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Planted Aquariums

5 Easy Aquarium Plants for Beginners

5 Easy Aquarium Plants for Beginners
Adding live plants to your aquarium is a fantastic way to create a natural looking tank that functions like a complete ecosystem by removing excess nutrients from the water. Planted tanks can also have a complexity to them that makes them a challenge for newer aquarium owners, but not all plants are difficult to provide for and this list will give you 5 great options if you are looking for easy-to-grow aquarium plants!

Java Moss

One of the easiest and simplest aquatic plants to keep is Java Moss. It grows under a multitude of light intensities, with or without CO2, with or without fertilization and can be attached to driftwood, rocks, plastic grid, or just about any other surface to create a carpeting effect. Java Moss, when grown bushy, can serve as a hiding place for baby fish and shrimp. It is also a great tool for helping to keep nitrate and phosphate low. How quickly it grows will depend on the conditions you provide.

Anubias

A unique plant that has rigid and robust foliage sprouting from a rhizome, Anubius is another plant that happily grows on driftwood, rocks, ornaments, or even rooted into plain pea gravel. Anubius is a notoriously slow growing plant but has the distinct advantage of being nearly bullet-proof in low light and low nutrient conditions, making it an excellent beginner plant. There are many varieties of Anubias ranging from the small ‘nana petite’ to the larger ‘barteri’ making it easy to find a good placement in your aquascape for an Anubias, whether it is low in the foreground, or tall in the background. Anubias is also a good option for aquariums with fish notorious for eating plants as the rigid leaves are much more difficult to damage.

 

Cryptocoryne

If you are looking for a plant with interesting leaf texture, more earthy tones and coloration, Cryptocorynes are a great option. They have quite a range in leaf size, shape and come in a wide variety of colors from light greens, dark greens and browns to bold reds. They do well in systems with medium light, with or without CO2, and minimal fertilization. Cryptocorynes can work well as midground and background plants in smaller aquascapes and as foreground and midground plants in larger aquascapes. A few notable species are wendtii, crispatula and undulata.

 

Java Fern

Much like Java Moss, Java Fern is an easy and robust plant to keep that grows in just about any aquarium setting. Being a true fern, it has prehistoric looking fronds with sori (little orange-brown dots) along the underside of each leaf. Java Fern is also a rhizome plant and is easily attached to driftwood, rocks or planted in just about any substrate. It can grow quite tall and busy making it an excellent midground and background plant. There are several species readily available including narrow-leaf and trident-leaf varieties if you are looking for something more elongated and wispy.

Jungle Vals

Last but not least on the list is Jungle Valisneria, also called ‘Vals’ for short. Jungle Vals grow long and tall with leaves that are straight and flat like grass. They grow easily in almost any aquarium setup with a moderate amount of light. They also uptake nutrients quickly because of their rapid growth and can do a good job of reducing nitrates and phosphates in the aquarium. They make a fantastic background plant and will lie across the surface of the water if they grow too tall. Trimming is easily done to keep the leaves shorter if desired. Overall they are an excellent choice for a first time aquatic plant owner!

Give these plants a try and transform the look of your aquarium while adding the benefits of an ecosystem for your fish!


Acknowledgements:
Images courtesy of © 2020 Aquaflora - www.aquaflora.com

5 Great Aquarium Plants for Carpeting

5 Great Aquarium Plants for Carpeting
Creating a beautiful carpet of plants in an aquarium can simulate vast open fields, provide grazing, cover for shrimp and overall has a unique appeal to aquarists. Picking the right plant to create your carpet can make all the difference, as some are more difficult to grow and maintain than others and they all provide a slightly different look and feel within the aquascape.

Java Moss

Java moss is arguably one of the easiest carpeting plants to grow and also one of the most adaptable. Java moss will happily grow on just about any surface, whether it is gravel, rock, driftwood, or even a resin aquarium ornament. Java moss also grows under a wide range of light intensities and with or without fertilizers, making it a great first plant for a new aquarist.
To achieve a carpet with Java moss, keep it trimmed short to encourage horizontal growth.

 

 

Dwarf Hairgrass

If you are looking for an easy carpeting plant that more accurately represents a grassy field, Dwarf Hairgrass is an excellent option. Similarly to Java Moss, Dwarf Hairgrass is robust and will grow under a wide range of conditions, making it a great choice for novice aquarists. Dwarf Hairgrass also makes an excellent carpet for shrimp aquariums, providing deep dense cover where young shrimp can forage and grow with little risk of being eaten by other aquarium inhabitants. It can grow up to 6 inches tall, so trimming is necessary if looking to achieve a short carpet.

 

 

Saggitaria Subulata

Another excellent option for beginners, Saggitaria Subulata [also called Dwarf Sag] is a grassy plant with a broader leaf than Dwarf Hairgrass and growing a little shorter at roughly 5 inches in height. It is an airy plant with more space between the leaves than other carpeting options, making it a great cover for smaller fish species and bottom feeders as it still provides access to the substrate. It is easily grown in just about any aquarium under a wide variety of light, fertilization and CO2 conditions. Dwarf Sag compliments Jungle Vallisneria beautifully and looks fantastic in aquascapes that utilize driftwood as its primary hardscape.

 

Dwarf Baby Tears Glossostigma H.C.

A staple amongst Iwagumi-style aquascapers, Dwarf Baby Tears [also called DBT, and HC] is a fantastic carpeting plant with tiny leaves that grows short, compact and dense. It is one of the best options for smaller aquariums, as its tiny leaf size helps create the illusion that the aquascape is much larger in photos than it truly is. DBT can be a more challenging plant, however; it thrives in high light systems with fertilization and injected CO2.

 

 

Glossostigma Elatinoides

Very similar to DBT but with slightly larger leaves, Glossostigma Elatinoides is another popular choice for carpeting Iwagumi-style aquascapes. It can be more effective in larger aquariums looking to achieve a low, compact, dense carpet and can spread quickly under the right conditions. It is considered to be a more difficult plant, requiring high light, fertilization and CO2 to thrive. Once established it is a robust plant, but can decline if lighting, CO2, or fertilization are not maintained.

 

Acknowledgements:
Images courtesy of © 2020 Aquaflora - www.aquaflora.com