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Dec 1, 2013
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I have never done a lot of live plants, but now that I have a big tank (30 gallons) I to add lots of live plants.  I have mollies, guppies, a few different tetras, a zebra danio, and a chinese golden algae eater.  I have a small fern like plant.  I have gotten a few grassy plants before but they only last a few months. I want something that will last a long time but also wont cost a lot.  I am in high school and currently don't have a job.  Its not something I can put a ton of money into.  Anyways what are some good, hardy freshwater plants? (I also have rocks as my bottom stuff)
Java fern and anacharis are good ones. They don't have big light requirements and.dont need co2 or fertilizer added. I have several of each and they are very hardy. I also have a crypto corn and an Anubis plant that have been very easy to care for too. I am pretty new to the hobby but those plants have worked for me. Had them all for 6 months and they are still going strong with no extra effort from me.
will  anacharis and java fern grow in gravel?  will any other plants with low requirements grow in gravel?
Everything I listed is doing well in gravel in my tank. As I said, I'm not an expert just saying what works for me.
You could buy an amazon sword plant, not too hard and a great background plant. look it up on liveaquaria.com they should give you good info on plants. you might also want to consider root tabs (only about $8-9) to put in your substrate, It will work wonders for your plants. dwarf hair grass isn't too bad to take care of, just a bit hard to keep in the substrate without your fish plucking them out.

Java ferns and some other plants should NOT be buried in gravel or sand because it will cause the roots to rot. instead tie them onto a rock or some drift wood with fishing live or cotton string. the roots should grow and attach itself to the rock or driftwood and will no longer require the string.
All these plants will grow well in both gravel and sand and don't need any special lighting, CO2 or fertlisers. Do bear in mind that some plants don't like some tanks, for whatever reason, so you might still have a few things that die off.

Java fern, anubias, Java moss, christmas moss, bolbitis, subwrassertang (sometimes called 'round pellia') (tie all those to a rock or piece of wood)

Amazon swords (might like root tabs), cryptocorynes (come in lots of different sizes, colours and leave shapes, as do the Java fern and anubias), vallisneria (again, a few different sizes and leaf types. Does prefer harder water, but is worth trying, even if you have soft), sagittaris (there's a dwarf, which makes a good sort of shaggy lawn for low tech tanks, and a giant that has big strap like leaves)

There's also stem plants that you buy in a bunch; cabomba, elodea (sometimes, more correctly, called 'egeria'), bacopa, hygrophila
@ythao It is true that those plants should not be "buried" in gravel or sand, however my personal experience has shown that as long as the rhizome is above the substrate the plant will do fine.  I'm sure that we can agree that the roots are more for anchoring purposes than for nutrient absorption. With that being said, does it matter if the roots are anchored to the gravel (not buried) as opposed to wood or rocks?  All of my plants started as rooted to smaller rocks to keep them weighed down but have grown their roots into the substrate.  Even the anacharis has grown roots in the substrate.  I know that the majority of nutrient absorption is not from the roots, but they are in the gravel all the same.  Just wanted to put that out there as not all healthy java ferns and anubias plants are attached to driftwood and large rocks.
Good points there,Chaydell.
I think it maybe easier for beginners to start with them on wood or rocks, then try other things with them later? Perhaps with the cuttings, that's what I did :)
What are root tabs, and what are cuttings? I'm new to live plants so I don't really understand what you are advising.
Root tabs are not something I use so I'm not familiar with them, but as I understand it they are literally tablets that are placed in the substrate under or near plants that release nutrients for your plants to absorb. Cuttings are pieces of another plant that are literally clipped off and replanted. If done correctly it is a great and inexpensive way to propagate your plants. You will want to be sure to research how to do it otherwise you may just be cutting pieces off that won't grow.

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