real plants, is it a good idea??

  • #1
I would like to know if it will be a good idea to put in real plants, like java fern etc, also which are the other plants which are easy to handle?
do plants attract algae?
is it absolutely neceesary to put sand in the tank for the plants to grow? if yes then which kind?
will fine gravel do??

what lighting is best for plants to grow??


  • #2
Depends on what you want in your tank. I have both planted and non-planted tanks. Planted tanks can take a good bit more time and money, again depending on the type of tank you have and what you are going for. As far as lighting, you need to decide what type of plants you want first to determine what your lighting needs are. There are low light plants, medium light, and high light, and some that do well in all. There are also plants that do better in colder water than warmer. Check outplant geek for some ideas.

As far as the gravel, no, you don't need sand. Gravel made specifically for plants are usually the best, stuff like Flourite or EcoComplete (I prefer the latter as you don't have to rinse it), but you can use any type of substrate. My husband has a huge Amazon sword growing in regular gravel with a little Flourite around the base, and my son has a humongous rubin sword that is growing in marbles! No fertilizer or anything, and in low light.

  • #3
Ninikitanain, listen to Boxermom And yes, it is a great idea to add live plants rather than fake ones. That is because live plants help maintain a healthy tank. They remove toxic metals as well as ammonia and nitrite from the water (both very toxic substances) and nitrate to a lesser extent. They also use fish food / fish wastes as nutrients. Only you have to be careful about which plants you get relative to the lighting you have. That is, there are plants that are low-light, medium-light, and high-light. If you want just a regular tank, with a standard fluorescent light (the one that usually comes with the tank), you should get low-light plants. Plants like java fern, java moss, and anubias would do well under standard (low) light. I think water sprite and some crypts would also do OK (like Boxermom said, refer to plant geek). I wouldn't recommend getting sand for you, because sand is an inert substrate ... meaning it has no nutrients and therefore isn't good for plants. Unless you mix it with some nutrient-rich substrate. But I still wouldn't recommend sand as it has a tendency to compact if you don't regularly stir it - meaning dangerous gas pockets may form in the sand and once they are released, they kill fish instantly. Gravel is far better and easier to stir, and doesn't make that much mess. I suppose you could have a regular gravel, but if you want really healthy plants, get Seachem's Fluorite gravel, or CaribSea's Eco-Complete gravel.

What size is the tank in which you want plants, and how many watts does your lightbulb over that tank have?
  • #4
Another consideration is what type of fish you have in your tank. Fish like silver dollars will think they've got a smorgasbord in their tank, and your plants will be nothing but nubs. Many cichlids don't do well with plants either. Oscars will probably tear them to shreds. So keep that in mind before getting any live plants.
  • #5
Oh yes, real plants are VERY beneficial to your tank. Like giving fresh oxygen, absorbing dangerous carbon dioxide, breaks down fish waste, provides hiding places for fish and fry, Makes baby fish survive by providing them home and their basic needs, provides your fish food, absorb dangerous nitrates, improve water quality, makes fish happy, and gives your tank a beautiful and natural appearance.

Cabomba and Java Moss are some plants that are easy to handle and beneficial. Plants do not attract algae, but algae can envelope them, so have some algae-eating fish(like plecos and ottos) or invertebrates(like snails, the amano shrimp and ghost shrimp). However, there are some fish that will love to destroy your plants, like goldfishes and cichlids, that will enjoy uprooting plants.

Having fake plants is no problem, but of course, real ones are much better.

Good luck!

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