Common Aquarium Plants And Planted Links

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Moved On
Jan 18, 2002
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Here are the most common plants which you will find in an aquarium, the instructions for growing them are included.

Anubias Angustifolia - Beautiful plant with long, narrow leaves. It is not eaten by herbivorous fish. Height 10-15+ cm, Light requirements very low-high, Temperature 20-30 °C, Hardness tolerance very soft-hard, pH tolerance 5,5-8. Growth is slow but easy to grow.

Anubias Barteri - An undemanding plant. Grows somewhat larger than Anubias barteri var. nana but is grown in the same conditions. It is best planted in a shady spot to restrict algae growth on the leaves. Herbivorous fish do not eat the very tough and robust leaves. Height 25-45 cm, Light requirements very low-medium, Temperature 20-30 °C, Hardness tolerance very soft-very hard, pH tolerance 5,5-9. Growth very slow and grows algae easily, but is a easy plant to grow.

Anubias coffeefolica - The leaves arch considerably between the leaf ribs, and the new leaves are red-brown. Flowers frequently under water but does not produce seeds there. Temperature .. 20-30ºC, pH tolerance .. 5.5-9pH, Hardness tolerance … soft-very hard. Very easy plant to grow.

Anubias nana - A small, attractive plant which thrives in all conditions. Best results by tying on a stone or tree root by using fishing line. If planted in the gravel the rhizome must not be covered because it will rot. Flowers frequently under water. It is not eaten by herbivorous fish. Height 5-15 cm, Light requirements very low-medium, Temperature 20-30 °C, Hardness tolerance very soft-very hard, pH tolerance 5,5-9. Growth is very slow but very easy.

Bacopa monnieri (Moneywort) - Highly recommended plant that thrives in most conditions. Propagate by cuttings (cut with sissors or knife and put the cutting in the gravel and you have instant new plant.) Looks best in large groups. Height 25-50 cm, Light requirements medium-very high, Temperature 15-30 °C, Hardness tolerance soft-very hard, pH tolerance 6-9. A very easy plant to grow but does so slowly.

Cabomba caroliniana (Cabomba)- Least demanding of the Cabomba species. Can cause problems in poorly lit aquariums. Most decorative when planted in groups. Eaten locally as a vegetable. Height 30-80+ cm, Light requirements medium-very high, Temperature 18-26 °C, Hardness tolerance soft-hard, pH tolerance 4-7. Grows fast (good to combat algae) but isn't one of the easier plant to grow.

Cardamine lyrata (Pennywort) - A light green and often quite bushy plant. It prefers cool water (like what goldfish prefure). A nutrient rich substrate should be offered to all fast growing plants. Growth is faster if the water is CO2 enriched. Cardamine lyrata may be reproduced from seeds as well as cuttings. Temperature 10-25 ºC, pH tolerance acid-basic, Hardness tolerance … soft-hard. Not the easiest plant to grow. In fact it can be quite difficult.

Ceratophyllum demersum (Hornwort)- Used as a floating plant or as a stemplant. Undemanding, but leaves can shed and litter the aquarium.

Cryptocoryne beckettii- One of the most popular aquaria plants for more than 60 years. An amphibious plant and it grows very well submerged. A heavy root feeder will need to use root tabs. Looks best in groups though very variable in colours and morphology. Due to variation within the species but also the water, light and sediment influence the colour of the leaves. Height 15-20cm, Width 10-15cm, Light Low-high, Temperature .. 20-26ºC, pH tolerance .. acid-neutral, Hardness tolerance … soft-hard. Another easy plant to have in the aquarium.

Cryptocoryne wendtii- There are many variations of this plant ranging from brown/ red to green to Mi Oya to Tropica's version. If the plant is affected by the so called cryptocoryne disease, do not remove it from the aquarium because a few weeks later it will produce new shoots. Crypt disease is when the leaves start to dye off. This can happen for several reasons most commonly is due to stress on the plant from too warm water, sudden changes in water chemistry things like that. They rebound from it very quickly. These are root feeders as well. Height 15-25cm, Width 10-15cm, Light low-high, Temperature .. 20-30ºC, pH tolerance .. 5.5-9pH, Hardness tolerance … soft-very hard. I have found this to be another hard to kill plant.

Echinodorus bleheri (Amazon Sword) - The most popular aquarium plant of them all. A nutritious bottom promotes growth. Use laterite, florite, or some root tabs. Hardy and easy solitary plant for both beginners and experts. Height 20-50 cm, Light requirements low-very high, Temperature 20-30 °C, Hardness tolerance soft-hard, pH tolerance 5,5-9, Growth fast (good plant for out compeating the algae). Very easy to grow.

Egeria densa (Anacharis / Elodea) - Good plant for beginners, and with its rapid growth it helps create a balance in the aquarium from the start. Help prevent algae because it absorbs a great number of nutrients from the water. The plant secretes antibiotic substances which help prevent blue-green algae (a type of bacteria). The growth rate depends largely on the amount of light and nutrition available. Growth does not stop in unfavourable conditions, but the plant turns light in colour and the tendrils grow thin. Height 40-100cm, Width 3-5cm, Light medium-very high, Temperature .. 10-26ºC, pH tolerance 5-10pH, Hardness tolerance … soft-very hard. Easy plant to care for.

Hygrophila difformis (Wisteria) - A beautiful and undemanding plant for beginners. Helps create a balance in the aquarium because of it's rapid growth it helps prevent algae. The plant absorbs a great number of nutrients from the water. The shortage of micro-nutrients leads to pale leaves, which may be an indication that the aquarium needs fertiliser. Temperature .. 22-30ºC, pH tolerance .. 5-9pH, Hardness tolerance … soft-very hard. A very easy and fast growing plant.

Hygrophila Polysperma- Usually an undemanding plant. If you want deep-pink leaves you must provide intensive light. Height 20-30+cm, Width 6-10cm, Light high-very, Temperature .. 18-28ºC, pH tolerance 5-8pH, Hardness tolerance soft-hard. It's not the easiest plant to grow but it's also not the hardest to grow. Listed as a noxious weed in some US states and unavailable in the trade.

Microsorum pteropus (Java Fern) - A water fern that is found attached to roots and rocks in Nature. new plant should be attached to a rock or driftwood with a thin wire or a rubber band or fishing line until new anchor roots have been formed. It accepts very soft water and up to even brackish water. Easily reproduced from small adventitious plants which is formed on the older leaves. When they are large enough they will break off from the mother plant and float or you can cut them from the mother plant yourself and replant as you did the mother plant. Height 20-35cm, Width, 12-18cm, Light low-high, Temperature 22-30ºC, pH tolerance neutral, Hardness tolerance … average-hard. One of the hardest if not the hardest plant to kill.

Taxiphyllum barbieri (Java Moss) - Formally known as Versicularia dubyana. Attaches to rocks and roots and to driftwood. A slow starter till it has established itself. Does not require any special attention. Accepts all kind of waters - even weakly brackish - all kind of light qualities at a wide range of temperature. Height 5cm upwards, Width, 5cm upwards, Light low-high, Temperature .. 15-28ºC, pH tolerance .. acid-basic, Hardness tolerance … soft-hard. Another hard to destroy plant.

Vallisneria americana (Vallisneria Gigantea/Vallisneria americana) - The current and therefore correct name is Vallisneria americana var. americana Michaux. There are several varieties that are sold in the shops most of them are cultural forms with more or less variation in leaf morphology. Most can produce leaves of up to two metres in length. In deep tanks these will reach the surface where they are effective competitors for light. The leaves may be cut down. This reduces the plant growth and does not look nice. Performs best in large show aquaria. Shows optimum growth in hard waters with moderate to intense flow. The root system can reach very high densities and a substrate of at least 10 cm is therefore recommended. Height 50-200cm, Width 15-25cm, Light average-high, Temperature .. 18-28ºC, pH tolerance .. neutral-basic, Hardness tolerance … hard. This is a very easy plant to care for.

Vallisneria spiralis- Beautiful plant with conspicuous transverse darker bands on the leaves, beauty, sturdiness and fast growing characters. Accepts all kind of waters. Does not require much light to maintain high growth rates. Height 30-35cm, Width 15-30cm, Light low-high, Temperature .. 15-30ºC, pH tolerance acid-neutral, Hardness tolerance … soft-hard. Easy plant to take care of.


Moved On
Jan 18, 2002
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Due to popular demand I have caved into all of your inquires about the links page I had up here for a very long time then took down. So just for your enjoyment and bedtime reading I am happy to repost the Everything You Will Need To Know About Planted Tanks Link Page. Hopefully this will be easy to find what it is you are looking for if not send me a PM with what you are looking for and I'll see what I can find for ya. If you have any links that you have that I have not included and are worth looking at send me the link and I'll take a look and possibly add the link to the list. Have fun and enjoy your tanks. If you find any links that don't work please let me know and I will correct them.


Plant bids (in the U.S.)

Plant ID sites

Good articles to read
Algae articles
Control of Red Algae - some aspects of this article do not follow current trends

CO2 info
Measuring CO2 in a planted tank - out of date, but interesting
CO2 table 1 - CO2 at 30ppm is not lethal to livestock
CO2 table 2 - Same as table #1 above

Websites with planted tank links and articles
Planted tank resources - some aspects do not follow current hobby trends

Online Plant sales
Aquaria Australia
Java Plants
Green Line
Aquarium Driftwood
Aqua Botanic- US based
Dr. Fosters & Smith Liveaquaria

Mod edit (lljdma06): Broken and out-of-date links have been removed or qualified.

George Farmer

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Jul 6, 2003
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Stamford, Lincs, UK

Thanks to lljdma06 for this great post -

Easy to grow plants, at least for me. Also pretty easily available, even at large-chain LFS.

Foreground (yes, there are foreground plants, just have to be creative)
java moss
Christmas moss
Willow moss
Marsilea quadrifolia
Hemianthus micranthemoides (can grow towards the light or behave and stay a lovely little bush). Mine behave.
Hemianthus callitrichoides (same as HM)
Small cryptocorynes (parva, lutea, lucens, etc)
Anubia petite nana

Midground (lots more options)
Mid-sized crypts (wendtii, others, excellent plants)
Barclaya longifolia (can get big, can also behave)
Nymphaea species (must be taught to behave by pruning before it reaches the surface, otherwise a background plant)
Anubias (barterii, coffeefolia, barterii var nana, others)
Anubia gracilis (does better emersed rather than submerged)
Java fern
Bolbitis heudelotii (when small a midground)

Background plants (many options)
Most Hygrophila species
Rotala rotundifolia
Egeria densa
Egeria najas
Limnophila sessilifolia and indica and aquatica
Hydrocotyle leucocephala (Brazilian pennywort)
Nymphaea species
Amazon swords
Bacopa species
Bolbitis heudlotii (when full grown, a very slow grower)
Alternantera reineckii (striking plant, can do low-light with CO2)
Vallisneria (americana, asiatica, spiralis, nana)
Some Sagittaria species

I have grown all of these plants successfully with CO2 and without CO2, except the Sagittaria, which I have never grown. Was just never interested, but other low-techers here have grown that genus with great success. Most are adaptable to harder water conditions and higher pH. They do well with minimal ferts or can do well in an EI tank. This is just my experience. Some of the plants listed will even tolerate mildly brackish conditions. These are the tried and true hardys of the aquarium plant world. I don't agree that cabomba or ludwigia should be in the list. IMO, they need softer water, which is probably why cabomba breaks so readily, especially in Miami, FL, where the water has more dissolved solids than rock. I have had limited success with Ludwigia, and find it a fragile plant. I also don't think LFS are selling true cabomba caroliniana, which does well in harder water, I think they are mixing in Cabomba aquatica and Cabomba piauhyensis, which need softer water. This was long, sorry. For more information, see the plant index.
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