When keeping an aquarium, choosing plants that will do well in your lighting conditions is important.
If you have a very bright light over your tank, some plants may not grow as quickly or as healthy as they would under lower light conditions.
In this article, we’ll go over 10 of the best high light aquarium plants for beginners and experts alike so you can get the most out of your tank!
- High Light Aquarium Plants – Overview
- 10 Best High Light Aquarium Plants
- What Is Considered High Light For Aquarium Plants?
- Can Aquarium Plants Get Too Much Light?
- Can Aquarium Light Be Too Bright For Plants?
- Can Low Light Plant Grow In High Light Aquarium?
- What Low Light Plants Can Grow Well In High Light?
- High Light Aquarium Plants That Don’t Need CO2
- Best Lightning Schedule For Planted Tanks
High Light Aquarium Plants – Overview
These plants are considered best among the aquascape, which are experts in keeping planted tanks. They are also high in demand for many aquarists.
Most of these high light aquarium plants are not difficult to maintain.
Because they have high resistance to various water conditions and environmental changes, so they can easily adapt to the requirements of a high light tank.
10 Best High Light Aquarium Plants
In this section, I will be discussing ten high light aquarium plants.
1. Java Moss
Java Moss is a very popular high light aquarium plant.
It grows well in high light and requires only a little attention, with no needed CO2 injection.
These popular aquarium plants for high light do not have high demands regarding nutrients.
In high light, this low-maintenance plant will grow well and become a carpet of green vegetation.
Java moss is a fast-growing aquarium plant that can be divided into smaller pieces that will grow again into a dense carpet in high light conditions.
When Java Moss grows too fast, it can become “unruly.” It will then be necessary to tear the moss into smaller pieces to control its growth.
Java Moss is a great high light aquarium plant because of its low requirements and easy maintenance.
Related article: 9 Best Light For Aquarium Plants [LED, Colorful & Natural]
2. Anubias Barteri
These high light aquarium plants are related to “Anubias barteri var. Angustifolia.”
The high light anubias species is very popular among planted tank enthusiasts because of its large leaves, low growth habit, and wide range of conditions it can tolerate – from low-light up to high light.
In high light aquariums, anubias can grow a wide array of soft and leathery leaves, including strap-like, roundish, oval, and lanceolate ones.
For anubias to thrive, high phosphorus levels should be maintained in the substrate (~1-2ppm) during its growing phase.
The productivity of anubias is high in high-light tanks where its leaves will turn a dark green color.
3. Water Wisteria
This plant has attractive wavy foliage, which is green with red on the underside of each leaf.
This high light aquarium plant is also very undemanding and can be kept in most water conditions.
With high-intensity lighting, Water Wisteria requires high lighting to look its best, at least 2 watts per gallon.
It will melt if the pH is below 6.4. It grows best in high light aquarium plants at a pH of 7.0 – 8.0 and soft to medium water hardness (5 – 15 dGH).
Water Wisteria can be propagated by separating runners or by planting cuttings.
Water Wisteria is best kept in groups to ensure good coverage.
Water Wisteria high light aquarium plants need high light, high CO2 levels, high nutrient levels, and warm water temperatures to do well.
4. Amazon Frogbit
Amazon frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum), like many high light aquarium plants, is a floating plant.
It will grow without substrate but does best with some support to keep it from floating away.
The leaves of this high light aquarium plant are round and green with red veins.
This high light plant will naturally reproduce by runners forming newly rooted plants. When the runners have developed into mature plants, prune them off to control your high light plant spread.
Amazon frogbit is an excellent high light aquarium plant because it can survive and grow in very high light without substrate.
It has high nutrient requirements and will do best when fertilized with high light liquid fertilizer regularly.
Amazon frogbit can be propagated by taking stem cuttings as it reaches the surface.
5. Rotala Indica Variegata
One of the best high light aquarium plants is Rotala indica variegata.
It has red leaves with white tips, making it a great complement to various other high-light low-growing foreground plants.
The centre of this plant is green, and when grown in high lighting conditions, there will be no yellowing in this plant’s leaves.
Rotala indica variegata can grow in high light and CO2, so it is a good choice for the high-tech planted tank.
This plant is propagated with cuttings at most pet stores.
It requires high lighting conditions to prevent yellowing of its leaves, but nutrient deficiencies are rare in proper high-light conditions.
6. Heteranthera Zosterifolia ‘Marliac’
This is a high light aquarium plant that grows about 12 inches high and lives in waters with high nutrient content.
This particular type of high light aquarium plant has white flowers.
The Heteranthera zosterifolia marliac is considered a medium-light plant but will do well in a higher lighting environment. It can even grow in high light without carbon dioxide supplementation.
This high light aquarium plant is known to be relatively easy to care for and can tolerate fluctuating conditions quite well.
It will do best in high pH waters with high nitrates and phosphates, but not too high on the scale.
7. Bacopa Caroliniana
All Bacopa plants are high light aquarium plants, a popular choice for beginners and planted tank enthusiasts.
Here’s a variety to consider if you have high lighting or fish that need increased oxygen levels.
This Bacopa is growing faster than the standard Bacopa monnieri with high leaf production and high nutrient uptake capacity.
This high light aquarium plant is a fast grower with a high nutrient uptake capacity.
8. Ludwigia Inclinata ‘Cuba.’
This high light aquarium plant has a reddish-purple stem with green leaves.
It’s good for mid-ground and high light aquarium plants.
It will be a great tank mate with dwarf sag, dwarf hairgrass, ludwigia peruensis, Echinodorus barthii’ Ozelot’.
This high light aquarium plant is a stem plant found in the Amazon basin.
This aquatic plant has been used for decorative purposes, and it gives out an attractive look to your home garden.
It can quickly spread all through the tank within a short period of two weeks, making it one of the best high light aquarium plants.
This plant is easy to grow, and it does not need high maintenance. The Anacharis can adapt well to a wide range of water conditions and high light.
You can keep pruning the high growth, or this high light aquarium plant will take over the complete tank due to its aggressive nature.
10. Cryptocoryne Beckettii “Wavy Green”
This high light aquarium plant can adapt to a lot of high light and is great for beginners.
It gradually forms carpet using runners and has beautiful wavy leaves colouration ranging from green, pink, and even red depending on the lighting and nutrients provided.
The Cryptocoryne beckettii ‘Wavy Green’ plant does not require high levels of nitrates or phosphates.
With this high light aquarium plant, the growth will be slow, making up for its attractive leaves.
What Is Considered High Light For Aquarium Plants?
For high light aquarium plants, it is generally accepted that they prefer high lighting conditions.
This means high-intensity lighting, high wattage lights, high PAR rating of the bulbs used, high reflectivity of the tank substrate, etc.
The high light for aquarium plants is considered to be around 2 watts per gallon on average.
Generally speaking, aquarium plants’ high light needs are high to very high lighting conditions.
Can Aquarium Plants Get Too Much Light?
A high light aquarium plant, as long as it is receiving high enough lighting or part of a high light planted aquarium, will not be harmed by extra light.
Most high-lighting plants come from growing in the tropics, and they thrive with abundant high-intensity lighting.
However, that does not mean that there is no such thing as too much light for aquarium plants.
If high light aquarium plants are given too much lighting, they will not be harmed; however, they will stop growing.
The high-intensity lighting can cause high light aquarium plants to go into a state of shock and reduce their growth rate (simply because the plant does not need to grow anymore).
If high lighting is reduced or low lighting is increased for high light aquarium plants, their growth will pick back up, and they will start growing faster than before.
A high light aquarium plant in full sun receives more high light than a high light aquarium plant in the shade so that high lighting can be less intense in some parts of the world with abundant high-intensity lighting.
Can Aquarium Light Be Too Bright For Plants?
Well, that depends. There are high light aquarium plants and low light planted tanks.
It is important to know what high-intensity lighting is before you go about planting high light aquarium and trust me, there’s a HUGE difference.
Most high-light aquascaping plans require high-intensity lighting of at least 2 watts per gallon (WPG). For a high-light planted tank, a high output T5 can provide sufficient lighting.
The intensity of high light is so bright, and the human eye isn’t comfortable staring directly at it for more than a minute or two.
If you were to stand immediately under high wattage lights too long, you’d probably get severe headaches and even skin irritations.
This high light intensity often becomes too bright for the inhabitants of tall light aquariums, causing stress and increasing the likelihood of disease outbreaks.
Even though high output T5 bulbs produce high-intensity lighting (which we need to grow tall light plants well), they still cannot compete with direct sunlight, making high light energy far above what aquarium lighting can create.
Can Low Light Plant Grow In High Light Aquarium?
For high light aquarium plants, high light is needed for healthy growth.
The high light requirement comes from the need for high PAR (photosynthetically active radiation).
However, while high light can be beneficial for some low light aquarium plants, too much high-intensity lighting will harm and kill low delicate aquarium plants.
The high-intensity lighting will cause:
(1) High temperature, high light can increase the temperature in the tank, which is harmful to many aquarium plants.
(2) High light intensities will cause high light burn; high light burns damage leaves and reduce growth, so too much high-intensity lighting is not good for low light aquarium plants.
What Low Light Plants Can Grow Well In High Light?
When looking for high-light plants, please think of the high-light plants that we’ve listed here.
There’s a high chance that if it can grow in high light and is on this list, it can grow well.
Also known as Anubias nana, it is one of the easiest to grow anubias varieties.
This plant can adapt to high light but doesn’t do well in high lighting conditions.
Low light aquarium plants are best for this type of plant, especially under high-lighting conditions.
Java ferns are good low-light plants for high lighting aquarium conditions.
However, high-lighting tank conditions can cause these plants to grow algae and brown patches on the leaves.
If you want to keep high lighting conditions for java ferns, we suggest two high light aquarium plants: amazon sword and guppy grass (Limnophila sessiliflora).
Anubias Nana Varieties
These varieties of anubias are very easy to grow in most aquarium lighting conditions.
However, high-lighting tank conditions can cause these low-light aquarium plants to lose their leaves easily.
We suggest tall light aquarium plants: amazon sword and guppy grass (Limnophila sessiliflora) if you want high lighting conditions.
Anubias Barteri Varieties
Also known as Anubias barteri var. “Angustifolia,” or Anubias barteri “narrow leaf,” this type of high-light condition plant is best used as an accent high-light aquarium plant.
Don’t expect it to act like other high light aquarium plants because they will lose their leaves if you try high lighting conditions for these anubias varieties.
These high light plants can’t take high lighting conditions for too long.
If you want high lighting tank conditions, we suggest tall light aquarium plants: amazon sword and guppy grass (Limnophila sessiliflora).
The high light aquarium plants are not high light tolerant.
If high lighting conditions persist for too long, high-light tank conditions will cause the high light aquarium plants to grow brown leaves.
It’s best to keep high-lighting essentials at bay by planting high light aquarium plants: amazon sword and guppy grass (Limnophila sessiliflora).
One of high light aquarium plants varieties high-light conditions.
It’s the best high light aquarium plants: amazon sword and guppy grass (Limnophila sessiliflora).
However, high lighting tank conditions can cause the high light aquarium plants to lose leaves easily.
High lighting conditions persist for too long; high-lighting tank conditions will cause the high light aquarium plants to grow brown leaves.
These were some low-light aquarium plants that we think will grow well in high-lighting tank conditions.
High Light Aquarium Plants That Don’t Need CO2
This will be a short section because high light aquarium plants that don’t need CO2 are not high maintenance.
These tall light plants can handle high lighting but do not require high lighting.
Eleocharis sp. “Vietnamese” (Hornwort): One of the hardiest stem plants available, even able to handle high lighting.
Limnophila Aromatica (Sweet flag): A high light, carpeting plant that will grow like wildfire even without carbon dioxide fertilization. Like HC, this plant has a high bioload and should be pruned regularly to prevent mowing down of tank inhabitants by the leaves.
Ludwigia Repens (Duckweed): Will grow in high lighting areas of an aquarium but does not need high lighting. Duckweed will grow in high light without CO2 and still give a high bioload to your tank.
Vallisneria: Most species of the genus Vallisneria are high light plants that don’t require high lighting to grow.
Hygrophila difformis (Hygrophila corymbosa “siamensis” ): A high light, high bioload plant that will do well in high lighting without CO2 fertilization.
Best Lightning Schedule For Planted Tanks
Lighting is an important factor when it comes to the health and growth of high light plants.
Below you can find a high light lights schedule for planted tanks:
Light: 8 hours on high and 8 hours off high (if high light plants are not mentioned, they do best with high lighting conditions).
Water Flow: high to very high
CO2: not necessary, but high light plants grow stronger and faster with CO2 injection.
PH Level: 6.6 – 7.5
Temperature: 21 C TO 25 C [68 FA TO 77 FA]
Diet: High in Iron, high in Nitrogen, low in phosphorus.
Substrate: fine gravel or sand, high in Iron content (recommended)
All these factors play a role in high light plant care.
In high-tech planted tanks, the high lighting schedule should be 8 hours on high and 16 hours off high.
It is important to provide your plants with a co2 injection with high light plants because they require a lot of energy to photosynthesize.
The best thing about high light plants is that they can grow in high light conditions, but it is recommended to use high lighting (and co2) for best results with tall light plants.
In high-tech planted tanks, high lighting is recommended for tall light plants.
This will result in high growth and better coloration in your high light aquarium plants.
All the plant types mentioned in this article thrive well with high lighting (and co2).
It is important to note that high light plants need a lot of energy to photosynthesize, and tall light plants will not grow as fast in low lighting conditions.
Let us know what kind of plants you have in your aquarium. Comment your answer below!