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11. Freshwater Plant Guide
 The plants listed and described below are excellent for the planted species tank as well as the community fish tank. Light requirements, growth habit and acceptable temperature ranges are given for each species. See Solution 10 - The Freshwater Planted Tank for specifics on setting up a planted aquarium.

Name Light Height Temp Description
moderate to 12" 65-90°F Water Hedge - Didiplis diandra
Tolerate a wide variety of water conditions - even subdued lighting. The unusual form of this plant makes it an ideal contrast to the heavier leaves of Cryptocorynes & sword plants. Good middleground plant.

bright to 18" 60-86°F Green Hygro - Hygrophila polysperma
Possibly the easiest bunch plant to grow and maintain. Its most critical criterion is adequate light. Background plant.

bright to 18" 75-85°F Wisteria - Hygrophila difformis
Water quality is not critical. Excellent background & corner plant. New growth gradually becomes fern-like as it matures. Do not confuse with water sprite.

bright to 72" 60-85°F Cabomba - Cabomba caroliniana
Popular & undemanding. Bright light & trim frequently. Background plant.

bright to 10" 65-75°F Bacopa - Bacopa caroliniana
Prefers neutral, slightly hard water. High water temperatures can be fatal. Will turn coppery red color under very bright light. Has distinct mint odor. Middle to background plant.

bright to 18" 70-84°F Teardrop Plant
One of the least demanding of all bunch plants. Will grow in moderate light but with smaller leaves. Under proper lighting will grow to 18" in 2 to 4 weeks! Beautiful in clusters of 3 to 6 plants. Middleground to background.

bright to 16" 75°F+ Rotala macranda
Not demanding but warm water & very bright light are essential. Be sure to trim under weight before planting. Middleground plant.

bright to 18" Red Needle Rotala - Rotala magenta
Bright light and warm water are critical. Be sure to trim under weight before planting. Hybrid not found in nature.

bright to 10" 60-86°F Hygro tropical sunset - Hygrophilia polysperma
Very hardy hybrid species. Middleground.

moderate to 6" 60-80°F Pigmy Chain Swordplant - Echinodorus tenellus
New growth in aquariums usually stays shorter than six inches. Best kept in gravel that is not too coarse. Critical that it is not planted too deeply. Sends runners quickly. Foreground plant. 6.5-7.2 pH.

bright to 24" 65-85°F Red Mellon Swordplant - Echinodorus osiris
These specimens are grown underwater from tissue culture. Plant will maintain pale red color and new growth will exhibit same. Add mineral fertilizer to gravel.

bright to 24" 65-85°F Rangeri Swordplant Echinodorus rangeri
Water conditions not critical but add mineral fertilizer to gravel. Often confused with Amazon. Stem is thicker & has hint of red coloration.

subdued to 18" 65-85°F Horemanii Swordplant Echindorus horemanii
Darker in color than most swords. It is a cousin to the mellon sword. The species is grown underwater. Add mineral fertilizer to gravel.

moderate to 24" 65-90°F Amazon Swordplant - Echinodorus paniculatus
Tolerates wide variety of water conditions. Grows slowly. Good background plant.

moderate to 24" 65-90°F Radican Swordplant - Echinodorus cordifolius
Submersed leaves softer & generally larger than emersed. Tolerates wide water & temperature conditions. Also makes an excellent marginal plant around ponds. Add mineral fertilizer to gravel.

bright to 20" 68-78°F Ruffle Swordplant - Echinodorus major
Needs slightly more light & is less tolerant of acid water than most swordplants. Does not grow above water level. Add mineral fertilizer to gravel. Careful of snails.

bright to 24" 65-85°F Mellon Swordplant - Echinodorus osiris
Submersed leaves have softer texture & are longer with a slight wave to them. Add mineral fertilizer to gravel.

moderate to 6" 75+°F Anubias Nana - Anubias nana
Slow growing but very tolerant of water & temperature conditions. Excellent foreground plant. Add mineral fertilizer to gravel. Very Hardy.

moderate to 10" 75+°F Anubias Barteri - Anubias barteri
Tolerates wide variety of water conditions. Grows slowly. Good background plant.

moderate to 12" 65-90°F

Narrow Leaf Sagitaria - Sagitaria subulata
Very hardy. Water conditions not critical. Will spread rapidly, particularly if mineral fertilizer is added.

bright to 3" 65-85°F Micro Swords - Lilaeopsis novae
This excellent foreground plant spreads rapidly via runners & can become carpet like. Hardy & rapid growing needs mineral fertilization in gravel.

bright to 6' 64-90°F Onion Plant - Crinum thaianum
Undemanding plant. Has been known to tolerate brackish water. Can be kept with fish that eat plants - they seem to dislike the taste.

bright to 12" 60-86°F Corkscrew Vallisneria - Vallisneria americana
In nature this species stays under water & grows to 24". In aquaria it will stay much smaller. Mineral fertilization in gravel is critical.

bright to 24" 60-86°F Italian Vallisneria - Vallisneria asiatica
This is the easiest of the vals to grow. It does need adequate light and fertilization.

bright to 5' 68-90°F Jungle Vallisneria - Vallisneria gigantea
The true gigantea is now usually only found in the wild. Many of these now on sale are cross breeds that will remain smaller. Undemanding except bright light and mineral fertilization are a must.

bright to 24" 60-86°F

Contortion Vallisneria - Vallisneria spiralis
More twists in the leaves. Undemanding except for fertilization and light.

bright to 15" 68-90°F Watersprite - Ceratopteris thalictroides
This water fern has an emersed & submersed state. Sumerged plants usually grow to 8-10" with wider & softer leaves. With acidic water conditions new plants quickly appear on older leaves.

very bright to surface 64-86°F Stargrass - Heteranthera zosterifolia
Water conditions not critical. Very fast growing. It reaches 3' in nature but will not grow above the surface in the aquarium. Benefits from fertilization of gravel. Looks best, like most bunched plants, in groups.

bright to 8" 60-86°F Hairgrass - Eleocharis acilularis
Water conditions not critical. Can easily tolerate unheated tank. Excellent foreground plant to mid level plant, will spread in carpetlike manner. Fertilize gravel. Best in gravel that is not coarse.

very bright to 15" 62-86°F Red Ludwigia, broadleaf - Ludwigia repens
Water conditions not critical but requires bright illumination. Critical to trim under weight before planting.

bright to 12" 60-90°F Red Ludwigia,narrowleaf - Ludwigia palustrus
Hardiest of Ludwigia species. It will tolerate higher temperatures & less light. Fast growing but new leaves will be less red if light is too dim.

bright to 18" 60-86°F Hornwort - Ceratophyllum demersum
Extremely hardy & as undemanding as a plant can be.

very bright to 20" 64-86°F Scarlet Temple - Telanthera roseafolia
Hardiest of genus, it does require very bright light. A very beautiful plant of contrasting color that is hard to exclude as a mid level plant in any aquarium.

moderate to 12" 65-86°F Monywort - Bacopa monniera
One of the first plants for aquariums. Undemanding. Looks best in groups.

bright to 15" 59-80°F Cardamine - Cardamine lyrata
Water conditions are not critical. Will become stringy if not enough light.

moderate to 30" 62-80°F Aponogeton bovinianus
Grows from tuber. Water conditions not critical. Prefers more alkaline water but will live in both. Mineral fertilization in gravel essential when plant matures.

moderate to 20" 68-82°F Aponogeton crispus
Very undemanding, can tolerate alkaline hard water. Known to reproduce in aquariums under proper conditions. Leaves longer & stems shorter if lighting is right.

moderate to 18" 62-80°F Aponogeton longiplumulosus
Undemanding plant that grows from tuber. Leaves will remain submerged but flower will break surface. Will display growing spurt after rest period.

to bright
to 18" 62-86°F Aponogeton ulvaceus
The fastest growing aponogeton from bulb. Does best in 29 gallon tank or larger. This is truly a gorgeous plant. It can reproduce from pollination of seeds in aquarium if more than one plant is present.

bright to 18" 68-86°F Cryptocoryne retrospiralis
Except for bright light requirement, this is one of the hardiest & least demanding crypts. Once established will produce runners if fertilized. Attractive when grouped in corners of aquariums.

to bright
to 8" 70-88°F Cryptocoryne willisii
This is an excellent foreground plant.

to bright
to 8" 68-86°F Wendtii,green - Cryptocoryne wendtii
Hardy plant that will spread like ground cover when established.

to bright
to 12" 68-86°F Wendtii, red - Cryptocoryne wendtii
Will easily tolerate bright light but moderate is adequate. Originally from Sri Lanka.

moderate to 20" 59-76°F Madagascar Lace - Aponogeton madagascariensis
This unique green to greenish brown plant is generally indifferent to water conditions. The leaves appear delicate but are rather tough. Won’t tolerate very warm water. Difficult to cultivate, the bulbs are imported. Lifespan in aquarium is generally limited to one year unless care is taken to provide rest period. Even at a year this unique specimen goes unequalled in brilliance.

bright to 8" 72-86°F Balansae - Cryptocoryne balansae
One of the tallest and most desirable of crypts. Water conditions not critical. Best kept in aquarium at least 18" deep. Needs brighter light than many crypts. Will send out runners once established if fertilized.

moderate to 8" 70-86°F Cordata - Cryptocoryne beckettii
This attractive plant actually thrives in the shadow of taller plants.

to bright
to 10" 68-86°F Petchii - Cryptocoryne petchii
Aquarium specimens rarely reach 10". Plant will gradually spread after acclimation period.

bright to 10" 68-86°F Costada - Cryptocoryne costada
Close cousin to retrospirilis, it is equally undemanding. Tolerates harder water than most crypts. Give it good light and nourishment.

bright to 12" 62-78°F Anacharis - Elodea densa
Plant in clumps. Grows quickly. Prune by removing lower stem and replanting. An excellent oxygenator.

bright to 12" 65-78°F Banana Plant - Nymphoides aquatica
Banana-like tubers store food & prevent plant from drying out quickly.

bright to 20" 77+°F Barclaya - Barclaya longifolia
This warm water plant prefers soft, acidic water. In general, the same conditions as most cryptocorynes. Needs fertilizer in gravel to attain full growth from bulb rhizome. Young plants do best if allowed to float. Leaves will remain submerged.

not critical to 12" 66-86°F Java Fern - Microsorium pteropus
Short stalked fronds may attain length of 10-12". Do not anchor in gravel. Attach to wood or rocks. Often takes 1-2 months before rhizome begins to spread. Hardy and undemanding as to light and water conditions.

full light not
66-86°F Java Moss - Vesicularia dubyana
Undemanding as to water conditions. May float free or be attached to wood or rocks where it will begin to creep. Excellent as decorative plant or to shelter fry. Can be washed and squeezed to clean.

bright 12 to 26" 68-86°F Gymnocoronis - Gymnocoronis spilanthoides
This spade leafed bunch plant is thick & fleshy with bright green leaves. Grows very rapidly & is an excellent space filler in the aquarium.

moderate to 24" 75+°F Congensis - Anubias congensis
Broad leaves are dark green on front with paler underside. Sturdy, almost waxy appearance. Very hardy plant. Many hobbyists keep Anubias with African Cichlids.

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