Top 10 Easy Aquarium Plants for Beginners
Planted aquariums are very popular nowadays because of their natural beauty and amazing ability to consume the toxic nitrogen compounds produced by fish waste. Many beginners fail to maintain their green leaves after they have tried and failed. After over a decade of growing, propagating, selling and maintaining aquarium plants, our top 10 list of easy aquarium plants has been thoroughly reviewed. They are durable and can withstand a lot.
1. Marimo Moss Ball
This velvety green ball of cladophora alga is known as the “world’s easiest aquarium plant”. You should gently roll the marimo balls in your hands after every water change. This will help to maintain its round shape, and ensure that all parts of it get sunlight. They’re quite inexpensive and unique looking, so people often buy an army of them to fill their betta tanks or goldfish aquariums. They can be rolled and wrapped around driftwood to make a miniature tree. Our complete care guide is available here.
2. Amazon Sword
This is a classic aquarium plant that can grow large and cover your tank with lush greenery. Lighting and substate are important, but so is making sure your fish tank gets lots and lots root tabs. The first time you buy the sword, it will usually have big, round leaves. They are either emersed or grown in water. These large leaves become brittle when placed in water. As the plant absorbs its nutrients, they make smaller, longer leaves that are submersed (or underwater) once again.
If the new leaves seem to be turning yellow, give them more root tabs. You can get the sword to grow to the point where it becomes a mother plant. The long spikes will then turn into baby plants which you can plant in other aquariums.
3. Cryptocoryne wendtii
Because it doesn’t require liquid fertilizers, or carbon dioxide (CO2) injections, this crypt is one our favorite. This slow-growing, low-maintenance plant is tolerant to almost all light conditions and can be grown in almost any substrate. The plant likes to be fed from its roots. If you have an inert substrate with few nutrients, ensure that root tabs are added every three months to maintain optimal health. Crypt wendtii comes in many varieties, such as green, brown, tropica, and red. You can enhance the redness by adding iron supplements to your aquarium water.
Similar to Amazon swords, crypts leafs are notorious for melting back after being added to a new tank. If you see this happen, don’t throw away your “dead” plant! You can leave it in the substrate. Once it adapts to your water, it will quickly rebound and produce new leaves.
4. Aponogeton crispus
This low light plant grows from a bulb and creates long, wavy-edged leaves that flow beautifully in an aquarium. Because they are so easy care for, this species is often sold as a “betta” bulb at chain pet shops. Just place the bulb on top of the substrate, and watch it rapidly sprout leaves and roots. Sometimes it goes through a dormant period where, for a couple of months, the larger leaves die back. The plant can be left in an aquarium to grow new growth. This plant is only a few bucks and will grow quickly, get tall, and even produce flowers.
5. Bacopa caroliniana
Bacopa is an excellent choice to begin with if you are looking for stem plants. This native from the southern United States has a straight, vertical stem with small, roundish leaves. Although it doesn’t need CO2 injection, it can take liquid fertilizers such as Easy Green. While it can grow in low light, the leaf tips turn coppery-red in the presence of high light and iron dosing.
As with most aquarium plants, bacopa is usually grown out of water at plant farms. Once you plant it underwater, the top of the plant starts producing submerse-grown leaves, while the emersed-grown leaves down below begin to die off. You will notice the bottom half the stem becomes bare and skinny. If this happens, you can simply snip the tops of the stem to make a larger plant. You can also propagate bacopa by doing the same thing. As the plant grows taller, cut off the tops to plant them in a different location.
6. Christmas Moss
If you’re setting up a breeding tank, get yourself some Christmas moss! They look just like miniature Christmas trees and are great for covering baby fish and shrimp. Aquascapers tie the fronds to rocks and driftwood to mimic a moss-covered forest. To keep slow-growing, slow-growing Moss in its best condition, you can invest in small algae eaters, such as amano shrimps and give it some liquid fertilizer.
You can make your aquarium appear like an underwater jungle by using very little effort. All you need is one plant – vallisneria. This tall grass-like species can be grown if you give it plenty of root tabs. Once the plant is established in your aquarium, you may add fish such as African cichlids or goldfish to it. Check out our vallisneria care sheet here.
8. Java Fern
Java moss, also known as Java Fern, is a plant that grows in the Java island. Although both can be cared for easily, their appearances are quite distinct. There are several varieties of java fern – such as narrow leaf, Windelov (or lace), and trident – but the most popular type has long, pointed leaves with deeply ridged veins. Its roots and leaves sprout from the Rhizome, which is a thick horizontal stem or stalk. However, it is important to not plant the Rhizome in the substrate. Most people place the plant in the cracks of wood or rocks, and it eventually grows tight around it. For a secure plant, you can also use super glue gel or sewing thread. Follow this article to see step-by-step instructions.
Windelov java fern
The roots don’t need to be planted in substrate. Instead, they absorb nutrients from the water column. You can propagate it either by cutting the rhizome in two or by letting one of the leaves float at the surface. The rows of black spots on the leaf, also known as sporangia, will soon turn into tiny plantlets with tiny roots and leaves. These plantlets can be removed and planted in another aquarium. Read our full java fern care guide here.
9. Cryptocoryne lutea
Cryptocorynes are so undemanding and beginner-friendly that we had to add another one to our list. Unlike crypt wendtii, this species has slender, green leaves that add variety in texture to your aquarium. You can put almost any substrate or light in your aquarium to make them happy. No CO2 injection is required. Although crypts tend to grow slowly, they will become a favorite in no time. While crypts require more frequent pruning than plants that grow faster, they can last for many years without needing any extra care other than the occasional root tab. For more details, check out our dedicated article on them here.
10. Dwarf Sagittaria
You need an easy, carpeting-like plant to add color and texture to your aquascape. The dwarf sagittaria looks almost exactly like a miniature Vallisneria and is hardy. It will grow taller if it is given high levels of light. If it gets low light, it will stay small. It is a good scavenger for both liquid fertilizers and root tabs. Dwarf dwarf sag spreads easily by sending out runners across the substrate. You can remove the new shoots from any area that is not needed and replant them there.
You’ll be able to fill your aquarium with these beginner-friendly plants.
To find out why you aren’t seeing healthy growth, download our free guide to plant nutritional deficiencies.