The 5 Aquarium Plants We Love and Think Everyone Should Try


If you’ve ever tried to purchase live aquatic plants online, it can be a little bit intimidating when you consider all the many varieties, maintenance needs, and degree of difficulty. Although Aquarium Co-Op makes an effort to offer a carefully curated selection of the easiest, hardiest plants in the hobby, it might occasionally be helpful to simply speak with a store employee and receive some personalized recommendations. Because of this, we spoke with our CEO Cory McElroy to learn about his current favorite plants and what he recommends that everyone try.

Dwarf Sagittaria

Vallisneria has always been one of Cory’s favorite plants, but because it can grow up to 4-6 feet (1-2 m) long, it is better suited for larger tanks. Another grass-like aquarium plant suitable for smaller settings is dwarf sagittaria, which typically stays between 3 inches (8 cm) in high lighting and 18 inches (45 cm) in low lighting. Even with only one plant, you may quickly fill your aquarium’s bottom with it thanks to a line of underground runners. Since dwarf sagittaria likes to eat from its roots, be sure to give it Easy Root Tabs or nutrient-rich planted tank substrate as fertilizer.

The dwarf sagittaria plant you order might have circular, wide leaves that differ from the images on the page since dwarf sagittaria is typically cultivated emersed (with its leaves out of water) at plant farms. You only need to take the plant out of its plastic container and plant its roots in the substrate, being careful not to cover the plant’s leaf bases. The lengthy, submerged leaves will eventually melt back, and in their place, shorter, skinnier, submerged leaves will grow. Placing the entire plastic basket inside an Easy Planter ornament and inserting a root tab into the rock wool is another option to plant miniature sagittaria. 

Dwarf Aquarium Lily

Looking for a show-stopping centerpiece plant that is simple to grow and will impress guests? The dwarf aquarium lily is a bulbous plant that grows quickly. It has lovely red leaves and lily pads that develop on top. It is frequently used as a backdrop plant to cover the rear tank wall with thick foliage because it can grow even in low light circumstances.The lily bulb you get from Aquarium Co-Op will be covered in peat moss. After rinsing off the loose peat moss, lay the bulb gently on top of the soil. Let the bulb soak in the water until it eventually settles. At first, the bulb might float. A group of shoots should emerge from the bulb in one to three weeks, developing new leaves and roots that will secure the bulb to the earth. Once the plant has grown tall and is firmly rooted, be sure to give the lily lots of Easy Root tablets or nutrient-rich substrate to keep it well-fed (if it doesn’t, flip the bulb over in case it is upside-down). Read our complete dwarf aquarium care page for specific instructions.

Cryptocoryne wendtii

Due to its low light requirements, moderate and steady growth, and minimal pruning needs, the Cryptocoryne genus (abbreviated “crypt” for short) is highly well-liked. Because of its crinkly leaves and several color variants, including reddish-brown, green, and even pink, Crypt wendtii is one of our most popular species. Depending on the size of the aquarium, many people use it as a midground plant because it normally grows to a height of 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm). Bury the roots, but keep the crown (or leaf base) above the soil. Your crypt may ultimately begin to produce new plantlets from its root base if you feed it root tabs or enriched substrate to promote healthy growth. Read our essay if the crypt inside your home starts to melt.

Pogostemon stellatus ‘octopus’

To plant your Pogostemon stellatus, take the stems out of the rock wool pot and push them as far into the substrate as you can to keep them from uprooting. To give them all the nutrients they need to grow effectively, add a dose of Easy Green all-in-one liquid fertilizer to the water. Cut off the top 6 inches (15 cm) or more of the stem tips once they touch the water’s surface, then replant the trimmings in the substrate to continue the plant’s growth. Pogostemon stellatus are the ideal hiding place for nano fish and baby fry once you have grown a dense forest of them.

Anubias nangi

Aquarium hobbyists are familiar with Anubias plants, but Anubias nangi is a more recent member of the family with elongated, pointy leaves. as a hybrid of the smaller A. bigger A and barteri “nana” gilletii, this hybrid appears to be fairly resilient, even when compared to other Anubias species, and normally grows between 6 and 12 inches (15 and 30 cm) tall. Use super glue gel to secure your new anubia to driftwood or rock, or leave it in the plastic basket and use an Easy Planter ornament to house it. Most anubias, including A. The nangi plant thrives in low light and grows slowly; it prefers to take liquid fertilizers like Easy Green. A rhizome (or thick horizontal stem) that develops horizontally on a healthy anubias plant sprouts brilliant green leaves that gradually mature to a deeper shade of green. You can’t go wrong with option A if your aquarium is tiny and you don’t want it to fast become overgrown. nangi.


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