Fake plants, silk preferably, will be pretty and need almost no care. The reason I say almost no care is because they do tend to grow brown algae and need to be taken out and washed once in a while. They do not do a thing for the water quality though and this is where the real plants really shine...
Real plants take care and need light and you have to have an idea what your tank conditions are so you are not getting plants that are inappropriate (grow too large, too small, needs a lot of light, needs CO2 added to the water, needs fertilizer, etc.). You will need to make sure that they are pest (snails) free unless you want a horde of the little things...SHEESH they are hard to get rid of once they get established...I am fighting the battle in one of the tanks now. Loaches to the rescue!!! The real plants saved my fish from a miserable existance though by improving the water quality of our tap water and keeping them from dying from high nitrates. Plants use the nitrates in the water as a type of fertilizing agent and lower the readings dramatically if your tap water is high in nitrates. (Our water gets to 80 and above in the summer, forcing me to use Bottled Spring Water for changes during the worst of it.) They are also very beautiful and as much as the silk plants are pretty, they are just no match for the beauty of a really pretty heavily planted tank, and my bettas love their plants. They play around them, sleep on them, and while every one of my bettas has had fake plants as well as real ones, they invariably go to the real ones to play or sleep. Now do not get me wrong, they will sleep and play in fake plants too, but you will notice a difference if you have them exposed to both. They are just happier with the real thing.
I am more than likely going to have some of both in the big tank as I do not have enough real ones to go around and our weather is much too cold to ship them in and there are some plants that I love that I know I could not grow.
Yes, it has. I don't know what the nitrate level is in the tap water. I will test that when I get home. I tested the pH and nitrites, but not that. I do know that LB does not seem to care for it. He seemed much happier in the spring water. (figures...lol) I will definitately make a note to keep an eye on that. The real plants are probably nicer. I am just scared to death to end up with those snails...LOL. They sound horrible.
I had real plants and the tank got sick with hydra, gill and skin flukes. From what I understand, these parasites can be introduced to your tank not only with live (frozen) food but from plants as well. Is that true?
It's turning my boyfriend off big time to real plants which I think is a shame. It's starting to make me wonder too.
I haven't done much research on the hydra and flukes yet or I might know the answer to that...
You need to remove them from the pots and plant them in the gravel. There are fertilizer tablets that you can get to just poke one down in the gravel and they get fed automatically and then every 3 months or so you poke another tablet into the gravel when you do a water change and you are go for the next 3 months.
You need to be very aware of the source for your plants. I have a good source off of eBay and you can also get them from websites but the websites I used also provided me with snails. Now I know that snails are not bad for all things but when you have a betta be aware that they will attach to the bettas fins and can weigh them down and keep them from going to the surface to breathe. One tried to attach to Marty one time and he went ape and nearly tore a hole in the tank wall.
Rose would you mind sharing your ebay source for plants? I need to replace all of mine.
Btw, I made it a point to call PetSmart (TopFin, corp office) 4 times in the last few months (to get a different person each time) asking that they recommend to their store managers that they stop keeping snails in with their plants.
I was in PetSmart the other day and there are no more snails in with their plants. I asked the saleswoman about it. She said she'd gotten snails from their plants too...that the store removed them, used Rid-A-Snail as well and then someone put the snails back in. They all died. They're intending to keep their plants healthier and snail free. I hope they are consistent. We'll see.
For anyone who might not know, introducing aquarium plants into the environment is a really, really, really bad thing. They can take over and wreak all kinds of havoc with the native plantage (this applies, of course, to snails and fish too). Even if we just throw our aquarium plants in the trash, they make their way to a land fill and from there can be introduced into the ecosystem (not sure how exactly yet...maybe birds carry them off).
The right way to dispose of aquarium plants is to let them dry totally out and then crumble them.
The source for my really nice plants off of eBay is the eBay store: Mikeswetpets/color]
He is a really nice person to deal with and the Sword plants he sells are so easy to get little swords off of. They send out a shoot with all kinds of little plants hanging on it and when they get big enough I just clip them off and plant them. I love them and so does the little finicky Alexander..it is now his bed. I have bought my Wendelov from him as well (type of Java Fern ~ really lacey looking)
Browse his shop and see what you find...he does sell by the Buy It Now as well as through the auction. He will also discount shipping for multiple items (does not have to be the same item). His shipping for plants and fish is probably the cheapest in the business but may have gone up for fish since the regulations and charges for shipping have gone up since the gasoline prices are increased. (not his doing but betwee eBay and the shipping providers)