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11. Freshwater Plant Guide
 The plants listed and described below are excellent for the planted species tank as well as the community fish tank. Light requirements, growth habit and acceptable temperature ranges are given for each species. See Solution 10 - The Freshwater Planted Tank for specifics on setting up a planted aquarium.

Name Light Height Temp Description
moderate to 24" 75+°F Anubias congensis
Broad leaves are dark green on front with paler underside. Sturdy, almost waxy appearance. Very hardy plant. Many hobbyists keep Anubias with African Cichlids.

moderate to 6" 75+°F Anubias minima
Anubias minima is an excellent aquarium plant. Like the other anubias varieties it grows well in low levels of light. This variety gets fairly tall adding a nice dimension of height to a planted tank. It has longer slender leaves giving it a very graceful appearance. Foreground.

moderate to 6" 75+°F Anubias nana
Slow growing but very tolerant of water & temperature conditions. Excellent foreground plant. Add mineral fertilizer to gravel. Very Hardy.

moderate to 30" 62-80°F Aponogeton bovinianus
Grows from tuber. Water conditions not critical. Prefers more alkaline water but will live in both. Mineral fertilization in gravel essential when plant matures.

moderate to 20" 68-82°F Aponogeton crispus
Very undemanding, can tolerate alkaline hard water. Known to reproduce in aquariums under proper conditions. Leaves longer & stems shorter if lighting is right.

moderate to 18" 62-80°F Aponogeton longiplumulosus
Undemanding plant that grows from tuber. Leaves will remain submerged but flower will break surface. Will display growing spurt after rest period.

moderate to 20" 59-76°F Aponogeton madagascariensis - Madagascar Lace
This unique green to greenish brown plant is generally indifferent to water conditions. The leaves appear delicate but are rather tough. Won’t tolerate very warm water. Difficult to cultivate, the bulbs are imported. Lifespan in aquarium is generally limited to one year unless care is taken to provide rest period. Even at a year this unique specimen goes unequalled in brilliance.

moderate
to bright
to 18" 62-86°F Aponogeton ulvaceus
The fastest growing aponogeton from bulb. Does best in 29 gallon tank or larger. This is truly a gorgeous plant. It can reproduce from pollination of seeds in aquarium if more than one plant is present.

bright 6 - 8" 65-75°F Bacopa australis
This bunch plant is easy to grow! Its numerous small round green leaves makes for an attractive grouping. It tolerates lower light levels and makes for a great all around aquarium plant. Mid - Background

bright to 10" 65-75°F Bacopa caroliniana
Prefers neutral, slightly hard water. High water temperatures can be fatal. Will turn coppery red color under very bright light. Has distinct mint odor. Middle to background plant.

moderate to 12" 65-86°F Bacopa monniera - Monywort
One of the first plants for aquariums. Undemanding. Looks best in groups.

bright to 20" 77+°F Barclaya longifolia
This warm water plant prefers soft, acidic water. In general, the same conditions as most cryptocorynes. Needs fertilizer in gravel to attain full growth from bulb rhizome. Young plants do best if allowed to float. Leaves will remain submerged.

bright to 72" 60-85°F Cabomba caroliniana
Popular & undemanding. Bright light & trim frequently. Background plant.

bright to 15" 59-80°F Cardamine lyrata
Water conditions are not critical. Will become stringy if not enough light.

bright to 18" 60-86°F Ceratophyllum demersum - Hornwort
Extremely hardy & as undemanding as a plant can be.

bright to 15" 68-90°F Ceratopteris thalictroides - Watersprite
This water fern has an emersed & submersed state. Sumerged plants usually grow to 8-10" with wider & softer leaves. With acidic water conditions new plants quickly appear on older leaves.

bright to 6' 64-90°F Crinum thaianum - Onion Plant
Undemanding plant. Has been known to tolerate brackish water. Can be kept with fish that eat plants - they seem to dislike the taste.

bright to 8" 72-86°F Cryptocoryne balansae
One of the tallest and most desirable of crypts. Water conditions not critical. Best kept in aquarium at least 18" deep. Needs brighter light than many crypts. Will send out runners once established if fertilized.

moderate to 8" 70-86°F Cryptocoryne beckettii
This attractive plant actually thrives in the shadow of taller plants.

moderate
to bright
to 10" 68-86°F Cryptocoryne petchii
Aquarium specimens rarely reach 10". Plant will gradually spread after acclimation period.

bright to 18" 68-86°F Cryptocoryne retrospiralis
Except for bright light requirement, this is one of the hardiest & least demanding crypts. Once established will produce runners if fertilized. Attractive when grouped in corners of aquariums.

moderate
to bright
to 8" 68-86°F Cryptocoryne wendtii, green
Hardy plant that will spread like ground cover when established.

moderate
to bright
to 12" 68-86°F Cryptocoryne wendtii, red
Will easily tolerate bright light but moderate is adequate. Originally from Sri Lanka.

moderate
to bright
to 8" 70-88°F Cryptocoryne willisii
This is an excellent foreground plant.

moderate to 12" 65-90°F Didiplis diandra - Water Hedge
Tolerate a wide variety of water conditions - even subdued lighting. The unusual form of this plant makes it an ideal contrast to the heavier leaves of Cryptocorynes & sword plants. Good middleground plant.

moderate to 24" 65-90°F Echinodorus cordifolius - Radican Swordplant
Submersed leaves softer & generally larger than emersed. Tolerates wide water & temperature conditions. Also makes an excellent marginal plant around ponds. Add mineral fertilizer to gravel.

subdued to 18" 65-85°F Echindorus horemanii - Horemanii Swordplant
Darker in color than most swords. It is a cousin to the mellon sword. The species is grown underwater. Add mineral fertilizer to gravel.

bright to 20" 68-78°F Echinodorus major - Ruffle Swordplant
Needs slightly more light & is less tolerant of acid water than most swordplants. Does not grow above water level. Add mineral fertilizer to gravel. Careful of snails.

bright to 24" 65-85°F Echinodorus osiris - Melon Swordplant
Submersed leaves have softer texture & are longer with a slight wave to them. Add mineral fertilizer to gravel.

bright to 24" 65-85°F Echinodorus osiris - Red Melon Swordplant
These specimens are grown underwater from tissue culture. Plant will maintain pale red color and new growth will exhibit same. Add mineral fertilizer to gravel.

bright to 24" 65-85°F Echinodorus 'Ozelot Green'
This plant is very similar to Echinodorus 'Ozelot'. The main difference is that the Echinodorus 'Ozelot Green' variety keeps a base color of green with red flecking in the leaves. Echinodorus 'Ozelot' has a red base color to the leaf with deeper red flecking.

moderate to 24" 65-90°F Echinodorus paniculatus - Amazon Swordplant
Tolerates wide variety of water conditions. Grows slowly. Good background plant.

bright to 24" 65-85°F Echinodorus rangeri - Rangeri Swordplant
Water conditions not critical but add mineral fertilizer to gravel. Often confused with Amazon. Stem is thicker & has hint of red coloration.

moderate to 6" 60-80°F Echinodorus tenellus - Pygmy Chain Swordplant
New growth in aquariums usually stays shorter than six inches. Best kept in gravel that is not too coarse. Critical that it is not planted too deeply. Sends runners quickly. Foreground plant. 6.5-7.2 pH.

bright to 12" 62-78°F Elodea densa - Anacharis
Plant in clumps. Grows quickly. Prune by removing lower stem and replanting. An excellent oxygenator.

bright to 8" 60-86°F Eleocharis acilularis - Hairgrass
Water conditions not critical. Can easily tolerate unheated tank. Excellent foreground plant to mid level plant, will spread in carpetlike manner. Fertilize gravel. Best in gravel that is not coarse.

very bright to surface 64-86°F Heteranthera zosterifolia - Stargrass
Water conditions not critical. Very fast growing. It reaches 3' in nature but will not grow above the surface in the aquarium. Benefits from fertilization of gravel. Looks best, like most bunched plants, in groups.


moderate 6 to 8" 75°F+ Hygrophila balsamica
Hygrophila balsamica is a very decorative aquarium plant that resembles a smaller, more lacy form of Wisteria (Hygrophila difformis). It's easy to grow and does well under medium to high light. This aquarium plant is sold in bunches only. Background.

moderate
to bright
Hygrophila corymbosa 'Angustifolia'
Hygrophila corymbosa 'Angustifolia' is a great selection with long slender leaves. This makes for quite a neat look as its leaves flow with the current. This aquarium plant is currently sold as a bunch plant.

moderate
to bright
Hygrophila corymbosa 'Kompakt'
Hygrophila corymbosa 'Kompakt' is a great aquarium plant selection. It is a low growing form of Hygrophila corymbosa that has reddish newer leaves under bright light. It also is a very dense growing plant that forms sideshoots readily to make an attractive cluster. This is a great plant best suited for the foreground or midground areas of a planted aquarium.

bright to 18" 75-85°F Hygrophila difformis - Wisteria
Water quality is not critical. Excellent background & corner plant. New growth gradually becomes fern-like as it matures. Do not confuse with water sprite.

bright to 18" 60-86°F Hygrophila polysperma - Green Hygro
Possibly the easiest bunch plant to grow and maintain. Its most critical criterion is adequate light. Background plant.

bright to 10" 60-86°F Hygrophilia polysperma - Hygro Tropical Sunset
Very hardy hybrid species. Middleground.

moderate 6 to 8" 75°F+ Lilaeopsis mauritiana
Lileaopsis mauritiana, or Narrow Leaf Microsword is a thin leaf, almost round, species of lilaeopsis. It is easier to grow in an aquarium because of it’s need for less light the traditional microsword, Lilaeopsis novaezemblae. This aquarium plants also fills the foreground niche. Fore- to midground.

bright to 3" 65-85°F Lilaeopsis novae - Micro Swords
This excellent foreground plant spreads rapidly via runners & can become carpet like. Hardy & rapid growing needs mineral fertilization in gravel.

moderate 6 to 8" 75°F+ Limnophila aromatica 'hippuroides'
Limnophila aromatica 'hippuroides' must be included in "the most decorative bunch plant" category. With it’s numerous long slender leaves and vivid colors this plant is a 'must have'. It is an easy to grow plant that will tolerate most light levels making it an excellent aquarium plant. Background.

moderate 6 to 8" 75°F+ Ludwigia inclinata
Ludwigia Inclinata is a decorative aquarium plant with leaves of green on top side and with silver under sides. The leaves stay green even in high light. It bunches profusely creating a nice group in an aquarium. Background.

moderate 6 to 8" 75°F+ Ludwigia ovalis
Ludwigia ovalis is named after its almost perfectly round leaves. This aquarium plant gives you a different look than most other species of Ludwigia. Its pink/orange color is more delicate than other varieties of Ludwigia. Background.

bright to 12" 60-90°F Ludwigia palustrus - Red Ludwigia,narrowleaf
Hardiest of Ludwigia species. It will tolerate higher temperatures & less light. Fast growing but new leaves will be less red if light is too dim.

very bright to 15" 62-86°F Ludwigia repens - Red Ludwigia, broadleaf
Water conditions not critical but requires bright illumination. Critical to trim under weight before planting.

very bright Myriophyllum tuberculatum
Myriophyllum tuberculatum is a great aquarium plant that is similar in appearance to Myriophyllum heterophyllum (red myrio). Under ideal conditions this variety is much more striking in apperance because it's leaves display colors of bright orange and red. This plant is a great addition to any aquarium, especially, those who are looking for something different and exciting.

not critical to 12" 66-86°F Microsorium pteropus - Java Fern
Short stalked fronds may attain length of 10-12". Do not anchor in gravel. Attach to wood or rocks. Often takes 1-2 months before rhizome begins to spread. Hardy and undemanding as to light and water conditions.

bright 6 to 8" 75°F+ Nesaea sp 'red'
This species of Nesaea is brilliant red in color. So bright is the red color that a person could believe that the plant is painted. This aquarium plant requires a high level of light, but is well worth the effort. Background.

bright to 12" 65-78°F Nymphoides aquatica - Banana Plant
Banana-like tubers store food & prevent plant from drying out quickly.

moderate 6 to 8" 75°F+ Pogostemon helferi
Pogostemon helferi is an excellent aquarium plant to fill the foreground areas of a planted tank. The ruffled edges of the leaves along with the star shape adds nice depth and texture. Foreground.

moderate 6 to 8" 75°F+ Pogostemon stellatus 'broad leaf'
Pogostemon stellatus 'broad leaf' is a stronger form of Pogostemon stellata. The leaves are slighty broader in appearance with the colors remaining quite similar. If you have not had success with Pogostemon stellata try this aquarium plant instead. Background.

bright 6 to 8" 75°F+ Pogostemon stellata (Eusteralis)
Pogostemon stellata is one of the most decorative bunch plants in the trade. We produced and sold this plant in the early 90's as Euteralis stellata but then discontinued it. This aquarium plant needs lots of light and care but is worth the effort. Background.

bright to 18" Rotala magenta - Red Needle Rotala
Bright light and warm water are critical. Be sure to trim under weight before planting. Hybrid not found in nature. Background plant.

moderate to 8" 75°F+ Rotala 'Nanjenshan'
Rotala 'Nanjenshan' is a nice addition to the bunch plant line. This aquarium plant has a flourescent green color and will tolerate lower levels of light. Rotala "Nanjenshan" will make a nice addition to any aquarium. Good background plant.

moderate 6 to 8" 75°F+ Pogostemon helferi
Pogostemon helferi is an excellent aquarium plant to fill the foreground areas of a planted tank. The ruffled edges of the leaves along with the star shape adds nice depth and texture. Foreground.

moderate 6 to 8" 75°F+ Pogostemon stellatus 'broad leaf'
Pogostemon stellatus 'broad leaf' is a stronger form of Pogostemon stellata. The leaves are slighty broader in appearance with the colors remaining quite similar. If you have not had success with Pogostemon stellata try this aquarium plant instead. Background.

bright 6 to 8" 75°F+ Pogostemon stellata (Eusteralis)
Pogostemon stellata is one of the most decorative bunch plants in the trade. We produced and sold this plant in the early 90's as Euteralis stellata but then discontinued it. This aquarium plant needs lots of light and care but is worth the effort. Background.

bright to 16" 75°F+ Rotala macranda
Not demanding but warm water & very bright light are essential. Be sure to trim under weight before planting. Middleground plant.

bright to 18" Rotala magenta - Red Needle Rotala
Bright light and warm water are critical. Be sure to trim under weight before planting. Hybrid not found in nature. Background plant.

moderate to 8" 75°F+ Rotala 'Nanjenshan'
Rotala 'Nanjenshan' is a nice addition to the bunch plant line. This aquarium plant has a flourescent green color and will tolerate lower levels of light. Rotala "Nanjenshan" will make a nice addition to any aquarium. Good background plant.

moderate to 12" 65-90°F

Sagitaria subulata - Narrow Leaf Sagitaria
Very hardy. Water conditions not critical. Will spread rapidly, particularly if mineral fertilizer is added.


bright to 18" 70-84°F Teardrop Plant
One of the least demanding of all bunch plants. Will grow in moderate light but with smaller leaves. Under proper lighting will grow to 18" in 2 to 4 weeks! Beautiful in clusters of 3 to 6 plants. Middleground to background.

very bright to 20" 64-86°F Telanthera roseafolia - Scarlet Temple
Hardiest of genus, it does require very bright light. A very beautiful plant of contrasting color that is hard to exclude as a mid level plant in any aquarium.

bright to 24" 60-86°F Vallisneria americana - Corkscrew Vallisneria
In nature this species stays under water & grows to 24". In aquaria it will stay much smaller. Mineral fertilization in gravel is critical.

bright to 24" 60-86°F Vallisneria asiatica - Italian Vallisneria
This is the easiest of the vals to grow. It does need adequate light and fertilization.

bright to 5' 68-90°F Vallisneria gigantea - Jungle Vallisneria
The true gigantea is now usually only found in the wild. Many of these now on sale are cross breeds that will remain smaller. Undemanding except bright light and mineral fertilization are a must.

subdued 6 to 8" 70-84°F Vallisneria nana
Vallisneria nana is a newer addition to the aquarium plant industry. It originates from Australia and grows easily in a typical aquarium. Vallisneria nana has very thin leaves and stays shorter than other varieities. This aquarium plant also tolerates lower levels of light and is an excellent variety to try. Midground.

bright to 24" 60-86°F Vallisneria spiralis - Contortion Vallisneria
More twists in the leaves. Undemanding except for fertilization and light.

full light not
relevant
66-86°F Vesicularia dubyana - Java Moss
Undemanding as to water conditions. May float free or be attached to wood or rocks where it will begin to creep. Excellent as decorative plant or to shelter fry. Can be washed and squeezed to clean.


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