One of the decisions you'll have to make when starting to maintain your fish tank, is whether you'll use plastic, silk, or live plants. The decision is up to you, but we'd like to show you why we think you and your fish will enjoy the beauty of live plants.

Aquascaping with live plants has many benefits. Live plants are not only more appealing in your aquarium, but can help offer a healthier environment. Live tropical plants produce oxygen (O2).

To do this, they absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), and ammonia (NH3), which can be harmful to your fish. Imagine a tropical river in Southeast Asia. The water is flowing, fish are swimming, and plants are growing. With live plants, you are trying to create that same environment. By introducing live plants, you're creating that same ecosystem in your aquarium, that works in nature.  Nttrbx does an excellent job of this as you can see in the fully planted aquarium above.

Now, visualize your aquarium with nothing but fish in it. It's pretty bare isn't it? Adding live plants will provide security and shelter to the inhabitants of your fish tank. Your fish will become less stressful, knowing they have a secure environment around them. Live plants also improve water quality. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't continue your routine water changes! It does mean though, that your fish tank's water should stay cleaner. Live plants will compete with algae for food and nutrients. Your goal is to have a planted tank in which your live plants are the winners in the fight for food.  This means you'll be cleaning a lot less algae off of your tank! Clay mask chose to go with a subtle approach in the picture of live aquarium plants to the right.

To have a successful aquarium you'll need to do a little research on which plants will fit best, and combine well with your fish. Some plants can be harmful to certain fish, so take a quick peek at their descriptions before stocking your tank. We've provided most of the basic aquarium plants for sale or bid here, to get you going, or keep your fish tank looking great.

Here are some tips to use when stocking your aquarium with live plants.

Try not to line your plants in any specific order. While you want to have most of your tall plants in back, a few in the mid-ground will make it more natural looking.

To create a sense of depth, place a few shorter plants in the background.

Use different colors. The hint of red on the leaves of the Ludwigia, or the shades of Violet on the Rotala, mix well with the green colors of many other plants.

Add a variety of different species. This is another way to make your tank look more natural.

Consider using a centerpiece plant. Amazon sword plants, or Thai onions are generally larger and taller than most other species. You could use one of these as a focal point, and surround it with other varieties. Remember, don't place your centerpiece tank in the center of the tank. Make it look natural, by placing it off center.

Other aspects to consider, which help to keep your planted tank healthy include the following:

  • Use enough lighting to keep your plants growing, but your algae under control. Some plants need more light than others.
  • Keep the temperature of your aquarium between 74 and 88°.
  • Continue with regular water changes.
  • Include a proper substrate below your gravel will help with a plants root growth.
  • Consider adding carbon dioxide CO2. Low levels will help your plants, and not harm your fish.
  • Keep your pH levels between 6.5 and 7.5.
  • After you've done some preparing and thinking about which live plants you want to use, have fun! We have a wide variety of life fish tank plants to choose from. Try adding some of the Grass, or Cabomba plants in the background. Mix it up with Moneywort, Sword plants, Ludwigia, or Hornwort in the middle, and Sagittaria or banana plants placed around the front.

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