04-23-2010, 11:28 PM
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I second Austin. But your last comment makes me wonder if you mean having potted plants versus un-potted plants in the aquarium when you actually plant them. In case this is part of your question, I recommend planting plants in the substrate. The only time I would not is if the fish determined potted plants, such as in a large cichlid tank where the plants can be regularly uprooted by digging cichlids, or is breeding tanks (some use potted plants in discus tanks).
The reason I recommend planting in the substrate is because the root systems of some plants are extensive (Echinodorus particularly) and just like houseplants can get root-bound, so can aquatic plants. They will do better if they can spread. Also, there is a complex biological environment in the substrate, between bacteria (several types), plant roots, water and nutrients. It is better for the aquarium ecosystem that the entire substrate be involved. Lastly, the plant pots will be visible unless the substrate is deep enough to cover them; this may or may not matter to some, but I myself would rather not see pots in my tanks. And if the substrate is going to be deep enough to conceal the pots, you might as well put the plant roots in it.