Plastic or Real ?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Aquariums' started by oceansurf, Jul 14, 2010.

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  1. oceansurf

    oceansurf Purple Spiny Lobster

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    I'd be interested in your opinion. ( plastic plants or real )

    I can imagine the answers I will receive, but just had to ask it anyway. Maybe, with your response, you can add the reason that you feel this way.

    Thanks
     
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  3. Newreef15

    Newreef15 Horrid Stonefish

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    If you have the extra time and money and you realy enjoy your tank then i would say real.

    But if you are tight on case and dont want to be spend time every day on your tank then i would say plastic.
     
  4. JMHuss

    JMHuss Plankton

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    I have a 55 gallon planted discus tank. To keep the plants alive to my satisfaction, I run four HO T5 bulbs over the tank (216w = ~3.9wpg), pressurized CO2 injection, daily fertilization, and substrate designed for plants (Flourite). There's a magic balance of all of the components that if the balance is right, the plants grow like crazy. If it's wrong, the algae grows like crazy.

    Now, there are certainly ways to do a 'low-tech' planted tank that requires much less equipment and work, but the plants will grow significantly slower. I trim my plants weekly and could easily fill a gallon ziploc bag with clippings each week.

    Another problem that I encounter is that since I keep discus at higher temperatures (~88 degrees) and fairly low pH (~6.2), from time to time I have difficulties with plants melting. You likely won't have this issue unless you're keeping warmer temperature or lower pH fish.

    All that being said, my wife keeps two 29 gallon tanks with plastic plants and they look amazing with next to no maintenance to the tank decorations. She combined the fake plants with rocks and substrate and it looks fairly natural.

    The bottom line is that if you're willing to jump through the extra continuous hoops and have the patience, planted tanks generally look orders of magnitude better than non-planted tanks. For me, planted is the only way to go. Planted tanks are just like reefs - go slow and let it grow.

    Hope that helps,
    Jonathan
     
  5. 2in10

    2in10 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    +1 on JMHuss' post. I have a planted tank and use Aquariumplants.com's substrate and Seachem suplements for dosing and carbon addition. Do some studying and them decide how much time you wish to devote to the tank. I spend only 3 or so hours a week on maintaining my 75 gallon planted tank.
     
  6. mumushummus

    mumushummus Plankton

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    i got planted tanks and so for real goes the vote,
    but my brother has all kind of fake plants
    he is a little lazy to grow his own.....
     
  7. oceansurf

    oceansurf Purple Spiny Lobster

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    Combination of Both

    What about a combination of both till your real plants take hold ?
     
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  9. JMHuss

    JMHuss Plankton

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    Although it was a somewhat difficult idea for me to wrap my head around at first, rather than just buying one or two live plants, buying a ton of plants and loading the tank right from the beginning seems to work great. The plants will consume the nutrients right away and never give the algae a chance to take hold. It also makes the tank look much better right from the beginning as well as adding oxygen to the water and giving your fish more places to hang out.

    Jonathan
     
  10. smiley

    smiley Spanish Shawl Nudibranch

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    Fake plants are nitrate factories and they become a tiresome job along with the Waterchanges to keep them clean

    Trust me, low tech planted Discus tanks are the best way to go rather than a high tech planted tank for novices (or unless you are not an expert and dont have enough time) because

    1) CO2 injections can fluctuate pH and as you know Discus cant handle such high fluctuations
    2) Plants with low requirements are much more easier to grow under low lights and temp conditions and some Discus cant handle high wattage of lights and they could go hiding
    3) You would be spending more $$$ consistently on a high tech planted tank, due to the nutrient dosing, CO2 refilling blah blah etc :)

    Anubias, Jave Fern etc are the easiest ones of them to handle in a discus tank. Just my .02
     
  11. oceansurf

    oceansurf Purple Spiny Lobster

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    I have to have a combination of plastic & real right now. I don't have alot of real plants & they are not growing quickly. Tomorrow I begin the Seachem dosing. I needed the plastic because one of my discus was bullying another. It was suggested I build a wall of plants down the centre so they couldn't see each other. It is working. In fact, right now, they are becoming best buddies. As my plants grow, I will gradually remove the plastic. I just can't afford to stock my tank with real plants all @ once. What do you think ?