A Beginner’s Guide To The Symbiotic Relationship Between Plants & Fish

submersed aquatic plants

We all need oxygen to breathe, and if you have ever been in a forest, you know that places with more trees have healthier air. While fish tanks are vastly different environments, the same principle holds true for aquariums that have live plants. The addition of live plants makes the water cleaner by removing waste and releasing oxygen. In short, aquariums with live plants tend to have healthier fish than those without. So, what contributes to this symbiotic relationship? Let’s take a look at some of the ways that plants and fish benefit one another in aquariums.

What Your Fish Get From Plants

Beginners should add live aquarium plants to their tanks as they significantly enhance any fish’s well being. Rather than being in a big empty tank where fish only have water from edge to edge, plants create a sense of fullness and life in an aquarium. Fish gain a home or hiding place when they nestle into the leaves of the plants you provide. This can also create a sense of dimension and space from your fish’ perspective as they’ll have more elements in their physical environments with which they can engage, swim through, and dodge around.  

Ambiance aside, underwater plants benefit fish in one more crucial way: greater oxygen levels in the water they breathe. As plants take in the carbon dioxide that fish breathe out, they use it as energy and release oxygen as their waste product, aiding the filtration process in an aquarium.

What Your Plants Get From Fish

While plants can provide elements that emulate their natural environments, fish can provide can benefits to underwater plants in an aquarium as well. As we’ve mentioned, fish release waste products like all other animals, and when fish are alone in the tank, there’s nowhere for the waste to go. Without plants, this waste can stagnate in the water and make it harder for the fish to breathe and live healthy lives.

Beginners can add live aquarium plants to help remove fish waste which acts as fertilizer for plants. In a plantless aquarium, this waste would simply stagnate in the water. However, in aquariums with live plants, fish waste becomes fertilizer to help the plants grow. When you have aquariums without plants, the fish often live in water that is less clean than it could be. If you had an aquarium with only plants, they would not be getting the nutrients they need which fish offer.

Plants and Fish Make Each Other Healthier

As you can see, plants and fish work together to create an environment that is beneficial for both forms of life in an aquarium. Plants gain the nutrition that they need in an artificial environment, and fish can have cleaner water and more life-like homes. For beginners adding their first live aquarium plants, the mutually beneficial relationship between fish and aquatic plants can set the standard for a healthy, vibrant aquarium.  

If you’re interested in helping your customers cultivate environments that emulate the beauty and natural wonder of our world’s open waters, then look no further. At Complete Aquatic Systems, we specialize in wide variety of plants and decor to help any customer build a complete aquarium. Contact us today and learn more about our resources for retailers.