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I am Bart Sprenkels, founder of aquarium genius. I wrote a free e-book ‘10 tips to keep your aquarium plants from dying’.
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red cryptocoryne in aquarium with java moss and shrimp in background
Aquarium Plants Inspiration
20 Easy Live Plants for Your Aquarium That Don’t Need CO2
Live plants are one of the most beautiful things you can add to your aquarium. I have been keeping live plants for over 5 years now, and have learned a lot through my own experiences. There are many different options available, but what plants should you start out with? 1. Java Fern The first aquarium plant for beginners that comes to mind to a lot of people is the Java Fern. In the wild, java fern grows in shady areas, so it does not require high lighting in your aquarium too. If the light is too bright this might even cause brown patches in the leaves of the fern, so keep the light low to medium. Tip: Java Fern currently stands at the top of my list of aquatic plants that are suitable for beginners. Check it out here if you're looking for some more inspiration. One of the mistakes that a lot of people make when they first get their java ferns is planting them with their roots in the substrate. They however do not take nutrients from the substrate, and they do not do well with their roots buried. Instead, try tying them to a piece of rock or wood. The java ferns will thrive when they are tied to something instead of buried in the ground with their roots. This also allows for some cool aqua scape possibilities.They are slow growers and therefore do not require high nutrient levels in your water. If you're struggling with algae problems, it's a great idea to start adding liquid plant fertilizer to your aquarium. A quality plant fertilizer will make sure that your plants have access to everything they need to grow. Algae thrives when there is an imbalance in your tank and liquid fertilizer is a great and easy way to reduce algae growth. Java fern will propagate by growing tiny plants on the tips of the leaves, which eventually will fall off. You should let the new plants grow from a while and when they are a reasonably size you can remove them from the leave to plant it somewhere in your tank where you would like them to grow. 2. Anubias The second plant on this list is the Anubias genus. These plants are native to central and west Africa and are found in rivers and streams. They are named after Egyptian god Anubis, which is the god of the afterlife, because they are found at shady places. This means that they do not require high lighting in our aquariums! That alone is perfect for beginners. You can recognize an anubias plant by its dark, sturdy leaves that come in a variety of shape and sizes. The base of the plant is called the stolon, and it is important to not bury this in the substrate. It is even better to not plant the roots of the anubias in the ground but rather attach it to a piece of wood or a rock. They will thrive this way. Anubias can definitely be propagated, where you can start with one plant and create many more smaller ones. If your plant grows it will gather more leaves over time. You can cut the stolon into different parts, make sure each part has a couple of healthy leaves and some roots. To do this, take the plant out of the water and use a sharp knife such as a scalpel to cut the plant into pieces by dividing the stolon. Different Types of Anubias There are several different subspecies within the anubias family that are widely available and all just as suitable for our aquarium. There is a list of subspecies below, but keep in mind that there are way more! Anubias Afzeli Anubias Barteri Anubias Nana Anubias Gracilis Anubias Hastifolia Anubias Heterophylla Anubias Gigantea Anubias heterophylla If you were to choose one of the species but you do not know which one, go to your local fish store and see which ones they have in stock. If they have several, take the one you fancy. They will differ in size (the anubias Nana is small and the anubias Gigantea is large) and shape. Another reason why anubias plants are this popular is because they are one of the few plants that do not get eaten by plant-eating fish like African cichlids and goldfish. The one downside to Anubias is that they tend to gather algae on the leaves due to their slow growth. I would still highly recommend it, the plant has even made it to my list of 25 plants that do not require substrate. You can check out that article right here on my website! 3. Vallisneria The third one on the list is Vallisneria! Most definitely not as easy as java ferns and anubias, but with the right care it is an awesome plant that will propagate quickly. Although this plant does not need additional CO2, it does benefit from it. I can recommend you to read this article on my website that goes further into why aquarium plants need CO2. If you later on want to start adding CO2, I've written a guide that step-by-step explains how to do so, which you can find here on my site. The plants root in the substrate so make sure to add some fertilizers. This can be done by a soil/substrate that contains all sorts of fertilizers but that can be rather expensive for a beginner. Something that I personally like to use are root tabs or clay balls, which can be wedged into the substrate where the roots of the plants can reach it. This is an easy way to keep your root feeders fertilized and is especially helpful when you have a bigger aquarium as you can feed your plants on a very local scale. Vallisneria can also absorb fertilizers through their roots, which makes them root feeding plants. Unlike both Anubias and Java Fern, this plant greatly benefits from either a fertile soil or additional root tabs. A fertile soil, often also called an aquasoil, is expensive and not necessary for low-tech tanks. There is a way better and cheaper solution: adding root tabs. Root tabs are used to locally fertilize plants that need it. You simply grab a root tab and push it down in the substrate near the root of the plants. They are very affordable and I personally only need to replace a root tab every 3 months. Check out these root tabs that are available on Amazon. Notice how many you get for the price they are offering. Propagating Vallisneria Vallisneria is an excellent plant to serve as a background plant. It propagates by shoots that move along the gravel called runners and daughter plants will rise every couple of inches/centimeter. When the plant is growing somewhere you would rather not have it, you can cut it loose from the others and plant it where desired. These properties are perfect for creating a jungle for all your fish and are ideal to create ways to break the line of sight for the fish which lowers their stress levels. This is because fish that can see each other all the time in a tank, no matter their position, some species feel threatened. A wall can block their vision and make them feel safer. Different types of Vallisneria Vallisneria also has multiple subspecies each with slightly different properties. The most common type is the Vallisneria Spiralis, which grows to a size of 30 to 60 cm (12 - 24 inch), but there are smaller ones such as the Vallisneria Nana and enormous ones that are only suitable for large aquariums like the Vallisneria Americana. The table below provides a short overview of the properties of the different species. NameLengthWidthVallisneria Spiralis30 - 60 cm12 - 24 inch 1 - 2 cm0.4 - 0.8 inchVallisneria Nana20 - 30 cm8 - 12 inch< 1 cm< 0.4 inch Vallisneria Americana50 - 150 cm20 - 60 inch2 cm0.8 inch 4. Moss Moss is perfect for beginners and just as beautiful for the experienced aquarium hobbyist. It does not matter how much experience you have under your belt, there is always room for moss in our aquariums. There are different types, but the most popular by far is Java moss. Java Moss Java moss can grow in our tanks under a wide variety of circumstances. They can tolerate temperatures from 10 to 30 degrees Celsius (59 - 86F) but do best in water temperatures from 20 to 25 degrees Celsius (68 - 77F). They will survive in low and high light intensities. A higher light intensity will make the moss grow more dense, and a lower light intensity will make the color of the moss a tad darker. "Planting" Java Moss Unlike plants, Java Moss does not have roots that it can use to establish itself in soil. However, the moss is perfectly capable of attaching itself to any kind of surfaces. You can attach your moss to rocks, wood, walls, substrate and even the filter to cover it up. That is why it is so popular for us hobbyists that like to aquascape (read: gardening under water). All it takes is some fish line or some other dark thread. There are also different kind of glues that can be used, but you have to make sure it does not harm your aquatic life. I always prefer to use fish line. After about a month you can even remove the wires that once held it in place, because it has attached itself to whatever you tied it to. Care for Java Moss Taking care of your java moss is extremely easy, all it requires is a pair of scissors (and you can even pull it apart so the scissors are not even a requirement). When there is too much light in your aquarium (or there are other reasons why you might experience algae issues) the moss can be filled with unwanted algae. My solution to algae in moss is pulling the moss apart and re-attach it as a thin layer to the desired surface. When you made sure to tackle the cause of the algae bloom, the moss will continue to grow. Moss is one of the few plants you can order online and get delivered straight to your doorstep. Once you get it you'll probably be shocked for a second or two because you're only receiving a small amount. However, if planted and fixed to a part of the hardscape in your tank it will soon grow to be more. 5. Cryptocoryne Cryptocoryne, or "Crypt" for short, is a genus of plants that are and have been extremely popular in the aquarium hobby for a long time. This is because they are low maintenance and do not require high lighting. Different kind of Cryptocoryne The beautiful thing is that there is a lot of different kinds of crypts, and they vary in shapes, colors, and size. There are way too many to name here, but that is the beauty. There are plants for every region of your aquarium, and there are many different color varieties. Cyptocoryne Wendtii Green [1] Planting Cryptocoryne The only thing with crypts that you must know in advance is that they are rather sensitive to changes in the water parameters. This means that can not handle changes, so when this happens their leaves will fall off. It looks like your crypts are "melting". This is normal. because crypts bought in the store are often grown outside of the water. Once they enter your tank they will need some time to shed their old leaves and grow new ones that are suitable to underwater life. It can happen that you buy your crypts from the store, and within a couple of days of living in your aquarium their leaves fall off and the crypt melts. The number one mistake that beginners (but also experienced hobbyist) make is thinking the plant died and they remove it from their fish tank. The plant however will restore overtime to become even more lush than before. Just make sure the water parameters remain stable. Cryptocoryne is a root feeding plant that benefits from the root tabs we discussed earlier. I have also had success without root tabs, crypts are very hardy plants. It's awesome how many different varieties there are. You can basically create an entire tank with just crypts. 6. Amazon Swords Amazon Swords are beautiful lush aquarium plants that can serve as the perfect background plant. The grow rather tall, reaching heights of around 30 cm (12 inch). This is perfect for covering filters, filter intakes and heaters in your tank. I myself have used them in the very first fish tank I got to hide the filter intake from my canister filter. This plant needs a lot of light, so this might not be for your tank. It needs medium to high light and does best when the lights are on for around 10 hours. Note that the advised duration of lighting is 8 hours per day. The most common mistake people make is not allowing the plant to die back. This happens a lot of the times when you buy the amazon sword from the store, it looses its leaves over time. It can use all of its leaves, but once it is settled the plant will grow slow and steady. The roots of this plant can become long and range far into the substrate of your aquarium. Make sure there is enough depth and your substrate layer is thick enough. Also, this plant is a root feeder so root tabs or a substrate with a lot of nutrients will serve the plant well. When planting the plant, make sure not to bury the crown (where the leaves start) of the plant. This needs to be above the surface of the soil. 7. Water Weeds (Elodea) An amazing stemplant that I can highly recommend to all beginners is often called Brazilian water weeds. Actually, it goes by many names: Anacharis, Elodea or Elodea Densa. I have managed to grow this plant without CO2 quite easily. As soon as you start adding CO2, it really takes off. The plant is easy to propagate and overall a great addition to any tank. To get a lush appearance, combine a bunch of stems like a bouquet and push them down into the substrate. You can also let them float around the tank freely. 8. Bucephalandra A relatively new plant is called Bucephalandra. The plant is not new, but it has not been widely available to buy for very long. I am glad most stores carry this plant in their product range. It's beautiful for many reasons. Bucephalandra grows rather slowly. It has similar care requirements as Anubias plants. Low to moderate lighting and little additional fertilizer. This plant grows quite nicely in an aquairum without additional CO2. Although you have to have patience. 9. Dwarf Sagittaria One of the easiest carpeting plants is called Dwarf Sagittaria. It is one of the few plants that you can grow on the bottom of your aquarium without CO2. Although it is possible, it does not mean it is easy. For the best results I would recommend a nutrient rich aquarium soil. This way, the plant gets as much nutrients as possible. This will result in slow but steady plant growth. Dwarf sagittaria looks awesome, so if you are interested I would give it a go. 10. Hornwort If you're looking for strong plants that can take a beating, go find Hornwort. This plant has been found on all continents except for Antarctica. That's an insane achievement! It can withstand so many different environments that it is bound to do well in your aquarium. CO2 or no CO2. I personally have grown Hornwort and I loved it. If you hold it in your hand you will be surprised how sturdy the leaves are. They are quite pointy actually. 11. Hygrophila Polysperma One plant that has been around for decades in the aquarium hobby is called Hygro. That's short for Hygrophila Polysperma. Here in the Netherlands it is known as Belgian Greenery. I got this plant from my grandfather, and it immediately started growing in my tank. I was not adding any additional CO2. Overall, this is a great plant. It grows weird though. It shoots out new stems in all directions and all over the place. Not a very orderly stem plant. 12. Water Wisteria Water wisteria is the common name for Hygrophila Difformis. It indeed is a different variation of Hygrophila. However, the structure and behavior is completely different. Water wisteria is a stemplant that can do well in tanks without CO2. If happy, it grows quite large. It needs quite some fertilizer, so make sure to add this. Water wisteria is a common plant in Dutch style aquascapes. They are often used to create "roads" of plants. 13. Ludwigia Repens Ludwigia Repens is a very popular stem plant. It has a nice red color if there's enough iron in the water. It can also be green in other situations. I have kept Ludwigia Repens for a long time. Overall it was a good experience. It grows at a decent speed. It likes moderate lighting conditions. My lights were too bright, and it actually slowed down the growth. It did not want to go up so it grew sideways. 14. Brazilian Pennywort A plant of which I have yet to find a proper image: Brazilian Pennywort. If you have this plant in your tank and want to send me an image, I would love that. You can reach me on Instagram or through this website. For now, you can check out this video. What's nice about this plant is that it does not stop growing once it hits the water surface. It just keeps on going. I have seen a friend grow this plant in his aquarium that was not running any additional carbon dioxide. It did not do too well, but it managed to survive. Over time, it grew. Make sure to add enough fertilization and ensure enough light. If light and fertilizer are good, this plant will start to show itself. 15. Water Lettuce A rather large floating plant that you can add to your tank is called Water Lettuce. I believe the scientific name to be Pistia. It might not be suitable for your aquarium due to the size. That's understandable, as healthy water lettuce can grow to the size of a hand. The smaller onces are nice though. The roots of the water lettuce can be rather long (up to 4 inches) so you need a large tank. Your fish will love floating plants. It provides them with shelter and a sense of security. 16. Water Spangles A much better alternatives could be Water Spangles. The scientific name is Salvinia. It's much more suitable for smaller aquariums due to the smaller leave size. The leaves are about 1 inch (2.5cm) in length max. This is the long side of the leaf. Water spangles is my favorite type of floating plants. I have very good experiences with them. They are the perfect size, because if you go smaller it starts to become challenging. Duckweed for example is very hard to remove from your aquarium. 17. Marimo Moss Balls Marimo moss balls might be the easiest aquarium plants on the planet! They are clumps of moss (actually some form of algae). The only have one care requirement: Turn them over every once in a while. This way all the sides get enough light. There is no doubt that these plants can do well in tank without CO2. They are not going to propagate. But they are going to clean the tank and stay nice and green. If you have snails or shrimp, this plant is even better. Especially shrimp love to sift through the hairy sides of the moss balls. 18. Red Tiger Lotus A rather ugly image of a beautiful plant. The Red Tiger Lotus is a bulb plant that shoots up runners towards the water surface. It will grow lily pads in your aquarium! If you're lucky, this plant will even flower in your tank. Red Tiger Lotus flowers at the water surface, how cool is that? This plant goes way back. Decades ago, when the choices regarding aquarium plants was shorter, this plant was already around. It is quite an easy plant. It heavily relies on its roots for nutrients, so I recommend adding root tabs or buying aquarium soil. 19. Moneywort Bacopa Monnieri, the scientific name for Moneywort, is a popular plant. I myself have only grown it in a high-tech setting with additional CO2. However, it should also grow without injecting carbon dioxide. Moneywort is one of my favorite stem plants because of the thick green leaves. Also because of the weird smell if you rub your fingers over the leaves. Very distinct. That's because it actually also is some kind of herb. What's interesting is that this plant also has the tendency to grow out of the water. If it reaches the surface it will keep on growing. 20. Micro Swords Another popular choice is the Micro sword, or lilaeopsis brasiliensis. It can be found in most pet stores today though it may be under a different name, such as Brazilian micro sword, micro sword grass, carpet grass, or copragrass. It’s best as a foreground plant.  In a tank with optimum conditions, the Micro sword can grow to about 2 to 5 inches in length, resembling a plush dense grass that corydoras can get into and hide around, as well as look for food. It’s a light and airy plant that prefers water temperatures between 70-82 degrees Fahrenheit, fairly warm just like the corydoras like it.  To conclude There are a lot of possibilities when it comes to beginner aquarium plants and with all the options you can let your imagination run wild! Let me know what you thought of the article, comment below. You can subscribe to my newsletter where I will update you every once in a while with new articles on super relevant information for our hobby. References Chapter 2 anubias photo 1 owned by Tocekas licensed under CC3.0Chapter 4 moss photo owned by Ranjith-chemmad licensed under CC 4.0[1] - Photo owned by Tommy Kronkvist licensed under CC 3.0
close up image of aquarium tank with ludwigia arcuata and variety of aquatic plants inside.
Aquarium Plants Inspiration
25 Beautiful Aquarium Plants That Do Not Need Substrate
A week ago I saw that one of my fish pulled one of my aquarium plants out of the sand. It started drifting in the aquarium, and I could not be bothered. Now, a week later, it is still doing well. I started to wonder if there are plants that do well without substrate, so I did some research. I'll briefly go over everything that you need to know in order to successfully grow the plants on the list. 1. Java Fern (Microsorum Pteropus) The first plant that is on this list is the java fern. If you have been reading anything at all about aquarium live plants you will be familiar with this one. Java fern is a hardy plant that does best under low to medium lighting. It should be glued or tied to a rock or a piece of wood in your tank. It is able to obtain its nutrients directly from the water. I recommend adding liquid fertilizer to provide Java Fern with nutrients. It is convenient to have plants that are not placed in the substrate. Especially when you want to move around your plants later on. It can make it very easy to rearrange the layout of your fish tank every once in a while. Simply tie your Java Fern to a small piece of wood or a rock. You'll be able to rearrange your tank anytime you want. If the java fern plant does well, you will see small tiny plants grow at the tips of their leaves. This is the way these plants propagate. You can leave these be and, once they fall off, let them find their own place in the tank. You can also provide these small plants with a place of their own. Make sure to attach the baby plants to an anchor, so they have time to grow stronger. The number one mistake that beginners make when they start keeping java ferns is that they plant the plant in the substrate/gravel/sand of the aquarium. This makes a lot of sense because initially, you would think the roots of a plant need to be buried. This is not the case, because the rhizome (where the roots and leaves sprout) should be above the substrate. If you want to learn more about this great plant, you can check out my video! Talking directly to you offers me to talk about Java Fern in more detail. 2. Java Fern Windelov (Microsorum pteropus “Windelov”) Next up: Java Fern Windelov! A beautiful variety of the Java Fern that I described earlier. The care requirements are similar, but they look very different. As you can see on the image, Java Fern Windelov has a completely different leaves. The ends of the leaves split into finer sections. Remember: Java Fern plants prefer to be attached to rocks. On the picture it shows Java Fern Windelov buried in substrate. Well, that is not necessary. Overall, the plant does much better when glued to wood or rocks. 3. Anubias Barteri The third plant that I added to this list is the Anubias species. These plants are popular in the hobby because of their thick and sturdy green leaves. They are also the plant that a lot of people have in their aquarium because their fish will not eat them. This is because a lot of bigger fish tend to either eat or ruin most plants. In a smaller community tank, you do not have to worry about that. Small fish could not be less interested in plants. I am almost 100% certain that your local fish store will carry at least one type of Anubias. They are very common. There are different types of Anubias subspecies that you can choose from. Spoiler: the next plant on this list is the Anubias Nana, a smaller variant. Anubias plants are also high up in the list of plants that require no CO2, if you are curious what other plants are in there you can check out that article. This plant is one of my long-time favorites, but there is one downside. They grow very slowly and tend to collect algae on the older leaves. Anubias is one of the few plants that produce flowers in our aquarium! How cool is that! I've written an article called "7 Aquarium Plants That Flower" which I encourage you to check out. 4. Anubias Nana Anubias Nana is my grandfather's favorite plant. It essentially is a smaller variety of the Anubias Barteri. The leaves are much smaller. What I like about these different varieties is that there is so much choice. From experience I know that all Anubias plants have roughly the same requirements. You can design an entire tank just with Anubias plants. How cool is that? Again, for Anubias I recommend low light and a little liquid fertilizer every once in a while. They are slow growers that don't need much. 5. Bucephalandra An aquarium plant that gained popularity in the past couple of years is Bucephalandra! It is an amazing plant with weird textured leaves. It comes in many different colors. From experience I can tell you that these plants do well when they're attached to driftwood or rocks. They grow slowly and need low to medium lighting. My favorite Buce varieties have small purple leaves with curving edges. Just head down to your local aquarium store and see what they have in stock. 6. Water Lettuce Of course, this is also an option, floating plants! By using floating plants, you can have live plants in your tank without a substrate to put the plants in. I included water lettuce because it is a common floating plant. There are however way more options that are also great possibilities for you to add to your aquarium. What floating plant you choose is really up to you. I've compiled a list called "6 Aquarium Plants That Float". Here I go over more options and how to take proper care of them. I really encourage you to check out this before buying any floating plants. 7. Duckweed Duckweed: it is called a weed for a reason. Once you add it to your tank and it starts multiplying, it's hard to remove. Think twice before adding it to your tank. Floating plants provide great benefits to both your tank and your fish. Scared fish stick to swimming low in the aquarium when there are no floating plants. By adding floating plants, scared fish suddenly find the courage to swim up closer to the surface. They provide shelter and security! The plants provide protection for the fish. They can also provide areas of shade in your tank. Most floating plants will propagate super quickly when there are enough nutrients for them in your water. A lot of people that keep floating plants occasionally need to vent their frustration. Especially people with duckweed in their tanks. 8. Amazon Frogbit Amazon Frogbit There are multiple ways you can keep your floating plants together. Use them to keep plants from floating directly under your light. This way, they do not block all light for other plants in the tank. A popular way is taking a small diameter silicon tube, sealing off both ends by melting or hot glue, and connecting the ends to form a circle. Keep all floating plants outside of the circle, to keep the inside free for light to shine through. 9. Water Spangles (Salvinia natans) My personal favorite: water spangles. I love the fine texture. And the leave size is perfect. It is much more controllable than duckweed and not as large as water lettuce. Floating plants are great because they suck their CO2 straight from the air above your aquarium. This means that they do well even without additional injected CO2. You only have to make sure there is enough fertilizer and the lighting is sufficient. 10. Java Moss Did you know that you can grow moss in your aquarium? Java moss is super popular in the aquarium hobby for a couple of reasons. The major reason: it is super versatile. A lot of people use java moss in aquascaping. You can also grow it to sell back to your local fish store. Finally, it is used for breeding as the baby fish can hide in the moss. In aquascaping, moss is used in multiple ways. It can be used as a foreground plant, but you can also tie it to wood and rocks. If done correctly, you can get an effect like the picture below. It is super beautiful. There are other types of moss too, for example: 11. Christmas Moss Christmas moss is another popular moss variety. It's named after Christmas because the texture of a healthy clump of Christmas moss looks like a Christmas tree! Growing moss for profit is a popular way to gain store credit at your local fish store. Moss is something a lot of stores, especially the smaller ones, are keen to take off your hands. Stores are willing to give you store credit or trade you something for it in return. Finally, if you are planning of breeding fish or shrimp, you should always add some moss to the tank. Moss is a great place for the baby shrimp to hide from other fish that are looking to eat them. Let's move to the next plant! 12. Floating Crystalwort Floating Crystalwort is a plant I had not heard about before doing research for this page. I assume it's quite rare, as I have never seen it in a store. However, it can do great in an aquarium without substrate! Therefore it deserves a place on this list. From what I've read, it has similar characteristics as moss. Many people attach this plant to driftwood, or use it as a carpeting plant. The texture looks amazing. If you can get your hands on some Crystalwort I highly recommend giving it a try. Let me know how it works out for you! 13. Water Weeds (Elodea) The next addition to the list is the beautiful and fast-growing plant called Elodea. More commonly known under the name "Water weeds". The image above is a photo I took of my own aquarium. This is a plant I always strongly advise for people that would like a nice versatile plant. It grows quickly. Because it is such a quick-growing plant, it can take up a lot of nutrients in the tank. This can help battle algae if you struggle with them. The way this plant propagates is by shooting new plants from the main stems. You can also propagate them yourself by cutting them and throwing them back in your tank. Every piece will grow to be a plant. Do not take that too literally, I would advise cutting off parts of about 10 cm (4 inches). Tip: You can pull together a couple of stems of this plant like a bouquet. Weigh them down with something like a piece of wood or rock. This plant really is a fast-growing plant. It will probably do well when you first introduce it to an existing aquarium. However, if it used all the nutrients in the tank the rapid growth can come to a sudden stop. This is what happened when I first added water weeds in my tank. It's at this point you need to ask yourself whether you're willing to maintain a fast-growing plant. Instead, you can also switch to slower plants like the java fern, java moss or anubias. 14. Hornwort This hardy plant is perfect for your aquarium. In the wild, it has managed to spread to every continent except for Antarctica. While that may not be such a good thing in the wild, it is positive for us in our aquariums. It can handle a lot of different water parameters. This makes it one of the best plants for beginners. This way they will not struggle as much keeping their new live plants alive as they would with other plants. Propagation is especially easy because it can grow new plants from the cuttings of the main plant. Do you have a friend who has hornwort? Ask if you can have a piece. It will quickly grown in your own aquarium. You're able to grow this plant without additional CO2, but it can be challenging. All plants need CO2 and there is not as much in your aquarium as there is in the wild. I would recommend injecting CO2 or just giving this plant a go and see what happens. 15. Cabomba Look at this plant with the beautiful name Cabomba. This plant is not a beginner plant. It is not an extremely difficult plant, but not a beginner plant. Cabomba is normally planted in the substrate. When added to the tank as a free-floating plant, the plant will float near the surface. It has a dense and silk-like structure with super delicate leaves. It requires medium to high lighting. When used as a floating plant it will grow faster compared to when planted in the substrate. In general, a floating Cabomba plant will not look as nice compared to when it is planted in the substrate. I recommend injecting CO2 to raise your chances. I've personally only seen success (high growth rates and lush green leaves) when I was injecting CO2. Before that, I did have it in my tank but it just would not grow. 16. Moneywort (Bacopa monnieri) As you can see we're properly in stem-plant domain now. And there are more coming because there are so many gorgeous stem plants out there. At number 16 on the list we have moneywort, or Bacopa Monnieri. This plant is amazing. If you can try it out, do it. Rub your fingers along the leaves and smell your fingers. You will find it has a weird but very nice and strong scent. That's because it's actually a herb. If this stem plant reaches the surface of the tank, it does not stop. It will keep growing outside of your tank. Overall, one of my favorite stem plants. 17. Brazilian Pennywort Another plant that also has the tendency to keep growing once it reaches the surface is Brazilian Pennywort. I could not find a good image for this plant, but I have seen it in a friend's aquarium. It grows in a way I have seen no other plant grow. I'd recommend checking out some videos or finding some images of Pennywort. This one for example: 18. Dwarf Ambulia The aquarium on the image is my grandfather's. Dwarf Ambulia is the lush green stem plant in the left/center. It's an amazing plant. All stem plants are often rooted in substrate. As this is a list of plants that do not need substrate, I want to explain something. Stem plants take their nutrients straight from the aquarium water. They do not rely on a root system. Therefore, if you let them float in a tank, they grow. It does not look very nice though. Instead, what I recommend, is to weight them down with something. You can use dedicated plant weights (such as these on Amazon), or tie them together and attach them to a rock. 19. Dwarf Hygro A stem plant that does not limit itself to just stems: Hygrophila Polysperma. From experience I know that this plant grows all over the place. It shoots new branches out everywhere. In the Netherlands this plant is know as Belgium Greenery (translate ofcourse). In my experience this is an easy plant that grows well without too much problems. Bright lights is appreciated. Add enough fertilizer to keep up with the rapid growth. You'll quickly have more Hygro than you'll know what to do with. 20. Water Wisteria (Hygrophila difformis) What should you know about water wisteria? If it starts doing well it grows to be huge. Weigh the stems down if you don't have substrate in your tank. Give them plenty of light and enough food and they will be happy. I once recorded a 2 hour video of my clump of water wisteria and sped it up. The leaves are constantly moving! Such a weird experience. Overall, the leaves "close" when the lights are out and open back up once they are on. 21. Ludwigia Repens Ludwigia repens is a popular stemplant. It's beginner friendly and therefore can make many people happy. There are some other varieties. In the video above they showcase 'Rubin' which is a red leaved variety. Overall, there are many ludwigia variations that you can add to your tank. I can highly recommend them. 22. Rotala Rotundifolia Rotala Rotundifolia, more commonly known as dwarf rotala, is a great stem plant! Also if you're looking for plants that can grow in a tank without substrate. Here is a video of Rotala Rotundifolia: A tip to properly grow stem plants: take multiple stems and put them together like a bouquet. This will make your tank look much more lush and densely planted. 23. Rotala Indica There are various rotala variations. Rotala Indica is, I believe, an Indian variation. I have grown rotala indica in one of my Dutch style aquascapes. On the picture above it is in the very center. Quite hard to see. 24. Ludwigia Arcuata Honestly, the picture speaks for itself. Ludwigia Arcuata, an amazing looking plant. Up to the day of writing, I have never grown Ludwigia Arcuata myself. From what I have read, and from my experience with delicate stem plants, it is best to add some CO2 to your tank. This will really help grow all the plants. 25. Marimo Moss Balls For a long time, I thought that these moss balls were fake, that they were produced. This is not the case. They are actually shaped like this because they kept tumbling on the bottom of fast-flowing rivers because of the current. How cool is that! And they are also extremely suitable for your aquarium. They are perfect if you have shrimp because they love to sit on them. In my opinion that looks beautiful. You can get these moss balls in a variety of sizes. I would recommend getting a handful of smaller ones for your aquarium. I do not think they grow in your tank. You're able to buy Marimo moss balls online and have them shipped straight to your home aquarium. Right here on Amazon you'll find the current price of these plants. And again, these moss balls are by far the easiest plants you can add to your tank. There is only one thing to keep in mind. You should roll them over every time you do a water change so all sides of the ball get enough light to grow. Watch this video I've also created a quick video where I compare 7 of the best beginner aquarium plants side by side. This might be helpful for you, so that's why I'll link it below! Image references:Java moss aquascape image - Author: Duc Viet Bui Licensed under: CC4.0 No changes madeJava Fern Image - Author: User:Pinpin Licensed under: CC1.0 No changes madeWater lettuce image - Author:Anandarajkumar Licensed under: CC3.0 No changes madeDuckweed image - Author: Mokkie Licensed under: CC3.0 No changes madeCabomba image - Author:Piotr Kuczynski Licensed under: CC3.0 No changes made
Guppies acclimating
Group of healthy and active bleeding heart tetra adult fish
red cryptocoryne in aquarium with java moss and shrimp in background
The neon tetra (Paracheirodon innesi) is a freshwater fish of the characin family (family Characidae) of order Characiformes. The type species of its genus, it is native to blackwater or clearwater streams in southeastern Colombia
Little happy boy holding a plastic bag with new fishes he bought at the zoo store for his home room aquarium feeding and taking care of pets
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