Plants Ideal For Low Light/Low Tech Aquaria - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-17-2010, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
eileen's Avatar
Plants Ideal For Low Light/Low Tech Aquaria

I would like to share this with anyone interested.

My planted tanks are at

plants that worked well in my tanks were Java fern, Java moss, Crypt Wendtii, Micro crypt,hornwort,anacharis,wendelov java fern,Vallisneria and spiral Val,sword plant

I found this list on-line and copied it below:

Some people may be wondering what plants do well in a Low Light setup. I used to be the same way ( and still am sometimes) and now I am wanting to make a list of what is apprropriate for this kind of tank. Any one wanting to add to the list please go ahead. List Common and Scientific name please.

Java Fern- Microsorum pteropus
Windelov Java Fern- Microsorum pteropus 'Windelov'
Narrow Leaf Java Fern- Microsorum pteropus v. 'narrow leaf'
Java Moss- Vesicularia dubyana
Green Hygro-Hygrophila polysperma
*Sunset Hygro-Hygrophila polsperma 'Rosanevig'
Ceylon Hygro-Hygrophila polysperma 'Ceylon'
Rotala Rotundigolia-Rotala rotundifolia
Rotala Rotundifolia sp.Green- Rotala rotundifolia sp.'Green'
Rotala Indica- Rotala indica
Hornwort-Ceratophylum demersum
Parrots Feather- Myriophyllum aquaticum
Moneywort, Water Hyssop- Bocapa monnieri
Brazillian Pennywort, Pennywort- Hydrocotyle leucocephala
Crypt Wendtii- Cryptocoryne wendtii
Crypt Balansae- Cryptocoryne Balansae
Pygmy Crtpt- Cryptocoryne pygmaea
Guppy Grass- Najas guadalupensis
Anubia barteri- Anubia barteri v. barteri
Anubia barteri 'marble'- Anubias barteri 'marble'
Anubia barteri v. 'glabra'- Anubias barteri v. 'glabra'
Anubia nana- Anubias berteri v. 'nana'
Coffee leaf anubias- Anubias berteri v. 'coffeefolia'
Crypt retrospiralis- Cryptocoryne retrospirallis
Crypt spiralis- Cryptocoryne spirallis
Goldden nana- Anubias barteri v. 'nana golden'
Narrow leaf nana- Anubias barteri v. 'nana narrow leaf'
Petite nana- Anubias barteri v. nana 'petite'
Philippine Java Fern- Microsorum pteropus 'philippine'
Red Java Fern- Microsorum pteropus "red"
Crypt Becketii- Crytcoryne becketii
Pelia- Monosolenium tenerum
Waterwheel Plant-Aldrovanda vesiculosa
Bacopa- Bacopa caroliniana
African Water Fern- Bolbitis heudelotii
Hornwort- Ceratophyllum submersum
Crypt Aponogetifolia- Cryptocoryne aponogetifolia
Micro Crypt- Cryptocoryne petchii
Tropica Sword- Echinodorus parviflorus 'Tropica'
Downoi- pogostemon helferi

*Do not need high light to attain pink color. Dosing Iron can bring out this color.

Last edited by eileen; 05-17-2010 at 02:02 PM.
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-17-2010, 05:29 PM
I did one of these lists a while Check it out.

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post #3 of 9 Old 05-17-2010, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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We must have found the same list on the internet. It's a really good list of low light plants. If I knew their was one posted already I would not have posted it again.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-17-2010, 06:33 PM
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It's always good to see that list. Sometimes posts (and lists) get buried in past posts so it's nice to bring them to the forefront again for members who may have missed it on the first time 'round.
Thank you both for posting.

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post #5 of 9 Old 05-17-2010, 07:03 PM
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Thats a pretty good list. Wish I'd had it when I started.

I'd like to say Hygrophila Difformis, Duckweed, Azolla, and Dwarf Sag (sag sublata var. sublata: works best with root fert tho) also work well in low-light.

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post #6 of 9 Old 05-18-2010, 10:01 AM
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Before I add my pers exp tot he list of plants: What do you consider LOW light, that's really a personal definition. I have 32w T8 over my 55g and some consider that low I pers find it ideal

Love your tanks, the plants looks very good too. Did you just recently add the Vallis in there?

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post #7 of 9 Old 05-18-2010, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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I have a friend that has low-light planted tanks. She's the one that got me to switch all my tanks from plastic to the kind she has. I got them from her. It grows like a weed really fast.She is always trimming it and sometimes she throw away a bunch if it is not close to the Tropical Fish meetings/auction.My friend has the reg. tall Val. I have both the Spiral Val & Reg. Val. At the auction they always seem to have bags of this stuff at a good price. When I first got some my friend told me that I should not have gotten it from this person at the auction as it came from a pond. I got hitch hiker snails on it and a fuzz algae on it. I just trimmed out the fuzzy algae as it grows fast. I have had the vals growing for over 1 year.
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-18-2010, 02:49 PM
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Natalie is quite correct, the terms "low" "moderate" and "high" light are subjective and actually quite misleading. These came from the days when it was believed to be absolutely impossible to have live plants with less than 2-3 watts per gallon--except for the plants then termed "low light." Now we know this is all stuff and nonsense.

Most aquatic plants come from quite dimly-lit areas of the tropical rainforest, and many never see direct sunlight. Many are true bog plants (most Echinodorus species, many crypts, and others) that spend half the year emersed and half submersed; even during the former they are under the forest canopy.

Low-tech aquarists like Natalie and myself have demonstrated as have many others that the majority of plants will live under minimal light--what those using the former definitions would term "low" light. I had this discussion on a planted tank forum, where someone stated I had very low light (with 80w over my 115g) and was amazed at the plant growth. I believe Tom Barr has the best approach on this issue: start with the least light you can use, and match the nutrients; if you want to grow plants requiring more, increase both to keep the balance. It does work.

Then there is the impact of light on the fish, that also for the most part do not appreciate it. Satisfying the requirements/preferences of both the fish and plants with less light seems a better approach to me.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-20-2010, 07:51 AM
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+1 on Byron, thanks for tuning in Byron while I wasn't on!

All you have listed will do just fine in what I'd consider low to avg lights (eg my 32w over 55g). I do want to point out to you thou that for example Cryps listed there if these are housed under higher lights (eg 60w over 55g) you can quickly see them literally melting under the high light, these very plants are veryyyyy low light!!

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
Life May Not Be The Party We Hoped For, But While We're Here, We Should Dance. ~
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