Starting an Aquarium? Follow Our Aquascaping Tips and Consider These 5 Starter Plants

aquatic plants rooted in stones

If you have ever been to a friend or neighbor’s house and seen a beautiful garden, you may think that they have a green thumb and simply know all there is to know about gardening.  What you may not consider is that they have carefully chosen plants that are easy to take care of, giving their garden a lush, picturesque quality. The same goes for aquariums. If you are thinking of starting an aquarium, you can use this same tactic by choosing plants that are low-maintenance and will thrive with even a beginner’s care.

If you’re unfamiliar with cultivating underwater environments, one of our most recommended aquascaping tips is to pick the right aquarium plants for beginners. Some plants require more care, so avoid those when you are new to aquarium plant care. One of the principal concepts for beginners is to think of the aquarium in terms of foreground, mid-ground, and background.

Start With Low-Growing and Spreading Plants

Among aquascaping experts’ most recommended tips is to place some small plants in the foreground that will spread and fill the substrate. Known for its hardiness and fast growth, Java moss (Vesicularia Sp.) is a great aquarium plant for beginners, which can grow up to 5 in. with an optimal growing temperature between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. As a general aquascaping tip for this plant, you’ll want to keep a bright light on your java moss throughout the day.

As another low growth hearty plant, Anubias nana (Anubias Sp. “nana”) is also a great addition to your aquarium’s substrate and hardscape foreground as it generally grows slowly up to 4 in. With its wide leaves, this plant contrasts nicely with Java moss’ grassy tufts.

Place a Medium Plant in the Middle

Another valuable aquascaping tip for the mid-ground area of a tank is to ease the viewer’s eyes to the next focal with medium sized plants. Windlov Java fern or Crested Java fern (Microsorium pteropus “Windlov”) are perfect for the mid-ground of your aquarium because they grow  leaves that can reach about 8 inches in height with very unique bushy fingers on the end of the leaves Even at their tallest, Windlov Java ferns won’t obscure the plants at the back of your aquarium.

Use Tall Plants to Fill the Vertical Space

Along with our other tips for aquascaping projects, we recommend that you reserve the background for tall plants that will fill up the vertical space. Tall plants in the back of the aquarium create a primary focal point for the viewer’s eyes. To maximize the vertical space in your aquarium, Amazon sword (Echinodorus amazonicus) is a great plant for the background. It can grow up to 20 in. at its maximum height, and it will typically grow to at least 12 in. tall. You can place a single plant, or a small grouping together to create a fuller background to frame the rest of your tank.

Another tall aquarium plant suited for beginners is the El Nino or Asian water fern (Bolbitis heteroclita), which is a great accent when attached to large rocks or driftwood pieces. It has broad dark green leaves that shoot off of the main stem, so it provides a nice contrast to the Amazon sword. Using both can create a sense of balance in your aquarium. Asian water ferns growing slowly and are considered hardy at 10 in. but may stand up to 20 in. when fully grown.

Let Us Help You Get Started

Aquascaping can be an exciting and fulfilling hobby once you get into it, but beginners always need a little guidance to get on the right path. At Complete Aquatic Systems, we have over two decades of expertise when it comes to providing nationwide retailers with the best resources for aquatic plant life and decor. So, once you’ve considered all of our aquascaping tips for the best starter plants for beginners, get in touch with us to learn more about our solutions for any customer’s underwater environment.