Fish and Aquariums

11 Best Freshwater Aquarium Plants For Beginners

Setting up a freshwater aquarium is an exciting experience that can be enjoyed by beginners and seasoned enthusiasts alike. One way to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your aquarium and keep the water clean is by incorporating live plants.

Some of the best freshwater aquarium plants for beginners include hardy and adaptable plants like Anubias Nana, Java Fern, Amazon Sword, and Cryptocoryne Wendtii, as well as fast-growing options like Water Wisteria and Hornwort.


1. Anubias Nana

Anubias Nana is one of the best freshwater aquarium plants for beginners. This plant is native to Africa and is characterized by its dark green leaves that grow up to 6cm in length. Anubias Nana is incredibly hardy and can tolerate a range of water conditions, making it a perfect choice for aquarists who are just starting out.

It’s also an excellent plant for low-light aquariums since it doesn’t require intense lighting to grow. Anubias Nana is a low-maintenance plant that doesn’t require frequent water changes, fertilizer, or pruning, making it a hassle-free addition to any aquarium.

Anubias Nana


2. Java Fern

If you’re new to the aquarium world and looking for some relatively easy-to-care-for plants, Java Fern is a great option to consider. This popular freshwater plant is low-maintenance and adds a welcoming touch to any aquarium.

Java Fern is known for its distinctive, pointed leaves that grow in vibrant green color. This versatile plant can be attached to rocks, driftwood, or other decorations in your aquarium, making it a great choice for creating beautiful and natural-looking underwater landscapes.

Java Fern


3. Amazon Sword

The Amazon Sword, also known as Echinodorus grisebachii, is a popular freshwater aquarium plant that is great for beginners. Its scientific name derives from the Greek words “echino” and “dorus,” which mean “spiny” and “leather,” respectively.

Its non-threatening appearance, low-maintenance requirements, and hardy nature make it an ideal addition to any aquarium. The Amazon Sword can grow up to 12 inches in height, which makes it a great background plant.

It also has dark green leaves that resemble swords in shape, which is why it got its name. This plant is a great natural habitat for fish, particularly for those who love to hide or seek shelter in its dense leaves.

Amazon Sword


4. Cryptocoryne Wendtii

One of the best freshwater aquarium plants for beginners is Cryptocoryne Wendtii. This easy-to-care-for plant is perfect for those who are new to the world of aquascaping. It has a vibrant green color that can add depth and texture to any aquarium.

Cryptocoryne Wendtii tends to grow slowly, which makes it ideal for smaller aquariums or tanks. In addition, this plant is known to tolerate a wide range of water parameters, making it a hard option for new hobbyists to experiment with.


5. Water Wisteria

Water Wisteria, a beautiful plant is easy to care for, making it perfect for first-time aquarium owners. It can adapt to a wide range of water conditions, including lower light levels, and will thrive in both planted aquariums and standalone containers.

Not only does this plant enhance the aesthetic appeal of your tank, but it also absorbs harmful pollutants, providing a healthier environment for your fish.

Water Wisteria


6. Hornwort

Hornwort is a versatile and highly recommended freshwater aquarium plant for beginners due to its ease of care and rapid growth rate.

Also known as Coontail or Ceratophyllum demersum, Hornwort is a stem plant that can be planted or left to float freely in the aquarium. Its feathery green leaves provide ample cover for small fish and fry while also acting as a natural water purifier by absorbing excess nutrients and removing toxins.


7. Java Moss

If you’re just getting started with freshwater aquariums, it’s important to choose the right plants. One excellent option to consider is Java Moss. Often used as a complement to other aquarium plants, Java Moss is known for its hardy nature and easy propagation.

It can grow both anchored and floating, making it a versatile and low-maintenance addition to your tank. But beyond its practical benefits, Java Moss looks beautiful in the aquarium, with its lush green texture providing a lovely contrast to other plants and decorations.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced aquarist, Java Moss is definitely worth considering for your freshwater tank.


8. Brazilian Pennywort

Brazilian Pennywort, also known as Hydrocotyle leucocephala, is a wonderful addition to any freshwater aquarium. These plants are versatile and can adapt to a wide range of aquarium conditions, making them perfect for beginners.

One of the most notable features of the Brazilian Pennywort is its beautiful round leaves that can range from light to dark green in color. Not only do they add visual appeal to your tank, but they also provide essential oxygen and natural filtration while controlling the growth of algae.

Their rapid growth rate means they can quickly carpet the aquarium floor or be grown as a floating plant.


9. Dwarf Hairgrass

When it comes to choosing the best freshwater aquarium plants for beginners, Dwarf Hairgrass is a great option to consider. This plant is known for its small, grass-like leaves that grow densely and create a lush, green carpet effect in your aquarium.

Not only does Dwarf Hairgrass add aesthetic appeal to your tank, but it also helps maintain the balance of the aquarium ecosystem by releasing oxygen and absorbing excess nutrients.

One of the best things about this plant for beginners is its resilience; it can tolerate a wide range of water conditions and light levels.

Dwarf Hairgrass


10. Vallisneria Spiralis

Vallisneria Spiralis, also known as the straight Vallisneria or tape grass, is a popular choice amongst beginners for a freshwater aquarium plant. This plant derives its name from its spiral leaves that form a dense, grass-like canopy.

Vallisneria Spiralis is native to Africa and Asia and can grow up to two feet tall in the aquarium. They are easy to maintain, making them a fantastic choice for new aquarium enthusiasts.

They require moderate lighting and nutrient-rich substrate to grow well. This plant is ideal for providing hiding spots for fish and shrimp, oxygenation the water, and reducing nitrate levels.


11. Marimo Moss Ball

One of the best freshwater aquarium plants for beginners is the Marimo Moss Ball. This aquatic plant is easy to care for and adds a unique element to any aquarium. Marimo Moss Balls are indigenous to Japan and are a type of filamentous green algae.

They have a velvety texture and can grow up to 12 inches in diameter. Marimo Moss Balls act as natural filters to help keep your aquarium clean and healthy. They also provide oxygen and can be a source of food for some fish species.

Marimo Moss Ball


In conclusion

In conclusion, incorporating live plants into your freshwater aquarium can greatly enhance the overall health and appearance of your aquatic environment. It is important for beginners to select plants that are easy to care for and compatible with the fish species in their tank. The 11 plants listed in this article provide a range of color, texture, and functionality for both aesthetic and practical purposes. 

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