Choosing Between Real Plants and Plants that Look Real for Aquariums

Image: Our tank at home

Having to choose between natural and artificial plants can be an aquarium decoration dilemma for new aquarium owners. They both have good and bad points that will affect not just the look of one’s aquarium but also its living conditions. Here is a look on what real and plastic plants have to offer.


Real or live plants are the preference of the older generation specially the ones who grew up from the 60’s to the 80’s. Back then there was no other option except real aquatic plants for their tanks. Having live plants in the tank helps create a natural and healthy habitat for the fish. They help provide oxygen supply in the tank during daytime and serve as an alternative source of food for the fish. Real plants also have bacteria that are beneficial in breaking down wastes in the tanks and inhibit the growth of algae. On the downside, real plants require a bit of maintenance work in the tank. They need proper lighting, delicate cleaning, and monitoring of carbon dioxide levels at night time because high levels of carbon dioxide are detrimental to the health of the fish. Snails, pests and disease causing parasites may also be found in some live plants. Moreover, decaying plants cause extra waste in the tank.

Aquarium owners who are considering plastic or artificial plants for their aquarium can find some that appear so natural that one can easily assume that it’s the real thing. They are easy to clean and require minimal maintenance. They don’t affect the oxygen or carbon dioxide levels in the tank so there is no need to worry about the fish dying at night due to lack of oxygen. One can say that their tank value is a purely aesthetic one.

Given these pros and cons for natural and artificial aquarium plants, one can make a decision on which plant to choose. Often, the choice is based on the personality, preference and expertise of the aquarium owner.


You may also like...

4 Responses

  1. veronica lee says:

    From my own experience of aquarium keeping, I find that fake plants are an easier option, Live plants make the aquarium look more appealing though!

    Great post, BTW!

  2. Lynzi cook says:

    I like natural plants, but I find that they tend to come apart faster and make the tank look messy.

  3. tia albright says:

    i like real plants for fish tanks.

  4. Tim says:

    You really nailed it with this post! I grew up in the 70’s and agree that Real or live plants are the preference of the older generation specially the ones who grew up from the 60’s to the 80’s. Definitely my preference in my aquarium.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.