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postheadericon Many times it is hard to decide whether to get freshwater aquarium plants or to go with fake plants

Many times it is hard to decide whether to get freshwater aquarium plants or to go with fake plants. It is the same sort of decision you also have to make for your home. Do you want real, live houseplants or artificial plants? Certainly live plants create a more natural environment, and for fish this translates into being more comfortable in their surroundings. Both live and fake plants provide places for fish to hide, which keeps aggressive fish from bullying smaller fish.

Fake or live plants?

The big advantage of fake plants is that they require absolutely no care whatsoever, but in an aquarium they do get covered with algae and need to be consistently cleaned. Even those big algae-eating bottom dwellers don’t like to clean off fake plants. Live freshwater aquarium plants not only look more natural, they help you to keep your fish healthier. They deliver oxygen to the water and take in nitrates, which fish expel. There are also many fish who like to eat plants and unless you have some aggressive plant-eaters, you will only notice some nibbled edges now and then. Stay away from Silver Dollars, as they can destroy an entire underwater garden in a day.

Live plant selection

While live plants require more care and may need some specific lighting changes to grow well, if you get just the right plants they will provide a completely natural habitat for your fish. There are many different types of freshwater aquarium plants and all have different characteristics. For instance, floating plants, as you probably guessed, float on the top of the tank. Rhizomes are horizontal plants and they have roots which act like a runner across the bottom of your tank’s substrate. They have leaves on top but grow horizontally. If you have a small tank they can fill it up pretty fast.

A good example of a floating plant is the floating fern. These plants will thrive with hardly any effort at all on your part. You will need to trim them just like you would prune outside plants. If you don’t they will cover the entire top of the tank and leave you no open water at all. If you are conscientious about trimming, however, they make a nice looking plant for fish to hide underneath. Plants with rhizomes can include anubias, which are good for beginners because they are pretty much indestructible. They don’t need a lot of carbon dioxide like some other plants and a plectostomus can keep them clean of algae.

Java Moss is a very popular aquarium plant. It can grow on the bottom of the tank, or it can attach itself to rocks, driftwood, or other structures. The great thing about java moss is that it doesn’t require special lighting like many other freshwater aquarium plants. And, some fish will lay their eggs in the moss, and this is an especially good characteristic if you want to have more fish.

A few other hardy plants you will want to check out are Cryptocoryne or crypts. They grow slowly and further down in the tank where the lighting is not good for many other kinds of plants. One of the most colorful is the cryptocoryne beckettii, which has the unusual ability to grow underwater and on land. The Amazon sword is one of the most popular freshwater aquarium plants, and it really depends on what you have for fish whether this plant is a success or a failure. It needs lots of light, fertilizer and carbon dioxide to do well.

No matter what you end up choosing for freshwater aquarium plants, the chances are you will be happy with the looks of the habitat they create. The amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in your water will determine which ones do well and which ones do not. Just make any necessary adjustments and remember to trim the plants so that you don’t end up with an underwater jungle.

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