Our Favorite Easy & Low Light Plants: Cryptocoryne Lutea and Vallisneria


Our Favorite Easy-to-Low Light Plants: Cryptocoryne Lutea, Vallisneria

Lots of aquarists are drawn to planted aquariums. Planted aquariums are beautiful and natural. They also provide a healthy and rich environment for fish and other aquatic animals. A lot of times, however, newer aquarists especially, struggle with choosing the right plants for their planted aquarium. You need to take into account many factors when selecting plants that will produce the best results.

What should you consider when selecting plants? You should consider the light requirements of your plants. Do you need more powerful lights? The need for maintenance and trimming is also a factor, as well as cost, appearance, health, and substrate requirements, among other things.

In general, most newer aquarium keepers will simply want to look for plants that don’t cost a fortune and are relatively low maintenance all around. There are many good options out there for plants to start out with, and at Aquarium Co-op there are two that come to mind immediately as easy with low requirements.


Our Favorites

Cryptocoryne lutea and vallisneria are two staples of the freshwater aquarium plant hobby. They are low-light plants that can grow in almost any light and are easy to keep. Let’s break down some of their similarities and differences.

Cryptocoryne lutea

Cryptocoryne-lutea is used as a background or middleground plant in nano aquariums. It is slow growing and provides texture without requiring a lot of care. This plant is quite affordable compared to other varieties. You will get one or two plants per bunch. You can start growing this crypt by simply taking the plants out of their pots and placing them in a position where the crown is higher than the substrate. You will always want to wash off the plants before adding it to the tank to avoid introducing diseases to the tank.

One common problem with adding crypts to a tank is the “cryptmelt,” where a crypt plant is grown from the water and then melts underwater. Wholesale plants are usually grown out of water because they grow faster and are easier for you to raise. The best thing to do if a plant is prone to melting is to just wait. The leaves might melt off but the roots will still be intact and usually shoots of new plants will come back up.


Vallisneria, also known as “Val”, is very similar to Cryptocoryne. It is easy to plant and grow. It can be propagated every five to six day, sending out runners which grow into new plants. Its appearance can be a plus as it will grow to the top aquarium. It works particularly well for schools of fish and for breeding fish. The dense carpet of plants allows baby fish to survive. Fish like an Angelfish might use the leaves to stick their eggs onto.

It is easy to maintain. One can just go in and trim the old Val when it reaches the point where it blocks out the newer plants. It is usually available for under five dollars as well. There are lots of varieties of Val, but it is recommended to start with the normal Val, because it is so easy to grow, and then to branch out.

Give It a Try

Val is one of the most sought-after freshwater plants that any enthusiast will want to have. When keeping multiple aquariums, it’s a good idea to keep it in one tank at all times, so that it can always be on hand when switching up an aquarium scape. Aquarists, whether new or experienced, can’t go wrong either with Cryptocoryne, or Vallisneria. They are truly some easy, rewarding and versatile plants to grow. They are a great choice for anyone looking to create a tank with plants without spending too much.