I went in to three local pet stores today looking for silk plants to fill up my new ten gallon.
How do people afford them?!?!?
I carefully examined a few of the plants and then went home to think of things to substitute with. ---> Fish care on a budget.
It then occured to me that they were SILK plants... like SILK flowers. So I ran into my garage to grab the ancient box of silk flowers I have. I opened it up and immediately knew that I had hit the jackpot. I started tearing through the flowers ripping off the heads and discarding them. Then I stripped off all the leaves and gathered up a few stems. I grabbed about six or eight leaf parts per stem and started stacking them on to make them look like full, leafy foliage. I bent the bottom part of the stems (2-4 inches) into an L shape. Voila! Fabulous silk plants that I didn't spend a fortune on.
I soaked them in super HOT water for a few minutes prior to adding them into the tank to remove the dusty bits. Then I got to work designing the new plant set up. With the ends bent into an L shape it was easy to cover them with rocks or set the ends under caves or other decorations to stand them up. They are naturally buoyant, so they stood up pretty straight once I anchored the ends.
Now my tank is beautiful and I didn't spend a penny. But if you have to go buy some silk flowers, look for a good sale and look to buy the stems that only have leaves (unless you want the flowers on there too) instead of the whole flower.
Pictures to follow as soon as I wrangle up some batteries.