There are many advantages to having aquarium plants in your fish tank that make them an essential part of your aquarium. But while there are advantages, there are also disadvantages. That is why while some old aquarium hobbyists would encourage you to include plants in your tanks, some would not recommend it.
To put it bluntly, there’s nothing that a plant can do that a good filter, an air pump, and frequent water changes– and you have to change the water, anyway– can’t do for your aquarium.
So, in the world of all the mechanical and chemical trappings that come with an aquarium hobby, aquarium plants are nothing more than a pretty décor.
Invariably, they are. That said, planted aquariums may work for some but not for others. But if you’re seriously considering having plants in your aquarium, here are some reasons to help you speed up your decision.
Importance of Live Plants In Aquariums
Aquarium plants provide oxygen. Green plants give off oxygen through a process called photosynthesis. Thus, aquarium plants provide a natural form of oxygenation, not to mention a more natural habitat for your aquarium fish.
Aquarium plants serve as food. It’s wise to have planted aquariums because your aquarium fish will always have available food to chew on when they’re hungry. This is especially helpful when you’re sticking to a once-per-day feeding schedule. Your herbivores will never go hungry with plants around to graze on.
Aquarium plants serve as cover. Live plants provide a good hiding place for small fish and peaceful fish from predatory fish. That may sound lame, but actually, aquarium decors are designed to do precisely that: to provide some hiding place for the fish. If you have aquarium plants, they can easily mimic natural hiding places for fish to feel comfortable. You may not see “hiding place” as necessary, but believe me, fishes do.
Aquarium plants filter the water. Aquarium plants eat up water contaminants and pollutants, thereby improving your water quality without the aid of chemical and biological filters. They live off of chemical by-products of fish waste and provide a suitable environment for beneficial bacteria to grow on. When you have planted tanks, all you’ll ever need is a mechanical filter as a backup.
Aquarium plants eliminate algae problems. Algae is a common problem for fish-only aquariums. But not for planted tanks. Algae infest aquariums because of the nutrients present in the water and the light from your aquarium lighting. Planted tanks eliminate algae problems because aquarium plants utilize all the water nutrients leaving nothing for algae. When algae is not a problem, your water quality improves, and your water also becomes clearer.
Finally, planted tanks look way more beautiful than fish-only tanks in such a way that “décor” takes on a new meaning and makes “plant décor” seem an understatement. Installing aquarium plants in your tank does not only help you keep your fish healthy and happy, but it also makes your tank a delightful piece of item to showcase your hobby.
Jesse is the principal author of this blog. He is an avid fishkeeper with rich experience spanning several years. He is here to share his knowledge and ensure you also have a guiding compass, as he did with his father.