Tetra have been innovators in the world of aquatics for over 60 years, and Ellie Goodall has been reading a research survey they have recently published proving that keeping a pet is good for your children.
In this guide I will talk about artificial plants for aquariums and both the benefits and downsides to choosing them over real aquarium plants.
Artificial plants are the most undemanding and effective way to create an aquarium aquascape. They appear realistic, are easily positioned and relocated and do not rot polluting the water.
Experienced enthusiasts and beginners alike can create fantastic aquascapes without the complications of specialist plant care. Artificial plants demand little maintenance, just give them a rinse in fresh water first and a wipe now and again to remove any detritus.
Totally safe for your fish, one obvious benefit is that artificial plants won't be eaten and will not need replacing, which can become costly. Create an aquascape and it will remain intact for as long as you like and then you can easily change it if you get bored of it. There will be no need for specialist lighting, fertiliser or CO2 systems and no fear of the plants outgrowing the aquarium.
The sand or gravel on the bottom of the aquarium will keep the plants positioned, with your creativity and careful placement you can create a backdrop that accurately portrays nature or is just an attractive and vibrant setting.
Many lifelike plants are available. As they vary in size from 5 – 46cm, Tetra Plantastics are designed to be used in all sizes of aquarium, and placed in the front or rear of an arrangement. There are convincing representations of Ambulia, a plant that is pleasing to look at but quite invasive and difficult to keep, Anacharis (Brazilian Waterweed), Green Cabomba, Red Ludwigia, the delicate Red Foxtail and Hygrophila in addition to three sizes of Amazonian Sword Plants. More than enough to create a lush underwater world without complication.
Fluval offer Boxwood and Grass plants and also a striking Lily Pad Water Plant ornament that will bring colour and structure to any aquarium. If you have a tall aquarium, Velda have a collection of pond plants approximately 100cm long, these include artificial versions of Waterweed, Hornwort and Ludwigia that stand vertically in the water and act as a perfect habitat to shelter fish.
Reef One manufacture the BiOrb range of plants beginning with simple multi-coloured plants that range from red, purple and pink through to blue, green and black or white. Their products have been designed to be used in conjunction with the ceramic media found in BiOrb aquariums but can be used in others.
The collection includes twin packs of different silk plants attached to a unique ceramic weighted ball, so they only need to be dropped into the water. Highly detailed and vividly coloured, they are very naturalistic especially when combined with the natural flow and ceramic media in a BiOrb aquarium.
Other BiOrb plants include topiary moss, grass rings, packs of assorted plants of different sizes and colours, even a feng shui kit complete with pebbles. Specific plants include the Indonesian Sea Fan plant in white and crimson and the Sea Lily from China that is available in crimson, blue and white.
In order to promote and enhance biodiversity and conservation of our wildlife, there's a selection of habitats and boxes you can purchase that are specifically designed to attract various small animals and insects to your garden. Here we look at some of the products available which also make unusual and very engaging gifts.
With warmer weather and an early Easter, the garden centre is busy at the moment with customers stocking up on summer bedding plants - snapdragons, cornflowers, cosmos, verbena, phlox, petunia, As well as filling planters, hanging baskets and borders with colour that will last all summer, there are always plenty of jobs to do in the garden during April and David Coton has these suggestions.
Every gardener must have noticed a decline in the bee population over recent years. Intensive farming that demands the use of toxic chemicals, climate change and parasite infestation have all been put forward as potential causes, it's a worrying trend but one that we can all help to reverse.
As an excellent alternative to conventional products, Trimetals' storage solutions blend top quality manufacture with contemporary style. Their range has now been extended to include two new maintenance free sheds and Robert Hall has all the details.