7 Low Growing Aquarium Plants [Good For Small Fish Tank]

If you’re looking for a low growing aquarium plant that won’t take up too much space, check out these seven amazing options!
Each of these plants will grow slowly but steadily, making them perfect for small tanks or homes with limited resources.

What Are Low-Growing Aquarium Plants?

Low-growing aquarium plants are perfect for those who want to add a bit of greenery to their tank without taking up too much space.

These plants tend to be shorter and slower-growing than their taller counterparts.

Making them ideal for smaller tanks or areas where you don’t want the plants to overtake the rest of the décor.

Plus, they tend to be hardier and easier to care for than taller plants.

So, they’re great for beginners or those who don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to plant maintenance.

Why Are Low-Growing Aquarium Plants Good For Small Fish Tanks?

One of the benefits of having low-growing aquarium plants is that they help to make small fish tanks appear larger.

This is because the plants add depth and dimension to the tank, making it seem like a much bigger space.

Low-growing plants also help to create a more natural environment for your fish, as they would typically live amongst taller plants in the wild.

In addition, these types of plants are generally easier to care for than their taller counterparts, as they require less maintenance and can be less prone to disease.

What Are Some Popular Low-Growing Aquarium Plants?

Some popular low growing aquarium plants include the following:

Java Moss (Vesicularia dubyana)

A very easy-to-care-for plant, which grows slowly over time, making it ideal for beginners.

These plants generally grow around 12 inches per year, but can sometimes grow as tall as 36 inches.

They are very popular amongst beginners, due to their ease of care and quick growth rate.

They thrive best in a bright, indirect light environment, and can be kept indoors year-round.

Java moss will eventually outgrow its container and need to be moved to a new home once it starts growing too large for your tank.

Java moss will generally grow in a wide range of temperatures, but prefer a warmer environment, as they do not tolerate cooler temperatures very well.

Anubias Nana (Anubias barteri var. nana)

A slow-growing plant with tiny leaves that can often grow up to 20 inches long when fully grown.

Like other Anubias, this plant is also very easy to care for and keep alive, but should only be kept in a dark and cool environment.

Anubias Nana is known to be more tolerant of high temperatures, so a good option for beginners who are just getting into the hobby.

They thrive on a lot of nutrients, but can easily be kept hydrated.

Dwarf Hairgrass (Eleocharis parvula)

Dwarf Hairgrass is an annual herbaceous grass native to Europe and Asia, and is one of the most popular aquarium plants in the hobby.

It has a beautiful green color and grows between 2 to 6 inches tall.

This plant is easy to maintain and does not have any particular needs, making it one of the easiest plants to start with.

Dwarf Hairgrass can be kept in either sunlight or a filtered environment and is often used to cover rocky areas and create a natural look in tanks.

Dwarf Hairgrass does best in an average temperature environment, and will not perform well if it is subjected to heat or cold.

Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus)

Java Ferns are one of the most unique plants to grow in aquariums and make a great addition to any tank.

They grow quickly and are easily maintained, making them the perfect plant for beginner aquarists.

Java Ferns are native to Africa and Madagascar and will grow well in most aquarium environments.

Java Ferns are known to be able to withstand high temperatures and should not be exposed to direct sunlight.

This plant can be kept in a variety of lighting conditions but is most happy in a moderately lit environment.

Cryptocoryne Wendtii (Cryptocoryne wendtii)

This plant can grow up to 12 inches long and can be kept in both direct sunlight and filtered lighting.

Cryptocoryne wendtii is one of the easiest plants to maintain, requiring no special care or attention.

This plant does best in an average-temperature environment and is not recommended for fish that require warmer water.

Cryptocoryne Wendtii will grow well in most tank environments and will not grow in tank conditions that are too hot or cold.

Cryptocoryne Wendtii does best when placed in a moderate amount of light, but can also be kept in a filtered environment.

Anubias Barteri (Anubias barteri)

Anubias Barteri is a hardy aquatic plant that will grow in both direct sunlight and filtered lighting.

It has many different types of growth patterns and looks very cool when grown.

Anubias Barteri will adapt to most tank environments, as long as the water temperature stays around 78° F.

This plant will not grow in tank conditions that are too hot or cold.

Anubias Barteri is one of the easiest plants to maintain, requiring only the addition of clean water once a week.

Anubias Barteri has a slow growth rate and will take several weeks to reach full bloom.

The blooms of this plant usually last three weeks, after which it will begin to decline.

Bucephalandra Motleyana (Bucephalandra motleyana)

Bucephalandra Motleyana is an excellent tank plant because it will quickly fill up a 15-gallon tank with its dense and fluffy white flowers.

Because Bucephalandra Motleyana is so dense, it will often cover the bottom of the tank.

Bucephalandra Motleyana is a slow-growing plant and needs to be watched closely.

As it grows, its leaves will turn green and turn yellow, and red before turning brown and falling off the stem.

This plant is best kept in filtered lighting.

If Bucephalandra Motleyana is kept under direct sunlight, it will become quite leggy and floppy.

How Do I Care For Low-Growing Aquarium Plants?

If you’re looking to add some plants to your aquarium but don’t want to deal with high-maintenance specimens, then low-growing aquarium plants are a great option.

These plants tend to be smaller in size and slower growing.

So, they won’t take over your tank like some of the faster-growing varieties.

When it comes to caring for low-growing aquarium plants, the key is to provide them with plenty of light and nutrients.

Most of these plants do best in bright light.

So, if you can provide them with a spot near the top of your tank where they can get plenty of light, they should do well.

You may also need to supplement their diet with liquid fertilizers or plant tabs if you notice that they are starting to look pale or unhealthy.

Overall, low-growing aquarium plants are a great option for those who want to add some green (and possibly even flowers!) to their tank without all the hassle.

With proper care, these plants can thrive and add beauty and interest to your aquascape.

Common Problems With Low-Growing Aquarium Plants?

One common problem with low-growing aquarium plants is that they tend to be less hardy than their taller counterparts.

This means that they are more susceptible to disease and pests, and are also more likely to be uprooted by fish or other animals in the tank.

Another problem is that low-growing plants often have a shallow root system, which can make them more difficult to keep healthy and vigorous.

Finally, because they grow close to the substrate, low-growing aquarium plants can be more prone to algae growth.

How Can I Troubleshoot Low-Growing Aquarium Plants?

There can be a few reasons why your aquarium plants are growing slowly or seem stunted.

Here are some potential causes and solutions:

1. Lack Of Nutrients

Make sure you are fertilizing your aquarium regularly, and that the fertilizer you are using is appropriate for the plants you have.

If you are not sure, ask a professional at your local fish store.

2. Poor Lighting

Aquarium plants need bright light to grow well.

If your aquarium is not near a window or other source of natural light, you may need to invest in an artificial light specifically designed for aquariums.

3. Too Much Water Flow

While most aquarium plants prefer some water movement, too much can actually inhibit growth.

Try reducing the flow from your filter or adding more plants to help slow down the current in your tank.

4. Incorrect Temperature

Some plant species require higher or lower temperatures than others to thrive.

Make sure you research the temperature requirements of the specific plants in your aquarium before setting up your tank.


Aquariums are a beautiful addition to any home, and one of the best ways to spruce up your aquarium is by adding plants.

Not only do plants add visual interest and variety to your aquarium, but they also serve an important role in keeping your water clean and healthy.

However, not all plants are created equal when it comes to aquariums.

Some plants grow very quickly and can quickly overtake your tank, while others are slow-growing plants and stay relatively small.

In this article, we have discussed some of the best low-growing aquarium plants that are perfect for smaller tanks.

Low Growing PlantsMaximum HeightMinimum HeightCare
Anubias Nana5-10 cm5-10 cmEasy
Java Fern20 cm5 cmEasy
Cryptocoryne10-15 cm5-7 cmEasy
Dwarf Hairgrass10 cm1 cmModerate
Marsilea Hirsuta5-10 cm1-3 cmModerate
Hemianthus Callitrichoides (Dwarf Baby Tears)2-3 cm1-2 cmDifficult

Note that the care requirements listed are based on the article’s classification of the plants’ ease of care, and may vary based on individual aquarium conditions and experience levels.

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