Nature always finds different ways to surprise us. We know how essential Carbon dioxide, sunlight, and water are for the survival of plants. Still, we find varieties of examples showing us the incredible adaptability of plants in extreme and unheard surroundings.
This essence of adaptation often makes them very relatable to human beings and animals, perhaps even better! So, let’s talk about how to choose the best 15 aquatic plants for your aquarium.
Best 15 plants that grow in a fish tank
1. Dwarf Baby Tear
If you want a lush scenic foreground, the dwarf baby plant is the smallest yet most popular plant. For this reason, it is our first choice in the top fifteen list.
Dwarf baby tears were first collected and researched by Eusebio, Holger Windelov, and Eusebio in a small rocky stream in Las Pozas. The plant is said to have a vibrant color appearance, and the roots are white.
It grows up to 3cm and can spread up to 10 cm horizontally.
The leaves are round and oval, just about a millimeter long. The tank temperature must be between 68 – 75° F. The pH level of water should be about 6.0 – 7.5, while the hardness of water must range between 1 – 10 dGH.
The species needs abundant light to survive. It cannot grow in darkness, and therefore baby tears require a range of about medium to high light to survive.
The dwarf plant thrives well in Nutrient-rich substrates like Aqua soil powder ADA Amazonia aqua soil. Deep insert the plant through the Substrate and ensure the above remains afloat. Since it’s a slow-growing plant, it can also take weeks to form dense, rich carpets.
Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis is highly compact that gives a lawn effect to your water tank, and does great as a carpet plant. The right combination of lighting, CO2, and other nutrients helps it grow either fully or partially submerged.
Lilaeopsis grows in the wild, both emergent and submerged in streams and riverbanks found throughout South America. People love the dense carpet-like look that highly resembles the wild grass.
They are moderately growing plants that take about months to spread about the carpet evenly.
Depending upon the light conditions, the plant can grow up to three inches and grow taller than other aquatic plants and provide a haven for small fish and invertebrates.
The water plant is light green, while The roots are thin and white. A nutrient-rich soil for Lilaeopsis helps it get the required bulk of nutrients from the soil. In addition, the plant stays submerged, which means your water line is well protected.
The tank should have moderately hard water, which should be slightly alkaline.
The optimal pH levels should be around 5.0-7.5, while the temperature should range between 72°F to 85°F. Carefully trim the roots with scissors before you plant the Lilaeopsis in the Substrate so that the roots can take it more quickly.
3. Java Moss
Practically the most common aquatic plant you might have heard about here. It grows very fast in well-circulated water, powered by bright light.
The plant is considered common in moist climates, and one can find it mostly on tree trunks, rocks, and river banks. Its density protects eggs and improves the tank facility for breeding fish.
You might find Java moss the most commonly found aquatic plant used by freshwater aquarists. Java moss has bright green leaves, which are much smaller when grown in water.
Java moss is easy to install, grow and maintain since it can attach itself to many different surfaces. The stems are about 2mm long oval-shaped leaves that overlap each other.
The tank temperature should be between 21-24oC and soft acidic.
If you want a floating plant, you can pop and open and leave it suspended. To allow it to settle, you need to lay the moss in a thin layer over the rock or driftwood that you want to attach it to and tie it with a fish thread.
4. Amazon Sword
The Amazon Sword Plant is an eye-catching centerpiece whose lush leaves stand out in a black background. It’s very dense and gives a forest-like effect to your aquarium that helps to hide the power filter intake tube. Amazon Sword is a must for aquariums with shrimps or skittish fish.
The plant originates Western Hemisphere from the central United States to Argentina.
The plant’s growth rate is moderate underwater with specified moderate to high lighting for about 10-12 hours a day. The amazon sword plant needs a water pH of 6.5 – 7.5 and a temperature of 72 – 82 Degrees Fahrenheit.
The Amazon Sword Plant growth rate can be slow and can grow 12 inches in height. The plant can reproduce by shooting a long stem with runners. The plant needs a loose substrate to thrive and grows every 3 – 4 inches.
5. Water Wisteria
The plant is famous for producing lace-like leaves depending upon the water temperature. It’s easy to plant and requires minimum maintenance. The water Wisteria helps in keeping the water clean. It’s also very easy to propagate the plant by taking cuttings from the lower leaves.
It would be best to have the temperature between 70-82°F while it requires a neutral pH of 6.5-7.5.
They thrive well in moderately hard water of about 2-8 KH. The plant roots bury themselves in the sandy substrates, either slightly acidic or slightly alkaline.
The plant can grow up to 12 inches; you need to cut the top 5 inches from the stem and plant them somewhere else in the Substrate to grow and develop their roots.
6. African Water Fern
The Bolbitis needs to be attached to a porous rock fishing line, rubber band, or cotton thread, and for this reason, the growth rate is very slow.
However, the fish produces enough waste to provide the necessary nutrients for the plant to grow. Although it’s important to check out for algae as they fiercely compete with the plant for light and food.
The plant belongs to the Bolbitis genus, and you will find it in tropical regions of Asia and Africa.
The plant is a slow grower and can grow from 15-40cm long and 15-25cm wide. To easily grow and propagate, the plant needs a temperature range of 68 to 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit. A pH range of 6.0 to 8.5 with a hardness rate of 4 to 12 dGH is preferred.
The plant does not need a particular substrate because the rhizome of the fern should be under the Substrate since it might rot off. However, we advise you to attach this fern to things at the bottom of a tank so that you can provide it with the necessary vertical space.
If you are a newbie, Aubias is the right aquarium plant. The Anubias are typically coastal plants that grow along the shores of rivers and streams. Therefore, we do not recommend you bury Anubias since they can rot. Therefore we recommend you rather suspend it above the Substrate.
Anubias are mainly found along the continent’s western coast, from Sierra Leone in the North to Angola in the South. The plant prefers diamond scattered light for 11-12 hours.
The planet survives well in water hardness ranging from 6 to 40° and pH 6,0—7,5. The water should be around 72 to 82°F so that it can sustainably grow up to 22 inches.
The plant prefers vegetative propagation and is preferred to grow in the mid-ground. In addition, the plant prefers nutrient-rich Substrate for the plants to grow.
8. Aponogeton Ulvaceus Bulb
With bright green translucent leaves, Aponogeton Ulvaceus is indeed a twisting tale in itself. However, since it is very easy to keep and withhold this plant for a larger aquarium, it grows very large and withstands high water parameters.
These beautiful bulb plants originate from Madagascar.
The plants can grow up to feet and a half, which rounds about 8 to 20 inches.
If you are co-inhabiting your plant with tropical fishes, you need to keep the tanks with a pH of 6.5-7.5 and temperatures ranging from 22-28°C.
Well, for this plant, you need to rest it above the penetrative grounds. Many aquarists take the bulb out of the water and leave the bulb exposed to air to gather nutrients.
Next, you need to remove the plant from the tank and shed off all the leaves and roots. Now you place damp sand and leave it in a dark place for around two months.
Since the plant is nutrient heavy, you need to provide it with Aquarium heavy soil to grow up to 8-20 inches.
9. Cryptocoryne Beckettii
Cryptocoryne Beckettii, the great water trumpet, a real Sri Lankan beauty, comprises a unique dark brown, olive underside. It is considered a mid-ground plant that works great with all water parameters.
Cryptocoryne Beckettii originated in India and Sri Lanka, growing along the slow-moving basins.
The plant is very tolerant in most aquarium habitats and requires a pH between 5.5 to 8 and water hardness between 1 and 20 degrees. The plant requires low to medium light to thrive with a sustainable Temperature of 72 to 82°F.
Although the plant requires a Nutrient-rich substrate with a clay and sand mixture, you do not need to plant it. Instead, you can gently wrap around the pieces of driftwood and easily secure them in place with a piece of fish line or cotton thread. This exhibition gives a stunning look to your aquarium.
According to your needs, the two ways of propagating Water Trumpet, the immersed and the submerged.
10. Dwarf Aquarium Lily
A plant easy to care for but difficult to plant? Any guesses? Yes, it is the unique shaped leafy plant, the Dwarf Aquarium Lily.
The plants extend long stems of lily pads that easily float at the water surface. We recommend you keep the shrimp or snails in your aquarium that consume the fluffy fungus for you.
The leaves can show up in a range of pink, green, or red colors.
The Dwarf Aquarium survives low to highlight modesty and needs a temperature range of 72-82°F, with a tank pH of 5.5-8.0. While the plant can grow up to 5 inches tall, you can trim it to your desired height.
Before planting, make sure you rinse off the dirt and debris and place it in the aquarium on the gravel.
The bulb becomes waterlogged and easily sinks inside. When the bulb starts growing leaves, you can gently bury it a third to halfway into the aquarium soil substrate.
Moneywort is the perfect freshwater aquarium plant because it can easily grow beyond 12 inches under the right conditions. The plant is considered highly versatile, and under the right locations, it can create a beautiful landscape around the aquarium.
It protects the small fry and comes with a wide range of parameters.
Moneywort originates mainly in Asia, Australia, South America, and Australia in freshwater marshes and wetlands.
The plant is very affordable and found in very hardy species. The Moneywort grows to around 12 inches tall in high light conditions that help in it’s taller growth.
The growth rate is very fast, and the sustainable temperature requirement is 72-82° F with a pH requirement of 6.5-7.5. The hardness of the water should not exceed 5-20 dKH since it is advisable to keep the value in the mid-range.
You can take the cutting of the stem plants and replant them. Once the side shoots are produced and grow, you can cut half an inch underneath the roots and replant them. Remember, your Substrate can be rich aquarium soil.
12. Rotala Rotundifolia
The Rotala Rotundifolia will add the right splash of colors to your aquarium. However, it needs the right amount of light to get its bright red leaves.
But remember, it’s a fish’s favorite plant, which means it’s not going to last long if you have a large plant-eating fish. However, it is very easy to grow, and you can often spot it in different home aquariums.
Rotala Rotundifolia is a native aquatic plant to South East Asia with rounded leaves. The plants can grow up to 30 cm with creeping clumps in vibrant green rounded leaves.
A wide range of temperatures can suit the plants, but it thrives best in temperature between the range of 68 – 85 °F. The pH level of the tank fluctuates from 6 – 8, and the water hardness should be 4 – 12 °dGH.
We advise you to use a small granulated Substrate rich in Caribsea Eco-Complete Aquasoil, ADA Amazonia soil, and Seachem Black Sand. Remove the plant from the pots and rinse it. Later insert the plant at the distance of 3 – 4 cm in the Substrate.
13. Hygrophila Polysperma
This particular plant justifies the statement, “looks can be indeed deceptive.” They might look very delicate but are hardy and easy to grow.
The plants grow abruptly and often need trimming to prevent them from overtaking other plants. Fairly, it comes in the top list of beginners’ favorites.
Hygrophila polysperma is in Bangladesh, India, China, and Malaysia. The plant grows at a low to moderate rate under medium light temperatures to grow up to 24 inches during the day. The water tank pH level should be between 5-8 with a sustainable temperature of 68 – 82 °F.
The plant needs a nutrient-rich substrate and thrives in CO2. The plant Propagate from cuttings while an isolated leaf can find root itself.
14. Water Lettuce
Every plant section has a definite Water Lettuce since it provides color, protection, and shade for several ponds and aquariums.
The tank owners love keeping this water cabbage floating in their home aquariums at least once. Just keep this plant safe from you hungry herbivore fishes; this beauty can easily become their delicacy!
The water Lettuce was first noticeable on the Nile River, near Lake Victoria, and native to Africa.
The plant requires 72-86 F growth temperatures to grow moderately to fast. This plant is particularly sensitive to dissolved minerals, so a pH level of 6.5-7.5.
The Water Lettuce can reproduce either sexually or asexually.
The propagation is through stolons or seeds covered with sand when submerged partially in the water. Since the plant is floating, you don’t need a substrate-specific for this one.
15. Elodea Densa
Here comes the killer! The great adaptability of Elodea Densa in home aquariums is giving a tough competition to other water plants. Since they are hugely dense, they provide intensive oxygen to the aquariums and prevent algae growth by absorbing many nutrients from the water.
Elodea Densa is native to North America, Europe, Japan, and Australasia, Africa. The plant is known to have a tremendous growth rate with a very low lighting requirement.
The plant is very adaptive but thrives well at a sustainable temperature of 72 – 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH requirement of the plant is around 6.5-7.5 so that it can grow up to 24 inches.
The plant propagates through vegetative methods in the gravel or sand substrate.
First, separate the stems from the bundle and trim the stem about half an inch. Then, place each stem into an aquarium gravel substrate about two inches deep and inches apart to avoid cluttering.
In the end:
None is superior to the other, and it all sums down to your needs and goals for your water aquarium.
A healthy aquarium not only enhances the lives of your fishes but also promotes your interest and hobby.
The live aquatic plants are all there to provide you with the best environment for your fish. So shun algae off the decor and enjoy the aesthetic and healthy view of your thriving and shining live aquarium life.