It can be overwhelming to start an aquarium if you’ve never done it before, but luckily there are some easy aquarium plants for beginners that will make things much easier for you.
An aquarium full of beautiful and healthy plants can be an enjoyable focal point in any room, but especially if you work at home or need some peace and quiet while you’re trying to work on your laptop.
If you’re an aquarium hobbyist just starting out, having the right plants and fish to set up your tank can be overwhelming at first. With so many varieties and color choices out there, it can be hard to narrow things down and make the right choices as you build your aquarium ecosystem piece by piece.
Aquarium plants serve multiple functions in an aquarium environment, from providing oxygen and removing impurities to providing hiding places and serving as essential components of the ecosystem.
To help you with this process, we’ve compiled a list of the 21 most popular and easy aquarium plants that even beginners can enjoy keeping in their tanks, happy planting!
Top 21 easy aquarium plants
Christmas Moss (Vesicularia montagnei)
Moss is one of the most popular and easiest plants to care for in an aquarium. Moss is a low-maintenance plant that can help you create a beautiful underwater scene. It will grow vertically, so it’s important to use rocks or other decorations to give your moss something to cling onto.
You may also want to clip any new growth with scissors every now and then so that it doesn’t get too bushy and outgrow the tank. To clean the moss, just rinse it off with cold water and leave it to dry on a towel. Make sure to change about 10% of the water weekly to keep nitrates low and prevent algae from growing. Christmas moss typically grows quite quickly, so you’ll need to trim it often if you don’t want a big bush cluttering up your fish tank!
Taxiphyllum barbieri (Aquarium Java Moss)
Also known as Bogor moss, Taxiphyllum barbieri is an extremely popular aquarium plant that is a favorite among beginners. It is an excellent plant because it doesn’t require any special lighting or fertilization, and it can grow in many different water conditions.
It’s also more sensitive to nitrates than other plants are, so it’s a good indicator of how clean your tank water is. Even with the dark color of its leaves, it makes for great background foliage. Java moss also reproduces from small side shoots as well as sporophytes on the tips of branches, which creates additional variety within the species for you to enjoy.
Hygrophila polysperma (Green Hygro Plant)
Hygrophila polysperma, also known as the Green Hygro Plant is a popular aquarium plant for beginners. It is recommended for new aquarists because it can grow in low light conditions, can handle a wide range of water parameters, and does not require CO2 fertilization.
This hardy aquatic plant grows well in the substrate or on rocks. One downside to this variety is that it has an invasive root system, so make sure you’re willing to put up with some extra care if you plan on planting this plant.
A common name for this plant is hardy but should be called easy instead since they are easy to care for and can tolerate a lot of abuse that other plants cannot stand.
Sunset hygrophila (Hygrophila polysperma ‘Rosanervig’)
The Sunset hygrophila or Rosanervig hygrophila is a hardy plant that is easy to grow and care for. This variety of this plant can tolerate a wide range of water conditions and thrives in bright, indirect light.
It needs little to no fertilizer, so it is a low-maintenance plant that won’t require frequent trimming or replanting. The best way to propagate the plant is by planting the rhizome (the roots of the plants). These plants are great additions to any tank because they provide cover and refuge for your fish while being attractive as well.
Rotala rotundifolia (Dwarf Rotala)
Rotala rotundifolia, or Dwarf Rotala, is a popular aquarium plant. It originates in India and has been used to control algae in ponds for centuries. It is an easy plant to care for and will thrive in any aquarium environment. It grows best when the water is rich in nutrients, so it does best when combined with plants that require lower levels of nutrients. The leaves are light green and can grow up to 12 inches long with many branches along the stem.
Rotala indica (Indian Toothcup)
This beautiful plant is very easy to care for, surviving in a wide range of conditions. It has long, lance-shaped leaves that can grow up to 10 inches. This plant does well in both low light and high light environments and should be grown emersed or submersed. Rotala indica is known to do well with hard water levels, making it a good choice for those with tap water with high mineral content.
Rotala indica also prefers wet soil and loves moderate amounts of fertilizer.
It will also stay green longer when overwatered as opposed to underwatering it, which makes it perfect for beginners who have trouble keeping their plants alive!
Ceratophyllum demersum (Coontail Plant or Hornwort)
Ceratophyllum demersum, also called coontail plant or hornwort, is one of the most popular aquarium plants for beginners. This easy-to-grow plant will give your aquarium a natural look and provide shelter for fish and crustaceans.
Coontail plant has long, green leaves that are about 1 inch in length and grow in an arching pattern. It usually grows to be between 2 to 3 feet tall when it reaches maturity. The coontail plant reproduces by developing tiny bulbs on its stem.
These bulbs break off from the main stem and sink to the bottom of the tank where they develop into new plants. The only downside to this type of plant is that it can become very invasive if not controlled properly so make sure you have enough space in your tank for this type of plant before you purchase it!
Leptochilus pteropus (Java Fern)
Java Fern is one of the most popular aquarium plants for beginners. It’s a beginner-friendly plant because it’s non-invasive and stays mostly submerged in water, so it doesn’t need to be replanted much.
Java Ferns also like to grow on rocks or driftwood, which are usually available at pet stores. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant that will be easy to take care of, Java Fern is the way to go!
Additionally, they provide shade for fish who might not otherwise get enough sunlight. When it comes to cleaning your tank, Java Ferns are fairly easy to clean up too; simply remove any leaves that might have fallen off and put them in the garbage can (not down your sink!).
Aside from their availability and convenience, another reason why these plants are perfect for beginners is that they come with detailed instructions on how best to care for them.
Parrot Feather Plant (Myriophyllum aquaticum)
One of the most popular aquarium plants for beginners, Parrots Feather Plant (Myriophyllum aquaticum) is a low-maintenance plant that’s perfect for those just starting out.
Despite being easy to grow, it still has a beautiful appearance and can be used in both fresh and saltwater tanks. It grows in clumps and spreads quickly, so you’ll want to purchase a couple of plants at one time. As with any live plant, make sure that you take care of your Parrot Feather Plant by removing any yellow or dying leaves.
You may also need to trim off some dead or excess roots as they get too long. If all else fails, trimming back leaves will help stimulate new growth.
Bacopa monnieri (Moneywort Plant)
Bacopa monnieri, also known as Moneywort plant is an easy to grow plant that will thrive in almost any aquarium. It is a very popular aquarium plant for beginners because it does not need much light or a lot of nutrients.
Bacopa monnieri can be added to any type of tank and it should grow in most water types. If you have plants that are starting to wither away, you can always replace them with this plant! In addition, moneywort plants are one of the few varieties that do well when they’re grown emersed (above the water line).
Brazilian Pennywort (Hydrocotyle leucocephala)
Brazilian Pennywort is a great plant for beginners because it can grow in low light levels, which is great for those starting out with an aquarium. It also grows quickly and has vibrant green leaves that are good at absorbing nutrients from the water.
It does not require any special care to thrive and should be easy to find at your local pet store or online. Since they’re only available during spring, summer and fall you may have trouble finding them outside of their growing season. They do not need soil so they work well if you don’t want to add anything else into your tank.
Cryptocoryne wendtii (Wendt’s Water Trumpet)
This is one of the easiest plants to grow and maintain. This plant likes warmer water, but also does well in cooler water. Cryptocoryne wendtii (Wendt’s Water Trumpet) is a great choice for beginners because it needs minimal light and has low-maintenance requirements.
Some people confuse this plant with a fern, but Wendt’s Water Trumpet belongs to the Araceae family. It can grow up to 2 feet tall and prefers shallow areas of your tank where it will not be disturbed by other plants or decorations. This is an excellent beginner aquarium plant because you can’t kill it even if you try!
Cryptocoryne balansae (Balansae Plant)
The Cryptocoryne balansae is a popular aquarium plant that’s fairly easy to grow, thrives in low light conditions, and produces red-green leaves. It can be propagated by division or cuttings. To divide it, the pot should be first plunged into boiling water for about 30 seconds, and then the soil loosened with a spoon before carefully pulling up the larger part of the root ball.
Cuttings should be planted with at least two leaf nodes underwater.
Cryptocoryne Spiralis (Crypt Spiralis)
Cryptocoryne Spiralis, also known as Crypt Spiralis, is an easy-to-grow plant with a fast growth rate. It can be found at most pet stores and grows best in water that is soft and not too cold. They have wide leaves with wavy edges and grow between 8-10 inches tall. They do well when placed on the side of your aquarium or planted in potting soil at the bottom of your aquarium.
Avoid planting them in full sunlight or they will turn brown. Some people believe they are difficult to maintain and keep clean, but others enjoy their unique look.
Guppy Grass (Najas guadalupensis)
Guppy grass is a common aquarium plant that grows in underwater clumps. It is typically green, but can also be brown, red, or orange depending on the light. Guppy grass likes to grow in warm conditions and should be planted near the surface of the water.
Guppy grass is easy to care for and has low lighting requirements, making it ideal for beginner aquarium enthusiasts. Furthermore, guppy grass provides cover for small fish. Since guppy grass is not picky about its water quality, it is one of the most popular types of aquatic plants available today.
The Anubias Barteri is an easy plant to care for and will do well in a variety of water conditions. This plant can grow up to three feet tall and has wide, dark green leaves. Low light intensity is ideal for this plant because it grows much better with less light than with more light.
You may need to trim the lower leaves regularly as they get old and brown. In high lighting areas, you will want to fertilize the plants regularly so that they don’t stop growing.
Anubias Nana (Anubias barteri var. nana)
Anubias Nana is one of the most popular plants for aquariums, and it’s also one of the easiest to grow. It has attractive leaf-like structures that will add plenty of green color to your tank.
Anubias Nana is a bushy plant, so you should place it towards the back or middle of your tank where it won’t get too much light. You should also trim off any leaves that are touching the water surface to avoid rotting them. If this plant starts getting leggy, try moving it to an area with more sunlight.
If you’re using live substrates in your aquarium, be sure not to bury this plant too deeply because its roots can only reach up to about 2 inches deep into the substrate. To prevent algae from growing on top of this underwater plant, change out some water regularly and use a scrubber on the glass every few days.
Hygrophila corymbosa (Emple Plant, Starhorn, or Giant Hygro)
Hygrophila corymbosa, also known as Emple Plant, Starhorn, or Giant Hygro, is a type of plant native to Singapore and the Philippines. It thrives in a wide range of conditions, including saltwater aquariums.
However, it will not do well if planted under intense light or direct sun exposure. It is considered to be an ideal beginner aquatic plant because of its minimal need for care and adaptability to low-light conditions.
Hygrophila polysperma (Dwarf hygrophila, Dwarf hygro)
Also known as Warf hygrophila, Dwarf hygro, Miramar weed, Indian swampweed, or Indian waterweed, Hygrophila polysperma is one of the most popular aquarium plants for beginners because it can grow in a wide range of water conditions and lighting levels. With its white, yellow, or red flowers, this plant adds color and interest to any tank.
It’s also relatively easy to propagate by simply cutting off a piece of the stem and sticking it in some gravel. That said, Hygrophila polysperma has a strong tendency to spread so if you’re using it in an aquascape with limited space, you might want to consider planting it up against the side of your tank rather than letting it have free reign on the bottom.
Myriophyllum guyana (Guyana Milfoil)
This aquarium plant is a great option for beginners because it’s so easy to take care of. It thrives well with less-than-ideal water conditions. Myriophyllum guyana also happens to be one of the most popular aquarium plants, so you’ll always be able to find it in stores. Plus, it doesn’t cost too much.
With such a minimal cost and minimal effort needed to maintain this aquarium plant, there’s no reason not to add it to your tank! Plus, these guys can grow really big if left unattended (over 3 feet tall!).
One thing to keep in mind about Myriophyllum guyana is that they don’t do well when exposed to sunlight; they will brown or turn yellow very quickly. So if you’re using natural light from an open window or other sources, I would recommend placing these plants away from the light source so they won’t die from being over-exposed.
Waterwheel Plant (Aldrovanda vesiculosa)
Waterwheel plant, also known as Aldrovanda vesiculosa, is an aquatic plant that grows in freshwater aquariums. Waterwheel plant can grow up to 30 cm tall and has a white urn-shaped flower that blooms in the summer months.
It’s best to place this aquarium plant in the background or foreground of your tank because it only grows long stems with very few leaves.
To avoid damaging your waterwheel plants, make sure to clean your filter regularly and never spray water directly on them. These plants prefer a moderate lighting level so they should be placed away from direct light sources like windows.