Q: PL wrote,

Nippyfish, can your recommend some good low light plants for my betta tank?

A: There are several great options for low maintenance aquatic plants where lighting is an issue. Anubias, Cryptocoryne, Microsorium and Vesicularia are all excellent choices.

Anubias are robust wide leafed plants imported from Africa. They do very well in low light and some species can grow quite tall and even out of the water. For smaller aquariums there are low growing species like Dwarf Anubias (Anubias barteri or Anubias nana). A trick to successfully growing anubias is not to burry the rhizome.

image by Chris Chang CC

Cryptocoryne species are widely available at major pet retail stores like PetCo and PetSmart. Many of these bog plants do great in low light conditions and once they acclimate can grow quickly. As they grow you can divide them to cover more area. They are commonly used in the mid and foreground.

Microsorium pteropus is the most commonly found aquatic plant found at local fish stores. It is commonly called Java Fern. There is also a variation with smaller twisted leaves commonly called Java Lace. The Microsorium species will easily attach themselves to rocks or drift wood when fastened with a rubber band, thread or fishing line.

image by Gilrane CC
While there are several mosses available to aquarists Java Moss or Vesicularia dubyana is the best in a low light setting. You can purchase a small ball of moss or borrow some from another aquarist’s tank and quickly it will grow to fill your tank. You rarely ever have to purchase more after the initial buy because it spreads so well on its own. It will attach itself to gravel, sand drift wood or tank dividers and can look quite beautiful displayed horizontally or vertically.

image by Shammonds CC

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