Aquarium Care

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In Search of the Right Aquarium Plants

If you are setting up an aquarium and you don’t yet have any decorations or plants, you may notice that your tank looks incomplete. In fact, plants aren’t just decorative, but a necessary addition to your aquarium. Aquarium plants provide hiding spots for your fish, making them more comfortable in the tank.

There are two main choices for aquarium plants: real and fake. Keeping real plants alive requires specialized care, above and beyond keeping your fish alive. Plastic plants, on the other hand, are easy to care for, even if it’s your first aquarium.

Plastic plants are long lasting and very easy to clean. You only need to take them out of the aquarium and wash with soap and water. The colors are varied and sometimes even more vivid than real plants. Although you have to be careful about the too bright colors or it might stress your fish. Some of them will adjust their colors to a less vibrant color in order to be less conspicuous to predators. Better stick to the more natural marine tones to bring out the natural bright colors of your fish.

There are also aquarium plants that are made of silk. They are a little more expensive but they appear more realistic and are easier to care for than other plastic plants. It is important to buy only silk plants that are designed for aquariums and not those found in craft stores that may contain chemicals that are harmful to your fish.

Fresh plants are of course, the most natural looking. Like some kinds of fish, though, they can be very hard to maintain. Some of them will thrive only under specific water temperatures or pH levels. Find the fresh plants whose specific needs are compatible with the water requirements of your fish.

There are other more noteworthy benefits in choosing real plants over fake ones. They give out oxygen and use up nitrates in the water thereby maintaining some balance in the nitrogen cycle. They also provide for breeding grounds for some fish and can be the natural food source to some others.

Although, fresh plants may appear to have many benefits, most varieties have special requirements that may discourage some people from using them. Many of them need lighting and special fertilizers. All fresh plants need light for photosynthesis. The amount of light required by these plants may vary depending on their kind. A special aquarium fertilizer is also a requirement for most plants. You cannot use your ordinary garden fertilizer. This will most likely kill your aquarium.

Cleaning fresh aquarium plants is more difficult than cleaning fake ones because you’ll have to clean them where they are planted. Decaying plant matter means a lot of waste at the bottom of your tank, which can reduce water quality. Products like EcoBio-Block can help keep your water healthy by providing a continual source of beneficial bacteria that breaks down organic waste, such as decaying plants, into safer by-products. Prune dying parts of the plant just like you would prune your houseplants. Healthy live plants improve your aquarium habitat, but if not cared for properly, they can reduce your water quality. Only you decide whether fresh aquarium plants are worth the additional maintenance.

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