Low Maintenance Aquarium Plants

Java Fern

Java Fern

Before choosing your low maintenance aquarium plants, consider the water quality, the temperature, lighting and the type of fish that you are planning to keep.  Conditions that might be fine for the fish may not be ideal for live freshwater plants.  Water quality including regular maintenance and water changes can make all the difference in the world.  Fish tanks that have cold water fish like goldfish don’t typically provide enough warmth for an aquarium plant to thrive and survive. Also, an incandescent bulb or just ambient room illumination won’t be what freshwater plants will need.  It may cause some algae problems but usually plants will deteriorate and die without proper lighting. Fish that burrow and dig through the substrate or worse, eat live plants, are out of the question for the hobbyist that wishes to keep a beautiful aquarium with live plants.
Low tech ideas for aquarium plants should not include skimping on proper lighting. Lighting, as with plants of all kinds, is essential to healthy growth. Most pet shops or fish stores will carry fluorescent bulbs with spectrums that will encourage plant growth.  Depending on the depth of the tank and the type of plants that you intend to keep, necessary amounts of watts will vary. Approximately 3 watts per gallon is a good starting point.  Remember, some plants can do well with low light while others may need more intensity. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different bulbs from time to time in order to get the growth that you want. If the plant growth is such that they are blocking the light, it may be time to trim them back.

Without going into great detail, the following plants are usually the hardiest and easiest to keep for the beginner and experienced alike.

Java Fern: They will grow about ten inches in water from 65˚ to 85˚ Fahrenheit. They have a wide blade that grow in bunches and can tolerate low light conditions. Java Ferns can be potted but tend to do better on driftwood.

Swords:  Both Amazon and Argentine Swords can get quite large around 18 to 20 inches. While the Amazon Sword has wider blades than the Argentine Sword, the stems on the Argentine tend to be thinner and longer. Amazon Swords do best in temperatures between 72˚ and 83˚ Fahrenheit, while the Argentine can tolerate temps as low as 60˚.  Swords need to have better lighting than Java Ferns but do well in basically the same water conditions.

Anubias:  Also known as Anubias Barteri. It is an easy to raise plant that requires Moderatere lighting and does well in temperatures similar to those of the freshwater aquarium plants listed above.  They can grow as large as 16 inches and can be maintained easily by cutting near the rhizomes with a pair of sharp scissors.

Anubias

Anubias

There are a number of other plants that do very well in freshwater fish tanks like the Umbrella Plant, Hygrophila, Anacharis and many more.  Some do so well, like the Hygrophila, that the importation of this plant has been all but eliminated.  It tends to grow as well in lakes and streams as it does in the home aquarium causing it to be an invasive species that can do a lot of damage.  Be a responsible aquarist and don’t ever put items from your aquarium into waterways that can be negatively impacted.

Though the topic of this article is low maintenance aquarium plants, there are still some things that have to be done in order to have your plants survive and thrive.  You may, depending on the type of plants that you intend to keep, need to trim them from time to time and provide fertilization to keep them healthy.  Inquire at your local pet shop or fish store as to the specifics that your choice in plants may require.

Summary
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Low Maintenance Aquarium Plants
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Description
Basic plants that do well in beginner aquariums as well as experienced tanks.



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