Plastic vs. Live Aquarium Plants: Which Is Better?

Plastic vs. Live Aquarium Plants: Which Is Better?


Setting up an aquarium is a fun project. Most of the work goes into determining what kinds of fish to stock it with. But there’s also the matter of creating a beautiful, welcoming environment for the fish you select. New aquarium-owners face the question of plastic versus live aquarium plants. Which is better? Here are some pros and cons of each to consider. 

Plastic Aquarium Plants

Plastic plants don’t require light, and since they’re not alive, killing them is impossible. However, they don’t contribute to the healthy environment of the aquarium, since they can’t absorb nitrates or return oxygen to the aquatic environment. Additionally, plastic plants can be rough on delicate fins and eyes. They may look realistic, but a fragile fish can poke or scratch themselves on some types of plastic plants.

Live Aquarium Plants

Live plants require more care and attention than plastic plants. You must also select the right types for your fish. Many fish species like to nibble at live aquarium plants, so you must keep a close watch on plant health and keep the tank clean, as waste from dying plants can impair the appearance of the tank and affect water quality. Live plants require good light, but they also keep the tank healthy by reducing nitrates, absorbing harmful bacteria and carbon dioxide, and returning oxygen to the tank environment. But using live plants can make it more difficult for you to clean your aquarium, as you must maintain a healthy, nutritious substrate to anchor and sustain live plants.

Furthermore, unlike plastic plants, live plants grow. You’ll have to choose plants that grow at a pace you can handle, or you’ll find yourself thinning or dividing them or adding other tanks just to accommodate them.

The decision about plastic versus live aquarium plants and which is better comes down to the type of fish you’ll keep, the time and effort you’re willing to invest to maintain your aquarium, and whether a natural-looking environment in the tank is important to you. If you go for live plants, you can buy freshwater aquarium plants online here at Natural Environment Aquatix. We’ll help you select the plants that may be right for your tank.

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