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RE: Benefits of planted tank for fish?

Hi hi!

To answer your question of "Why are plants kept" ... 

For me it's almost totally an aesthetic issue. I will never put cheap fake
plastic plants and rocks in. That just looks crappy!

Also, plants may help the fish be mentally happier. I'm not so sure to what
extent, given that fish probably don't have much in the line of emotional &
mental states (when compared to humans). But if you watch your fish closely,
they'll sort of ignore plastic plants unless using them as cover to hide
from something. However, in my planted tanks the fish actually seem to
*like* to interact with the plants... swim through them, nibble at some crud
on a leaf, etc etc. I think they just enjoy having other living things in
their environment.

Last, my fish survival rate has gone up 10000x since I've been keeping
plants. This is probably just a good bonus that comes from regular maint and
keeping a close eye on water chemistry, but a welcom effect none the less. 

Date: Fri, 9 Nov 2001 01:50:19 -0700
From: "T. Mathews Jr." <titus at enel_ucalgary.ca>
Subject: Benefits of planted tank for fish?

Hello all,

Please excuse me if this question has an obvious answer. I 
searched the archives to no avail. It will probably be 
obvious as you read that I am indeed a newbie when it 
comes to fish and aquatic plants. 

I got interested in keeping aquatic plants when I read that 
they would provide my fish with a better environment. The 
things I read implied that the plants would suck up toxic 
fish wastes like NO3. Thus plants take in fish waste 
products -> fish waste products tend towards zero -> 
happier, healthier fish -> happier fish keeper. 

From reading the APD for the past 8 months or so, I've 
gathered that for aquatic plants to do well and to control 
algae outbreaks, the plants' nutrients need to be in a 
range; NO3 specifically should be kept around 10ppm. To this 
end, many ADD KNO3 to their tanks. 

I assume that many who add KNO3 to their tanks also keep 
fish in those tanks. From this I conclude that regular NO3 
concentrations of around 10ppm must be something that fish can 
thrive in. (Is this correct, BTW? I understand that it would
depend on the fish, but generally speaking?) 

So, from a fish's benefit perspective, if plants aren't kept 
to get NO3 down to negligible levels, why are they kept? Is 
it because they increase the amount of dissolved oxygen? Or 
perhaps they provide some stability to the water chemistry? 

BTW, I am not questioning whether or not plants DO provide a 
benefit for fish. Having added some java ferns, water 
sprite, and Mr. Loh's christmas moss to my low light, 
non-CO2 injected tank, it is apparent to me that my fish are 
'happier'. Its the WHY that I am wondering about. 

Thanks in advance for your help.

T.  =8)