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Top 5 Easy Aquarium Plants For Beginners
Most of the aquarium hobbyist starts with a bare bottom aquarium with some artificial plants and structural decoration. It takes them some time to realize how vibrant and lively the aquarium looks with plants. Aquatic plant filters aquarium water, keep fish healthy and provide comfort and food to the fish and are also used as breeding ground in the wild and in captivity. However, the one big mistake beginners do is buying aquatic plants without doing any research and tempting to setup everything on the same day. And the outcome is that all the green foliage turns brown in no time and they go back to the bare bottom tanks. In today's article i will discuss my top 5 easy to grow aquarium plants for beginners. These plants don't require any high lighting, CO2, fertilizers and are very hard to kill. I am sure that after reading this article you won't have to do too much research on this topic, unless you want to add a bigger variety to your aquarium. Let's start cracking
One of the best low maintenance aquarium plant is amazon sword (Echinodorus grisebachii) which doesn't require much lighting and expensive substrate. The plant is known for its luscious big round leaves which can be grown both submersed and immersed. This plant can grow quite tall (up to 50 cm) and can be placed in the mid or background of the aquarium. Amazon sword is native to the Western Hemisphere from the central United States to Argentina. It can also be used to hide plumbing and equipment in the tank and is among one of the oldest plant kept in the aquarium hobby. Amazon sword is a heavy root feeder which absorbs all the nutrients and minerals through roots. A root tab buried near the roots will boost the growth of the plant. It is extremely hardy plant with lush green leaves and strong roots which makes it a good plant for beginner's tank.
This plant gets its name from Indonesian island of Java and is easily available in the market in various varieties. Java fern (Microsorum pteropus) is one of my best freshwater aquarium plants for beginners due to the reason that they don't require any substrate to grow. Plant can be attached to driftwood, any structure or can be left free floating in the tank and is native to parts of Southeast Asia. Java fern only requires low lighting and is widely used as a decorative and protective plant as it can grow up to 34 cm in height and 20 cm in width. Leaves and roots of the plant sprout from rhizome and the only way to kill this plant is covering rhizome in substrate. Propagation can be easily done by cutting the rhizome into small segments or by detaching the baby plant-lets from the plant. Java fern absorbs nutrients from the water through leaves and rhizome and does better if the roots are exposed in the water.
With large semi-round short and broad leaves and curved stems, this plant can be planted in the mid ground of the aquarium. It is very hard to kill this plant as Anubias (Amauriella Rendle) can tolerate nearly any water quality, temperature and lighting. Anubias is native to tropical central and western Africa and can be attached to driftwood in the tank and uses its roots to cling on the the structure. With a slow growth rate, the plant can reach up to 15 cm. It is a very hardy plant and can be grown underwater with their leaves out of water. Propagation is achieved by cutting the rhizome in to 2 or more pieces but be mindful of leaving 3-4 leaves on each rhizome. Like java fern, this plant absorb nutrients through its beautiful broad leaves and rhizomes.
Like java fern, java moss (axiphyllum barbieri) is also named after Indonesian island of Java and native to Southeast Asia. It is one of the best aquarium plant for the beginners and is used in majority of the tanks. It is extremely hardy, low maintenance and fast growing plant. Propagation can be achieved by cutting the moss and attaching it to an other structure using thread, fishing line or glue. Java moss will send out rhizoids to attach itself to any structure such as rocks, driftwood and even substrate. It has a fuzzy appearance and can be grown as a carpeting plant. Aquarium hobbyist use this plant in breeder tanks and i consider java moss as a must to include plant in a shrimp tank. Like other moss, it absorb nutrients through its leaves as it doesn't have any true roots.
Water Wisteria (Hygrophila difformis) is a very hardy aquatic plant and deserve a last spot in my easy to grow aquarium plants due to its tendency to keep blue-green algae at bay. It's origin is from Indian subcontinent - India, Nepal and Bangladesh and can grow up to 51 cm in height. This species of aquatic plants is also called “Bunch Plants” and is mostly kept as a background plant in the aquarium. Water Wisteria will flourish in any conditions and leaves can grow above water. Like the plants discuss above, Wisteria can be easily propagated by cutting the stem and will grow roots even left floating in the tank. Water wisteria is well known for its nutrient absorbing, a best plant to keep if excess ammonia is an issue in the tank.
If you are new to keeping plants in the aquarium then any of above five aquarium plants will be great for your tank. They are all extremely easy to grow, very hardy and doesn't require any special care such as expensive lighting, quality substrate, CO2 and fertilizers. They make a good addition to a breeding tank as fry can hide in the green foliage and they also act as source of food for them. Java moss and java fern are even kept with more aggressive fish but i would suggest to feed them enough food so they don't start destroying the plants.