Nano aquarium plants are an essential part of enjoying a small underwater ecosystem. When placing an aquarium plant in a small tank, there are many things to consider.
First, not all aquatic plants are suitable for nano aquariums because of their size and other requirements. In addition, because nano tanks are limited in size, you may be unable to place many different types of plants in the aquarium. You may be required to choose one or two of your favorite plants.
These unique requirements make choosing a nano aquarium plant an interesting challenge.
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Best Plants for Nano Aquariums
Finding the best plants for nano aquariums can be a challenge. Even if the plant physically fits in the tank, you wouldn’t want a plant that overtakes the entire tank. In a nano aquarium aquascape, plants with smaller leaves are generally preferred. It helps create an illusion of a larger space. A natural aquascape can be achieved right even in a nano tank. Even if it is small in size, these nano aquariums can be a source of relaxation.
Best Low Light Plants for Nano Aquariums
Many aquarium lights for nano tanks are not the strongest. This is especially true for many betta fish tanks because they do not like exposure to bright light all day. If your aquarium is not brightly lit, consider these low-light plants.
Java moss are one of the easiest aquarium plants to grow. They grow in moist tropical climates and are known to attach themselves to rocks and driftwood. If they are not attached, they will float around in the water until they find a rough surface to attach themselves to. They do not have roots, so they absorb nutrients through their stems and leaves.
They have very few requirements, including lighting requirements. Even in low-light environments where other plants wouldn’t survive, Java moss will thrive. In fact, if they are exposed to too much light, algae can outgrow them and cover the entire moss.
While Java moss does not grow very fast, it can start to grow slightly faster once established. As with most other plants, different nutrient levels in the water can significantly affect the growth rate of java moss.
In regards to maintenance, some trimming may be necessary occasionally.
Cryptocoryne wendtii, or crypts, are one of the most common aquarium plants in the hobby. Their popularity is likely due to their hardiness and ease of care, even in low-light environments.
Crypts grow leaves ranging from 5 to 18 inches in size. They do not grow fast and will take several months to develop into a full-sized plants.
While these plants are very hardy, they are actually sensitive to changes in water conditions. Sudden changes in the water condition may cause the plant to ‘melt.’ While it may look like the plant has suddenly died, they develop new leaves in most cases as long as the root system is healthy.
Best Background Plants for Nano Aquariums
Even in nano aquariums, adding taller plants in the background is important. It helps create a sense of depth and space. It can make the small space feel light, a larger natural environment if done right.
Java fern is a classic to the aquarium hobby. They are slow-growing plants but very hardy and easy to care for. They have a tolerance for a wide range of water parameters, making them great for many beginners.
These plants grow in the jungle of South East Asia and are typically found attached to rocks and driftwood. The rhizome of the plant acts as the anchor. They can grow fully submerged in the water or partially submerged. The long leaves can reach heights of 13 inches in length.
The long dark leaves make the foreground plants, and the fish swimming in the front stand out.
Rotala Rotundifolia is another plant that will grow in low light. They are undemanding stem plants that will continuously grow toward the light. They would need to be trimmed frequently in a small tank because they grow fast. If left untrimmed, they may reach the water surface and flower.
While they do not require a lot of light to survive, the green plant will show a red coloration when exposed to more light. The red coloration will deepen if there are low nitrate levels (5 ppm and below).
Best Carpet Plants for Nano Aquariums
Carpet plants are the equivalent of the grass in your front yard. A healthy carpet plant can make the entire aquarium look lush and vibrant. It can potentially cover a lot of floor space, so it is no surprise that it can significantly impact the look of your aquarium. For nano aquariums, carpet plants with small fine leaves are most desirable.
Monte Carlo, scientific name Micranthemum tweediei, is a carpeting plant that is great for nano tanks. They grow rather quickly, creating a beautiful lush ambiance to your aquarium. It grows along the bottom substrate and only reaches 1-2 inches in length. It does prefer moderate to high light. If planted in a low-light environment, it will increase its vertical growth in an effort to capture more light. CO2 injection will help encourage growth, but it is not required.
Since the plants have small roots, choose a fine-grain substrate for the best results. If the plant cannot properly attach itself to the substrate, it may become detached. If the plant does come out of the substrate, simply push the plant back into the substrate a little deeper. With proper care and time, the plant can securely root themselves.
Another known issue for this plant is browning. After a period of growth, the plant may form a thick mat. Such growth will inhibit the light from reaching the bottom layers of the plant, causing the plant to turn brown. If this happens, it is time to trim the plant.
Monte Carlo looks great in a nano tank, but many common inhabitants of nano tanks, such as cherry shrimps, neon tetras, and cardinal tetras also love them.