codface2010 wrote: Do plants affect water quality? What are the pro's/con's of keeping real plants? Can a good looking aquascape be created using realistic silk or plastic plants?
Yes, plants use ammonia, nitrite and nitrate to grow along with other trace elements. During the day they release oxygen and use carbon dioxide. However this effect is probably minimal and nothing compared to a good surface area and circulation.
You can create a great aquascape with synthetic plants but you should avoid the cheap plastic ones. Plastic can scratch the fish. Also bear in mind that fake plants need to be removed occasionally to be cleaned or replaced.
Absolutely They feed on excess nitrate making the water quality better for the fish as well as competing for algae, think 2/3rds planted min. Also as an occasionial food source for some fish. No tank should be without some live plants IMHO Think happier fish & less algae!
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I'm yet to see a fake plant I can look at and think hmm that's real enough.
Real plants are a must really, much cheaper then fake ones, look much better, and all the above stuff as pros, the cons being you need to make sure the light is right... and prune the really fast growing ones.
Hardly a trade off. I love my plants, could never go back to fake after going real.
Planting them before allows them to root and settle in before fish get to pull them about and nibble at the leaves. It also gives you something safe to tend to and look at while you wait the agonizing weeks for the cycle to complete.
I also believe from my personal experience that plants will accelerate the cycling and maturation process of your tank.