Freshwater Aquarium Plants

Aquatic plants profiles

Mainly I would like to focus on the plants which I know from my own experience. Everybody can find different plants profiles in the Internet. You can ask a stuff members at the fish store, but it won’t always give you a full picture of how this plant will grow. Buying a specific plant you would like to know – will it accommodate good in your aquarium conditions. I’ll start from the plants which I keep or kept. Then I’d like to mansion more plants which I like or I’d love to have in a different tanks. Let’s start from what most people likes the most – the mosses.

Tanks conditions temp: 74-76 F , KH/GH 5, Nitrates around 40-60, fertilizers: seachem fluorish, iron and potassium (later plantex CSM +B and NPK from green leaf aquarium), co2 20-30ppm, medium light,

Willow moss

I grew willow moss attached to the driftwood, with LED light finnex planted + it grows continuously and very nice. It is good looking dark green moss, which won’t take over you aquarium(it won’t stick to everything like other mosses). Willow moss just nicely stays in the place I kept it with the fish which likes to nibble a plants and this moss could handle this. It wasn’t 100% of it’s potential but every day you could notice new bright ends on its steams.

Willow moss likes lower temperature and when I went down to 72F I noticed that it started growing much faster. You can trim it in the water. I put the sponge on the intake of canister filter and all the moss I cut was there. All I had to do was once a week when I was cleaning this sponge (which purpose was to prevent bigger debris to get into the filter), I was taking off the moss from it and gluing it into the driftwood. 

Christmas moss

This moss have brighter green color. It is thicker and more dense than willow moss and it sticks to everything which will touch. If it will fall onto the substrate it will catch few little rocks and it won’t let go, you can easily grow a whole carpet or a wall from it without having a big problems with it. I didn’t noticed any specific conditions which would make it grow better. It was just growing fine with 2T5HO 3ft 39W each 6500K bulbs lights and additional lamp with 13W CFL 60W equivalent in lumens. So, if you would like to play a little with the moss and build something on which the moss will take advantage and will cover it all you should choose a Christmas moss.

Flame moss

Flame moss looks very nice, like a plant and you can attach it to rock or driftwood. It is darker green color and it grows together with water flow. It looks like any lights are good for this kind of moss, but when it is getting to the top it may get some algae, because it has medium growth speed(with co2 and ferts). You may split it how much you want, wrap something in it or just attach the brownish bottom of it which looks like a roots, and let it grow like it wants.

Anubias barteri var nana

It is slow growing plant, it does not demand much light, it rather prefers shaded spots, but in the moderate light grows fine. With the stronger light may get some algae but it is fine because you can easily cure it withe perioxide. It doesn’t like to be planted in the substrate, because it is slow growing and all debris around it’s roots may cause some decreases or just algaes.

You may attach it to the driftwood or rock, or just leave on the top of few bigger pebbles and it will slowly stick to it. If you are just setting your tank with bright lights then don’t plant it right away, grow the other plants and then plant it somewhere in the shadow of the other plants. If you aquascaping predicts spots with lower light just for anubias barteri var nana then you may plant it without any worries. However it is very easy to keep plant and as I said if you have any problems with it it is light, not enough water flow or just debris between the roots.

Cryptocoryne wendtii brown

It is beautiful plant for a tanks with lower or moderate lights. Its brown color is nicely breaking a green climate of your planted aquarium. It has completely different color with co2 and ferts than without it. In low-tech conditions it will grow nice and it will look like it’s a little wild, when in high-tech tank it’s color will amaze you 3 months after planting it you will have nice bush of 40-60 leaves after planting one potting plant with 15-20 leaves.

It is easy to split, you may cut the roots or just delicately untangle it when it’s possible. If you will leave this plant more space it will spread more flat on the bottom. Together as a bush of 40-60 leaves it will grow straight up and some huge leaves you will have to cut to give a chance to another leaves to show up. I experienced filamentous algae on some of its leaves. It is nothing serious, I just cut some leaves off from time to time to prevent it from spreading, and that’s all.

Heteranthera Zesterifolia (Star Grass)

I got this plant and for the first few weeks I couldn’t figure out what’s wrong with it. It was completely dying in my aquarium since the time when I planted it. Somebody told me that it is very easy plant which likes a lot of lights and if I’ll have co2 then it will grow really fast. I had just a finnex planted + in my 20 gallon tank but I just couldn’t grow it. I wanted it to be my main mid-ground plant in my 40 gallons tank. Then I noticed that some fish likes to nibble my heteranthera zesterifolia because it has very delicate leaves. Then I read on the forum that it might be my clown loach which likes to cut a hole in it and suck the juice! I started believe in it so I put some substrate to a plastic breader.

I used small empty bottles with air on the side as a ballast, so it will float under the weight of the substrate, and I planted it there. After 2-3 weeks growing like this from two longer steams I had like 12-15 plants which I just separated with my hands and planted in the new tank with stronger light. There it was growing very well continuously without any problems. One important thing. This plant has so delicate leaves and roots that even during pulling it from the substrate it will break, so be very careful. When it will grow bigger with co2 you will experience the real beauty of this plant. I like it very much personally. It doesn’t like root tabs and it will melt when you will add it near its roots.

Proserpinaca palustris (Mermaid Weed)

Very unusual plant with amazing leaves shape. In my opinion undemanding plant at all, but it really needs very strong light to grow fast. Even a little more shadow, threw by other plants, may slow down its growth dramatically. With moderate light even with co2 and fertilizers you will have to wait 3-5 months for it to grow to the top of the 16 inch aquarium. Unless you will give it more space and light. Closer to the substrate when it is getting more blue light in the night you may experience algae growing on its leaves closer to the top. If this plant will grow all the way to the top just don’t wait and cut it in the middle of the way and it will heal and shot another steam from this spot.

The mermaid weed which was cut off will grow still right away like nothing happened. Don’t wait with cutting it. I thought that it will get to the water surface, will stop growing up and using this co2 from the air will start shooting bigger roots and maybe some other plants on the side but it didn’t happened. It was still growing and growing and practically starting laying by the water surface. Proserpinacea palustris is a very good looking plant, but you need a lot of patience to grow it.

Higrophilia difformis (Water Wisteria)

This plant is very hardy. In bad conditions in low-tech tank with bad substrate and no fertilizers, it will look a little unpleasant (tough) like not an aquatic plant. If you will place it in the aquarium with co2 and fertilizers it will grow much faster and will be very pleasant. Its leaves will start having very interesting shape. If you need this plant to stay at the top of the surface and throw some shadow on your moss or other plants, water wisteria is made for this task.

However if you will leave it very long growing all the way to the top without propagating it by cutting the tops. It will develop huge roots in the substrate and side roots which might not be desirable. You can easily get rid of it by taking the plant of the water. Cut even all of the side roots one by one, and you may even cut all the bottom roots if you need. The plant will still be fine, growing back with no problems, just much slower. If it’s that what you need of course, because maybe you don’t have enough time to spend every week on trimming it. Once you will cut the top of the plant it will shoot 2 or even 3 other steams quite fast.

My opinion on the beginning – awful plant, now I think that this is the only one plant which really helped me the most from the start fighting with some algae, since it is really good competition for them. Its leaves are really pretty. Very good plant even for high-tech aquarium if you know how to bridle it.

Microsorum Pteropus (Java Fern)

This plant doesn’t like too much light and it prefers rather more shadow spots with higher water flow. Microsorum Pteropus will shoot new leaves in the end of the old leaves and it will start growing producing a roots on the top of the end of the old leaves. It looks like it creates a new plant on the top of the leave so you can later just cut it and plant wherever you want. Undemanding plant. If you will place it in the bright light right away, it will burn its leaves and some black spots will start showing up. It all may even all cure if you will place it in the spot with more shadow. Very interesting plant which grows on everything. Placing in the substrate is not the best for Java Fern since it takes more nutrients from the water.

Lymnophila Aromatica

This plant looks great and has purple colour under the leaves and not only. It will grow in medium light but to really see this plant fluorish you need a higher intensity light. You can propagate it easily by cutting it and placing in the substrate. Just take of 1-2 inches of the bottom leaves and then place in the substrate only a steam.When it will start shooting new steams it will get really bushy. If there is too many steams on the small area it won’t grow that pretty so try to spread it more leaving more space between each steam. It does better with co2 and dosing micro nad macro.

Alternanthera Reineckii (Rosefolia)

Very pretty looking red plant which will make your aquarium looks really good. It grows quite slow and does better with co2. It doesn’t really need high light, two 39W t5 bulbs 6500k is enough to get nice red color of this plant. Lower leaves have tendencies to fade, so cut or pinch them and throw away. It will push the plant to focus on growing nicer leaves on the top layers. You can propagate it by cutting a steam and placing it in the substrate. With co2 it will take around 3 weeks for the new steam to shoot the roots. If you would like to have it really bushy you must cut it quite often. Algae eaters crew like ottos, amano shrimps, siamanease algae eater will help you keep the leaves clean free of any kind of algae.

Hygrophila augustafolia

Fast growing plant background plant, which is good indicator of deficiencies in your tank. I always recommend adding one or two fast growing species of plants, especially on the beggining when aquarium isn’t well established yet. It helps fighting with algae as it is a great competition for them. Propagate it by cutting

Pogostemon Erectus

This plant with co2 dosing and high light grows like crazy and looks very nice. Its steams are getting quite thick. Roots may get really dense. It will for sure reward you with its appearience.

Lobelia Cardinalis (Cardinal Plant)

One of my favourite plants. Propagate it easily by cuttings, it will shoot new roots quite fast around 2 weeks. It grows very bushy and needs lots of magnesium, so if your gh is low make sure you have enough of it, in other case it will start showing deficiencies. I’m adding gh booster especially around this plant and it grows amazing.

Ludwiga Repens

Very nice steam plants, fast growing with nice orange-reddish top leaves color. It does shoot side roots which may be unpleasant for demanding people, but you can trim them and it will be fine.