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Beginners Guide

8 Best Plants For Your Freshwater Aquariums.

by Catherine Tran 03 Jun 2023 0 Comments

8 Best Plants For Your Freshwater Aquariums

Water wisteria.

Water wisteria is a hardy plant with bright green leaves, long, firm, slightly dark stems and thin white roots. It can grow to a height of up to 20 inches, which means it can cover a large portion of your tank and block out much light if not pruned regularly.

Its leaves can change shape in response to different environments. They act as a nursery or shelter for fish.

These live freshwater aquatic plants are easy to care for and grow quickly. It has ideal water conditions: a temperature of 70 to 82°F, a pH of 6.5 to 7.5, and a KH of 2 to 8. Furthermore, it needs a moderate to high amount of light.

Plant wisteria on a sandy or smooth gravel base. Keep the plants further apart so they don't compete with each other.

Amazon sword

A very popular freshwater aquatic plant native to the Amazon basin of South America. They possess long green leaves resembling spear or sword tips that grow directly from the roots. Because of their bushy appearance, they make a good base plant.

This aquatic plant is easy to care for and has a moderate growth rate. They require moderate light and water at 72 – 82°F and a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. The water should be between soft and moderately hard.

The roots of your Amazon sword should be planted in a soft gravel-like substrate; this will create enough space for its roots to grow.

Furthermore, aquarium soil should be added below the substrate to provide important nutrients. However, this can also be achieved by adding a liquid fertilizer to your tank water.

Read more about Amazon Sword Plant: Care, Planting, Propagation & More…


Hornwort, also known as Ceratophyllum, is a very common aquatic plant that resides on every continent other than Antarctica.

They are a plant with many stems that give the appearance of some plants. It produces short, dark green leaves arranged in rings of six to twelve. Without true roots, wormwood has certain leaves to anchor it to the substrate and can also produce rhizomes to anchor them.

The tree is easy to grow and grows at a fairly fast rate. It requires moderate lighting, a water temperature of 59 to 86°F, a pH of 6.0 to 7.5, and a water hardness of 5 to 15 dGH.

Hornwort can be added as a floating plant to shelter your fish and combat algae overgrowth, or it can be fixed in the substrate. They can grow too quickly and dominate your tank, so trim the stems to the desired length relatively often.


Vallisneria, also known as eelgrass, is a hardy plant common in tropical and subtropical regions. Its leaves are long, green, and ribbon-like.

These plants are widely known to grow quickly and are fairly easy to care for, making them great aquarium plants for beginners. It is a vibrant substrate that can grow with low or moderate amounts of light, and it needs a water temperature of 68 to 82°F and a pH of 6.5 to 8.5.

Growing Vallisneria in a nutrient-rich substrate allows plenty of aeration, such as gravel. Pull the plant out of the gravel and reposition it to replant or propagate Vallisneria. This will allow the roots to spread easily.

Read more about All You Need To Know About Vallisneria – Growing, Breeding, and Tank Mate.


Five best plants for the center of your tank

Java Fern

Java Fern, also known as Microsorum Pteropus, is native to Southeast Asia and is quite hardy. It consists of sturdy green leaves with a fern-like appearance and a brown, fibrous and hair-like rhizome used to climb plants to different surfaces. The plant can grow up to 13.5 inches tall.

This plant is easy to care for and exhibits moderate growth. It requires low to medium light, and its ideal water parameters are a temperature of 68 to 82°F, a pH of 6.0 to 7.5 and a KH of 3 to 8.

Grow java fern by tying it to rough surfaces such as larger rocks or lava rocks, or driftwood with black fishing lines. You can remove the cord after a few weeks. Try not to bury the rhizome. Plant it alone or in groups. You can also choose float java fern.

Read more about Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) an Easy Aquatic Plant.

African water fern

They grow long, delicate leaves that are dark green and can grow up to 22 inches tall under ideal conditions. Since they are large plant, it is best used in medium to large-sized tanks.

African water ferns grow quite slowly, with a leaf taking two months to develop. It is easy to care for and maintain once it is stable. It requires a high amount of light. Ideal water conditions include a temperature between 74 and 84°F, a pH between 6.0 and 8.5, and a KH between 5 and 15.

Just know that it should be attached with cotton thread to soft driftwood or porous rock like lava rather than growing in a medium like gravel or sand.

Water Sprite

Water Sprite has fern-like bright green leaves and darker green stems. It has long and rich roots; Plants with short, decaying or brown roots should be avoided. A healthy daffodil should not have leaves with brown tips or curled ends. Water Sprite can reach 13.5 inches in height.

A beautiful freshwater aquatic plant that is fairly easy to care for and grows at a low to medium speed. It prefers a water temperature of 68 to 82°F, a pH of 6.0 to 7.5, and a KH of 3 to 8. Furthermore, it requires low to moderate illumination levels.

You can grow Water Sprite in 2 to 3 inches on a gravel or sandy substrate. Do not plant with direct running water, which can damage the leaves. You can also drop this plant to create shade for your aquarium.

Read more about Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides): A beginner's guide to basic care.


Cryptocoryne, aka the water trumpet. They have larger red leaves and are a very hardy plant, usually growing to a height of 4 to 6 inches.

This freshwater aquatic plant requires low to medium light levels (too strong light can damage leaves or promote algae growth. The ideal water conditions include a temperature of 72 to 82°F, a pH of 5.5 to 8.0 and a KH of 1 to 20. The plant is easy to care for and maintain after it has grown but matured.

Grow it as a medium plant in your tank by growing it in the substrate or by wrapping the roots around a porous rock or driftwood and attaching it with cotton thread.


For aquatic plants to stay in place properly, they will usually need a suitable substrate. Different plants require different types of substrates; Be sure to find a substrate compatible with all the plants you choose to place in your tank. Or choose plants that need similar media.

Ensure that the overall look of the aquarium you are trying to achieve matches the substrate your plants require. The smoothness or softness of the substrate can greatly affect how well your plants will grow and hold up.


Each plant you choose for your aquarium will have different requirements for how it should be grown in the substrate. Some plants will not grow well on the substrate and need to be tied to driftwood or cotton thread until they develop rhizomes to attach themselves.

Other plants need no substrate and can float in your tank. But many aquatic plants can be grown in the substrate and adhere to it by rooting. Ensure that the substrate you choose does not impede the growth and spread of those roots. Refer to the specific instructions for each species when growing in your aquarium.

Read more about 9 Easy Steps for Growing Indoor Water Plants in Aquarium Tank Successf.

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