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Aquarium Plants for Beginners

What are the Best Aquarium Plants for Beginners to Start With?

Knowledge of aquarium plants is vital, as they play a crucial role in its maintenance. Read on to know more about these plants for beginners.
Rutuja Jathar
Last Updated: Aug 12, 2017
Keeping aquarium plants is not difficult provided you have proper knowledge about the suitable species. There are a few basic things that ought to be considered when it comes to them. These few basic things include light, carbon dioxide, and important nutrients for the plants to live. The normal incandescent light or the other subdued fluorescent lights are suitable for the plants that are actually sort of low light ones. Plus, many of them get the carbon dioxide from the aquarium fish and they do not need the special carbon dioxide boosters for that.
It is always good if one can categorize the aquarium plants according to the length that they grow to. Shallow aquariums look great with foreground plants, which need bright light. Foreground ones cover almost all the substratum by developing numerous runner plants. They are also called carpet plants for aquariums. Two most popular carpet ones are Glossostigma sp and Water Wisteria. The latter looks just stunning when it is put near small stones and hard gravelly structures.
Next category can be the middle ground plants. They grow taller than the foreground ones. They actually hide the roots of the background plants that are the most taller in all three. One can also think of planting the bunch plants, the ones that gather themselves in a group. They are usually the foreground or the middle ground ones. Floating ones also seem very attractive and fascinating form of aquarium plants. Only precaution one needs to take is to plant them away from the light articles of the aquarium. Here are several basic things that are needed to be considered.
  • Ample amounts of artificial light is needed. The light intervals must be 10 to 12 hours a day. One can also think about adding CO2 boosters that can be helpful for the plants.
  • A quality substrate is also required for it. The one that will hold the roots and keep them alive.
  • The substrate must be capable of holding all the nutrients that you are going to provide the plants with.
  • Mechanical filters and circulations that have the minimum amount of surface splashing are very important.
The light must not be less than 3 watts per gallon for bright light plants and more than 2 watts for the low light ones. Here are some more tips on aquarium maintenance.
Aquarium Plants for Beginners
  • Hornwort: This is a stem plant with forked leaves. Looks delicate but has a really strong structure.
  • Java Fern: It has fern like fronds and requires fertilizers for a healthy thriving.
  • Amazon sword: It is tall and has large leaves too. Requires bright light and enough nutrients.
  • Java Moss: It attaches itself to the solid objects in the tank like rocks and substratum as strangled strands.
  • Anacharis Elodia: This is another stem plant that can be routed and can also be floating plant. It is best friends with goldfish.
  • Dwarf Anubias: This is a slow growing one and flowers occasionally too! Many aquarium fish types adore the anubia flowers!
Freshwater Aquarium Plants
There are many freshwater aquarium plants that are easy to maintain for the beginners and can give great results as well. Amazon Sword Plant, Anacharis, Anubias barteri, Balansae Plant, etc., are some of them. Here are several freshwater aquarium plants that are amongst our favorite.
Broad Leaf Sagittaria
The Broad Leaf Sagittaria is also called Chilensis. It has wide and blade like leaves, and it looks like grass. It is fast growing and can enhance the beauty of any part of the aquarium. It is a middle ground plant that is amphibious and requires moderate amount of light. Plant reproduction occurs by the runner. Provide the plant with iron rich fertilizers and trace elements. It can be re-potted if you see the leaves are a bit damaged or rough.
Dwarf Baby Tears
It is a great ornamental plant that will just drape the aquarium with its elegant leaves and beautiful foliage. It is the smallest of all the aquarium plants and is actually a foreground plant. Regular pruning can also make it very ideal as a floating plant. It creates a great hideout for the spawning fish to lay eggs and for bottom dwellers to forage the food. It takes a while to establish itself properly and needs bright and direct light and nutrients. It can also be re-potted and cultivated with more zest.
Cabomba is also called Carolina Fanwort, and it is a background plant for the aquarium. It thrives at its best when provided with neutral water and moderate amount of light. Do not perform frequent trimming and re-potting, as it might get into the way of the plant growth. If you find dropping leaves, then it is the sign of carbon dioxide deficiency and very poor water conditions. For best results, trim branches from the main plant and relocate it in a different part of the aquarium.
Saltwater Aquarium Plants
Mermaid's Fan, Maiden's Hair, Kelp on Rock, Red Gracilaria Feeding Algae, Shaving Brush Plant, etc., are a few that are great for a saltwater fish tank. Here are some that can be great aquatic plants for beginners.
Ulva Lettuce Algae
Ulva lettuce algae is also called Sea Lettuce. It can be a great refugium as well. This one removes nitrates and phosphates from the water and purifies it. The Ulva lettuce algae is accepted by the herbivorous fish and many other types of aquarium fish as well. Using moderate to high lighting, keeping the plant in the high water flow areas, and providing suitable nutrients can really gel great with this type of saltwater aquarium algae.
Red Mangrove Propagule
Red mangrove propagule is cultivated in the greenhouse environment. Its fully grown plant has strong leaves and solid root structure. This plant can be grown in the open topped aquariums that have sand or it can be grown in between the rocks. It requires direct light and absorbs essential nutrients form the water itself. This species can actually grow great in any sort of aquarium. You just have to make sure that the leaves are above the water levels and not under it.
Halimeda Plant
Halimeda Plant is actually a green colored calcareous macro-algae that is found within many tropical oceans throughout the world. Hence, it can also be called one of the tropical aquarium plants. Its leaves appear like small coins, so it is also called a money plant! They are extremely hardy in many kinds of saltwater aquariums. The plant is actually peace loving and will not cause trouble to neighboring ones. Further, they do not tolerate excessive phosphates and nitrates or excessive pruning.
There are many more plants that one can bring home to cultivate into the aquarium. Some basic knowledge about care to be taken can make any beginner, an expert!
Ulva Lettuce Algae
Cabomba or Carolina Fanwort
Dwarf Baby Tears
Anacharis Elodia
Amazon sword
Java Fern
Hornwort plant