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13 Plants for High-Tech Aquariums With CO2: Inspiration

Plants are a great additive to any freshwater tank. There is a multitude of benefits to adding live plants to your tank from providing nutrient balance all the way to supplying fish with a great hiding place.  

Some plants do better with CO2 in aquariums! Keep reading to learn more about 13 plants that do well in high-tech aquariums with CO2. 

1. Cabomba

Cabomba plants are becoming a more popular choice of aquarium plants for hobbyists.

This is a widely available plant and is often referred to as Carolina Fanwort, Fanwort, Brazilian Fanwort, or Green Cabomba.

Cambomba plant aquarium

This is a stem plant that will vertically and is often used in the background of a tank.

Cabomba plants are often not recommended for beginners as their care can be tricky. As they are well-suited for low-tech aquariums.

They also have certain lighting requirements as well as additional fertilizers and CO2.

Ideal water parameters for cabomba plants:

  • Water Temperature: 72 F to 82 F
  • pH Levels: 6.8 to 7.5
  • Lighting: Medium to High 
  • Growth Rate: Fast  

As the stems are sturdy on this plant the leaves and roots are soft and very delicate.

When handling the plant, use extra care to make sure you are not causing a lot of damage to the plant.

Cabomba can be planted into the substrate or used as a floating plant. 

2. Lobelia Cardinalis

They are often referred to as the cardinal flower, the lobelia cardinalis was once used for medicinal and ceremonial uses by numerous Native American tribes. 

Today this plant has become a popular choice for aquarists.

This plant is native to North and South America and can be found in more humid areas. 

Lobelia cardinalis can be emerged or submerged, this will affect how the plant grows. When grown submerged this plant will grow oval leaves as it grows. 

When emerged, red flowers will grow on this plant. This is a good choice for beginners as it has a great range of parameters and will not grow rapidly.

Ideal water parameters for lobelia cardinalis:

  • Water Temperature: 61°F to 79°F
  • pH Levels: 6.0 to 7.5
  • Lighting: Moderate to High
  • Growth Rate: Slow to moderate

3. Water Wisteria

Water wisteria is a very popular choice for live plants in aquariums. This is due to its faster growth rate as well as its appearance. 

This plant is a great choice for beginners as it is easy to care for, grows well, and is a non-demanding plant.

Ideal water parameters for water wisteria:

  • Water Temperature 68°F to 82°F
  • pH levels: 6.0 to 8.0
  • Lighting: Moderate
  • Growth Rate: Fast

Native to Southern Asia, this plant grows upright in shallow bodies of water and marshy lands. 

In these areas, this plant will thrive in the shallow waters during the rainy seasons as it becomes partially immersed or begins floating at the water’s surface.

Because of this water wisteria can be used as a floating plant as well as planted into the substrate. 

This plant can grow up to 10 inches wide and 20 inches in height. Due to this, trimming will need to be done to prevent this plant from overtaking your tank.

4. Althernanthera Reineckii

Alternanthera reineckii is often referred to as a ruby red or scarlet temple. This is because this plant will add color to your tank. 

In order to maintain this red color the use of fertilizers and CO2 is recommended for this plant to thrive. 

Although this plant will grow without special care it will lose its vibrant colors, as well as the leaves may dull in appearance.

Ideal water parameters for althernanthera reineckii:

  • Water Temperature: 71°F to 82°F
  • pH Levels: 6.0 to 7.0
  • Lighting: Moderate to high
  • Growth rate: slow to moderate.

Alternanthera reineckii is a freshwater plant that is found in South America. There are two forms of alternanthera reineckii and they are aquatic and semi-terrestrial. 

Found abundantly in very shallow waters such as lakes, ponds, or swamps. 

5. Bacopa Caroliniana

Bacopa caroliniana is one of the oldest and most widely known plants in the aquarium hobby. 

It has a sturdy structure that is easy to care for as it is an undemanding plant that is suitable in any tank. 

It is also popular for its tolerance to water parameters and being adaptable.

Ideal water parameters for Bacopa caroliniana:

  • Water Temperatures: 68°F to 82°F
  • pH levels: 6.0 to 8.0
  • Lighting: Medium
  • Growth Rate: Moderate

Bacopa Carolina is native to North America, most commonly found in Florida, and widely distributed throughout the Southeast United States. 

It can be found growing in lakes, ponds,  marshes, and wetlands. This plant can be submersed or emergent.

When immersed the stems can grow up to three feet long. When submersed this plant will grow about 8 to 16 inches long. 

Depending on the lighting and the nitrate levels in the tank the shoots can turn into a copper brown or brown color, on occasion a pink hue.

6. Dwarf Hygro

Dwarf Hygro plants are widely known for their ability to thrive in a generous range of water conditions.

It is also highly known for its rapid growth rate. Because of this, this plant is great for beginners as it will grow in most conditions. 

The leaves will vary in shape providing a unique appearance. Also, the color of this plant depends on the lighting it receives, ranging from brown to green.

Ideal water parameters for dwarf hygro:

  • Water Temperature: 64°F to 86°F
  • pH Levels: 5.0 to 8.0
  • Lighting: 
  • Growth Rate: Rapid

Due to this rapid growth constant trimming is needed for this plant so that it will not overgrow your tank. 

The most common species of dwarf hygro that is found in the aquarium trade is the hygrophila polysperma. 

This species is native to India but today is highly accessible around the world due to its popularity.

7. Micro Swords

Micro swords, often called Brazilian micro swords, are one the smallest carpet plants within the aquarium hobby. 

It is a very popular choice amongst aquarists due to its small size as well as its great carpeting abilities. 

As it will densely cover the substrate and can create a stunning appearance in your tank. 

This is also an easy-to-grow plant as it is very hardy and has a tolerance for different parameters.

Ideal water parameters for micro swords:

  • Water Temperature: 68°F to 80°F
  • pH Levels: 6.0 to 8.0
  • Lighting: Moderate to High
  • Growth Rate: Slow

Indigenous to South America this plant can be found in streams, ditches, swamps, and wetlands. 

Micro swords can be submerged or emerged as they are found both naturally in their habitats. 

Each micro sword plant has 1 to 3 green leaves that appear like swords. These sword-like leaves are flat and narrow near the base.

8. Staurogyne Repens

Staurogyne repens are widely known for their hardiness and excellent carpeting abilities. 

Because of this, it is great for beginners as it is tolerant of a wide range of water parameters, and you can go several weeks without needing to trim this plant. 

As this plant grows slowly but steadily in an aquarium. This plant is also popular for its bushy appearance with vibrant green leaves.

Ideal water parameters for Staurogyne Repens:

  • Water Temperature: 72°F to 86°F
  • pH Levels: 6.0 to 7.0
  • Lighting: Medium to High
  • Growth Rate: Slow

This stem plant is native to South America, originating from the Rio Cristalino River. 

The plant can be found growing on as well as between rocks on the shores of fast-flowing rivers. 

Although very similar to hygrophila plants that are also found in South American waters, this plant will grow faster and also has smaller shorter leaves than the hygrophila.

9. Echinodorus Tennellus

Echinodorus tennellus also known as pygmy chain sword is a very popular choice amongst hobbyists for carpet plants. 

This is a popular choice because of its hardiness as well as its durability. This is also a fast-growing plant that is quite easy to care for as it requires minimal care. 

This sword plant will grow about 2 to 4 inches tall with thin leaves.

Ideal water parameters for echinodorus tennellus:

  • Water Temperature: 70°F to 80°F
  • pH Levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Lighting: Medium to high
  • Growth Rate: Fast

Echinordorus tennellus is native to North, South, and Central Americas. This marsh plant can be found growing in diverse bodies of water. 

Growing partially or fully submerged in waters such as streams, ponds, and marshes. 

10. Dwarf Hairgrass

Dwarf Hairgrass is highly known for being a hardy and very versatile plant.  This plant is great for creating thick carpets inside aquariums. 

With short needle-like leaves that grow fast and are quite durable.

Ideal water parameters for Dwarf Hairgrass:

  • Water Temperatures: 72°F to 79°F
  • pH Levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Lighting: Moderate to high
  • Growth Rate: Slow to Moderate

Dwarf hairgrass is a widespread plant naturally distributed to most of the world. Excluding Africa, this plant can be found in tropical, subtropical, and temperate areas throughout the world. 

In their natural habitats dwarf hairgrass can be found on the edges or banks of slow-moving waters such as swamps, lakes, rivers, marshes, and ponds.

11. Dwarf Sagittaria

Dwarf sagittaria is a versatile grasslike plant that is another popular choice for aquarists. As it is a vibrant color as well as being great for beginners. 

Dwarf sagittaria is an excellent choice for beginners as it is a hardy plant that is undemanding and easy to care for.

Ideal water parameters for Dwarf Sagittaria:

  • Water Temperatures: 68°F to 82°F
  • pH Levels: 6.0 to 8.0
  • Lighting: Medium
  • Growth Rate: Fast

Dwarf sagittaria is native to some parts of South America as well as the Atlantic coast of North America. 

In South America, this plant can be found in Venezuela and Columbia. This plant can be found in both freshwater and brackish waters as submerged and immersed. 

Dwarf sagittaria can be found growing in marshes, shallow waters, and estuaries in these areas.

12. Rotala Macrandra

Rotala macrandra is a very popular stem plant for its lush flowery appearance and their vibrant color as well. 

With large leaves and special care requirements, this plant can be more difficult to grow especially for beginners. 

The colors that this plant has are red, tan, pink, and green depending on the variety of this plant.

Ideal water parameters for Rotala Macandra:

  • Water Temperatures: 72°F to 77°F
  • pH Levels: 6.0 to 7.5
  • Lighting: High Lighting
  • Growth Rate Moderate to fast

The Rotala macrandra plant is native to India and isolated to four South Indian states. These four states are Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. 

This plant grows either immersed or submersed and the growth form depends on light and nutrients they receive. 

Rotala macrandra grows exceptionally well in marsh solids and can be found in flooded paddy fields, river banks, streams, and temporary ponds.

13. Ludwigia Repens

Ludwigia repens are often referred to as the creeping primrose-willow. It is one of the more popular choices for aquarists as it is a sturdy plant that is easy to care for. 

The leaves on this plant are also a factor in its popularity as it will provide vibrant red colors to your tank.

Ideal water parameters for Ludwigia Repens:

  • Water Temperatures: 68°F to 82°F
  • pH level: 6.0 to 8.0
  • Lighting: Low to Moderate
  • Growth Rate: Fast

Native to the southern parts of the United States as well as Mexico. 

Commonly found in the tropical waters of North and Central America this plant can be found growing in shallow waters such as ponds, rivers, ditches, lakes, and streams, with the tips of the shoots growing above the water’s surface. 

Ludwigia repens is also distributed throughout Australia, Africa, and Asia.