Ever wanted that lush, beautiful planted tank but it just seemed like it was too much work to fight with? While live plants can be a lot of work and require a ton of attention, there are also many kinds that really only need to be trimmed now and again if you don’t want them to get out of control. Low-tech tanks are a pretty popular thing in the hobby because they let you focus on the look more than the upkeep, and of course don’t require any extra equipment such as CO2 and higher end lights. There are so many benefits to adding live plants to your aquarium, they help keep your water clean, they oxygenate the water, they provide cover and perfect hiding places for fry, and of course they look amazing. While there are limited options for low-tech tanks, there are still enough varieties out there to make sure your tanks are looking the way you want them to.
What you want to look for when hunting down the perfect growers for your low maintenance tanks are plants that are labeled as “low-light” and plants that don’t require being planted in soil unless you decide to go that route. Some very good beginners include java mosses, java fern, African fern, amazon swords, many types of anubias, dwarf baby tears (these are a carpet so they will require some type of soil to be planted), hairgrass, and guppy grass are just a few of them.
When planting any carpet plants, if you decide to do so, start with a decent aquatic soil. You can pick these up at any aquarium store or pet store. You are going to want to add the soil to your empty, dry aquarium and spread it out the way you want it, then sprinkle the seeds (or use tweezers to plant the sprouts) of whatever plants you have picked out. Wet the soil generously and cover the tank with a decent amount of light going into it. Once your plants are starting to take root and grow well, fill your aquarium and start cycling (I will go over the cycling process in another blog post). Once your tank is cycled and ready, add your fish (or don’t if its just for plants) and enjoy. Nothing fancy needed to keep up with it, just trim everything back when you think it's overgrowing and make sure it's all healthy. Above I have some examples of low-tech aquariums from friends
after being established.
Enjoy your new plants and feel free to email me pictures or any questions you have and want me to go more in-depth about.