Easy and Best Aquarium Plants

Updated on October 2, 2019
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I've always had an interest in aquariums, aquaponics, and interconnected farming systems. I'd love to share with you the info I've learned.

When someone mentions a visually stunning aquarium, what comes to mind? You probably think of a tank that has exotic species of fish swimming around eye-catching plants. Non-enthusiasts may not know this, but aquarium plants are much more than just a pleasant decoration. They provide shelter and oxygen and can remove some amount of fish waste.

There are plants that require special lighting and temperature, and others that require a certain climate. So, if you’re planning to add a bit of flora to your tank, you should first consider the conditions. Let’s take a look at some of the best and hardiest plants to add a new touch to your personal aquatic life.

Java Moss

Unlike most java moss plants for aquarium, this plant doesn’t have to be in the form of a mat. Instead, it’s a clump that doesn’t have to attach to any substrate and you can just give it its own corner of the tank to develop.

If you want, you can make a mat out of it to cover 5 square inches of the surface. However, you can just place the clump somewhere and watch it grow along rocks, castles, sunken ships, and whatever accessories you have in your tank. If you move it to the back of the aquarium, it can grow on the surface of the glass to create a perfect background.

The thickness of the moss provides a great place for young and small fish to hide. It isn’t demanding and doesn’t require any particular lighting. One of the downsides of the plant is that it produces biofilm, which contains bacteria that can upset life in your tank if not treated.

Pros

  • Natural looking
  • Not a demanding plant
  • Offers a hiding place for young fish
  • Can be used as a mat but doesn’t require any substrate to develop

Cons

  • Produces biofilm

Hygrophila difformis

Water wisteria is easy to nurture and adaptable to almost all aquariums. If you have a hot water tank, the leaves will divide and grow larger. In colder water, the leaves remain small and thick.

The two most important things needed for the development of water wisteria are adequate lighting and substrate. Brighter light will make the plant’s color stronger, and at least medium lighting is required for it to grow. When attached to a substrate, it will draw nutrients from the water.

When they are surrounded by four or more stems is when they will grow the fastest. That’s why this order comes with six stems. Overall, it doesn’t require a lot of care and will make your aquarium cleaner and prettier.

Pros

  • Fast-growing
  • Adaptable to any water temperature
  • Doesn’t need CO2 supplementation

Cons

  • Requires at least medium lighting

Echinodorus bleheri

Echinodorus bleheri is a tall aquarium plant that will provide your aquarium with beautiful aesthetics. You shouldn’t place it in the front since the leaves will grow dense and large and cover up most of the view. Instead, stick it in the back to add a natural freshwater feel to your ecosystem.

To grow this plant, you need to plant it in a substrate, preferably gravel. After that, just let the plant do its thing. It will absorb nutrients from the water and fish waste from the bottom of the tank. Also, it converts CO2 to O2 and provides more natural oxygen to the fish.

Pros

  • Beautiful aquarium background
  • Absorbs the fish waste
  • Turns CO2 to O2 in large amounts

Cons

  • Can grow too tall for some aquariums

Bolbitis difformis

This is a baby leaf fern that doesn’t require special conditions to thrive. Once you purchase it, you can attach it to a substrate, rock, or driftwood. You can also leave it in a pre-made pot and it will grow just the same.

This plant is extremely easy to keep, and it doesn’t make much difference if it’s in a brighter or darker environment. During the first year, this species doesn’t develop too much. So don’t worry if you don’t see any significant progress. After it reaches a certain point, it will grow rapidly.

Similar to other dense plants, young or injured fish can use this fern as a shelter from other fish in the tank. The plant converts carbon dioxide to oxygen, generating more breathable air for the fish.

Pros

  • Extremely resistant plant
  • Great decoration
  • Provides shelter and oxygen

Cons

  • Fragile plant

Anubias barteri

Anubias barteri is a type of a freshwater plant with big, round leaves. This plant is ideal for smaller aquariums as it doesn’t grow past 8 inches, so you won’t have to worry that it may outgrow your tank. Also, it requires low to medium lighting.

To plant it, just use enough stones or pebbles or tie it to something so that it doesn’t float around. The roots don’t have to be buried in a substrate and you can leave them exposed. They don’t come in pots and potting them isn’t recommended.

If you have amphibians such as turtles or frogs in your aquarium, they’ll enjoy this plant. Since the leaves can grow above water, it offers them a place to hide and rest. Another interesting thing about Anubias is that it will bloom above water level. One of the downsides of this plant is that the roots may be very short, so it may take a lot of effort want to plant one properly.

Pros

  • Great for smaller tanks
  • Amphibians will also love it
  • Very easy to nurture

Cons

  • May not look as good in larger tanks

Which Species of Aquarium Plant Is Best?

If you’re looking for the best and easiest plant for any type of aquarium, Bolbitis difformis is a clear winner. It doesn’t require any special lighting or temperature. If you want a decorative plant for larger aquariums, java moss or Echinodorus bleheri can turn your aquarium into a work of art. Water wisteria makes for a wonderful display, but it requires a brighter environment, while Mainam’s Anubias is perfect for smaller tanks.

So, choose wisely and keep in mind the temperature and lighting. Whichever plant you choose, it will undoubtedly make your aquarium livelier and diverse.

© 2019 Ben Martin

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