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Is there and big difference when buying plants if they are potted or loose? My lfs sells lots of the potted ones and can be a lot cheaper at time. 3 for $15 sales often.

So If you do buy potted do you leave them in the pots or take them out?
 

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I immediately remove potted plants from their pots and take all the rock wool, or whatever that stuff is, off the roots until the plants are bare root.
 

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I found out that some potted plants have more individual plants than those sold in bundles. I've bought crypts in pots that always have roughly 8-10 small individual plants. I've also bought them in bundles on a few occasions and usually only receive 4-5 plants per bundle. I'm almost sure the lfs owner where I got my crypts last week got a $6.99 pot and made 2 separate $6 bundles.
 

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I generally prefer to buy bare-root because I can see the roots, and I don't have to deal with removing rock wool, which has to be done slowly and carefully to avoid damaging roots. (Tweezers, toothpicks and a bucket of fresh dechlorinated water are essential for that messy job.) Some people do use potted plants specifically for quarantine tanks, discus tanks, goldfish tanks, or other specific set-ups, but I'd guess most PlantedTank folk like to depot and plant. :)
 

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I've found potted plants, especially ones that have been in store for a while to be the best bang for your buck. Pretty much every crypt, sword or dwarf sag I've gotten from a pot has had multiple sprouts coming out of the root system. One time i separated a pot of $4 unidentified crypt into 8 individual plants and all did well.

In regards to wanting to see the roots, most of the time you can judge a root system by looking at the lushness and pretense of new growth, and the fact the almost all pots have a million mini roots bursting out of them..
 
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