastic aquarium plants, which one is best for your tank? If you’re good with plants and want to provide the most natural environment possible for your fish, then live plants may be the way to go. But if you don’t have the time or resources to learn about live plants, there’s no shame in using fake plants in your tank. It all depends on what you can handle and what keeps your fish healthy.