11-30-2010, 08:50 PM
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Jsenske, that looks great. Yes, you can have a nice tank with artificial plants and you don't have to fish out bits of plants so there is less to do when you do your tank maintenance. I've had both (I've still got silk plants in with my bettas). My opinion? Personal choice. Go with what YOU want. You're the one with the tank in your house, you're the one who gets to look at it every day, so pick what suits you.
As for your question about adding CO2, I really don't think it's necessary. Byron doesn't use it and his plants are spectacular. I don't have it, and the plants in my big tanks are growing well (to the extent that I've had to chop fronds off the water sprite and I think I'll have to pull the whole bit out and plant a baby in its place). Although it's more work, I enjoy it.
For someone who would find netting out baby plants and bits of detritus a chore and who wouldn't like to see dead leaves that need pulling off, artificial is easier. For someone who wants a landscape that maintains its proportion and doesn't change - like in Jsenske's picture, artificial is the way to achieve that.
I like the way my tank is constantly different as the plants grow - my 250-litre went from a kind of desert-y look to a shadowed rainforest-y sort of look. For me, it's been interesting watching the landscape change. My melon sword has now grown a bit, and it'll change how things look in the tank. You get a changing landscape.
Also, it's not all-or-nothing. I had artifical plants, and then added a brazilian pennywort and some java moss tied to a piece of driftwood. All but one of my bettas have silk plants - one also has a hygrophilia, two have some ambulia, a third has all living plants. You can add just one plant to see how it does. Take it out if you don't like it or it doesn't do well.
YOU decide which way you want to go.