As someone new to planted tanks, you will want to use plants that require lower light and have lower C02 requirements.
We have a list of easy plants that you can also purchase from Tails and Snails Aquatics. We have also listed where and how to put these into your tanks.
Foreground is the front. This is the front and usually the shortest plants are the foreground plants. You will want your foreground plants to spread widely and not grow tall.
Midground plants are those plants you place in the middle section of your tank. They are typically showpiece plants and you can create a beautiful aquascape with a couple wide plants that don't grow over 10-15 cm. This is where larger leafier plants such as crypt wendtii's and anubias can be anchored with a rock or other decor and simply stand out in the middle.
Your background plants are your TALL and long plants, they set the scenery and will often cover your filters and other mechanical items in your tanks. We explain where each plant should go. Your placement is up to you though. Experiment. You can always replant at any time!
Take a look at the Top 10 Aquatic Plants for planted tank and aquascape beginners!
1. Java Ferns
Java Ferns, also known as Microsorum pteropus will grow tall and wide and is very easy to care for. These are typically background plants but they can be mid ground if you keep them trimmed, they can also be your centerpiece! You can tie it to your tank decor, such as driftwood, lava rock or even other decor and does not require soil or specialized substrate. We keep large java ferns in our angelfish breeding tanks and the angels will often lay eggs on them. They will grow very large and bunchy, so they may be used as a single plant centerpiece in your tanks as well. You can plant it if you'd like but you need to leave part of the root uncovered as Java Ferns prefer to live in the water column and not in the substrate. You can order our healthy, large java ferns from Tropica here.
2. Crypt Wendtii
Crypt Wendtii, also known as Cryptocoryne Wendtii "green" or "Tropica" are great leafy plants for beginners. They are foreground or mid ground plants, although they can be a centerpiece if preferred. The crypt wendtii grenens are smaller and perfect for nano tanks and an be planted as a foreground plant. They will grow and creep to over 15 cm wide. They grow very well with low light or in some cases no light (except natural light) and have a low C02 requirement as well. The greens are bright green and the Tropica wendtii has a golden red hue to it. These plants must be planted in substrate. Aqua soil is preferred but if you use liquid fertilizer or have C02 they will thrive in other types of substrate as well. We have sandy tanks with Crypts growing just fine. You can purchase Crypts from us here.
Hornwort is the easiest of floating and column plants. It is a fast grower and offers your fish and fry extensive coverage and hiding spaces. One piece, with decent lighting, will grow to be a huge bunch within just a few weeks. I have even seen tiny floating pieces turn into very large plants in under a month. A little will go a very long way. You can tie this with fishing line and anchor it to your driftwood or rocks. I have seen people tie it at the bottom and weight down a pot to have a huge centerpiece and when breeding fry, this is an excellent hiding place. Guppy fry feel safe and grow much faster in the coverage of hornwort than in anything else, even moss. You can simply float this plant as well. It helps to filter your water, stabilize it and can live in low light. We carry hornwort as well. Purchase hornwort here.
4. Duckweed - Lemna Minor
Duckweed, in very small and controlled amount is an easy plant as well and it is extremely beautiful. Common duckweed is a very small light green free-floating, seed bearing plant. Duckweed has 1 to 3 leaves, or fronds, of 1/16 to 1/8 inch in length. A single root (or root-hair) protrudes from each frond. Duckweeds tend to grow in dense colonies in quiet water, undisturbed by wave action. It can also work in any of your fishtanks as a natural water filter. It is a zero maintenance plant, however if you need light in your tanks or have other plants, you must occasionally take some out to ensure that light gets through. Tails and Snails Aquatics sells purple duckweed - the duckweed will turn purple under high lighting and it is fantastic. Remember, scoop it out if it gets too thick! It is very high in protein and you will see some of your larger fish munching on it. Buy duckweed from Tails and Snails Aquatics here.
5. Anubias barteri nana - also known as Dwarf Anubias
Anubias are my favorite plant and you will have a hard time finding a planted tank that doesn't have Anubias in it. This is a mid ground or even foreground plant that is so very pretty. These small attractive plants are short with broad leaves. Dark colors and sturdiness of the leaves attracts your eyes immediately and it's very reminiscent of Pothos hanging plants or indoor plants. It works well in nano tanks and we even keep ours in our mega 65 gallon tall planted tank and the roots become very solidly rooted into your substrate. You can also tie this plant to a rock or wood, but ensure the roots are in some type of substrate. The leaves branch off from the stem and as it grows you will see the classic teardrop form and new leaves will pop in and spread this plant on a weekly basis. Often the Anubias barteri nana produces a very pretty white flower - more often you will see this when they are partially submerged but sometimes can bloom fully in submerged water. The flower will last about 3 months and is absolutely stunning. Many simplistic and minimalistic planted tanks will have lava rock and anubias only. Tails and Snails Aquatics currently has Tropica Anubias barteri nana that are absolutely stunning young plants and ready go. You can purchase Anubias barteri nana from us here.
6. Helanthium "Quadricostatus'
Having such a long name, this beautiful plant is a very simple to maintain. It is very light green, almost a golden color that pops in your aquarium against darker green and red plants. These short rosettes have root shoots that can be buried and it appears that you have multiple plants, yet this is one plant! It is an easy plant for beginners and does not require any type of special maintenance. Low light, low C02, no problem. This plant is interesting as it produces runners and sister plants across your tank and will spread across the bottom beautifully. It is great for a nano tank or a larger tank where it will be served best in the front (foreground) of your tank. My first Helanthium was in my acrylic 5 gallon nano tank and before I understood them, I was confused by the multiple rosettes popping up every few inches. Digging back the substrate, I could see the one root shoot and multiple plants. Low maintenance but if you want to keep a tight ship you can cut them and propagate them into another tank or another section of your tank to create more depth. I love these plants and you will too - we are carrying a very special and healthy version of these plants at Tails and Snails Aquatics, you can buy them here.
7. Nymphoides Hydrophylla 'Taiwan'
This fantastic plant is majestic. It looks like "water lettuce" to me and that is what I call it. It is easy to keep, it grows tall and wide and it provides a unique beauty in your planted aquarium. This is a background plant and comes as a rosette but grows tall with uniquely intense, light green, almost golden leaves that pour over into your tank. It is absolutely stunning and requires almost no maintenance except cutting back the leaves and thinning it out based on your preferences. This is our absolute favorite plant that we have in our tanks and our favorite plant to sell. To keep it growing strong, tall and side, it needs alot of nourishment. We use liquid fertilizer and homemade C02 systems to keep it strong and big. You don't need this if you have good lighting. I would also recommend keeping plants like this in a room where there is natural light. Real sunlight makes these plants go nuts. With real sunlight comes algae, but this is why we also breed, maintain and sell our wonderful mystery snail line - they eat the algae, but the natural sunlight will make your plants go bonkers! If you have a sunny room, get a few mystery snails and watch the symbiotic relationship between your fish, plants and snails bloom.
This leafy plant comes in at number 8. The Hygrophilia Corymbosa 'Siamensis 53B' sounds like something from a sci-fi movie! It really is beautiful though, it's tall and leafy AND WIDE and looks so natural like something you would plant in your front yard that would grow into a bush. This plant is thin, long and leafy and is a MIDGROUND or BACKGROUND plant based on the plants you decide to introduce to your planted tank. The stems grow to over 40 centimeters and the narrow leaves produce alot of side shoots and sister plants relatively quickly. In good lighting conditions, this plant starts to show some red and brown in its colors. It can become bushy and thick and this means that it can be its own centerpiece plant in a sandy, gravel or rock substrate aquarium. It provides some depth and detail to aquariums that might have thin long bushy types of plants and it is a friend of the wonderful Montecarlo tank carpeting. Tails and Snails Aquatics supplies beautiful and healthy Hydrophilia Corymbosa 'Siamensis 53B' - Say that 5 times in a row :) - Buy Hygrophiliia Corymbosa here
9. Bacopa caroliniana- aka Giant red bacopa; lemon bacopa
This tall background plant can literally survive in any water condition. This is one of my favorite tall plants and it is a BACKGROUND plant. This beauty is a perennial creeping herb and a plant you can keep FOREVER in your planted tank. It is a succulent and if crushed smells of lemon! It's leaves are think and they will grow very tall - again, this is a very easy background plant that is so attractive. Maintenance wise - it does require some trimming. These babies grow TALL. They will grow over the water line and survive just fine. If you want a neat aquascape you will need to trim them down, otherwise, let them grow-they are an untold beauty when they hit the top of the tank and start to weep, they still look good. ANY cuttings, at any place in the plant will prove another plant that can be placed anywhere in any of your tanks. We literally have hundreds of cuttings so therefore we sell them! please please please, if you have a tank 10 gallons or larger -get at least one bacopa, you will NOT be disappointed. We sell these gorgeous plants too and they will literally LIVE FOREVER. Buy Bacopa Plants Here
9. Java Moss
Java moss is one of the easiest to grow, and hardy, aquarium plants around.
It belongs to the Hypnaceae family and is native to Southeast Asia. It is very common in moist tropical climates and grows on rocks, river banks and tree trunks. Due to its low requirements regarding water quality and lighting, it is perhaps the most common moss amongst freshwater aquarists and is widely available both in shops and online.It is commonly used for aquascaping and can produce beautiful results. It also has many other benefits such as providing protection for eggs and fry, improving tank health and providing food for breeding fish. Java moss is relatively easy to install, grow and maintain and it’s almost impossible to kill it. It will attach itself to many different surfaces including gravel, driftwood, rocks and commercial decorations. It’s a delicate moss which has irregular small branched stems. The stems are covered in tiny, 2mm long oval-shaped leaves which overlap.Java moss that grows under water has bright green leaves that are much smaller than the leaves that grow on land. All of our java moss has come from one plant and we sell it right here at Buy java moss here from Tails and Snails Aquatics.
10. Montecarlo = Micranthemum tweediei - Tank Carpeting
This is the ultimate "tank carpet" for beginners. Tank carpet is not easy and can be difficult, however the Montecarlo is a general cover for your tanks and a beautiful and lush carpet that will last for years with little to zero maintenance. This is a FOREGROUND PLANT and this beautiful small leafy plant is excellent for small nano tanks or massive tanks. This is considered one of the easiest beginner carpeting plants for those with good lighting and co2 injection. Tails and snails also offers Montecarlo by Tropica plants.
This was a long article, if you are still with me, you can call me, you can email me or you can visit my site at tailsandsnailsaquatics.com for more information! We want you to build the best aquascape you can with the least maintenance. #happyfish, #sustainableaquariums