Our favorite Easy and Low-Light Plants: Cryptocoryne Lutea & Vallisneria
Lots of aquarists are drawn to planted aquariums. Planted aquariums are beautiful and natural. They also provide a healthy and rich environment for fish and other aquatic animals. A lot of times, however, newer aquarists especially, struggle with choosing the right plants for their planted aquarium. There are many things to consider when choosing plants that will yield the most successful results.
What should you consider when selecting plants? Well, light requirements are always something to think about, whether the standard tank kit lights will do the trick or if more advanced lights will be necessary. Maintaining and trimming lights is an important consideration, along with costs, appearance, and substrate requirements.
Most new aquarium keepers will want to find plants that are affordable and easy to maintain. There are many good options out there for plants to start out with, and at Aquarium Co-op there are two that come to mind immediately as easy with low requirements.
Cryptocoryne lutea and vallisneria are two staples of the freshwater aquarium plant hobby. These plants are low light and can be grown under any light. They also make great pets and are very easy to maintain. Let’s look at some similarities and differences.
Cryptocoryne-lutea is used as a background or middleground plant in nano aquariums. It’s slow-growing and requires very little care. This one is relatively inexpensive compared to other plants. It comes in one or two plants per bundle. You can start growing this crypt by simply taking the plants out of their pots and placing them in a position where the crown is higher than the substrate. You will always want to wash off the plants before adding it to the tank to avoid introducing diseases to the tank.
Common problems with incorporating crypts into a new tank include the “crypt melt,” which can be caused by crypt plants being grown out of water, and then melting when placed underwater. Because they are faster growing and easier to raise, plants purchased from wholesalers tend to be grown up from water. If a plant melts the best thing to do is just wait. While the leaves may melt, the roots will remain intact and new shoots will usually emerge.
Vallisneria, or “Val,” is much like Cryptocoryne lutea, in that it is also simple to plant and cultivate. It can reproduce every five to six days, sending runners out that turn into new plants. Its appearance is great as it can grow up to the top of your aquarium. It works particularly well for schools of fish and for breeding fish. The dense carpet of plants allows baby fish to survive. Fish like an Angelfish might use the leaves to stick their eggs onto.
The maintenance is very low, one can simply go in and trim it when the older Val grows to the point that it shades out newer plants. You can usually find it for less than five dollars. There are many types of Val. But it is recommended that you start with the regular Val. This is because it is so simple to grow. Then, branch out.
Give them a try
Val is a plant freshwater plant lovers will want to have in their collection. It’s best to keep your Val in one aquarium at all times. This will allow you to easily switch between aquariums. New, or established, aquarists can’t go wrong with either Cryptocoryne or vallisneria. These plants are easy to grow, and they can be used in many different ways. For anyone wanting to have a planted tank without spending a lot, they are what we recommend.