[updated 2021] Best Low Light Aquarium Plants (Reviews + Guide)

If you’ve been in the aquarium hobby for a while, you know that all aquarium plants need a light source to grow and thrive. However, not all plants are the same in their lighting needs: some need more than others, while others not so much.

Don’t just pick any type of plant and think it will work for your aquarium. You need to do some research to learn more about Best Low Light Aquarium Plants. It is best to choose the best low light plants for your aquarium.

But with so many different types of plants, it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best low-light aquarium plants to make your job easier! These plants do not require much maintenance to grow well. Below are some of the plants to consider.

Top 15 Best Low Light Aquarium Plants

 

Best Low Light Aquarium Plants Reviews

 

1. Cryptocoryne Usteriana

Best Low Light Aquarium Plants

 

The plant is known to grow slowly, but this is to be expected in low light conditions.

The plant comes with broad leaves so that it can absorb every possible gram of light that enters the aquarium. This always ensures that the plant can grow easily, even in low light environments.

You can also add a soil rich substrate if you want it to grow better. You are expected to see a rich dark green color on the leaves.

Who wouldn’t want such a beautiful color of the leaves in the aquarium?


2. Sagittaria Subulata

Best Low Light Aquarium Plants

The plant will spread faster than other plants you have tried before. This is why many people will choose it.

With just one plant you can cover the entire aquarium in a few weeks.

The plant comes with potting soil. Be sure to transplant it with such soil.

This will help accelerate growth in the aquarium substrate. Now you can work on other projects more easily, because the plant covers the entire aquarium.

The plant grows its leaves in all different directions. This can make it difficult for some people to control their growth. You can always prune back a bit to control its spread after a while.


3. Taxiphyllum

Best Low Light Aquarium Plants

If you choose this plant, you can be sure that you will get a tall creeper. The unique growing style gives your aquarium a different look than others.

Its resemblance to the Christmas tree often makes more people like it. It also looks like pine trees, which are also popular.

Because of the way the plant always climbs, you can be sure that it is always in front of the light source. This also gives your aquarium a nice green decoration.

Don’t worry even if you see the spikes. These spikes bend easily when you touch them. The same goes for fish in the aquarium. Therefore, it will not affect fish with delicate fins.


4. Microsorum Pteropus

Best Low Light Aquarium Plants

This type of plant is for people who are always busy maintaining their aquarium. It is slow growing, but easy when it comes to propagation.

The best part is that it also needs little light to keep growing. Give it a few weeks and you will see that it has grown into the prettiest green looking aquarium.

The shape of the blades allows the fish to brush easily while swimming. You will also notice that the plant creates the illusion of a sloping lawn. You will find this type of plant that gives the fish more surface area to find safe roosts.


5. Cladophora Aegagropila

Best Low Light Aquarium Plants

This is an interesting plant that comes in a unique shape. Expect that many people who can see this plant will also be intrigued by buying one.

The plant will form into a ball as it grows. It will often serve as a decoration for many people.

You may need to move it more often to keep it in its perfect spherical shape. You will also notice that it feels soft to many people. This feeling can be great for the fish so that the delicate fins are not injured.

The shiny nature of the plant will always attract fish to keep rubbing it. However, it may not be the best way to protect against aggressive fish.


6. Java Moss

Best Low Light Aquarium Plants

The plant is often considered the most capable when it comes to withstanding harsh conditions.

The best part is that it sticks to various objects easily and still works. You can use twine or staples to connect it to other parts of the aquarium.

Even in low light, it will always grow easily to create a living wall in the aquarium. Your fish will always find a place to play or lay eggs and let them hatch quietly.

It is also crucial that you can prune the plant more often. This promotes better growth and prevents overgrowth.


7. Java Fern

Best Low Light Aquarium Plants

This is one of the most common types of ferns you can find for the aquarium today.

You can get some with short leaves and some with wide leaves. You can also buy one with blades that are too thin, which will make it easier for fish to get through.

Ferns don’t need much when it comes to their maintenance. Occasional pruning is usually enough to ensure you get a plant that looks great.

The plant tends to have a lot of leaves, giving you a dense canopy in no time. This can be ideal for your fish to have adequate shelter even when they are in the aquarium.


8. Vallisneria

Best Low Light Aquarium Plants

This is one of the best freshwater plants you can use for the aquarium today.

You will often find people calling it seagrass. It is the same.

Plant growth is usually easy as it will grow towards the back of the tank frame. It will easily work for most people looking for an easy to maintain plant for their aquarium.

The plant may be tall compared to the other plants in the aquarium. It can shade other plants, so make sure the other plants grow easily in low light as well.

The leaves tend to grow in clusters, which can be great as shade for fish and also as a place to hide.


9. Sagittaria

Best Low Light Aquarium Plants

The plant is one of the most common species when it comes to aquatic plants. Many people love it because it is simple and easy to maintain.

You can always find more people who choose it so that they can easily maintain their green aquarium appearance.

They are characterized by an appearance similar to bright green grass. Because color always makes your aquarium look great.

The plant needs little light to continue growing, so you don’t have to worry about that anymore. Make sure you have access to any light source and it will keep the aquarium green.


10. Anubias Barteri

Best Low Light Aquarium Plants

This lush green plant is a favorite among aquarists for its easy care. It can thrive in a wide range of water temperatures, can be fully or partially submerged, and is tolerant of low to moderate light conditions.

Its glossy pointed blades make it a good choice for foreground and background landscaping in your aquarium.


11. Sunset Hygro (Hygrophila polysperma “Rosanervig”)

Best Low Light Aquarium Plants

Sunset hygro is a green foliage plant that is close to blooming thanks to the purple and red leaves at the top of the plant’s stem.

This fast-growing tropical freshwater plant can anchor to the substrate or float freely on your aquarium, reaching a maximum length of up to 16 inches. When Sunset Hygro is planted in the substrate, it absorbs nutrients through the roots and leaves.

Sunset hygro is native to Southeast Asia and therefore strongly prefers hot water tanks. Furthermore, this versatile plant is undemanding – it is quite tough, requires little maintenance and can handle a variety of light conditions.


12. Anubias Nana

Best Low Light Aquarium Plants

Related to Anubias barteri, Anubias nana has the same spiny dark green leaves that grow in a tight formation just above the base of its tank.
Like A. barteri, A. nana is easy to care for and ideal for beginners as it can grow in most standard aquarium conditions and can withstand changes in temperature and light.
Anubias nana feeds on roots and grows best with fertilizers, especially if there isn’t a lot of organic waste falling to the bottom of your tank. You will also want to plant it in a gravel substrate rather than sand so that the roots have room to grow.


13. African Water Fern (Bolbitis heduelotii)

Best Low Light Aquarium Plants

This fern is native to the Congo River basin in Africa and is suitable for medium to large tanks as it has a maximum size of 22 inches.

However, the plant grows slowly, especially in low light conditions. The African water fern also needs slightly warmer fresh water than other similar plants to thrive.

Although the African water fern is not difficult to care for, this column feeder requires more attention than simply planting it in the substrate at the bottom of your aquarium.

You will need fishing line or wire to attach the fern’s roots to a piece of driftwood or a rock. You also cannot place this plant in an aquarium with goldfish, koi or cichlids.


14. Green Hygro (Hygrophila polysperma)

Best Low Light Aquarium Plants

Green hygro is known as an extremely easy-to-grow and hardy freshwater aquarium plant, although it requires quite a bit of trimming due to its rapid growth rate.

Pruning the green hygro will also make it longer, so you can use this as a way to encourage the generation of renewed leaves in areas that are starting to brown.

The plant takes root in the substrate at the bottom of your aquarium, but you can use almost any type of substrate as it gets its nutrients from the water column.

While the green hygro is compatible with almost any freshwater tank and generally not touched by herbivorous fish, it can be disturbed by goldfish or burrowing cichlids.


15. Hornwort (Ceratophylum demersum)

Best Low Light Aquarium Plants

Hornwort is a fast growing plant that can reach a maximum height of up to 3 meters, so it is best for aquarists with large tanks and lots of patience to prune.
Hornwort can also produce chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants, so you may see other plants die after adding hornwort to your tank.

That said, the hornwort is extremely hardy and can fill a tank landscape thanks to the multiple stems raised by a single plant.

Hornwort feeds on the water column and can be anchored freely to the substrate with rhizomes or float freely on the water surface. Fortunately, hornwort can grow without problems in both cold water (60 degrees F) and tropical freshwater tanks.


Conclusion

There you have it, some of the best low light aquarium plants you can grow today. Many people who have always searched for the best plants can now easily identify them.

These plants will also grow easily so you don’t have to spend more time maintaining them. Sometimes maintenance can deter aquarists from using plants.

If you want to keep your aquarium looking its best, now you have the best way to do it.

Jesse B.
Scroll to Top