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29 Best Tropical Aquarium Plants (And care guide for beginners)

If you’re looking for the best tropical aquarium plants for your tropical aquarium then you are in the right place.

In this article, I am going to show you the 29 best tropical aquarium plants you can easily keep in your tropical aquarium.

I will also tell you how you can choose live plants for your tropical aquarium.

In the end, I’ll also share with you some fundamental things to keep in mind for growing live aquarium plants.

So let’s dive in.

29 Best Tropical Aquarium Plants (And care guide for beginners) image

Best tropical aquarium plants

1. Amazon Sword

See more images at Amazon here

PARAMETERSVALUES
PLANTAmazon sword
SCIENTIFIC NAMEEchinodorus grisebachii
FAMILYAlismataceae
CARE LEVELEasy
LIGHT REQUIREMENTModerate
GROWTH RATEFast
TEMPERATURE 60.8-82.4°F
pH6.5-7.5 pH
HARDNESS8-15°dH
PLACEMENTBackground
MAXIMUM SIZE16 Inches
MINIMUM TANK SIZE10 Gallons

Amazon sword is one of the most popular aquarium plants in the hobby. It is also one of the few flowering aquarium plants.

This is a fast growing aquarium plant and it is also very easy to care for.

It can tolerate a wide range of water parameters which makes it an ideal choice for beginners.

Light requirements

Amazon sword does well under moderate lighting conditions.

So ideally, you should provide it light anywhere between two to three Watts per gallon if you are using a fluorescent light.

Or 35 to 50 micromoles if you are using LED light.

Also, the light should be on for at least 11 to 12 hours every day.

Ideal water parameters

The ideal temperature range for Amazon sword is between 60° F to up to 82° F.

So it can easily handle warmer water and you can easily keep it in your tropical aquarium.

Besides, its pH tolerance range is between 6.5 to 7.5, and the water hardness tolerance range is between 8 to 15 DH.

Best place to plant Amazon sword in your tropical aquarium

Amazon sword is a tall-growing aquarium plant and it can grow as tall as 16 inches.

Also, it has very large leaves that spread in all directions.

So ideally, you should keep it in the middle of your aquarium. Or at the background of your aquarium.

Substrate requirements for Amazon sword

Amazon sword is a root feeder aquarium plant. So ideally, you should plant it in a nutrient-rich substrate.

However, you can also keep it in sand or gravel substrate. But you have to provide it nutrients through root tabs.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the substrate should be at least 2.5 inches thick. 

This is necessary because Amazon sword creates a complex root structure inside the substrate and it requires space to do so.

Do Aquarium Plants Need Substrate? (5 Easy aquarium plants that don’t need substrate)

Fertilization requirements for Amazon sword

Amazon sword is not very demanding so it can do well without any additional fertilization.

However, if you want to encourage faster and robust growth then you can supplement it with fertilizers.

Ideally, you should supplement it with both liquid fertilizers as well as root tabs.

I recommend Seachem flourish liquid fertilizer. You can check it out at Amazon here.

And Seachem flourish root tabs. You can check it out at Amazon here.

Check the price of this plant at Amazon here

2. Dwarf Sagittaria

See more images at Amazon here

PARAMETERSVALUES
PLANTDwarf Sagittaria
SCIENTIFIC NAMESagittaria subulata
FAMILYAlismataceae
CARE LEVELEasy
LIGHT REQUIREMENTModerate
GROWTH RATEFast
TEMPERATURE68-82°F
pH6-8
HARDNESS3-12
PLACEMENTMid-foreground
MAXIMUM SIZE12 Inches
MINIMUM TANK SIZE10 gallon

Dwarf Sagittaria is a fast growing aquarium plant. And it is generally used as a carpet plant.

It is one of the best oxygenating plants.

This plant is very hardy and it can tolerate a wide range of water parameters which makes it beginner-friendly.

Light requirements

Dwarf Sagittaria does well under moderate lighting conditions.

So you should provide it light between 2 to 3 Watts per gallon if you are using fluorescent light.

Or light Between 35 to 50 micromoles if you are using LED light.

However, if you want to encourage faster growth then you can keep it under high lighting conditions.

Do Aquarium Plants Need Light? (Do they really need a special light)

Ideal water parameters

Dwarf Sagittaria can tolerate a wide range of water parameters and you can easily keep it in your tropical aquarium.

That being said, the ideal temperature range for Sagittarius is between 68° F to 82° F.

Its pH tolerance range is between 6-8. And the water hardness tolerance range is between 3 to 12 KH.

Best place to plant Dwarf Sagittaria in tropical aquarium

Dwarf Sagittaria is not a tall growing plant.

And it is generally used as a carpet plant in larger tanks.

So depending on the size of your aquarium, you can keep it in the foreground or mid-ground of your aquarium.

Substrate requirements

Dwarf Sagittaria does absorb a lot of nutrients through its roots. So ideally, you should plant it in a nutrient-rich substrate.

However, you can keep it in the sand or fine gravel substrate.

But then you’ll need to supplement it with root tabs to fulfill its nutrients need.

Fertilization requirements

Dwarf Sagittaria is not very demanding when it comes to nutrients.

However, for faster and lush growth, you should regularly supplement it with root tabs as well as liquid fertilizers.

Check the price of this plant at Amazon here

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3. Salvinia Natans

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PARAMETERSVALUES
PLANTSalvinia Natans
COMMON NAMESFloating Moss, Floating Fern, Floating Watermoss, Water Butterfly Moss
SCIENTIFIC NAMESalvinia Natans
FAMILYSalviniaceae
CARE LEVELEasy
LIGHT REQUIREMENTModerate to High
GROWTH RATEFast
TEMPERATURE54 – 86° F
pH6-8
PLACEMENTFloating
MAXIMUM SIZE2-3 inches
MINIMUM TANK SIZE10 gallon

Salvinia natans is a floating aquarium plant that’s why it is also known as Floating moss, Floating fern, Floating water moss, etc.

This plant can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. 

And it can easily survive and thrive in warm water. So you can keep it in your tropical aquarium.

Besides, this plant is very easy to care for which makes it an ideal choice for beginners.

Light requirements

Salvinia natans can do well in moderate to high lighting conditions.

So you can provide it light anywhere between 2- 5 Watts per gallon if you are using a fluorescent light.

Or 35 to more than 50 micromoles if you are using LED light.

Ideal water parameters

Salvinia natans can tolerate a wide range of water parameters.

It can tolerate temperature as low as 54° F to up to 86° F.

So it can easily survive and thrive in warmer water. And you can easily keep it in your tropical aquarium.

Besides, its pH tolerance range is between 6 to 8, and the water hardness tolerance range is between 4 to 20 dH.

Best place to keep Salvinia natans in tropical aquarium

Salvinia natans is a floating aquarium plant. So you should just let it float on the surface of the water of your aquarium.

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Fertilization requirements

Salvinia natans can you do well without any additional fertilizers.

However, to encourage fast and robust growth, you can supplement it with liquid fertilizers.

Check the price of this plant at Amazon here

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4. Duckweed

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PARAMETERSVALUES
PLANTDuckweed
SCIENTIFIC NAMELemnoideae
FAMILYAraceae
CARE LEVELEasy
LIGHT REQUIREMENT Low to high
GROWTH RATEFast
TEMPERATURE42.8 to 91.4° F
pH5.0 to 9.0
WATER HARDNESS17 to 180 ppm
PLACEMENTFloating
MAXIMUM SIZEEach ‘pod’ is 0.8 inches long
MINIMUM TANK SIZE2 gallons

Duckweed is a floating aquarium plant.

It is one of the most controversial plants in the hobby.

Some aquarists consider it rampant pest whereas others praise it for its water purifying abilities.

The thing is, this plant can grow pretty fast. And it can quickly overtake your aquarium.

That’s why, if you’re going to keep it in your tank, you should always keep an eye on it and trim it regularly.

This plant can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. And it can easily do well in warmer water. So you can keep it in your tropical aquarium.

Besides, Duckweed is very easy to care for. So even if you are a beginner you can easily keep it in your aquarium.

Light requirements

Duckweed does well under high lighting conditions.

So you should provide it light between 4 to 5 Watts per gallon if you are using fluorescent light.

Or more than 50 micromoles if you are using LED light.

Ideal water parameters

Duckweed can tolerate a wide range of water parameters.

It can tolerate temperature as low as 42° F to up to 91° F.

So, as you can see, it can tolerate a very warm temperature. So you can easily keep it in your tropical aquarium.

Besides, its pH tolerance range is between 5-9. And you can keep it in soft water as well as hard water.

Best place to keep Duckweed in tropical aquarium

Duckweed is a floating aquarium plant. So you should just let it float on the surface of the water of your aquarium.

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Fertilization requirements

Duckweed is a very undemanding plant when it comes to nutrients.

So you don’t need to provide additional nutrients to this plant. It will take nutrients from your tank and grow.

However, if you want more robust and faster growth then you can supplement it with liquid fertilizers.

Check the price of this plant at Amazon here

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5. Java Moss

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PARAMETERSVALUES
PLANTJava moss
SCIENTIFIC NAMEVesicularia dubyana
FAMILYHypnaceae
CARE LEVELVery easy
LIGHT REQUIREMENTLow to Bright
GROWTH RATEFast
TEMPERATURE59-86°F
pH5.0 to 8.0
HARDNESS60- 240 ppm
PLACEMENTForeground
MAXIMUM SIZE4 inches
MINIMUM TANK SIZE5 gallon

Java moss is one of the most popular plants in the aquarium hobby.

This plant is especially popular among aquascapers and breeders. Because it can be used to create beautiful aquascapes. And it also provides a lot of space and protection to eggs and fish fry.

This plant can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. And it is very easy to care for which makes it an ideal choice for beginners.

Light requirements

Java moss is not very demanding when it comes to light.

You can keep it under low as well as high lighting conditions.

However, you will see a difference according to the light condition you provide to Java moss.

Under low lighting conditions, it will grow darker and lankier.

On the other hand, under high lighting conditions, it will grow much denser and compact.

So ideally, you should keep it under moderate lighting condition of 2-3 Watts per gallon if you are using fluorescent light. Or between 35 to 50 micromoles if you are using LED light.

Ideal water parameters

Java moss can tolerate a wide range of water parameters.

It can tolerate temperature as cool as 59° F to as warm as 86° F.

So you can easily keep it in your tropical aquarium.

Besides, its pH tolerance range is between 5-8 and it does well under soft water.

Best place to keep Java moss in tropical aquarium

One of the reasons Java moss is very popular among aquascapers is that there are several locations you can put Java moss in the aquarium.

It is generally glued or tied to any ornament like driftwood or rock in the aquarium.

You can also use it as a carpet plant.

Or you can literally toss it into the aquarium and forget about it. 

Eventually, it will find a place in the tank and get attached to something in your aquarium.

So how you should keep Java moss in your aquarium depends on what aesthetic look you are trying to accomplish in your aquarium.

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Substrate requirements

Java moss doesn’t have real roots so it doesn’t absorb any nutrients from the substrate.

That’s why it doesn’t require any substrate to keep in the aquarium.

Fertilization requirements

Java moss can do well without any additional fertilization.

However, to encourage faster and compact growth, you should supplement it with liquid fertilizers regularly.

Check the price of this plant at Amazon here

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6. Cryptocoryne Wendtii

See more images at Amazon here

PARAMETERSVALUES
PLANTCryptocoryne Wendtii
COMMON NAMESWendt’s Cryptocoryne, water trumpet
SCIENTIFIC NAMECryptocoryne Wendtii
FAMILYAraceae
CARE LEVELEasy
LIGHT REQUIREMENTLow
GROWTH RATEMedium
TEMPERATURE72-82° F
pH6.0-8.0
HARDNESSKH 3-8
PLACEMENTBackground
MAXIMUM SIZE6 inches
MINIMUM TANK SIZE5 gallon

Cryptocoryne wendtii is one of the most popular plants in the aquarium hobby.

The unique part about this plant is that it comes in different color variations such as green, brown, and red.

Besides, this plant is very easy to care for. So you can easily keep it in your aquarium even if you are a beginner.

Light requirements

Cryptocoryne wendtii can do well in any lighting conditions.

You can keep it under low lighting as well as high lighting conditions.

Ideal water parameters

The ideal temperature range for Cryptocoryne wendtii is between 72° F to 82° F.

Its pH tolerance range is between 6-8. And the water hardness tolerance range is between 3-8 dH.

Best place to keep cryptocoryne wendtii in tropical aquarium

Cryptocoryne windy comes in different size variations.

The green variation of cryptocoryne wendtii is short growing that can grow a maximum 6 inches. So they are good for small aquarium up to 30 gallons.

The brown and red variation of cryptocoryne wendtii grows much larger so they are good for large aquariums (more than 40 gallons).

So depending on the size of your aquarium, you should keep cryptocoryne wendtii in the background or mid-ground of your aquarium.

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Substrate requirements

You can use any substrate for planting Cryptocoryne wendtii in your aquarium whether that is nutrient-rich, gravel, or sand substrate.

However, cryptocoryne wendtii does absorb nutrients through the substrate. So if you plant it in a nutrient-rich substrate then it will benefit from it and grow much faster.

You can also plant it in sand or gravel substrate. But then you’ll need to provide it nutrients through root tabs.

Fertilization requirement

For healthy and robust growth, you should regularly supplement Cryptocoryne wendtii with root tabs as well as liquid fertilizers.

Check the price of this plant at Amazon here

13 Best Aquarium Plants For Gravel Substrate

Other best tropical aquarium plants

7. Hornwort

8. Water wisteria

9. Amazon Frogbit

10. Giant Hygro

11. Ludwigia Repens

12. Green Foxtail

13. Corkscrew Vallisneria

14. Italian Vallisneria

15. Cryptocoryne Wendtii

16. Moneywort

17. Rotala Rotundifolia

18. Bacopa

19. Guppy grass

20. Moneywort

21. Water Sprite

22. Stargrass

23. Java Fern

24. Anubias

25. Pearl weed

26. Ludwigia Palustris

27. Bucephalandra

28. Echinodorus Red Devil

29. Christmas moss

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How to choose live aquarium plants for your tropical aquarium?

Almost all the live aquarium plants will be compatible with your tropical aquarium.

Live aquarium plants are very adaptable to the environment. And in the wild, they survive and live in very diverse temperatures.

So, they don’t require constant temperature and they can easily survive in your tropical aquarium.

However, there are some delicate live plants that do require strict water conditions especially temperature but they are very few.

So, it is always a good idea to check the ideal water temperature range for the plant before planting them in your tropical aquarium.

You should choose the live plants that can do well in temperature between 75 to 80° F because this is the temperature of your tropical aquarium.

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Live aquarium plants care guide for beginners

In this brief aquarium plant care guide, I will talk about the fundamentals.

These are the fundamentals that you should keep in mind if you’re just starting out with aquarium plants.

The fundamentals

Live aquarium plants basically require 3 things to survive and thrive in you are aquarium.

  1. Good light
  2. Good substrate
  3. Sufficient nutrients

Good light

Every plant has different lighting needs. Also, there are several aquarium plants that can do well in multiple lighting environments.

For example, you can keep Java moss in low light as well as under moderate to high lighting environment.

But how much light you should provide to the plants will depend on how much nutrients you are going to provide to your plants.

For example, in the case of Java moss, if you provide high lighting to the plant then you will also need to provide it more nutrients. If you don’t do so then this will cause algae bloom in your aquarium.

So basically, you have to find a balance. And it is a bit of trial and error process.

For example, after increasing the light, if you noticed algae bloom then you can lower the light.

That’s why choosing a light with the functionality that allows you to increase or lower the light intensity is very important.

Not all lighting setup comes with this functionality.

Fluval plant spectrum 3.0 comes with this functionality and it is very reliable lighting setup. 

But it is pretty expensive. You can check it out its price here.

So the alternative cheap option is NICREW classic LED Plus aquarium light. You can check its price at Amazon here

This light doesn’t come with an inbuilt function to increase or lower the light intensity.

But it has an extension that provides the functionality that you have to buy separately. And it is quite cheap. You can check the price of the extension at Amazon here.

So overall, before planting any live plant in your aquarium you should know what are its lighting needs. 

And then you should provide the nutrients according to the light.6

Good substrate

Different plants have different substrate requirements.

Basically, plants require a substrate to absorb nutrients and or to stay in place and reproduce.

There are several root feeder aquarium plants that, as the name suggests, feed through their roots i.e. they absorb nutrients through their roots from the substrate.

So for such live aquarium plants, ideally, you should use a nutrient-rich substrate because it will provide them nutrients.

But you can also plant these root feeder aquarium plants in sand or fine gravel substrate. And supplement them with root tabs to fulfill their nutrients need.

Sufficient nutrients

Plants require nutrients for their proper growth just as we do.

Plants require macronutrients such as carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

And micronutrients such as iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, boron, etc.

Plants require the macronutrients in large quantities whereas micronutrients in smaller quantities.

And each nutrient is essential for the proper growth of plants. And you cannot replace one nutrient with an excess of other nutrients.

Your aquarium naturally contains some nutrients such as nitrogen, carbon, etc.

But to provide all the essential nutrients you’ll need to supplement your plant with fertilizers.

You should start with all in one fertilizer such as Seachem flourish fertilizer.

This fertilizer contains all the essential micro and macronutrients that plants require for their proper growth.

You can supplement the fertilizers in either a liquid form or in the form of tabs that you will have to insert into the substrate of your tank.

I recommend Seachem flourish liquid fertilizer. You can check it out at Amazon here.

And Seachem flourish root tabs. You can check it out at Amazon here.

Conclusion

So these are the best tropical aquarium plants that you can easily keep in your tropical aquarium.

I hope you found this article helpful.

If you do, please share it.

Happy aquascaping!

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