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An aquarium with live plants will always look better than one with plastic ornaments. Freshwater planted aquariums require slightly more involvement from fish keepers because they’re more of a sophisticated ecosystem, but the effort and extra care are certainly worth it not just for aquarists but also for fish. Most beginner aquarists don’t start off with live plants. They might believe they’re a lot of work, but this isn’t really the case. While it’s true you’ll need more equipment and a longer waiting time to establish the tank, some aquatic plant species are as easy to keep as hardy fish. If you’re just getting into fish keeping, making a planted aquarium your first project is highly recommended because of the following benefits.
1. Making the Ecosystem More Natural
Plants are part of the habitats of most freshwater aquarium species. Fish are able to survive without plants, but keeping them in a tank without plant life is similar to the times when zoos kept animals in bare cages that didn’t resemble their habitats at all. Planted aquariums stand out because they look similar to the ecosystems thriving at the bottom of lakes, rivers, and streams.
2. Reducing Pesky Algae Colonies
Fish keepers know algae is a headache they must manage to keep their tanks healthy. Some aquarium fish feed on algae, but they’re not able to consume all of it. Plants are more efficient at controlling algae growth because they take away nutrients, thus keeping colonies small. Species with long stems or the many varieties known as stem plants and mosses aggressively compete with algae for nutrients.
3. Giving Fish Natural Protection
Fish need more than just water and nutrients in their habitats. They also need places where they can relax and hide for a while. This is the reason rocks and driftwood are recommended in aquariums, but plants are better in this regard. If you want your fish to breed, they’ll feel more comfortable with the privacy and safety of plants because this is where they can lay eggs. If you want ghost shrimp to thrive in your aquarium, Java moss is a must.
4. Saturating Oxygen and Aerating Water
A freshwater planted aquarium is far more efficient in terms of aeration. Aquarium pumps provide oxygenation through a physical process. Plants do so through a chemical process. Keep in mind that photosynthesis also takes place underwater, which means plants release oxygen into the tank, thus giving fish a healthier habitat. Moreover, plants keep carbon dioxide levels low because this is one of their nutrients.
5. Regulating Water Chemistry
Once you establish a tank with plants, you’ll have an easier time in terms of cleaning and keeping chemical levels at optimal levels. Plants are natural cleaners. They absorb all types of fish waste, including excrement, carbon dioxide, and nitrates. Although aquarium plants aren’t meant to replace pumps, filters, and bacteria, they’ll biologically augment the filtration system.
If you need a high-quality tank to start a freshwater planted aquarium, get in touch with Aquatic Warehouse, a trusted provider of freshwater aquarium supplies. We have everything you need to properly maintain your tank. Check out our website, stop by our store in Kearny Mesa, or give us a call at 858-467-9297 if you have any questions.