The Many Benefits of Live Aquarium Plants

Aquariums give us the opportunity to bring a vibrant yet tranquil ecosystem into our homes.  Kids and adults alike enjoy watching the fish as they effortlessly glide through the water.  Science has even shown that at home, aquariums have several health benefits, including reducing stress. 

Photo Credit : Apet Inc.

Live or Artificial Aquarium Plants

When deciding how to set up an at home aquarium, a common question is whether live plants or artificial plants are better for the aquarium.  The artificial plants might be seem easier to set up, however, the benefits of live plants can outweigh the convenience of artificial ones. 

Photo Credit : Apet Inc.

The Benefits of Live Aquarium Plants

Aesthetics. One of the first and most noticeable benefits of live plants is the aesthetics.  Live plants recreate a much more vivid and life-like underwater scene.  Fish even tend to be more active in an aquarium with live plants- which adds to the beauty of an aquarium. 

Healthy Fish. Another benefit of live plants in the aquarium is healthier fish. Live plants create an ecosystem more closely resembling their environment in the wild.  The foliage creates space for the fish to claim as their home and provides a safe place to hide from other fish.  This can help reduce aggression among the fish and decrease stress levels. 

Natural Diet. The plants also act as a renewable food source that is more like a fish’s “natural” diet, which can result in healthier fish.  But don’t worry about the plants losing their aesthetic appeal.  A healthy plant will continue to grow and renew itself as the fish happily munch away. 

Added Filtration. One of the most significant benefits of live plants will benefit both the fish and the aquarium keeper- added filtration.  Live plants provide a unique filtration system that is able to remove carbon dioxide, ammonia, nitrates, fish waste, and decaying matter from the habitat.  The live plants are by no means a replacement for a canister or over-the-back filter, but the added filtration of the plants can significantly improve water quality. Improved water quality translates into healthier fish and less work to maintain the ideal water chemical levels.

Aeration. Live plants don’t just work for filtration, but also aeration.  Through their natural processes, the live plants are able to make and release oxygen into the water.  This plant made oxygen is better than any mechanical bubbler because it actually saturates the water with new oxygen.  Bubblers and airstones merely increase water movement, which increases oxygen level at the surface only. 

Photo Credit : Apet Inc.

Reduced Algae. If the added filtration and aeration from the live plants weren’t enough, they also help maintain a healthy aquarium environment by reducing algae growth.  Both algae and aquatic plants need the same nutrients to grow and thrive.  A healthy plant system will have high enough nutrient demands that it can starve out excessive algae growth.  The plants might not be able to completely eliminate algae growth, but less time spent cleaning the aquarium means more time spent enjoying it!

So when setting up your home aquarium, don’t overlook live aquatic plants.  They can make maintaining an enchanting underwater ecosystem easier and your fish happier and healthier. 

Recommended Aquarium Plants

  • Sagittaria
  • Hairgrass
  • Micranthemum Monte Carlo
  • Lucens
  • Temple
  • Jungle Vallisneria
  • Subulata (Narrowleaf)
  • Dwarf Baby Tears
  • Rotala