Although I enjoy maintaining fish, I have to admit that I enjoy aquarium plants much more. I’m Bart, and I’ve been raising aquatic plants for more than five years. I gained my knowledge via doing a lot of study and making mistakes. You are reading my website, whose primary editor I am.
You may see my straightforward ranking of the 11 aquarium plants that brought me the fewest hassles and the most sense of fulfillment on this page. I’ve also looked at the advice of other professionals, like Cory from Aquarium Co-Op, the staff at ModestFish, and my buddy and aquascaper Andrian Scaper.
This article was created over the course of several months, and if my opinions change, I make sure to revise the aquarium advice.
Top 10 Live Aquascaping Plants for Beginners
Below, each plant will be described in depth with pictures. To jump to the first plant on the list, click here.
I want to reassure you right now that I’ve retained all of these plants and had success with them. In a video that I’ve uploaded, I introduce myself and show you my three tanks. I hide my fish, but you can see the plants I maintain without a doubt.
I’ll give you the gist of each plant. You’ll be able to confidently choose plants for your aquarium thanks to it. Use the Amazon links scattered throughout this page if you wish to buy the plants and support my blog at no additional cost to you.
Now let’s cover every plants on this list in greater detail!
Marimo Moss Balls – The World’s Easiest Aquarium Plant
This velvety green sphere, which is referred to as the world’s simplest aquarium “plant,” is actually a ball of cladophora algae that grows naturally rather than moss or a plant.
Every time you change the water, the marimo ball has to be softly rolled in your hands to retain its circular form and ensure that all of the algae have access to light. People frequently purchase a large quantity of these to fill their goldfish or betta aquariums because to their low cost and distinctive appearance.
To make a little tree, you may even unroll them and wrap driftwood in them. Read our comprehensive care guide here for additional details.
Java Fern – The Best Aquarium Plant For Low Tech Tanks
Any low-tech planted tank must have Java Fern as its primary plant. It requires very little maintenance and is quite robust. The water column in your body serves as food for Java Fern, which has little needs.
The additional bonus of it being disliked by most fish They are therefore suitable for use in aquariums with fish that consume aquatic vegetation. It may be fastened on driftwood or rocks. The freedom to design your aquascape is provided by Java Fern’s lack of substrate restrictions.
A rooted specimen measuring 4′′ in size, this Java Fern is being sold online. For a fair price, a huge factory may be constructed.
The appearance of Java Fern is the sole drawback. Java fern has unusually curved green leaves that give it a Jurassic appearance. Many aquascapers tend to dislike it because of the way it looks since it sticks out amid more traditional plants and groundcover because of its form.
Anubias Barteri – A Hardy Mid-Ground Plant
The second plant on the list is anubias, which is also incredibly resilient and well-liked. Anubias plants come in a number of variations, which mostly differ in leaf size. Any Anubias plant would be great, as their needs are typically rather similar.
The leaves of anubias plants are large and deep green. It develops slowly, which is advantageous since it means it needs less light, nutrients, and increased CO2.
This plant is extremely user-friendly for beginners because it doesn’t require CO2. It’s excellent that more plants are able to thrive without it.
Anubias plants are incredibly adaptable since they can take nutrients directly from the aquarium water. similar like Java Ferns, in fact. In actuality, plants that have this capability are known as epiphytes. These plants don’t require their roots to be submerged in aquarium substrate.
Java Moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri)
Java Moss, a native of Vietnam, is now a common carpet plant in novice aquarium settings. It is simple to grow, and you may use its small, green leaves to adorn practically any surface. There isn’t much additional maintenance required after planting the moss.
Simply maintain a pH of 6–8, a water temperature of 71–75°F, and dim illumination for the best development. Given these circumstances, it does grow quickly, so give it a nice cut once every 3 to 8 weeks to avoid overgrowth.
The Java Moss will remain healthy if you lower the temperature to somewhere between 60 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit and raise the illumination.
This traditional aquarium plant is renowned for its capacity to expand significantly and cover your fish tank with lush beauty. Making ensuring it receives a ton of root tabs is more crucial than lighting and substate. The sword often has large, circular leaves that are emersed grown when you first purchase it (or grown outside of water).
These enormous leaves melt back once submerged in water as the plant reabsorbs nutrients to produce longer, narrower leaves (or grown underwater).
Give it additional root tabs if you notice any yellowing on these new leaves. The sword may eventually get large enough to become a mother plant, producing long spikes that develop into young sword plants that you may place in different tanks.
Vallisneria – An Easy To Grow Background Plant
The Vallisneria plant is the ideal, low-maintenance background aquarium plant. It is not demanding and quite simple to maintain.
If permitted to grow, it may reach heights of over 18 inches and will soon transform a background into one that resembles a jungle. It gives your fish a ton of cover and looks amazing as its long, green leaves wash in the current of your tank. It is a show-stopping plant that does well in a basic environment.
Vallisneria is a great investment. They get big, develop quickly, and are economically priced. The best specimens available for online purchase are offered by my recommended merchant, BucePlant.
The disadvantage of this lovely plant is that it grows quite tall and need feedings of aquarium fertilizer to survive. Apart from that, there are no worries!
The Echinodorus Bleheri, often known as Amazon Sword, is a relatively tall plant that thrives in a novice aquarium. I actually came across a photo of my first aquarium setup from approximately five years ago, when I covered the canister filter’s input with two Amazon Swords.
Amazon Swords do grow without CO2, but not particularly quickly. These plants grow swiftly and have rather large leaves when given more CO2!
Make careful to give your tank ample room if you decide to add one or two Amazon Swords. You’ll notice how big their root ball becomes if you ever decide to re-plant them. It truly astounded me.
Both Aquarium Co-op and ModestFish suggest this plant on their respective lists. Additionally, it is on my list of plants that I suggest for angelfish, which you can view here.
Overall, this is a tall, luxuriant plant that is undoubtedly appropriate for the aquarium of a beginner. Like I did and still do, I would use them as backdrop plants or to cover equipment.
Dwarf Hairgrass (Eleocharis parvula or Eleocharis acicularis)
This simple carpet plant will appear to have grown right out of your yard. With the added benefits of oxygenating the water and regulating nitrate levels, its green blades will look fantastic in the tank.
Although Dwarf Hairgrass thrives best in warmer climates, it may survive in water as cold as 50°F or as hot as 85°F. The pH should be neutral, and the illumination should be medium to high. Dwarf Hairgrass may grow rather quickly and may require routine pruning, like Java Moss. Other than that, all you need to do is ensure that clean water is flowing.
This low-maintenance crypt is one of our favorites since it doesn’t need carbon dioxide (CO2) injection or liquid fertilizers. This slow-growing plant thrives in practically any substrate and under almost any lighting conditions.
It does like to eat from its roots, therefore for best health, add root tabs on a regular basis, perhaps every three months, if you use an inert substrate that is deficient in nutrients.
There are several variations of Crypt wendtii, including green, brown, tropica, and red. Consider adding more iron supplements to the aquarium water to help increase the color of its leaves.
Crypts leaves are infamous for melting back when they are initially put to a new tank, much like Amazon swords do. Keep your “dead” plant if you observe this happening! Once it has adapted to your water chemistry, leave it planted in the substrate, and it will swiftly recover and produce new leaves.
Monte Carlo – Easy To Care For Ground Cover For Aquascapers
Baby Tears is the plant to acquire if you want to create an aquascape design that calls for a carpeting plant and want something that is simple to cultivate.
Once established, it is a simple plant to grow that grows quickly. Given that it needs medium light and that the light must reach the bottom of the tank, you should use a planted aquarium LED.
With its tiny leaves, you may create a stunning grass-like carpet for your aquascape, which will contrast well with the other plants in your aquarium.
The Monte Carlo facility is used for tissue cultivation. These plants were raised in hygienic surroundings in a laboratory. This indicates that the plant you will get is free of pests and diseases. Additionally, it implies that you may divide this plant easily when you initially plant it, saving you money.
Monte Carlos isn’t really a low-tech facility. It is advised that you take CO2 injection into consideration if you plan to do a mass carpet. You shouldn’t unless you’re using it to complement your other low-maintenance aquarium plants.
Bucephalandra is a plant that has gained popularity in recent years. There are many different types of bucephalandra, but overall, they make a fantastic plant for novices for a few reasons.
Are you familiar with the term “epiphyte” from earlier? Bucephalandra does not require its roots to be buried in the substrate, however. Even when you don’t do this, it performs better. It may take the nutrients right out of the aquarium water and absorb them.
Second, it’s rather resilient and can handle a few rookie errors without too many issues. Its leaves resemble those of an anubias plant, I suppose.
These plants have wonderful color. Although it isn’t quite red enough to make my list of red plants, it has an intriguing texture.
Last but not least, this plant is great since it blooms when it thrives! These little white flowers that it produces bloom, and your aquarium looks stunning. It is also included in my list of the top seven aquatic plants that bloom, which you can discover here if you’re interested.
African Water Fern (Bolbitis heudelotii)
Dark green African water ferns have delicate, occasionally translucent leaves. Because they are special epiphytes, their rhizomes should be affixed to objects like driftwood or rocks rather than being submerged in a substrate.
Maintain a pH level of 6-7.5, utilize powerful lighting, and keep the water between 68 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit for these ferns. They won’t require much trimming because they grow so slowly, but you should keep an eye out for algae. High light levels can cause algae to bloom quickly and limit the amount of light reaching the fern.
The bulb-grown low-light plant has long, wavy-edged leaves that flow gracefully in an aquarium. Because they are so simple to maintain, this is actually one of the major species offered as a “betta bulb” at chain pet stores.
Watch the bulb quickly develop leaves and roots by just placing it on top of the substrate. Sometimes it passes through a dormant stage where the bigger leaves die back for a few months. Simply keep the plant within the tank, and new growth will start to appear.
Try out this attractive plant that grows quickly, gets pretty tall, and can even produce blooms for you for just a few bucks.
Dwarf Sagittaria – Ground Cover For Non-CO2 Setups
Dwarf Sagittaria is the plant to buy if you’re seeking for a ground cover aquarium plant that doesn’t require CO2 to grow. It grows quickly and is highly resilient. Below, on this Discus Tank, is an illustration of a dwarf sagittaria ground cover.
You can intensify your lighting to reduce the plant’s height. Drawf Sagittaria will get shorter the more strong the light. Similar to terrestrial grasses like Bermuda or St. Augustine, they spread by runners. Simply pluck the runners out if they start to develop in a place where you don’t want them.
A tissue culture plant, the dwarf sagittaria supplied in the link. Due to the way the plant grows, it is one of the harder plants to get tissue culture for. Within a few months of planting, you ought to have a fair coverage of your aquarium floor thanks to the rate at which these plants expand.
Although Dwarf Sagittaria is a root-feeding plant, it may be able to survive without CO2.
The first stem plant on my list and the first stem plant I had personal experience with was ambulia. Right now, we’re referring to the cluster of vibrantly green plants in the center of the image.
This stem plant is one that you most likely won’t discover on any other internet list of starter plants! This plant was introduced to me by my grandfather. His aquarium may really be seen in the image above. He is the one who originally piqued my interest in maintaining fish and plants.
Ambulia performs well with increased CO2 and moderate to strong lighting. Although not very low-tech friendly, this plant is really gratifying if you’re just starting to play with CO2.
It’s simple to spread a stem plant! Just remove a section of the plant and replant it.
If your stem plants are flourishing, be ready to regularly prune your aquarium. They have a rapid growth rate.
Make sure to fertilize with a high-quality liquid fertilizer, such as Flourish from Seachem. This Amazon page has it for sale.
Anacharis (Egeria densa)
Although Anacharis, Elodea, and Brazilian Waterweed are some of its other names, it may be recognized by its distinctive look. It has a tall, green stem that is tubular in shape and covered with whorls of tiny leaves.
It is native to South America’s tropical areas, hence it favors warm water (72–78°F), however it can endure temperatures as low as 60°F. The optimal pH range is between 6.5 and 7.5, and medium illumination is recommended.
Additionally, this aquatic plant quickly takes up nutrients from the water, which might lessen the likelihood of algae. Anacharis will grow quickly under ideal circumstances, therefore pruning will be necessary to keep the tank looking tidy.