Low Light Plants for Planted Aquarium
On the 2 previous posts, I explained about How to set up an aquascape and the difference between lowtech and hightech aquascape set up. If you missed those 2 post, I would suggest to read those as well to complete your basic knowledge about aquascape. So as the title said, I would like to share low light and high light plants on this post.
The first easy to grow plant is anubias. Well there are many types of anubias (anubias nana, anubias petite, anubias barteri etc.). Generally anubias is a hardy and easy to grow plants, even though you are using a really low light it will grow slowly. You do not even need a rich nutrient substrate to grow anubias on your planted tank. Anubias does not need to be buried under the substrate, especially the rhizome otherwise it will be rotten. To plan anubias you just need to attach it to the rock or drift wood with a thread or super glue (must be aquarium safe). To propagate anubias, you just need to cut the rhizome and make sure you left some leafs on the rhizome.
There are various types of mosses i.e java moss, christmas moss, taiwan moss. The same like anubias, mosses does not need to be buried under the substrate. Attach it to the rock or drift wood, you may make a bonsai tree inside your tank using the moss. Mosses is really easy to propagate, just tear it apart as much as you would and plant it somewhere.
Java Fern (Microsorum Pteropus)
Java fern is a rhizome plant like anubias, so you may not want to bury the rhizome under the substrate. The safest way is attach it to the rock or driftwood. There are many types of microsorum i.e. java fern, windelov, and trident. To propagate itself, usually there is a shoot from the leafs as time goes you can separate it. Or the same like anubias just cut the rhizome.
Different from the other plants above, amazon sword has to be planted on the substrate to take the nutrient. Even though amazon has to be planted, it is relatively easy to grow. You might want to plan amazon sword a little bit at the back since it will grow a little bit tall.
Cryptocoryne is also an easy plant to grow, plant it under a substrate and it will survive. There are many different Cryptocoryne i.e. Cryptocoryne wendtii, Cryptocoryne balansea, Cryptocoryne parva, Cryptocoryne spiralis. Plant it little bit in the middle or at the back since it will take some space.
Anacharis Elodea is a stem plant and really easy to grow, you might need an extra effort to plant it since it is a bit hard to plant it to the subtrate. Plant it at the back of your tank because it will grow tall. You may need a deeper substrate to make it stay under the substrate, otherwise it will always come out.
You might be wondering, why there is no foreground plant on the list? The answer is because it is hard to grow a foreground plant with a low light. I’m not saying it is possible to grow a carpet plant in the lowtech set up, you just need a higher watt light. I would suggest to try dwarf hair grass or echinodorus tenellus, even though you are not using a CO2 as long as you have a good subtrate and string lighting it will grow. I posted another article about high light plants here if you would like to check!
In my lowtech planted tank, I’m using anubias nana (attached it to driftwood and rocks), Cryptocoryne, jungle val, and anacharis. I have tried to planted echinodorus tenellus as a carpet, but it did not work since my light is really low even though I was using a substrate (might be the substrate was not good). I was surprised with anacharis, it grows so fast like 1 or 2 days after I planted it. The good thing about the anubias, mosses, anacharis, or java fern is that you can propagate it easily. I bought 2 really small anubias nana, and now I have 7 big anubias nana just by propagating the small 2. You just need a patient with a lowtech planted tank, since all the plants usually grow slowly.
Since lowtech plants does not required CO2 does not mean you can not install a CO2 system on your tank or a highlight. Because basically all plants need CO2 to make it grow faster, with a highlight you may want to put the anubias on a shaded spot to avoid algae.