I recently viewed a short film produced by National Geographic, which shows freshwater shrimp living in tropical streams. These streams in Puerto Rico have developed diverse populations of crustaceans in relatively small pools of water. These shrimp constantly feed on organic debris that collects in the pools, keeping them clean and clear. This results in bodies of water that are appealing to both animals and humans alike.
Dwarf Sagittaria (Sagittaria subulata) is a rather hardy grass-like aquatic plant. It has long, thin, ribbon shaped leaves. Once established it grows rapidly and will quickly spread via runners along the substrate. For this reason it is a good beginner plant that is suitable for aquariums of all sizes.
Care Level: Easy
Preferred Water: pH 6.5 to 7.8, Soft to Medium Hardness
Minimum Lighting: Medium
Temperature: 72°F to 83°F (22°C to 28°C)
Leaf Size: Length, up to 12″ (~30 cm)
Many aquarium hobbyists start out with something like the Tetra 3 Gallon Aquarium Kit (which I own and love) and a couple plastic plants, and things are going great! Maybe they add a few fancy guppies, and now there are fry all over the place! Awesome! Now they are thinking, “Maybe I’ll get some LIVE plants to really jazz this puppy up.” Then they drive over to PetSmartCo® and pick up some dwarf baby tears… and it completely fails. Now that poor hobbyist decides plants are too much trouble and totally not worth it!
I would like to avoid this scenario in the future by putting together a list of 10 relatively easy aquarium plants for beginners. I have picked out these plants because they are pretty forgiving with the amount of light they need, nutrient demands, and ease of planting and trimming. These plants definitely do not need any pressurized CO2 or any other bells and whistles.