Live vs. Fake Plants
I've got 3 fake plants in my 10g aquarium at the moment.
Which are better: fake or live plants? If live plants are the way to go, is it better to get plants that are already growing, or to start with bulbs?
When you give your answer, please give your reason(s) for why you choose one over the other.
In my tank, I actually have a combination of fake and live plants. I, however, prefer live plants to their fake counterparts.
-Don't need maintenence
-Can last in any condition
-Usually not very realistic--with one look into my tank, you can easily tell the fake and live plants apart
-Don't provide oxygen--not that large of a problem
-Don't take in nitrates (read something about cycling water)-- a heavily planted aquarium with hardy fish doesn't need many water changes (I haven't changed the water in my tank for almost half a year -- and no fish have died!! ---however, I gotta wipe off algae
-Looks nice/is REAL (unless you want a funky aquarium with funky colors)
-Makes it less likely for algae to grow (I think because it absorbs the surrounding light?)
-Most are hardy, but some can be easily damaged (not many, fortunately)
-May look bad if rotten pieces are not cut off (A problem I encounter with swordplants)
I use live plants for the asthetics(spelling?), and because I don't have to change my water that often (a lot of plants are needed...). I think fake plants look too...fake, and they don't benefit the tank in a biological way.
Don't get plants for bulbs--my experience is that they don't always grow. Definately get live ones, but soak them in some salt water to kill off snails (if you want snails, nix this part). Some people don't recommend soaking plants in salt because they might die, but in my experience, soaking plants in salt is fine. Just make sure it is aquarium salt (table salt if fine only if you throughly wash the plant afterwards).
Final Line: Get Live Plants That Are Already Alive.
You don't need to be that cautious about the table salt. The small amount of iodine in table salt won't harm your fish.
Live plants definitely look a lot better than fake ones. Look at these threads:
Have a look at Angel079's tanks and Byron's tanks, too. Heck, just look up Takashi Amano on Google. Low-tech planted tanks can look gorgeous and don't require much in the way of special equipment. Usually just decent bulbs for the fixtures that come with your tank and maybe some root tabs for the heavy root feeders.
There are tons of advantages to live plants, but you do have to take care of them. Fake ones are much less work but don't do any work for you and don't look nearly as good. With certain fish that eat or uproot plants they're a necessity, though.
Most like to set up fish tanks to achieve a little piece of a natural under water world in their homes. That said naturally you will not find plastic :-) Plants are the best you can do for your fish not only will they act like a mini bio filter and and support a good water quality for your fish. Also as they plants grow and therive you will have a ever changing picture in your tank. Last but not least some of the fake plants are made in a way that the edges are actually sharp enough to harm your fish.
We had several people here recently convert from many yrs of plastic to live plants and everybody loved the new look and noticed the change of fish behavior almost instantly.
That all said keeping live plants is truly TOO SIMPLE. You'll start out with the proper lights that plants need which can be found (in the US) inexpensively at any home store from brand like GE, Phillips etc and are labeled "Daylight or Ultimate Daylight" and rated around 6500 Kelvin. With these lights you can grow just about anything.
Second most important a good source of true aquatic plants. More and more you see plants in tubes at the pet stores and they're actually NOT aquatic plants and will not survive long term fully submerged (only few weeks max); therefore I'd suggest a plant source that's fair in pricing and has good quality like www.sweetaquatics.com
For some inspiration in hopes of "converting" you as well check out some of my planted tanks here http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/p...hp?userid=1029
All my tanks are set up with low wattage homestore lights, no ferts and no add co2 and they're thriving extremely well to say the least :shock:
Edit: And read Byrons stickies in the aquarium plants section, he knows his stuff.
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