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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

October 27, 2010

Non-Aquatic Plants

By David Lass


I am a firm believer that any aquarium will do better with some healthy live plants growing in the tank. This is not to say that average hobbyists should have CO2 injection, high-intensity lighting or always be adding drops of stuff to the tank. With the good fluorescent lights/hoods that are being sold today, any hobbyist can keep many different kinds of aquatic plants growing strong. The operative word here is “aquatic” plants.

Unfortunately, for as long as I have been in this hobby/business (which dates back to the late middle of the last century), local fish stores have always sold various plants that are not true aquatics--and that will very soon die in completely submersed growing conditions. To name a few, there are purple crinkles, Brazilian sword plants and Sanderiana, as well as the ever-popular lucky bamboo. In my humble opinion, selling plants that are not true aquatics is taking advantage of the public. Where do you draw the line? What really is the difference between selling a Brazilian sword plant, that you know will die in the water in a few months and selling begonias to unknowing hobbyists?

The problem is now being made worse by the fact that some large and well-known players in the aquatics business are offering plants in clear plastic tubes with some growing medium in the bottom of the package. It doesn’t matter that many of the plants they are offering are not true aquatics and that they will fairly soon just die and melt away in the tank. One fairly high-up executive whose company sells these plants told me that it wasn’t really a problem, because hobbyists don’t expect their plants to live long anyhow.
I will probably get yelled at for this, but I simply do not think that is a responsible way to market “live” plants to aquarium hobbyists--knowing that in the very short future they (the plants, not the hobbyists) will be dead. We have enough problems getting and keeping hobbyists interested and successful with their first fish tank. Why would we ever want to add to the problem by selling something that we all know will not survive very long?

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