Top 7 Best Live Aquarium Plants

Apart from the well-known fish, the underwater kingdom is full of many fascinating and beautiful plants.

Live aquarium plants are incredibly useful in aquariums.

In addition to helping to maintain a stable water chemistry, they act as a natural water filter and also provide a valuable source of food for your fish.

With many wonderful species available you will definitely find one to suit both your needs and your budget.

Below we will share with you the 7 best live aquarium plants that are perfect for any tank…

Planting Java Moss

7 Best Live Aquarium Plants

Now that you know the positive impact that live plants can have on your aquarium, let’s look at some of the best live aquarium plants you might consider.

1. Java Fern

Java Fern

One of the most iconic and popular aquarium plants is the Java Fern.

This plant continues to be among the most popular choices not only because of its beauty, but because of their rapid growth and sturdiness as well.

In the wild it is usually found attached to rocks, driftwood or roots and is almost always fully submersed.

Its popularity has meant many variations have been created by modifying their shape or size of the leaves.

Java Fern is not planted into the substrate. It is tied to a rock or a piece of driftwood. If planted correctly its growth rate may exceed even the most fertile aquarium species.

2. Amazon Sword

Amazon Sword Plant

The Amazon Sword is a versatile and popular choice for a wide range of setups.

This genus is known as Echinodorus and includes many different species.

Amazon Sword’s have bladelike leaves (which is where its name comes from) and is very sturdy. They can grow fully submersed and do not require a lot of maintenance. They usually grow best in aquariums with good water circulation that helps them to take up enough CO2 and nutrients more efficiently. The majority of species come from the South America and thrive in tender, warm tropical water environment.

Some of the most popular Amazon Sword include: Echinodorus uruguayensis, Echinodorus tunicatus and Echinodorus longiscapus. You should explore the whole variety of Amazon Swords and pick from the ones that appeal the most.

3. Hornwort

Hornwort Close Up

Hornwort is another plant that has become popular with fish keepers all over the world due to their sturdiness, price, and low maintenance.

It gets its name from the shape of the stem and horn like small leaves that grow out of it.

Hornwort is found worldwide but prefer moist places near ponds, swamps, wetlands or rivers.

They can tolerate a whole range of different environments and would make a great first buy if you are just starting out. This is a fully aquatic plant but in some cases part of the plant may float on the surface.

4. Anacharis

Anacharis

Anacharis are very popular plants.

It’s popularity comes from how easy it is to maintain as well as the price.

You can find this plant in 6 different species, and three of which, Elodea bifoliata, Elodea canadensis, Elodea nuttallii, are most commonly used in fishkeeping. They are known for their hardiness.

They can propagate very rapidly and reach an impressive size if the conditions are right. This is the reason why in some parts of the world they have become a real problem pushing the already established vegetation species out of their natural habitat.

The plant itself grows fully underwater but sometimes has flowers that float on the surface. This is a great choice for almost any kind of setup. If you are interested in floating plants then Top 15+ Best Floating Aquarium Plants For Beginners.

5. Red Ludwigia

Ludwigia Repens

Scientifically known as Ludwigia repens, this is a very popular aquarium plant.

It is not hard to guess what its main feature is. Iconic slightly elongated yellowish red leaves that can reach up to 20 inches in length.

Although this one is a bit more expensive compared to the options we have already mentioned, it still retains its place among the most popular aquatic plants around. You will have no trouble finding it at your local store.

This species is not demanding at all. This one can either grow fully underwater or be only partially submersed; this would depend on the size of your tank and availability of nutrients. All you need to make sure is that the water conditions are being properly maintained.

6. Cryptocoryne Wendtii

Cryptocoryne Wendtii

Cryptocoryne Wendtii is a member of the Cryptocoryne genus.

It gets its name from the peculiar color of its leaves – one or both sides of which have an interesting shade from dark green to dark red to bronze color. They look wonderful in ordinary aquariums but can also be a great choice for terrariums and paludariums as well.

This beautiful plant is pretty small with leaves reaching up to 8-10 inches in height and the base of the plant, also known as rosette, reaching up to only about 6-8 inches in width. They are not very sensitive and are very easy to maintain.

If you take of the water quality then the biology will take care of everything else.

Their modest yet elegant appearance, combined with reasonable pricing makes Cryptocoryne Wendtii Bronze a very popular aquarium plant.

7. Moneywort

Moneywort

Moneywort is also known as Bacopa monnieri or brahmi and is an outstanding choice for any aquarium.

It would look good in almost every setup and is compatible with some of the most popular freshwater fish.

This species is native to ponds and wetlands of Asia, Europe, Australia and America.

Moneywort leaves are quite unremarkable in contrast to the beautiful light flowers that float on the surface. They can reach up to 15 inches tall and do not require a lot of maintenance apart from keeping the water conditions correct.

How To Plant Aquarium Plants

Planting a plant in your aquarium is not a difficult task but there are a few things that you should know if you want to do it properly.

Most plants need to be planted in substrate so their roots can grow. Gravel or sand is the usual go to choice for substrate.

Next you will need to decide where to plant it in the tank. There are three positions that you can consider: foreground, background or middle ground. Foreground species usually consist of beautiful short leafed species. The middle ground and background species are often combined to create a nice swimming area for your fish.

To plant them you need to first lay down the correct substrate. Then bury to roots in the substrate, leaving and inch or two in between each plant for growth. If you are dealing with something like Java Fern which does not like having its root buried, you would need to attach it to a rock, driftwood or something similar instead.

Just remember that the actual process varies depending on the species and you should research this throughly beforehand to make sure your plant thrives.

Water Wisteria Aquarium Plant

Caring For Aquarium Plants

Now that you know how to go about planting your tank and what options you have, you are probably wondering how do you pick the right plant.

The most important thing is to make sure that you are buying a healthy plant that won’t carry any diseases into your tank.

First of all you should look at is their overall appearance:

  • Is there any browning of the plant?
  • Are all the leaves intact?
  • Is the stem broken?

If your plant is damaged then it won’t survive for a long time and won’t be able to properly acclimatize.

Once you have purchased a good specimen you need to set the water parameters in your tank accordingly.

Tank Conditions

Aquatic plants can grow in a range of different environments.

While some are extremely localized and grow only across small regions, others are widespread and can be found in every corner of the world. Water conditions also vary quite a bit from place to place but the majority of aquatic plants flourish in well aerated and nutrient rich waters.

They also require light in order to grow and develop.

In the aquarium there are three main things that you have to consider: lighting, substrate and water parameters.

Choosing the appropriate lamp is not a difficult task as you will simply need to consider the volume of your tank and the species in question.

The substrate is vitally important for the development and survival of your aquarium vegetation. It is the first source of nutrients for the roots and something that gives the plant stability.

Water parameters are also crucial because some of species can survive in only a narrow range of temperature or acidity. There is no universal temperature regime or acidity range but most of them usually grow in waters that are between 70°F and 80°F. The water should be slightly above or below neutral (6.5-7.5 pH).

Anubias Nana In Planted Tank

Maintenance

Once you have established the correct water parameters, you have to properly maintain each individual species.

This means periodically trimming the leaves.

The adaptation period during the first few weeks is especially tough too.

You may notice that some plants start to lose their shape and the leaves become less saturated with color. If that issue persists for more than a couple of weeks, it is very likely that there is a problem with either the water parameters or they are not receiving enough nutrients.

It is much better to make sure that your water conditions always stay comfortable for your plants. In some cases you might have to add supplements to make sure that your plant gets enough nutrients or to promote its growth.

Some supplements are added directly to the water while others are absorbed through the substrate.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to clean live aquarium plants?
They do not require cleaning as this is something that your fish will take care of most of the time.

You will need to maintain the plant by occasionally trimming it. Just make sure to be gentle when handling your plants.

How to keep live plants in an aquarium?
Although keeping live aquarium plants in aquarium is easy, you always need to maintain a good balance between other animals and live vegetation. They should be mutually beneficial and you need to avoid overstocking and overcrowding the tank.

Summary

It is no secret that to have a healthy aquarium you need to properly maintain it, however some of the best maintenance comes from the aid of natural helpers.

That is where live aquarium plants come in.

Having live plants in your tank is very beneficial.

You can pick from any to suit your own needs.

They are a wonderful opportunity to explore a less well-known part of fishkeeping. This is also a great learning opportunity to broaden your knowledge and improve the look of your tank.

Many aquarists overlook the importance of live aquarium vegetation so be sure not to make the same mistake.

What aquarium plants do you have in your tank? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section below…

David Thomas Author Bio Picture
David Thomas leads the team at Everything Fishkeeping as the Editor-in-Chief. David has been keeping fish since he was a child. In his first tank he kept goldfish and since then he has kept over 30 different species. Now he has 4 separate tanks and his favorite is a 100 gallon freshwater tank with a school of Rasboras, Tetras and Loaches.