Beginner plants for aquariums

Beginner plants for aquariums

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Plants are beneficial for freshwater aquariums for many reasons. They can help add oxygen to your water while taking in carbon dioxide, they provide filtration and give your fish a fun place to hide and play. They’re also quite beautiful and can truly take a tank from plain to WOW! If you’re new to aquatic plants, here are 5 beginner plants for aquariums to check out.

Java Moss

Java Moss is a very hard aquatic plant. It will adhere to almost anything, from rocks to driftwood, and you can even use it to create a “moss carpet” to use as part of your substrate. Its free-form look and bright green color make it a great contrast for many fish. The bright colors of neon tetras, goldfish and betta fish, for example, will really pop with the addition of java moss! It’s suitable for almost all fish, grows in most water conditions, and under both high and low light. High light will produce a denser “carpet” effect while low light produces a “leggier” plant.

java moss

Java Fern

Java Fern provides a very different look from Java Moss and is, in my opinion, a little bit more difficult to care for. Still, as plants go, once it’s established it should be fine! Java Fern doesn’t like to be buried, so you’ll need to use an aquatic glue or thread to attach it to rocks or driftwood. If you don’t want to try that you can let it float too!

Java Fern prefers mid temperatures from about 68-82 F and also enjoys subdued or low lighting. It will grow best in this type of environment. Once its established Java Fern is hearty and will be a great option for tanks with larger or herbivorous fish.

java fern

Amazon Sword

A great community tank plant is Amazon Sword. We suggest that you don’t use Amazon Sword in tanks with more aggressive fish because it is a little delicate and they might destroy it. However, with danios, tetras, rasboras and other community fish, Amazon Sword is a great option. It provides cover and grows quickly. In fact, you might even need to trim it occasionally with aquatic plant tools, available at J&M Aquatics and Pet Center.

Amazon Sword likes warmer temperatures, from 72-82F and prefers lots of strong light. You can bury it in most substrates and it will grow just fine. We recommend it as a background plant (again, for that “pop” of contrasting color for your community fish).



Anachris is very similar to Amazon Sword.  It is suitable for community tank fish but not for more aggressive fish like Oscars and some Cichlids. It’s best used as a background plant and can be buried in substrate or left to float. Like Amazon Sword, temperatures in the mid to upper 70s are best; Anachris prefers moderate levels of lighting.




Finally, hornwort is a very easy to care for aquatic plant useful in aquariums of 15 gallons or more. This is a fast-growing plant, especially if left to float, so a bigger aquarium is better for it. It will grow at a wide variety of temperatures and pH levels and prefers clear water.

Hornwort makes an excellent option for community tanks, if buried in substrate, and works well for mid and upper tank dwellers too, if left to float. Some fish will even enjoy nibbling on Hornwort, while live bearer fish will use it as a place to hide and protect their young fry.



At J&M Aquatics and Pet Center we can help you learn more about the best beginner plants for aquariums and guide you to ones that will work best for your particular tank. Contact us to learn more!