No doubt, adding natural plants to your aquarium can add a spark of beauty to your fish tank and also provides your fish with the ideal habitat that will allow them to hideout from time to time. There are also many other benefits of having aquarium plants. However, if you are just a beginner, have little to no knowledge about aquarium plants or don’t have the time/patience to provide the proper care for natural aquarium plants, you may want to stick with artificial aquarium plants, else you might ended up causing serious harm to your fish.
Advantages of Natural Plants
Aquarium plants that are natural, help recycle oxygen and carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is used by plants for photosynthesis and can be considered a fundamental compound to the success of a planted aquarium. Carbon dioxide is present in aquariums as a byproduct of fish respiration and nitrification, and dissolved in the water from the atmosphere. However, fish experts suggest that carbon dioxide levels should range from 5-15 Mg/l, because once the level surpasses 20 Mg/l, this may be harmful to fish. Aquarium plants help maintain the balance in water by taking up carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen vital for fish survival and maintaining a healthy pH level.
Disadvantages of Natural Plants
At the same token, they can have adverse affect on water chemistry by removing oxygen from other aquarium inhabitants when aquarium lights are off, causing pH swings during dark periods. They also promote algae growth due to excessive lighting requirement necessary to help them grow and stay healthy. Blue-green algae for example, will form a layer that covers plants and gravel. Blue-green algae are fueled by excessive light, along with high nitrate and phosphate levels. Blue-green algae can produce toxins that can be very lethal to your fish.
Natural aquarium plants will rot or undergo natural biological changes, and cause your aquarium water to foul. According to fish experts, houseplants and other terrestrial plants will not survive in an aquarium. They will rot, as they are not meant to be submerged and their leaves need air exposure to survive.
Other Common Reasons Plants Rot
Some other common reasons aquarium plants rot include too little fertilizer, lack of proper light and nutrients, and an excess amount of phosphate in the tank, as well as the gravel or other substrate lacking nutrients or being too fine. It is also possible that the plant could also be suffering from Cryptocoryne disease, otherwise known as Cryptocoryne rot.
In an attempt to solve some of the above problems, you may end up endangering the health of your fish. Simply trying to provide adequate nutrients for your aquarium plant may result in you overdosing your aquarium with fertilizer which can cause damage to your plant and fish. In an effort to provide more light, you could ended up promoting algae growth which is also bad for the health of your fish.
Finally, because natural plants are harvested from other bodies of water, they may introduce foreign, harmful pests or parasites into your aquarium. In this light, you should be careful when choosing aquarium plants. Suffice to say, my recommendation is that you should always use natural plants in planted aquariums.
Phosban for excess phosphate