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How to Grow Thriving Aquarium Plants, Even If You're a Beginner

Aquarium with plants and fish

Photo courtesy of Irina

Whether you keep tropical fish or not, aquascaping is a form of gardening that can be easy and help you save on space, if that’s a concern. After all, you can’t grow aquatic plants outside the space available in your aquarium.

That being said, if you’ve never grown aquarium plants before, it may seem like a whole different world from growing plants out in the air. The good news is, it’s really not, but you can make it easier for yourself.

Here’s a little tip…

The beginner’s secret to healthy plants

If you’re the kind of person who always starts off a new plant or indoor garden with high hopes and optimism, only to be disappointed when everything you planted dies, then you may be missing this really simple strategy:

Just buy plants that are hard to kill.

Some plants really are easier to care for than others. Here are my suggestions for which plants to pick for low-maintenance aquatic gardening…

Marimo moss balls

Moss ball in aquarium

These round balls of plant are actually a type of algae, and not a moss at all. They don’t require much prep (just get them wet with the aquarium water before submerging them), and they don’t require direct sunlight, so your standard grow light will be plenty for them. (Plus, they’re super cute.)

They also don’t seem to be too picky about temperature, growing in cooler water as well as tanks with temperatures up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. When you do water changes, you can take them out and roll them in your hands to keep their shape, but that’s not necessary to their health.

Amazon sword plants

Amazon sword plants in aquarium

These plants are named for their tall, straight leaves. They’re not picky about lighting or substrate, as long as you provide plenty of nutrition at the roots. This is easily taken care of with root tablets.

Here’s a brand I recommend that we carry at The Tye-Dyed Iguana:

Bag of Seachem root tablets

Seachem Flourish Tabs

Cryptocoryne wendtii

Cryptocoryne wendtii in aquarium

If you want something that won’t completely take over your aquarium, then this crypt might be a better bet than the sword plants above. It’s a slow-grower that also isn’t picky about lighting or substrate, and like the sword plants, you can feed it with root tablets and doesn’t require liquid fertilizers.

That’s also good news if you’re planning to keep it in a tank with fish.

Aponogeton crispus

Ruffled aponogeton in aquarium

Aponogeton crispus Care and Info by Myaquariuminfo

This is a pretty plant with wavy leaves, and it’s so easy to take care of that it’s one of the main species sold for growing in betta tanks. All you have to do is place the plant’s bulb on substrate, and it will sprout roots and leaves. Occasionally, it looks like it has died, but it will spring back to life in a couple months after its dormant period.

Plus, it’s very inexpensive, grows fast and tall, and can sometimes produce flowers.

You can check out the aquatic plant species we have for sale at The Tye-Dyed Iguana in Fairview Heights. We get new stock and new species regularly.