By Sameer Gudhate*

Planted aquariums are very widespread these days because of their natural beauty and their remarkable ability to devour the toxic nitrogen compounds produced by fish waste. A planted tank just looks vibrant and lively. Starting up a planted tank for the first time can be intimidating for a beginner. The prime reason being – all those wonderful photos of fantastic aquascapes and videos on the internet, which are seen using high-end CO2 systems! All those make beginners believe that it takes a bag full of money and expertise to create a stunning planted tank. But that’s certainly not true! Here, in this article, let’s discuss about the top 7 easy aquarium plants for beginners, which hardly need any care; even with a little care, they will make the aquarium look wonderful and won’t break the bank!

1. Amazon Sword 

This definitive aquarium plant is known for its capacity to grow titanic and take over any fish tank with luscious greenery. Lighting and substrate for this plant, in particularly, are not that important but nutrients are needed at the roots. At any store, the Amazon sword offered on sale is generally with immersed growth, which means they are grown outside water. When these are planted in water, the old leaves melt away and new ones appear after reabsorption of nutrients; the new leaves are narrower as compared to the old ones that are generally large.

  • Light Requirements – Moderate
  • Growth Rate – Moderate
  • Water Parameters – 72 to 82 degrees F, pH 6.5-7.5, soft to moderately hard 
  • Best Location – Background
  • Feed Type – Root Feeder 

2. Java Fern

Java Fern is the indispensable plant for any low tech planted tank. It is very robust and easy to take care of. Java Fern does not have many requirements and feeds on the aquarium itself. The added benefit is that its taste is generally not liked by most fishes, which means this plant can be used in aquariums with fish that eat aquarium plants. There are no substrate requirements for Java Fern, hence can be attached to driftwood or even rocks. Because of their unique shape, some aquarists feel that its leaves stand out more dominantly among the classical plants. 

  • Light Requirements – Low to Moderate
  • Growth Rate – Moderate to Fast
  • Water Parameters – 72 to 82 degrees F, pH 6.0-8.0, soft to moderately hard
  • Best Location – Mid-Ground
  • Feed Type – Column Feeding

3.  Anubias Barteri

Anubias is the ultimate easy-to-care mid-ground plant. Very attractive looking when fully mature, this plant grows in any conditions. Considered as the most forgiving plant by many, it feeds itself on the column and can be placed anywhere. Many aquarists attach this plant to driftwood or aquarium rocks since the rhizomes are best left in open to prevent rot. It has the added benefit of many fish not liking its taste. Like Java Fern, Anubias also doesn’t require a specialized substrate and will happily grow even in bare bottom tanks.

  • Lighting Requirements – Low
  • Growth Rate – Slow
  • Water Parameters – 74 to 82 degrees F, pH 6.5-7.5, soft to moderately hard
  • Best Location – Mid-Ground
  • Feed Type – Column Feeder

4.  Vallisneria

This is absolutely an easy-to-care background aquarium plant. It is super stress-free to care for and not demanding at all. If left to grow on its own, this plant will grow tall usually over 18 inches. This plant will easily make any aquarium turn into a dense jungle. It provides a lot of shelter for fishes, especially the young ones, and also looks amazing as its long green leaves wave through the current in the tank. This plant can be used as a centrepiece and does not have any special needs. Its drawback for some aquarists is that this wonder plant gets very tall. 

  • Light Requirements – Low to Moderate
  • Growth Rate – Fast
  • Water Parameters – 72 to 82 degrees F, pH 6.0-8.0, soft to moderately hard
  • Best Location – Background
  • Feed Type – Root Feeder

5. Baby Tears

For any aquascape that needs a carpeting plant and that too something easy to grow, Baby Tears is the plant to go for! Once established, it grows really fast. A proper Planted Aquarium LED is needed for this plant as the light needs to penetrate down to the bottom of the tank. Its small leaves offer a good contrast to other plants in any aquarium and give that grass-like carpet look, which makes aquascapes look amazing. A balanced plant fertilizer will keep foliage of the baby tear plant bright green and dense.

  • Light Requirements – Moderate
  • Growth Rate – Fast
  • Water Parameters – 74 to 82 degrees F, pH 6.5-7.5, soft to moderately hard
  • Best Location – Foreground
  • Feed Type – Root Feeder

6. Dwarf Sagittaria

Dwarf Sagittaria is used as a carpeting plant that doesn’t need Co2 to bloom. It is very hardy and grows very fast. These plants grow at such a rate that the aquarium would have good coverage on its floor within a few months of planting. To control the height of this plant, light intensity can be increased because the more intense the light, the shorter Drawf Sagittaria will grow! While it appreciates the addition of CO2 to the aquarium, still it can thrive in a tank that doesn’t have any CO2 supplementation. Occasionally, if kept in excellent conditions, it may send small white flowers to the surface of water. 

  • Light Requirements – Low
  • Growth Rate – Fast
  • Water Parameters – 72 to 82 degrees F, pH 6.5-7.5, soft to moderately hard
  • Best Location – Foregound
  • Feed Type – Root Feeder

7.  Christmas Moss

Christmas Moss is a classic and staple in the planted aquarium hobby! Characterized by its bold green hue, it is a commonly used moss in many famous aquascapes. Christmas Moss is typically used to wrap aquascaping rocks or aquarium driftwood. The addition of moss to the hardscape adds an aged look, which is enjoyed by enthusiasts of all skill levels. Moss is also commonly used in breeding projects and can provide valuable coverage for fry. One of the most loved attributes of Christmas moss is its hardiness. It can be grown under a wide range of aquarium conditions and is recommended for breeders, beginners, and all.

  • Light Requirements – Low
  • Growth Rate – Moderate to Fast
  • Water Parameters – 70 to 82 degrees F, pH 6.8-7.5, soft to moderately hard
  • Best Location – Foreground
  • Feed Type – Root Feeder

Getting started with aquarium plants is easier than you think when you select good hardy plants. Every aquarium plant listed above is pretty forgivable to beginner mistakes and will do well without expensive CO2 systems. Picking out a good mixture of low light aquarium plants is a very important step for beginners.

Even though most of the species we have covered in this guide have relatively low-light requirements and tend to be easy to keep alive, remember to always take proper care of your aquarium. Weekly or bi-weekly water changes are a must, especially for those who decide to keep plants.

With the proper care and a good setup, any planted aquarium will thrive for years to come!

Happy Fishkeeping!

*The author of this article is an advanced aquarium hobbyist with an Aquarium at his place even before his birth. Today he promotes the pet keeping hobby apart from maintaining his own aquarium. He can be contacted on +919820270247 or samgudhate@gmail.com

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