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Low levels of light in aquariums can lend to the creation of beautiful aquatic landscapes that possess a naturalistic feel. However, low-light aquariums can’t house just any plant. They’re only suitable for plants adapted to dim light. Here are six of the best low-light aquarium plants, all of which are perfect for freshwater planted aquariums. Remember all plants will grow better and with less algae as long as you add Seachem Excel on a daily basis (1/2 cap/5 gallons) when the lights come on and a light fertilizer such as Seachem Flourish two times a week.
1. Java Moss
This southeast Asian moss thrives in low light. It’s popular in aqua sculpting, where it’s anchored to different objects to create unique effects. Java moss can be anchored to the substrate, where it will form an attractive carpet, and it can also be left to float. Java Moss is a versatile plant that does well in a wide range of conditions. Once it’s established, it can be used to shelter fry, shrimp, and eggs.
2. Monosolenium Tenerum
Monosolenium tenerum is an attractive, hardy, and unique-looking plant. This type of liverwort has remained largely unchanged since ancient times and is considered to be a living fossil. It’s a heavy plant that will sink to the bottom of an aquarium, where it will form a carpet and provide cover for small fish and shrimp.
3. Java Fern
The Java fern has long, broad leaves and can grow over a foot tall. Like the Java moss, it also does well with most fish and thrives in a diverse range of water conditions. The plant is slow-growing and doesn’t require maintenance. It attaches easily to surfaces with its rhizomes.
4. Anubis Bateri
Anubis bateri is a large plant that can grow over a foot tall. This broad-leaf plant can grow both fully submerged in water and partially submerged. Anubis bateri will occasionally flower, and the large, white flower is attention-grabbing when it does occur. It’s also an effective filter plant, cleaning out nitrates and pollution while providing plenty of oxygen. It’s tolerant of most conditions and fish, but it can be vulnerable to nibbling fish. Anubis bateri needs to be secured to a substrate or an object. Its rhizomes should never be fully buried.
This plant is popular in aqua scaping for its unusual hairlike projections. Its tendency to sway with the currents brings an extra feeling of life to an aquarium. Hornwort is also great at filtering, oxygenating, and fighting off blue-green algae. It’s a favored habitat for live-bearing fish. Hornwort does fine if left to float and just as well if it’s anchored. It’s very hardy and grows quickly. Hornwort needs to be managed, because it can grow up to ten feet in length and quickly overtake an aquarium.
6. Ludwigia Repens
Aqua sculptors favor this North American native for its vivid red color, which can look quite dramatic and is used to create numerous effects. Ludwigia repens is best suited to medium and large aquariums, as it grows to be very large. Its strong roots can tolerate most substrates, with the exception of sand. It can be a challenge to house with small fish, as they’re prone to nibbling on it.
If you’re starting a freshwater planted aquarium and need the highest quality freshwater aquarium supplies, get in touch with Aquatic Warehouse. Stop by our store in Kearny Mesa, check out our website if you’re from out of town, or give us a call at 858-467-9297.