Ryan's Favorite Aquarium Plants


When Dustin asked me to choose my favorite plant, I laughed. Being the most indecisive person in the world, I knew I could never just pick one to be my favorite. It depends on a couple factors. One is the parameters of the tank, how tall the tank is, the capacity, etc. Another factor is the aesthetic. We have had some tanks with just African plants, some with just East Asian plants, and some native to the Americas. The last factor in my mind would be the symbiosis of the plants you have in the tank. Tanks will grow to their fullest if you manage to keep tropical temp plants with plants that are better genetically suited to experience the seasonal changes, while imitating their native habitat

More specifically, I’m more of a warm water tank kind of guy. The African plants are the best kind of exotic. The Madagascar lace plant, (aponogeton madagascariensis) hands down, is the prettiest immersed plant we have in my opinion. It’s one of those plants that was almost ‘hunted’ into extinction out of it’s natural habitats because of it’s value. It was collected for its unique aesthetic, rather than for alternative medicine or its biological properties. The flower pokes above the surface and unfurls in a bright white cone that pops out of the water. This has been an eager grower for me, thus far, and I keep the area around it clear. I love it.




My tie for my favorite Aquatic Plant is the red tiger lotus (nymphaea lotus).There is something extremely gratifying about watching the pads reach from the bottom to the top. Native to West Africa and East Asia. It has an ancient history for good reason, from being worshipped, to eaten for survival, to becoming one of the most iconic pond or aquarium plants. I also use this as a full sun protector for my lower light plants, or partial sun plants.





Another close favorite are the Crinums, I think the crinum natans resembles an underwater bonsai palm tree. The Calimistratum It is another African native. It’s thin, extremely curled leaves make it another alien looking plant. It produces new crinums adjacent to the base of the main bulb as long as it is happy.





My favorite stem plant would have to be the Ammania. Because the Ludwigia inclinata looks similar to the untrained eye, it became an inside joke that I would call them each other’s names for months to annoy Josh. Over time though, particularly in the new greenhouse, I have been telling everyone to buy this plant. It grows rapidly, can grow emersed for the pond style look I have in my planted aquarium. It rapidly grows in our greenhouse, but we frequently supplement with CO2, Fe, and some Growth Juice