Top 5 aquarium plants for beginners

There are many benefits to adding plants to your aquarium, plants provide natural filtration for your water, help keep your fish healthy and when taken care of correctly, can create stunning aquascapes.

Before diving into aquarium plants, you will need to consider a few questions to find the right ones for you and your fish tank. What type of lighting does your tank get? What kind of substrate do you have? What fish do you currently have in the aquarium (if any)? How many plants will fit in your tank, and most importantly, why do you want plants in your tank?

Like with most things, research is key. Once you’ve thought about the above questions you will be able to pick the best plants, as there’s more to plants than just looking pretty.

To make it easier, here’s our top 5 plants that are great for beginners to look after and some information to help you decide if they are right for your tank.

When selecting and setting up aquarium plants there are three main categories. Each type of plant within these categories requires a different level of care for them to grow effectively.

Foreground plants

Foreground plants or carpeting plants sit at the front of your aquarium. They tend to spread and form a carpet within your tank and cover your substrate. They are usually slower in growth and shorter.

Midground plants

Midground plants are great for adding throughout your aquarium, especially on rocks or woods. They’re not as big as background plants making them less dominating and allowing more space in your aquarium for your fish to swim.

Background plants

Background plants sit in the back of your fish tank. They’re larger in size, great for filling large sections of your aquarium, hiding equipment from view and creating a more natural background.

Now we’ve got the basics of layout covered, it’s time to dive in with our top 5 picks!

Cryptocoryne Beckettii

Cryptocoryne beckettii 'Petchii'

Cryptocoryne Beckettii is an easy to look after plant that is extremely tolerant with its water parameters. A low to medium light is best as strong light may burn the leaves and could promote algae growth. This plant is best suited to be in the midground of an aquarium where it’s reddish leaves can contrast with the greens for an eye-catching centrepiece.


Anubias nana

Anubias is an extremely popular plant as it’s a challenge to kill.  They are very hardy and forgiving to harsh changes in the tank. They are brilliant in low light tanks that don’t receive additional fertilizer. However, if you have a brighter tank you can still have an Anubis plant, but you would have to maintain it quite regularly as they will grow quickly and become very condensed. This would mean that they would become the new favourite place for algae to grow.

Java Fern

Microsorium Pteropus

This plant comes in different sizes and leaf variations. It’s a plant that’s known for growing FAST. Java fern will grow while in moderate to low lighting and doesn’t like it too bright. If you pop this in a fish tank with heavy lighting, you may end up with a very brown plant in your tank.

Bacopa caroliniana

Tropica Bacopa caroliniana

Bacopa caroliniana is an undemanding background aquatic plant. This plant can tolerate a wide variety of conditions from varying pH to low and high lighting. Its slow growth rate makes it one of the few stem plants that do not need much attention. Like most stem plants, it is most decorative when planted in small groups.

Java Moss

Java Moss

This moss grows best in a tank that is well maintained and well circulated.  Java moss thrives in a well-lit tank and doesn’t grow as well in darker set ups. Having the right conditions will allow the plant to spread over the rocks and wood in the tank for your desired effect. It grows and spreads fast, but it is also known for being easy to maintain and trim back. Making this a very easy foreground plant to care for.

Another things you may want to consider as a beginner or a professional when planting in your aquarium is making sure you have the right tools. Check out our range of Tropica aquascaping Scissors and Tropica Planting Tweezers. These aquatic tools will make the planting and maintenance process quicker and easier.

Like fish, aquarium plants require regular care and attention. To help ensure strong and healthy plants in your setup, the addition of aquarium plant fertiliser and food can help keep your aquatic plants healthy and happy. The Waterlife Tropiflora Liquid Plant Fertiliser is a slow releasing feed with potassium that helps to prevent yellowing in plant feed.

See our full range of aquarium plants online with free UK delivery. For more advice on your aquarium plants, visit our helpful Fish Keeping Advice page

Best Aquarium Plants For Beginners