DIFFERENT TYPES OF PLANTS
Contrary to what one might expect, most of the plants found in aquariums are
not really aquatic. They generally live partly out of the water, with only the lower
portion permanently submerged. Their leaves are sturdy, unbroken in form, and quite
big. When the level of rivers and ponds rises due to rain - sometimes very heavy
in tropical regions - the plants end up almost entirely, or sometimes even completely,
covered by water. They develop submerged leaves, which are different from those
which appear outside the water, being finer and more delicate. At the end of the
rainy season, the water returns to its initial level, and the plant reassumes its
Other plants are totally aquatic, with the upper part of their stems only rarely
seen above the water level - usually to produce a flower.
There are also amphibian or totally aquatic mosses, that are very useful in aquariums,
as they provide a place for some fish to lay their eggs. Another option is ferns,
not only the best-known species from temperate regions but also those from the tropics
that can survive entirely submerged by water.
Plants with fine leaves are prized both by herbivorous fish
and other species that lay their eggs on them.
It is possible to find excellent imitations of natural plants, but as an aquarium
is a reconstitution of a piece of nature, it is easy to see why they are totally
off limits for many aquarists, who prefer their plants to be natural. Some of these
artificial plants, however, can serve as a support in a rearing tank for those species
of fish that lay adhesive eggs.
The effect created by plastic plants is not always in exquisite