Low-Light Plants for a Community Aquarium

Written by bonnie conrad
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Low-Light Plants for a Community Aquarium
Consider lighting when choosing your plants. (session aquarium 1 image by Anthony CALVO from Fotolia.com)

One of the most common problems aquarium hobbyists face when introducing live plants into their tanks is a lack of sufficient light. In their natural environment, aquatic plants can count on many hours of bright sunlight, and it can be difficult to recreate those conditions in the home aquarium. Fortunately, hobbyists can choose plants with lowlight requirements. These lowlight plants are perfect for beginners, or anyone who struggles with growing plants in the aquarium.

Amano Moss

Also known as Christmas moss, this popular lowlight plant does resemble a Christmas tree. Like other aquatic mosses, Amano moss will readily attach itself to rocks, driftwood and just about any other available surface. Its low lighting requirements make it a good choice for just about any tank. Amano moss tends to grow faster in cold-water tanks, making it a natural for goldfish and other unheated tanks. But even though it prefers cold water, Amano moss can tolerate a wide range of temperatures.


The anubias is one of the hardiest plants you can purchase, and many experienced hobbyists insist that it is almost impossible to kill. This plant actually does best under lowlight conditions. If it is exposed to too much light, it can develop an algae growth which must be scraped away. In addition to its hardiness, the anubias is one of the most beautiful aquatic plants, and it will actually grow flowers when kept in top condition.


Duckweed is often seen growing wild on ponds, marshes and other slow-moving bodies of water. It is a favourite for backyard Koi ponds as well as home aquariums, due to its hardiness and its ability to shelter fish. Duckweed thrives in low light, and it is easy to grow and very resilient.

Water Lily

The water lily is another pond plant that can easily make the transition to larger aquariums. The water lily produces flowers as well as its signature lily pads, and it thrives in tanks with mid- to low-level lighting.

Java Moss

Java moss is very hardy plant, and one that is perfect for any beginning hobbyist. Java moss can be placed on rocks and driftwood, where it will quickly attach itself and begin to grow. This plant can also be left to float on the surface of the water to provide shelter and protection for newly hatched baby fish. Many aquarium hobbyists place a clump of Java moss on top of the tank when attempting to spawn livebearers like platies and swordtails in a community tank.

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