There are some aquarium plants that don’t need CO2 to grow and thrive in your tank if you’re not into the whole high-maintenance fish tank thing and are more interested in low-maintenance plants.
While most plants will die if they’re placed in a tank without CO2, there are some that can survive without it. A well-decorated aquarium not only gives you something beautiful to look at but also adds life and movement to an otherwise cold, dead environment.
However, keeping your aquatic life healthy can be difficult – many plants and animals are extremely picky about the living conditions they need to survive, including the concentration of carbon dioxide in the water and the amount of light they receive from their habitat.
With so many different species of fish, plants, and invertebrates to choose from, stocking an aquarium can be difficult without proper research and planning. For instance, many fish require high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in order to thrive in a tank with live plants, but some plants can actually contribute to the toxicity of the water if not planted correctly or maintained properly.
That’s why it’s so important to choose your plant species carefully before you get started on your journey as an aquascaper!
Well, with these low-maintenance aquarium plants, that will never be a problem again!
These are just some of the great low-maintenance plants that can thrive without needing any CO2 injection or special lighting conditions. You’ll never have to worry about burning your plants with too much light again if they don’t need much light!
Now you can focus on keeping the water clean and clear without worrying about keeping your plants alive at the same time!
Aquarium plants that don’t need Co2 to grow
Java Fern (Leptochilus pteropus)
Java Ferns are one of the most popular aquarium plants for good reason. They are easy to care for, low maintenance, and beautiful. Java Ferns grow well in a variety of water conditions.
The only downside is that Java Ferns can get long stringy roots that can sometimes take over your tank if you don’t trim them back often enough. To prevent this, trim or remove any brown or yellowing leaves as they occur.
These plants prefer low light so placing them near the bottom of your aquarium may be ideal. Unlike many other plants on this list, Java Ferns will thrive without CO2 supplementation.
Anubias is a genus of plants in the Araceae family. There are over 100 different species, most of which are native to Africa and Asia. Anubias grow underwater and have leaves that can be anywhere from 2 inches to 8 inches long.
The leaves come in various shapes, including oval, diamond, pointed, and spade-shaped. Anubias plants do not require a lot of light or a high concentration of carbon dioxide to thrive. They will tolerate lower temperatures than some other aquarium plants and they’re very durable. They work well as a foreground plant, providing stability for tankmates in higher areas of the tank.
Cryptocoryne (Crypt Aquarium Plant)
Cryptocoryne is one of the most popular aquarium plants, due to its ease of care and variety of colors. Cryptocoryne prefers to grow emersed (above water), but can also grow submersed. It does not require high lighting or co2 for growth. The stem contains a noxious substance that can irritate your skin if handled without gloves.
It does best in soft, acidic water with lots of light and CO2 injection. These plants are often used as aquarium filters. They produce oxygen during photosynthesis and take up excess nitrate from the tank’s water column. Varieties include green wendtii, red wendtii, spotted crypts, black crypts, and pink crypts.
Amazon Swords (Echinodorus grisebachii or Echinodorus amazonicus)
Amazon swords are an excellent choice for planted aquariums. They’re not demanding in terms of light requirements and have a high tolerance for water chemistry, meaning they can grow in acidic water with a pH as low as 5.0. They also grow quickly, which means they will help keep your tank looking green and lush.
Amazon swords are tall plants that reach about two feet or more when fully grown and can be planted on the substrate or left to float on the surface of your tank without trouble.
Although they can grow well under lower lighting conditions, this plant does need some indirect sunlight. The downside is that their leaves tend to get eaten by fish and invertebrates so it’s best to use caution when placing this plant near them.
On the plus side, if you do manage to lose one of these plants due to nibbling fish, they propagate quite easily from just a single leaf. These plants are perfect for people who don’t want any hassle but still want some greenery in their tank!
It’s hard to beat the simplicity of Vallisneria, or eelgrass. It’s low maintenance, easy to grow, and a great starter plant for beginners. Just make sure you get the right kind of Vallisneria for your aquarium; there are several different species. The most common type is Vallisneria Americana.
Make sure to plant it in a pot so that it doesn’t take over your entire tank.
If you’re looking for something taller and fuller, try Java Moss (Vesicularia dubyana), which can be planted on driftwood pieces. To add some color, Red Polyp Fungus (Riccardia chamedryfolia) should do the trick.
Water wisteria (Hygrophila difformis)
Water wisteria is an aquatic plant that prefers wet soil and a lot of humidity. It is quite slow to grow, but it makes up for this by being one of the few aquarium plants that don’t need CO2. This makes water wisteria a great option for beginners who aren’t sure about their ability to provide enough light, co2, and fertilizer for their plants.
However, if you want to give your water wisteria some extra love, they enjoy being put in peat moss substrate as well as good lighting. Some people also report having success with attaching them to driftwood or rocks in order to prop them up above the surface of the water.
Pennywort (Centella asiatica)
Pennywort is a creeping, herbaceous plant that has been used for centuries to treat various skin conditions and wounds. It is one of the most popular aquarium plants because it does not need any special lighting or carbon dioxide to grow well in an aquarium. If you are looking for a low-maintenance plant, pennywort is a great option.
You will only have to water this plant about once per week and occasionally trim off dead leaves. Keep in mind, though, that pennywort can cause algae problems if left unchecked. You may want to consider adding some snails with this type of aquatic plant as they help keep algae under control.
Duckweed (Lemna minor)
Lemna minor, also called Duckweed, is a floating freshwater plant that is great for aquariums because it doesn’t require any special care. Lemna minor can also be used to cleanse the water of fish tank filters by absorbing ammonia and nitrates.
In an aquarium setting, lemna minor will grow very quickly because it doesn’t need CO2 or fertilizer. It needs minimal maintenance (just occasional pruning) and has a short life span so you don’t have to worry about maintaining it for too long. It’s perfect for beginners looking for low-maintenance plants!
Hygrophila Polysperma (Indian waterweed)
One of the most well-known plants for aquariums is Indian waterweed, or Hygrophila polysperma. This plant is easy to grow and thrives even without fertilizer. It’s often found in slow-moving waters, such as ponds or streams, but can do well in an aquarium environment with good lighting.
Indian waterweed is a very popular aquarium plant because it attaches to rocks and other surfaces easily. You’ll need to trim the leaves off every few weeks in order to maintain its shape, but otherwise, it requires no special care. The best part? It can survive without any fertilizer!
Fontinalis Moss (Fontinalis antipyretica)
This moss is a great low-maintenance plant for an aquarium. It does not require any special conditions and can tolerate changes in water levels. This moss grows best when it is attached to rocks or driftwood. It can also be used as a substrate cover to help prevent algae growth on the substrate of your tank.
You may need to trim the plants with scissors every once in a while because they will overgrow your tank if they are allowed to grow freely. The moss should never come into contact with chlorine bleach, copper products, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, ammonia or pesticides so take caution when cleaning your aquarium.
When you first get this moss, soak it in clean fresh water for about thirty minutes before placing it in your tank to allow some of the air bubbles from the packaging to escape. If you do not want to attach the moss directly onto something, use a fishing line or string tied around items such as wood or rocks that have been placed on top of sand bedding or gravel (not under).
Dwarf Sagittaria (Sagittaria subulata)
Dwarf Sagittaria is a low-maintenance aquarium plant that can be planted in the substrate or mounted. It has a trailing, vase-shaped form with wavy leaves and white flowers. This plant can grow up to 1 foot in height, but it’s fairly slow growing and won’t outgrow other plants.
Dwarf Sagittaria should not be kept with fish that like to nibble on live plants such as Otocinclus catfish or Plecostomus species. They require very little light and prefer temperatures between 68-82 degrees Fahrenheit. They do well when attached to driftwood, rockwork, or roots of larger plants such as Anubias.
Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum)
One of the best low-maintenance aquarium plants that don’t need co2 is hornwort. Hornwort is a plant that grows in water and has long branching stems. It will grow quickly in your tank and requires very little care or maintenance. It can grow to 3 feet tall if it’s not trimmed back.
Hornwort is often used as an oxygenating plant because it releases oxygen during the day and absorbs carbon dioxide at night when there isn’t any light. It also provides shelter for other fish to live under.
The only thing you have to watch out for with this plant is that if you don’t trim it back enough, it will eventually overgrow the rest of your tank and suffocate all other plants. However, once you start trimming it back regularly, this problem won’t be a concern anymore!
Java moss (Vesicularia dubyana)
Java moss is one of the most popular aquarium plants for good reason! This plant can flourish in low light or in shade, and it doesn’t need any special treatment to thrive. You’ll have to trim it periodically, but that’s about all you have to do for this hardy plant.
Java Moss is also an excellent habitat for shrimp, snails, and small fish who like to live under its leaves. Plus, java moss creates a great hiding spot for fry until they’re big enough to venture out into the open water. If your tank has trouble with algae, java moss will eat it up as well. It’s best to use an air stone with this type of plant since a lack of oxygen will kill it quickly.
Ludwigia Repens (Creeping Primrose-Willow)
Ludwigia Repens, also known as creeping primrose willow, is a great choice if you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant. This plant grows relatively quickly and can handle indirect lighting. Plus, it’s very easy to take care of this plant–it only needs to be topped up with water every once in a while and doesn’t need much light or CO2.
If you want your plants to grow faster, all they need is some fertilizer that provides iron, nitrates, and phosphates. Fertilizers come in tablets, powder, or liquid form. Tablets are the easiest type to use, but the others are just as effective.
Just make sure the product has enough nutrients for plants like phosphorus (P), potassium (K), nitrogen (N), and trace elements such as copper, zinc, manganese, and boron. The other good thing about using fertilizers on these plants is that there are many kinds so you can find one that’s perfect for your tank!
Brazilian Pennywort (Hydrocotyle leucocephala)
The Brazilian pennywort (Hydrocotyle leucocephala) is also known as the money plant. The name comes from the fact that it’s said to bring prosperity and wealth to those who grow it. It’s a hardy plant that doesn’t require much in terms of care, but it does need brighter lighting than most other plants.
It can grow up to 3 feet tall and has large, heart-shaped leaves with finely serrated edges that are an attractive light green color. The flowers are small and white with four petals that look like little stars.
They can bloom at any time of year and they smell pleasant without being overpowering. One downside is that this plant needs to be replanted every couple of years because it tends to stop producing new roots over time.
Marimo Moss Balls (Aegagropila linnaei)
Marimo Moss Balls are one of the best low-maintenance plants for an aquarium. They grow in a ball shape, with slow growth rates. Marimo Moss Balls need little light and can survive in hard water conditions. These moss balls are great for beginners because they are easy to care for and require minimal effort.
However, they do not thrive in tropical climates as well as other species of aquatic plants would. The few leaves that it does have will wither away if exposed to warm temperatures and high humidity levels.
Red Tiger Lotus (Nypmhaea Zenkeri)
The Red Tiger Lotus (Nypmhaea Zenkeri) is a beautiful aquatic plant that makes an excellent addition to any freshwater aquarium. This low-maintenance plant will thrive without the use of CO2 injection, making it perfect for beginners.
The Red Tiger Lotus prefers a higher pH and temperatures between 72°F – 82°F but can be grown in lower ranges as well. Be sure to keep the leaves free from dust or debris by wiping them with a soft cloth. It also helps if you occasionally remove dead leaves to give new ones more room to grow. With regular trimming of stems and leaves, the Red Tiger Lotus has been known to grow up to 12 inches long!
Micro sword (lilaeopsis brasiliensis)
The micro sword is one of the most popular aquarium plants. It has a very low light requirement and can grow in water with a pH as high as 8.0 or in a tank with no substrate at all. Micro sword will attach itself to almost any surface, but it prefers to be anchored down with rock wool.
This plant does require some iron supplementation, which you can get by adding an iron supplement tablet to your filter or plant food once per week. You can also add a liquid iron supplement (available online) to your weekly water changes.
Other good choices for low-light aquariums include anubias, java fern, rotala indica (Indian ribbon), vallisneria spiralis (Eel grass), and green cabomba.
Micro sword will attach itself to almost any surface, but it prefers to be anchored down with rock wool.
Moneywort (Bacopa Monnieri)
Moneywort, also known as Bacopa Monnieri, is a low-growing perennial that grows in a rosette shape with heart-shaped leaves. It can be grown emersed or submersed, but does best when left emersed.
Moneywort has a very slow growth rate and is relatively easy to take care of. It only requires occasional trimming. Plant it in your substrate near the surface for best results.
You can even plant moneywort on top of driftwood if you’re looking to create a natural design. The plant does not require any additional light sources other than natural sunlight. A benefit of this type of aquarium plant is its ability to get rid of nitrates from the water column through its rhizomes, meaning that regular water changes are not necessary!