10 Long Aquarium Plants for Large Tanks
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Aquarium plants are a popular topic of discussion in the fish-keeping hobbyists’ community. It allows hobbyists to be creative and bring on the beauty of nature into their tanks.
Not to mention, aquarium plants help maintain a balanced ecosystem. Tall aquarium plants can enhance water quality, prevent algae growth, absorb nutrients from fish waste and other organic debris, and keep your tank clean.
They also produce oxygen during daylight hours, providing O2 for your fish and stabilizing the water pH.
More importantly, the aquatic plants absorb the CO₂ released by the fish and balance the ecosystem.
Long and fluffy plants are also important for your fish, providing them with a variety of hiding spots for them to spawn and hide.
Newborn fry hide amongst the aquarium plants to keep them safe from other fish until they mature.
Tall aquatic plants are gaining widespread popularity among aquarium hobbyists for their attractiveness and broader leaves.
Tall plants help create a roomier, natural-looking, and more intricate aquascape as they hide the top of the tank and add a visual element you cannot achieve with short plants.
Here are the top ten aquarium plants that can grow tall while also offering the most spectacular appeal to your little home aquarium:
1. Egeria Densa
Egeria densa is a large-flowered aquatic plant that grows up to 4 m or 13 ft. Also known as Brazilian waterweed, it has trailing stems at least 2 m long and produces roots at intervals along the stem.
This plant is native to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. Many organizations consider Egeria densa a problematic invasive species due to its widespread use in home aquariums and release into non-native ecosystems.
Egeria Densa produces leaves in whorls of four to eight. The leaves can be 0.39–1.57 inches long and 2–5 mm broad. Aquarium hobbyists love this plant for its pointed leaf tip.
The stem system of this plant grows until it reaches the surface of the water and then begins to spread out.
Egeria Densa produces a thick flower canopy, blocking light from reaching plants below the water’s surface. Flowers can grow up to 20 mm in diameter and contains three rounded white petals. The male plants have larger flowers than the females.
Aquarium hobbyists must keep a close eye on this plant as it will require trimming often. While it is one of the easy and forgiving aquatic plants for beginners, they demand a temperature of 61–82 °F for stable growth. Lower temperatures may limit plant growth and control its spread in an enclosed ecosystem.
Waterweed also needs moderate lighting to stay alive. So, if the lighting is too low, its leaves can turn brown.
If you wish to see rapid growth in your waterweed plant, you can add additional CO2 to the water.
If you wish to plant waterweed in your tank, grab a couple of stems and push them into the substrate. Push them down enough to prevent them from uprooting. You should see them developing roots within a couple of days.
2. Dwarf Ambulia (Limnophila sessiliflora)
Dwarf Ambulia is one of the most beautiful aquatic plants that also goes by the name of Asian marsh weed. These are common in streams, lakes, rivers, and damp soils and are native to the paddy rice fields of Japan, China, India, and the Philippines.
Dwarf Ambulia looks similar to Cabomba and showcases leaves in 1-2-inch diameter whorls. The leaves look pinnate with a bright green tinge. The leaves radiate a reddish hue under strong lighting conditions.
Another stunning fact about this plant is that it will close up its leaves once it has received enough light for the day.
It is undoubtedly one of the popular aquatic plants among aquarium hobbyists for its humongous height. Dwarf Ambulias can reach up to 16 inches in height under proper conditions. It also produces fruits that take an ellipsoid capsule form and are 3.5-5.5 mm long.
Strip the leaves of a node or two at the bottom before planting the plant into the substrate. These plants require moderate to high-intensity lighting and nutrient-rich water. Better lighting can result in faster growth and a fuller appearance.
Moreover, the plant can benefit from CO2 addition, although CO2 injections aren’t absolutely necessary.
Providing Dwarf Ambulias with a water pH of 6-7.5 can help the plant grow and thrive well. With ideal growing conditions, the Ambulia can grow up to ½ inch every day. You will have to trim this plant frequently to fit your aquarium.
3. Blue Water Hyssop
Water hyssop, also known as Bacopa monnieri, is a creeping perennial plant native to warm wetland environments.
These plants have distinctive succulent leaves that are small and cover stems that can extend up to 4 feet.
Another prominent feature of the blue water hyssop is its small bell-shaped white flowers. These plants flower in the fall seasons and throughout the year in warmer climates.
Bluewater hyssop is easily adaptable and grows well in moist soil and when kept submerged in water. The blue water hyssop is tolerant of most brackish waters.
Water hyssop is a fast-growing species that you can plant at any time of the year. It is a versatile plant with several medicinal uses which is pretty much useless in the context of aquarium use. But it does make for an interesting point, which is why I mentioned it.
Water Hyssop requires lots of light for fuller growth. Placing them in the shaded area of your aquarium can cause the leaves to be more spread out, giving the plant a sparser appearance.
These plants also demand good moisture and prefer acidic to neutral soil conditions. The flowers of the water hyssop plant take a white or pink shade and usually bloom in late spring or early fall. The blue water hyssop can grow up to 3 feet tall with proper care and ideal growing conditions.
Hornwort is a popular aquatic plant for its fluffy-looking stems, tall appearance, fast growth, and ability to absorb nutrients from the water. It also goes by names like Ceratophyllum demersum, rigid hornwort, and Coontail.
These plants are predominant in a wide range of climates and are native to Canada, U.S. Virgin Islands, Alaska, The Contiguous United States, North America, and Puerto Rico.
Hornwort grows very tall in the wild and can reach the top of your aquarium in no time. It is a fluffy underwater bush with many long branches, side stems, bright green thin, and rigid leaves.
Hornwort can live in most temperatures and prefers a temperature range of 50-85°F. These plants are ideal for tropical aquariums, cold water tanks, and outdoor ponds. Hornwort grows best as a floating plant as it enjoys having more access to light and carbon dioxide from the air.
If you wish to plant it into the substrate, be extra cautious of its growth, as the attached ends are prone to rot away. This plant requires regular pruning, or it can grow out of control.
An overgrown hornwort can block the light from reaching other plants in your aquarium and limit gas exchange at the water surface. The latter will influence the oxygen levels in the tank considerably.
The ideal way to propagate hornwort is to cut a side shoot off the top of a tall stem and place them in the substrate or let it float at the surface of your tank. You should see a fluffy bush in your tank in no time.
5. Water wisteria
Hygrophila difformis, also known as water wisteria, is an aquatic plant in the acanthus family. You can find these aquatic plants in the marshy habitats of the Indian subcontinent, such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal. Water wisteria grows up to 20 inches in the ideal conditions.
It is a freshwater plant from the Acanthaceae family with attractive green leaves. The stems of water wisteria alone can reach a height of up to 20 inches, which can cover a lot of space in your tank.
Water wisteria can also block out too much light if you do not trim it from time to time.
The leaves are bright green and form narrow protrusions. The firm stem of the Wisteria plant allows it to support the larger leaves.
Another peculiar aspect of this plant is its thin white roots. It is pivotal that you bury the plant deep within the substrate to anchor the plant in place.
Water wisteria is easy to grow and is a popular plant among tropical aquarium hobbyists. These plants grow best in good light and nutrient-rich water and substrate. You can propagate water wisteria from cuttings without much difficulty.
Water wisteria is one of the undemanding and tolerant plants that can survive in a range of different setups. You can keep this species in tanks as small as 10 gallons. These plants prefer sandy substrate and a water temperature level of 70-82°F. Temperatures outside this range can slow the rate of photosynthesis and hinder plant growth.
Maintaining a water pH level of 6.5-7.5 can help them thrive well. Make sure to plant your water wisteria in areas with plenty of light for fuller growth.
6. Rotala Rotundifolia
Rotala rotundifolia, also known as dwarf rotala, is a common weed in the wet places of India, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam.
The plant gets its name from Latin, meaning round leaves. Each rotala rotundifolia plant has 15-30 long stems 2-3 cm wide. The leaves look long and narrow and can produce a red tinge when they receive plenty of light.
The plant has many side shoots, making rotala rotundifolia appear compact and bushy. You must prune the plant from time to time to allow the light to reach the lower parts of the plant.
Rotala Rotundifolia is easy to grow and is adaptable to most water conditions and lighting environments. Aquascapers find this plant particularly appealing for its vibrant colors.
You can propagate the plant from cuttings and trim it down to the desired length. Rotala Rotundifolia requires plenty of aquarium light.
Ensure to provide at least 8 hours of lighting per day and allow 3.5-5 watts of power per gallon of water. These plants prefer a water temperature of 62-82°F and a pH of 4.0 to 8.0.
7. Amazon Sword (Echinodorus amazonicus)
Echinodorus amazonicus, commonly known as the Amazon sword plant, is native to Cuba, Central America, and South America. It is an attractive aquatic plant with submerged leaves that are 15 – 25 inches long. The leaf blades look narrowly oval, adding more beauty and character to your aquarium.
An Amazon Sword’s growth rate can be slow but steady. Once your plant adapts to its new environment, it can grow up to 12 inches tall. In ideal conditions, an amazon sword plant can grow up to 20 inches tall. A 30-gallon environment will be perfect for the Amazon sword.
It is a beautiful plant for beginners as it is one of the easiest aquatic plants to grow. An Amazon Sword plant thrives well in all community tank water conditions. Provide the plant with a water pH of 6.5 – 7.5 and a temperature of 72 – 82 F.
Amazon Swords also demand moderate to strong lighting conditions and show sturdy growth when they receive at least 10 – 12 hours of light per day.
Some aquarium hobbyists find the Amazon Sword leaves dying soon after adding the plant to the tank.
If you have a similar situation, gently trim the dead or dying leaves and provide the plant with the best water and lighting conditions. Most plants adjust to their new home within a couple of weeks.
8. Limnobium laevigatum
Limnobium laevigatum, also known as West Indian spongeplant, South American spongeplant, and smooth frogbit, is a floating aquatic plant. It belongs to the family Hydrocharitaceae and is native to the freshwater habitats of tropical and subtropical Central and South America.
Limnobium laevigatum is often mistaken for water hyacinth due to the similarities between them. Mature spongeplants can grow up to 50 cm tall and encompass emergent leaves borne on petioles. The leaves can look swollen or inflated, which aids in their buoyancy.
The spongeplant produces small white-colored unisexual flowers. Female flowers have an inferior ovary, and the fruit looks like a fleshy capsule. The seeds of the spongeplant fruits can look long, ellipsoid, and hairy.
These are some of the best tall aquatic plants you can get for your aquarium without worrying about tank maintenance or upkeep.
While this plant is easy to keep, you must take specific precautions to help it thrive. An essential aspect of caring for this plant involves ensuring that its top is always dry. Leaving the plant’s top part wet for a prolonged period can cause it to rot.
These plants are not ideal for aquariums with snails, as they can get eaten. As a floating plant, this one does not need CO2 injections necessarily. This plant is not very demanding about lighting requirements.
Providing the spongeplant with moderate to high lighting can help the plant attain healthier and fuller growth. This species prefers a water pH of 6.0-7.5 and a temperature of 64 to 84 °F.
9. Ludwigia Repens
Ludwigia Repens is a flowering plant in the evening primrose family. It also goes by the name creeping primrose-willow. Creeping primrose-willow is native to parts of the Americas and has the potential to spread.
It is one of the popular tall aquarium plants and a perennial herb that grows up to 20 inches in height.
The leaves grow oppositely and are up to 1.5 to 2 inches long. This aquatic plant produces a flower with four yellow-colored petals. It is an amphibious plant – it can grow partially or fully submerged in the tank.
When you submerge the plant fully, the leaf color may change from dark green to brownish red or deep red.
Ludwigia Repens is widely popular for its beautiful stem. This plant thrives in most aquariums and is one of the least demanding aquatic plants. If you wish for the plant to grow healthy shoots, provide a nutrient-rich substrate and place it under a high-light intensity.
Ludwigia Repens grows well in very soft as well as hard water. I recommend providing them with slightly acidic water for the best plant growth. Maintain the water temperature between 75 and 79 F and supply the tank with regular carbon dioxide additions, trace elements, and iron-rich fertilizers for the plant to thrive well.
The plant can grow bright red-colored leaves if you provide proper lighting. Planting Ludwigia Repens in poorly-light tanks can lead to faded color leaves and cause them to fall off.
Make sure to separate each stem and plant them individually to allow more light to reach the lower parts of the plant.
10. Aponogeton Madagascariensis
Also known as Madagascar laceleaf or the lace plant, this aquatic plant is native to Madagascar. You can find these mostly in aquariums, and you may no longer see them in the wild.
It is an aquatic monocotyledonous perennial plant with tuberous rhizomes. The leaves can look captivatingly attractive with their oblong shape and long leaf blades measuring 6 to 20 inches long.
The leaves spread beautifully beneath the surface of the water, making them one of the mesmerizing features of your tank. The Lace Leaf is a popular aquarium plant mainly due to its novel skeleton-like appearance.
The plant lacks leaf tissue, making the interconnecting veins visible. You may also buy this plant with narrow or wide leaves.
It can be a demanding aquatic plant that requires extra care. Algae and debris can start to cover the leaves, undermining the plant’s health. You must maintain a water pH of 7 or lower to help the plant thrive better.
Some aquarists also claim that the lace plant needs a period of dormancy once a year. During the dormancy period, it is best to remove the plant and keep it in the dark for two months at a temperature of 60°F.
Once the dormancy period is over, the plant will return to life when it gets replanted in the tank.
Also, you should cut off any long flower stems during the dormancy period and keep the plant moist.
The lace plant can grow to great heights and take up a lot of room in your tank. Trim the plant periodically to keep them in optimal size.
Aquatic plants are a great addition to any fish tank. They make the fish feel safer, help create an ecosystem, and add a touch of color and depth to your aquarium.
Choosing tall aquatic plants can be a fun experiment and a great way to gather a deeper understanding of the different macrophytes. Happy aquatic gardening!