10 Aquarium Plants That Don't Require Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

Author: Sarah Slater   Date Posted: 29 December 2020 

Don’t have the time or expenses to set up a CO2 system but still want beautiful easy aquarium plants? Aquascaping an aquarium with beautiful plants is an enormously satisfying hobby… read about the aquarium plants that are perfect for aquascaping without added carbon dioxide (CO2).

Can Aquarium Plants Grow without CO2?

Carbon dioxide is added to aquariums to boost the growth and health of aquarium plants. Aquarium plants without CO2 will still grow at a slow to moderate speed, and generally tolerate a variety of growing conditions. These freshwater plants have simple care requirements, stable pH and temperature parameters, as well as, minimal lighting requirements. Perfect aquarium plants for beginners.

To increase the growth rate of live aquarium plants consider setting up a CO2 system using one of the methods suggested below.

Whether you are a beginner aquarium tank decorator planting your first aquascape, or an experienced enthusiastic, here is a list of easy to grow aquarium plants that have no CO2 requirements:

1. Java Fern Aquarium Plant

Scientific aquarium plant name: Microsorium Pteropus

Position in aquascape: Foreground

Light requirements: Low

pH range: 6 – 8

Temperature range: 20 – 30oC

Required aquarium substrate: Do not plant Java fern in substrate. Bind to driftwood or rock using thin fishing line or cotton.

Java fern is a perfect aquarium plant for beginners. It is a very sturdy plant, adaptable to different water conditions and parameters, making it an easy centrepiece aquarium plant.

2. Anubias Aquarium Plant

Position in aquascape: Centre / Foreground / Background

Light requirements: Low

pH range: 6 – 8

Temperature range: 18 – 30oC

Required aquarium substrate: Anubias plants can grow in a variety of substrate such as, pebbles, rocks, gravel, sand, or aquarium soil.

At PetWave we have numerous Anubias aquarium plant varieties for sale. Due to their wide variety, you are guaranteed to find an Anubias aquarium plant suited to any position in your desired aquascape.

Find out more information on Anubias aquarium plants in PetWave's Anubias care sheet.

3. Cryptocoryne Aquarium Plant

Position in aquascape: Centre / Foreground

Light requirements: Low

pH range: 6 – 8

Temperature range: 18 – 30oC

Required aquarium substrate: Cryptocoryne aquarium plants can grow in a variety of substrate such as, pebbles, rocks, gravel, sand, or aquarium soil.

While some aquarium plants are advised against being planted in aquarium tanks that home fish as the plant may be eaten, Cryptocoryne are suitable for large fish. Their strong roots prevent the aquarium plant from being uprooted from plant eating culprits such as Cichlids.

Find out more information on Crypt aquarium plants in PetWaves Cryptocoryne care sheet.

 

4. Swords Aquarium Plant

Scientific aquarium plant name: Echindorus

Position in aquascape: Centre / Background

Light requirements: Medium

pH range: 6 – 8

Temperature range: 20 – 30oC

Required aquarium substrate: Amazon sword aquarium plants can grow in a variety of substrate such as, pebbles, rocks, gravel, sand, or aquarium soil.

The wide variety of sword aquarium plants make the genus a great addition to any pond, water garden, or aquarium aquascape.

Interesting facts about amazon sword aquarium plants: The deep roots of Amazon swords help aerate and minimise anaerobic pockets in aquarium substrate. The leaves of Amazon Sword varieties are full of nutrients, so make a great natural food source for shrimp.

Find out more information on Amazon sword aquarium plants in PetWaves sword care sheet.

5. Vallisneria Aquarium Plant

Position in aquascape: Background

Light requirements: Medium

pH range: 6.5 – 8.5

Temperature range: 18 – 30oC

Required aquarium substrate: Vallisneria aquarium plants can grow in a variety of substrate such as, pebbles, rocks, gravel, sand, or aquarium soil.

Vallisneria aquatic plants one of the easiest background aquarium plants to grow and forms a long vertical green backdrop to your aquascape. When used in large group plantings, the long Vallisneria leaves provide shade and hiding space for small tropical fish, helping reduce fish stress.

Find out more information on Vallisneria aquarium plants in PetWaves Vallisneria care sheet.

6. Wisteria Aquarium Plants

Scientific aquarium plant name: Hydrophila difformis

Position in aquascape: Background

Light requirements: Medium

pH range: 6.5 – 8

Temperature range: 20 – 30oC

Required aquarium substrate: Wisteria aquarium plants can grow in a variety of substrate such as, pebbles, rocks, gravel, sand, or aquarium soil.

Wisteria aquarium plants are sturdy, hardy, and very easy to grow – the perfect aquarium plant for beginners. When planted in the back of an aquarium tank, Wisteria bunches form a bright green backdrop to your aquascape, as well as, shelter for tropical fish.

7. Pennywort Aquarium Plant

Scientific aquarium plant name: Lysimachia Nummularia

Position in aquascape: Background / Foreground

Light requirements: Medium

pH range: 6.5 – 7.5

Temperature range: 20 – 28oC

Required aquarium substrate: Pennywort aquarium plants can grow in a variety of substrate such as, pebbles, rocks, gravel, sand, or aquarium soil.

Green pennywort and gold pennywort make a great addition to tropical themed aquascapes as a background or centre plant. Pennyworts are suitable to tanks that home tropical fish such as tetras and rainbow fish.

8. Duckweed Aquarium Plant

Scientific aquarium plant name: Duckweed Lenma Minor

Position in aquascape: Floating

Light requirements: Medium / High

pH range: 6 – 8

Temperature range: 15 – 32oC

Duckweed is a great addition to any aquascape as a popular floating aquarium plant. Floating just beneath the surface, Duckweed aquatic plants form a lush green carpet on top of your fish tank, providing shelter and shade for fish and other plants.

Interesting fact about Duckweed: Duckweed is one of the smallest flowering aquatic plants – its flowers can only be clearly seen under a microscope.

Find out more information on Duckweed aquarium plants in PetWaves Duckweed care sheet.

9. Hygrophila Aquarium Plant

Position in aquascape: Background / Foreground

Light requirements: Low

pH range: 6 – 8

Temperature range: 15 – 30oC

Required aquarium substrate: Hygrophila aquarium plants can grow in a variety of substrate such as, pebbles, rocks, gravel, sand, or aquarium soil.

Hygrophila plants are very fast growers. The wavy green leaves of Hygrophila aquarium plants add a thick lush background to your aquascape. Hygrophila tissue culture grows as a vibrant carpeting aquarium plant on the floor of your aquarium tank in the foreground or background.

10. Fontinalis Moss Aquarium Plant 

Scientific aquarium plant name: Fontinalis Antipyretica 

Position in aquascape: Foreground / Background

Light requirements: Low / Medium

pH range: 6 – 8

Temperature range: 10 – 28oC

Fontinalis moss is a popular carpeting aquarium plant. The thin leaves of Fontinalis Moss aquarium plants provide shade and hiding space for small tropical fish, shrimp, and fish eggs. Due to its ability to withstand a wide variety of growing conditions, and cool water temperatures, Fontinalis Moss is popular in aquariums that home cold water aquarium fish, such as goldfish.

Find out more information on Fontinalis moss aquarium plants in PetWaves Fontinalis moss care sheet.

 

The great debate: Aquarium plants CO2 v no CO2

What aquarium plants need CO2?

All aquarium plants – except those listed above – need carbon dioxide to aid their growth. However, the CO2 requirements of these plants depend on the lighting requirements of your planted aquarium. If your chosen aquarium plant demands medium to high light, you should increase the carbon dioxide levels of your aquarium. Aquarium plants with medium and high lighting requirements are often fast growers, as they reach towards the light. This leads to a depletion of CO2 in the tank, stunting growth.

Adding CO2 to a planted aquarium will promote fast growth of aquarium plants, be prepared for increased maintenance and pruning. The addition of CO2 in aquarium tanks also avoids algae growth, prevents aquarium plants dying, and promotes healthy plants.

If you have a low light requirement aquarium plant, adding CO2 is not necessary as the plant has a slow growth rate.

Find out the lighting requirements of aquarium plants using PetWaves aquarium plant care sheets.

How to add carbon dioxide to an aquarium tank

Setting up a CO2 aquascape may seem daunting at first, however you will be rewarded with beautiful fast-growing aquarium plants. 

Important note: Too much carbon dioxide can to be toxic to aquarium fish and plants if overdosed, especially in low light aquariums or at night. PetWave recommends CO2 levels in an aquarium be kept under 30 parts per million (ppm).

Add carbon dioxide naturally to an aquarium tank by including live fish in your aquarium aquascape. Through fish respiration and other natural processes, CO2 is added to your aquarium.

Other processes to add CO2 to an aquarium include:

  • Yeast fermentation

Set up a yeast fermentation bottle next to your aquarium with a tube running from the top of the bottle through a canister filter into the tank. While the CO2 production may be unpredictable, this method is very cost effective.

  • Liquid fertiliser

To boost the benefits of having a live aquarium plant, a liquid aquarium plant fertiliser should be used at least once a week. The carbon dioxide deposited from the fertiliser is absorbed through aquarium substrate and received by the plant. 

  • Gas injection

This method involves an extensive co2 set up, however as you can control the amount of CO2 added, it is the most predictable method. You will need a pressurised CO2 gas bottle and appropriate tubing to connect one to your aquarium.

About PetWave

PetWave is an Australian online pet supply company. We’re experts in successfully shipping fresh, live, frozen and delicate products to you and your pets' door, wherever you are in Australia. Order before 7:30am for next day delivery. 

PetWave are very proud to offer the highest quality and largest selection of live aquarium fish, aquarium plants, live reptile food, live insects, including live Woodies, frozen feeders especially for snakes, lizards, frogs and birds of prey and many other beautiful decorations for your aquarium and terrarium. 

Visit PetWave at www.petwave.com.au, for any inquiries email customercare@petwave.com.au

 


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