Live plants can be a wonderful addition to your tank, but it can be difficult to keep live plants thriving without special care and lots of experience. Artificial plants provide a good alternative to the real thing, and the artificial aquarium plants available today are far better and more realistic than the ones sold just a few years ago.
Silk plants are among the most realistic of all artificial aquarium plants. To the casual observer, these plants are almost impossible to tell from the real thing, especially if you choose plants in colors that complement your tank. This realistic look makes silk plants a favorite for hobbyists who insist on a natural-looking aquarium. You do need to clean your silk plants carefully and often, however, since they can darken over time as they come into contact with algae and other contaminants. Cleaning the plants each time you do a water change is a good practice. You can clean these plants with warm water. Never use chemicals to clean them.
Aquarium hobbyists can find plastic plants in all the colors of the rainbow, from realistic greens and browns to garish fluorescent pinks, purples and blues. No matter what type of look you want to create in your tank, you can find plastic plants to give you what you need. When choosing a plastic plant, it is important to look at the quality of the manufacturing and choose plants whose leaves are securely attached. It is also important to clean your plastic plants on a regular basis since they tend to accumulate algae after awhile. You should clean your plants by removing them and scrubbing them with very warm water. Never use bleach or other chemicals, since even a small trace left on the plants could harm your fish.
You can find plants that are integrated with other pieces of aquarium decor. For instance, many pet stores sell small pieces of driftwood with plastic or silk plants mounted on them. You can also find natural and artificial rocks with attached artificial plants. These decorations can be perfect for a community tank or a species-specific one.
No matter what type of plants you choose for your aquarium, you will want to choose a variety of different sizes for a more natural look and feel. You can use tall plants at the back of the tank, and arrange them so that they cover the intake tubes, filters and air tubing. These aquarium elements are essential, but they can be somewhat unsightly as well. You can also use short plants to accent the foreground of the aquarium and medium-sized ones to show off the middle of the tank. If you plan to raise baby fish, placing a few floating plants on the top of the tank provides those tiny fish with cover and protection from larger fish in the tank.