The Pros And Cons Of Live Aquarium Plants

Home aquariums aren't just for keeping fish and other water-loving creatures. They are also for keeping live aquarium plants. Sometimes, people prefer to not deal with the fish or snails and just keep live plants as an unusual indoor garden. And live aquarium plants are more easily available to the hobbyist than ever before. Back in the 1970's, only a few plants were available in pet stores. Now you're spoiled for choice. But, live plants need more work than plastic plants. Are they worth the bother?

The Advantages

Live aquarium plants do offer advantages for your tank. They absorb nitrate and ammonia and produce oxygen. They act like natural filters to help keep the chemical balance of your tank water healthy. They also are visually pretty and quite vibrant, being able to fit in with any interior décor. Some plants need to just float on the top of the water, which makes maintenance easier. And there is no danger from any strange paint or chemical leaking from a plastic plant seeing into the water. Most live aquarium plants cost just about the same as plastic plants.

The Disadvantages

Most fish, like goldfish, like to eat live aquarium plants. Since live aquarium plants tend to reproduce rather quickly, the fish's appetite can be advantageous. You need to choose plants your fish will not like to eat, as they can eat really quickly. You also need to check the plants daily, like you do the fish, for any signs of ill health. They need light and proper food.

They also can carry snails. While snails are cute, they also are prolific breeders. Soon, you'll have more snails than you know what to do with. Check with the seller of the live aquarium plants. Some, such at PetSmart, come individually wrapped and are de-snailed. But it is good to quarantine the plants in a tiny tank or even a bucket with gravel and water treated as you would for your tank. Live aquarium plants can bring diseases to your other live aquarium plants.

Fish and changing the water in your tank can easily uproot a plant. If they are uprooted for too long, they are cut off from their food supply and will starve to death. You can tie them down or concentrate on floating plants. Some hobbyist recommend buying several types of live aquarium plants at once to see right away what ones work with your fish and what ones don't.