Growing live plants in your aquarium takes some work and discipline. Notably, it generally requires a hobby aquarium keeper to keep a clean and tidy tank, to keep track of everything and to react to changes. Here are a few things to consider before putting in live plants.
Needs for Photosynthesis and Light
The first thing though before getting into live plants is to understand how they work. Live plants remove carbon dioxide and add oxygen to the water during photosynthesis and use nitrates generated by the nitrogen cycle.
In low light or in darkness, plants do not photosynthesize; instead they produce carbon dioxide like fish. Have you noticed the dirtiness of the tank, the ease with which plants wilt and look like mush? Without proper light, the pH and water quality will be adversely affected.
Food – Plants Provide it but Should you Rely on it?
Another important factor to consider before putting live plants in your tank is that they are another element of food for your fish and other animals. The reality is, some fish will eat plants down to the roots, others will slowly nibble on them over the course of months and years. The sooner you can cope with this the better. That is why it is of incredible importance to pair the right plants with the right fish.
With that in mind, you now have to budget your fishes food more carefully. Will you constantly supply live plants instead of food, or will you continue to buy fish food, stocking your tank with plants that fish are not likely to eat? Again, it’s in the research.
Filtration is Essential but a Great Filter is Better
The average filter that you get at Wal-Mart or the big box store from a company like Betta, is not going to be the best filter for keeping live plants. Yes, you can use one and at the absolute least you should. However you need to consider a more reliable filtration system for your tank. The more consistently filtered it is, the more it is like real life fresh water bodies.
The greatest filters are not alone in saving your plants. You may need to invest a few more bucks into a heater (not expensive), a lighting unit (not expensive) and a C02 system (a little more expensive). The point I’m getting at here is, you can get by without the highest end supplies. Just remember, with aquariums and live plants, the best the product, the better experience and life of your plants. They are an investment.