8 Wonderful &; Tall Low-light Aquarium Plants

Last Updated on January 24, 2022 by Marco C.

Aquatic plants have the ability to make each aquarium tank unique. Click and find out all about the most beautiful and unique tall low-light aquarium plants

Starting a planted aquarium is quite a challenging but rewarding hobby. Since not everyone is in the mood to invest in the complete setup that high-intensity plants need, there are actually some types of aquarium plants that don’t need light.

However, with so many choices of aquatic flora and fauna, how to choose the ones that are best for you? Keep reading to find out more about the most wonderful tall low-light aquarium plants.

How Much Light Do Low Light Aquatic Plants Require?

Many aquarium hobbyists believe that bright light is necessary to make aquarium plants thrive. Although quality and brightness of the light are important, the balance between CO2 levels, nutrients, water quality, compatibility, and smart planting play a much more important role. These are the factors that make the difference between a healthy and a dying plant (in just a few days).

Keep in mind that plants need light to perform photosynthesis, without it the plant unfortunately dies. Compared to others, tall low-light aquarium plants are much more durable and have the ability to keep algae growth to a minimum. That is why they are ideal for beginners.

What does low light mean? It refers to a light source that gives less than 1.5 watts per gallon. How much light do low-light aquatic plants need depends on the species of plant you are growing. However, it is usually 10-12 hours of light a day.

The Best Low Light Aquarium Plants

These are our tall favorites that can adorn your aquarium as well.


If your fish tank is low-light, then Sagittaria is the best choice for you. This aquarium plant is quite undemanding and is easily recognizable by its vivid green tones. Sagittaria develops into rosettes and can be found in aquariums around the world. It can grow up to 18 inches.


Hornwort is a unique and beautiful aquarium plant that can be found in most parts of the world. It is a light green shrub-looking plant that has no real roots which means it doesn’t require a solid substrate.

Hornwort is an excellent oxygenation plant that has the power to filter excess nutrients from the water as it grows. In addition, it provides a good habitat for newborn fishes.

Cryptocoryne Wendtii

Cryptocoryne Wendtii with its height up to 18 inches is one of the best-selling tall low-light aquarium plants. It quickly became quite popular due to its hardiness and easy maintenance and is therefore suitable even for beginners.

Crypt wendtii is recognizable by its brown, red, or green leaves that can appear in a variety of textures and sizes. Note that this aquarium plant is not compatible with cichlids as they tend to tear its leaves.

Corkscrew Vallisneria

As its name suggests, Corkscrew Vallisneria has wavy leaves that twist around each other in the shape of a corkscrew. It is an excellent choice for any planted aquarium and can grow up to 20 inches.

In addition, it is important to emphasize that they need a substrate rich in nutrients for development, so regular fertilization is not out of the question. Its cousin Jungle Vallisneria requires moderate to high light needs, but can therefore grow to as much as 72 inches.

Corkscrew Vallisneria

Java Fern

Since it usually grows up to 14 inches and more, Java Fern is an excellent mid-level or tall-level plant for low-light tanks. Java Ferns are easily recognizable by their specific leaf structure. In addition, it is also known as one of the hardest low-light aquatic plants.

The only rule you need to follow if you want your plant to thrive is to regularly cut the leaves as they age. This will encourage new growth that will keep your aquatic plant healthy and full.

Temple Plant

Temple Plant is a tall, brightly colored, and fast-growing plant that usually fits well in the background.

Read more about Do It Yourself Aquarium Backgrounds!

This plant is quite traditional-looking as it doesn’t show off with a lot of colors or designs; on the contrary, the Temple Plant simply grows to show its strength and form. It is a broad-leaved plant that is relatively easy to care for. Best of all it will grow in most light conditions.

If you provide it with basic conditions and allow it to grow, the Temple plant can reach a height of 15 inches, although some specimens can reach a maximum height of 24 inches.

Brazilian Pennywort

If you are a newbie in the fishkeeping hobby, the Brazilian Pennywort is one of those freshwater low-light aquatic plants that you might like.

This plant is quite unique because it can be kept as a floating plant or can be rooted in the substrate. The Brazilian Pennywort has light green and bean-shaped leaves, and its stems resemble vines. As for pruning, this plant is quite fast-growing and therefore must be pruned frequently. Although it sounds like a lot of work, it really isn’t, plus, this attractive plant can be used anywhere in the aquarium.

*Also, it is very important to note that it is not suitable for an aquarium containing goldfish or cichlids, as it is a relatively delicate plant.

African Water Fern

The African Water Fern is a hardy, robust as well as tall low-light aquarium plant. This plant grows very slowly but can reach a height of an incredible 22 inches (depending on the living conditions).

In addition, it is important to keep in mind that fern thrives best when attached to lava rocks bark, or substrate, and will naturally tether themselves. After all, African Water Fern is great when paired with algae-eating fish or shrimp.

In Conclusion

Whether you are an experienced aquarium hobbyist or you are just a beginner, these low-light aquatic plants can give your aquarium tank new colors and a unique appearance. From tall and leafy to attractive floral ones, there is something for everyone.

These were our favorites of tall low-light aquarium plants. If you have first-hand experience with any of our favorites, let us know in the section below.

Learn more about: Planted Aquarium Lighting Calculator