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. You need to take into account many factors when selecting plants that will produce the best results.
What should you consider when selecting plants? It is important to consider light requirements when choosing plants. You need to know if standard tank lights are sufficient or if you will require more advanced lighting. The need for maintenance and trimming is also a factor, as well as cost, appearance, health, and substrate requirements, among other things.
In general, most newer aquarium keepers will simply want to look for plants that don’t cost a fortune and are relatively low maintenance all around. There are many great options for plants, but Aquarium Co-op has two that are easy and require minimal maintenance.
Two staples in the freshwater aquarium hobby are cryptocoryne-lutea and vallisneria. 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 break down some of their similarities and differences.
Cryptocoryne lutea is usually used as a midground or background plant in nano aquariums. It is slow growing and provides texture without requiring a lot of care. This plant is quite affordable compared to other varieties. You will get one or two plants per bunch. To begin growing this crypt, one can simply take the plants out of the pots they are sold in and plant them so that the crown is above the substrate. To avoid spreading diseases to the tank, you will need to wash the plants.
One common problem with adding crypts to a tank is the “cryptmelt,” where a crypt plant is grown from the water and then melts underwater. Typically, plants from wholesalers have been grown up out of water since they grow faster and are easier to raise. If a plant melts the best thing to do is just wait. Although the leaves might be melted, the roots are still intact and will often produce new shoots.
Vallisneria or “Val” is a form of Cryptocoryne, which is similar in that it’s easy to grow and plant. It can propagate every five or six days, sending out runners that grow into new plants. Its appearance can be a plus as it will grow to the top 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. It can be purchased for as low as 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 definitely one of the plants freshwater plant enthusiasts will want to keep in their arsenal. When keeping multiple aquariums, it’s a good idea to keep it in one tank at all times, so that it can always be on hand when switching up an aquarium scape. Aquarists, whether new or experienced, can’t go wrong either with 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.