If you ask aquarium owners what advantages aquatic plants have, oxygen production is almost always mentioned first. The fact is that we provide the right oxygen content in other ways, such as through filter output or even aeration. And at night when the aquarium is dark, plants even consume oxygen.
Consequently, the oxygen production of aquatic plants is actually their least important characteristic. But they have abilities that many are not aware of. Aquarium plants are not only beautiful, they guarantee your aquarium functions. The more plants you successfully maintain in your aquarium, the better your aquarium will look and perform.
Aquarium plants have the following features that are beneficial for your aquarium:
- They remove nutrients (nitrates & phosphates) from the water that would otherwise promote algae growth
- They reduce the number of harmful germs by producing "antibiotics"
- They work against many parasites that react to shade and thus "infest" plants instead of fish
- They can actively absorb toxins from the water (like medicinal herbs)
- They form a microfauna through microorganisms on the leaves that young fish graze on
- They supplement the food spectrum of many fish, even if they are not pure herbivores
- They form a hiding place for fish. Okay, plastic plants can do that too :-)
That' s why every aquarium keeper should maintain as many aquarium plants as possible - preferably fast-growing ones - in their aquarium. Only in a few exceptional cases is the aquarist unable to maintain living plants, because their fish trim all their plants to a close cropped lawn or even eat them completely.