Having plants in our aquariums are a great idea for two reasons. First, plants are great for our fish [they love swimming around and in-between them] and second, they look really cool.
We’ve got two choices when it comes to what kinds of plants we’re going to put into our tanks. You can get “plastic plants” or “living plants”.
If you’re going with plastic plants, then get down to your store and choose away.
If you’re going with living plants here are a few things you should know …
Living plants use up nitrates from the water. This is great because nitrates can hurt your fish.
Some living plants are easier to take care of than others. The ones that are the easiest are the Java Fern, Hygrophila polysperma and Vallisneria spiralis. [Sorry for the big names but that’s what they’re called]
You’ll need to check out what kind of water the living plants need. pH level, how much light, that kind of stuff.
Living plants get their food from something called “substrate”. This is a clay planter that your plant sits in.
Light for living plants is measured in watts per gallon. They get their light coming through the water. This is called Photosynthesis. For it to work they also need CO2 and that comes from the fish as they breathe. That’s why you can’t have too many plants in your aquarium. You need enough fish to help the living plants live.
The most important thing to know is which fish do well with which plants. This will be different for freshwater and saltwater fish. With some fish, trying to have living plants would be a real disaster. Silver Dollars really enjoy nibbling on living plants. Oscars, and Goldfish like to uproot living plants.