I love planted aquariums and so should you! If you are completely new to the planted aquarium hobby, or have had aquariums in the past but just haven't tried plants yet, this article will be a great start. First, lets briefly talk about why you should consider adding live plants to your freshwater aquarium:
Aquarium plants are a dynamic addition to pretty much any freshwater tank. They will add color, texture and intricacy allowing you to truly create a piece of living art.
The addition of live aquatic plants will benefit your aquarium tremendously. They consume problematic nutrients like nitrate and phosphate which are often associated with algal growth. Plants are also known to consume heavy metals that can be harmful to fish and invertebrates like shrimp.
Most freshwater fish love a planted tank. Plants provide a healthy natural landscape for fish and invertebrates to interact with.
A few things to keep in mind when experimenting with aquarium plants for the first time-
All aquatic plants, including the easy beginner aquarium plants on this list will benefit greatly from a few simple additives. The #1 best component you can add is a nutrient substrate like Controsoil. It will create a much more natural environment for plant roots while providing them with several nutrients they need to grow and be healthy.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) supplementation requires a little more work and research, but will enable your plants to grow MUCH faster. Adding CO2 will drive nutrient consumption and can lessen the number of water changes needed to reduce nitrate (NO3-) and other potentially harmful compounds.
Adding a liquid fertilizer may be necessary if you are using the above two items along with strong lighting. UNS Plant Food All-In-One fertilizer is a great choice for moderate to heavily planted tanks as it provides a good N:P ratio along side all the other nutrients plants need to thrive.
Now lets talk about my favorite 8 great EASY beginner aquarium plants that almost anyone can have success with-
MOSS (Christmas Moss)
Christmas moss is one of several types of aquatic moss commonly used in the hobby. I prefer this variety due to its lateral growth under decent lighting. Moss can be placed loosely in the aquarium, or glued to surfaces like rock and driftwood. Moss of any type is one of the easiest beginner aquarium plants available.
ANUBIAS (Anubias Nana petite)
Anubias plants prefer to be attached to driftwood, rocks and other surface throughout the aquarium rather than planted in the substrate. Nana petite is one of the smallest varieties of Anubias and grows very slowly. Its best in aquariums with a lower light input or at least near the bottom of a high light tank. anubias nana petite is commonly referred to as one of the easiest beginner plants out there.
LUDWIGIA (Ludwigia Palustris)
Ludwigia palustris is a super fast growing, beginner stem plants that is easy to find. It can display a range of colors based on light level and CO2. In low tech aquariums, it will be mostly green, while in high tech tanks it can range from orange to red near the tips.
ROTALA (rotundifolia red)
There are several species of beginner Rotala's available, but rotundifolia is one of my favorites. The red variety has some great coloration under ample light and CO2 but is not required but will help tremendously. With most stem plants, active trimming is very important. When stems grow up to the top of your tank, chop them down more than half way to create more bushy growth.
Java fern is my favorite beginner aquarium plants for filling in large areas of your aquascape. I prefer the narrow leaf variety in smaller aquariums 40 gallons or less. Java fern growth on a coco fiber mat is a great option because it can be easily placed directly on top of the substrate, or attached to other surfaces. No trimming required :)
Marimo moss balls are actually an algae, not a plant! Don't worry, this algae wont spread around and cause problems in your tank :) Great for shrimp and other invertebrate tanks, moss balls are basically indestructible! Moss balls can even be peeled apart and glued to surfaces just like moss. These do not require special lighting or CO2, perfect for a low tech setup.
Similar to Anubias, Bucephalandra is an easy, slow growing rhizome plant perfect for low tech aquariums. The black pearl variety is one of my favorites- Small dark green leaves with purple accents under strong lighting. Many other color and size varieties are available and will help add character to your beginner planted tank.
DWARF SAGITTARIA (sagittaria subulata)
sagittaria subulata AKA dwarf sag is a SUPER easy, fast growing carpeting aquarium plant. The dwarf variety will not get super tall, mostly staying under 5 inches or so. This plant will tend to reach for the light if conditions are sub optimal but for the most part, can be place anywhere in your tank. New plants will shoot off from the original, quickly filling in empty areas of your planted tank.
Leave a Comment below with your favorite EASY beginner aquarium plant!
Keep in mind this is only a small set of easy beginner aquarium plants and there are many more out there! Join our email list, subscribe on YouTube to stay updated on more to come :)
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