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10 Best Low-Tech Aquarium Plants – Reviews & Top Picks

Creating an aquarium habitat is no longer just about the fish you put in it.

Creating beautiful and Instagram-worthy aquarium installations has become a passion on par with self-care for fish.

If you're making a low-tech CO2-free aquarium, you'll need to choose your plants more.

To assist you, BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has compiled reviews of the ten best low-tech aquarium plants this year.

We've also provided a buyer's guide with more information to consider as you narrow down your options. Check out our ideas and have fun with your underwater gardening journey!

Guide to Choosing the Best Low-Tech Aquarium Plants

Because you can see, you may choose from a wide variety of low-tech plants, each with its own set of advantages and benefits. But there are additional factors to think about when deciding which plants are ideal for you.

Put some plants in your tank if you dare!

Not all fish can be safely kept with plants, despite the fact that planted tanks give several benefits to fish, such as higher oxygen levels, a place to lay eggs, and hiding locations.

Make sure your fish won’t consume or damage your aquascape before you put in the time and effort to plant and maintain it.

Plecos and silver dollar fish are two fish species to keep away from since they will devour your entire garden. It’s best to keep away from cichlids and oscars since they prefer to dig in the substrate, which can kill the plant’s roots.

In a Nutshell: Size Does Matter

A well-balanced low-tech aquascape requires careful consideration of plant heights and placement. You want your tank to appear lovely, but you also don’t want any plants to grow too large and block the light for the other inhabitants.

Some plant species may thrive in reduced light or even shadow, so keep that in mind when you arrange your plantings.

Consistently Meet Needs Carefully

It’s important to pick vegetation that thrives in the light and water conditions of your aquarium.

If you have a blank slate, you may design the aquascape to suit your needs. Plants are great additions to an aquarium, but before you put them in an existing tank, you should be sure they can survive in the water conditions that the fish are used to.

You should group plants that have comparable light needs or whose needs are met by the same or similar environmental circumstances.

Is Color Something You’re Interested In?

Low-tech plants on our list and in the aquarium industry tend to be green. There are fewer design avenues open to you if you wish to add contrast through color.

This holds truer if the formation of the red hue calls for specific lighting or water conditions.


Micranthemum micranthemoides, with its adjustable height and wide range of possible applications, is the best general low-tech aquarium plant.

Dwarf Hairgrass is the ultimate low-tech aquatic plant as it grows quickly and requires very little maintenance while providing a lush appearance. BestForPets (bestforpets.org) hopes that our reviews of these best low-tech aquarium plants will help you get started on the long and arduous process of creating an aquarium.

Micranthemum micranthemoides, with its adjustable height and wide range of possible applications, is the best general low-tech aquarium plant.

Dwarf Hairgrass is the ultimate low-tech aquatic plant as it grows quickly and requires very little maintenance while providing a lush appearance.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) hopes that our reviews of these best low-tech aquarium plants will help you get started on the long and arduous process of creating an aquarium.


Overall, the Micranthemum Micranthemoides is the Best Plant

  • The rate of growth is moderate.
  • Stature: 2-6 inches
  • Insists on Medium
  • Difficulty: Easy

Micranthemum micranthemoides, or pearlweed, is our top selection for best low-tech aquarium plant overall.

This adaptable plant may be maintained in a low profile by trimming it to cover more of the aquarium’s ground level. You may even let it grow to a greater height (up to 6 inches) for use as a decorative element in the backdrop.

In the absence of carbon dioxide or intense light, pearlweed will flourish just well. However, by providing any of these, you may influence the plant’s final form and hue. In order to keep it under control, it does require frequent pruning.

Aggressive trimming encourages the development of full, bushy pearlweed, which is great for concealing gaps in an aquascape. Pearlweed has several uses, is little maintenance, and has a unique texture.


  • Becomes a wide range of sizes
  • Perfect for filling empty rooms


  • Has to be trimmed regularly.


Value-Packed Dwarf Hairgrass

  • Modest-fast expansion
  • Stature: 1-2 inches
  • Low to moderate requirements: High
  • Difficulty: Easy

Dwarf Hairgrass is a popular plant that needs very little attention and is our pick for the finest low-tech aquarium plant for the money. Dwarf hairgrass grows rapidly along the bottom of an aquarium, giving the surface a lawn-like look.

Despite the fact that this plant expands more rapidly and thickly when exposed to strong light and CO2, neither of these factors is essential for its continued health and growth.

But if you don’t regularly trim Dwarf Hairgrass, it will quickly take over the entire aquarium.

Having a dense crop of Dwarf hairgrass in your aquarium is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also functional, as it gives timid fish a place to hide and reproduce.


  • A rapid increase in size
  • Easy to cultivate with little effort
  • Aesthetically pleasing


  • Pruning must be done often.
  • Be able to swamp the tank


Premium Selection: Hygrophilia difformis

  • Accelerating development
  • Optimal stature: 20 inches
  • Low to medium effort required
  • Difficulty: Easy

This plant, often known as water wisteria, prefers low-tech tanks since excessive CO2 causes it to explode into an unruly mass of foliage.

Fast-growing and gracefully formed, water wisteria may be planted in the ground or allowed to float freely. The fact that it can reach a height of 20 inches makes it a great choice for use as a backdrop.

In addition, it can be curved and trimmed to act as a cover for anything at a lower level.

There is no need for intense lighting while cultivating water wisteria. However, because to its rapid growth and height, it may end up shading out other, smaller plants.

It is important to keep the aquarium as steady as possible for the sake of the water wisteria, since it is quite sensitive to fluctuations in water conditions.


  • Fast-growing
  • Height adjusting abilities
  • Plants thrive with little sunlight.


  • It’s possible that larger plants will cast a shadow on smaller
  • Easily agitated by water shifts


We trade Anubias barteri

  • Slow to moderate expansion
  • Size: 4 to 6 inches
  • Simple requirements: minimal
  • Difficulty: Easy

The low-tech aquascaping trend of using Anubias barteri, which can thrive without soil, has made this plant a popular option.

In fact, the rhizomes can’t make it if they’re buried; they need to be attached to something hard, like stone or wood, in order to thrive.

As long as it’s linked to a moveable surface, it may be moved around the tank to provide visual interest to the aquascape and flourish in the shadow.

Despite its durability, Anubias’s modest growth rate makes it difficult for the plant to recover from injury. Additionally, it is easily overrun by algae, particularly in places with a lot of sunlight. If your fish tank does not allow soil, consider getting this plant instead.


  • Soilless growth possible
  • Prolific shade tolerance
  • Capable of being relocated within the tank


  • Weakened by algae
  • Damage repair time lag


Insect Microsorum Pteropus

  • Slow to moderate pace of growth
  • 14 inches tall.
  • Simple requirements: minimal
  • Difficulty: Easy

The java fern, or Microsorum pteropus, is another low-tech plant that favors an aerial growth pattern.

To add a splash of color and texture on your aquarium’s aquascape, just attach this lovely plant to rocks, wood, or aquarium ornaments. In addition to flourishing in shady conditions, Java fern can handle a wide variety of water conditions.

The java fern is a slow-growing plant that is susceptible to algae infestation and may have problems responding to unexpected water changes.

It multiplies quickly and thrives in overcrowded aquariums. This plant thrives in a healthy aquarium with little care from the aquascaper, making it an excellent choice for novices.


  • Soilless growth possible
  • Successful development of a shadow crop
  • Can handle being in a busy place


  • Easily overtaken by algae
  • Adjustment issues to frequent water changes are possible.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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