Do you have an aquarium at your place? While you may have sorted what fish species to go for, the confusion stems from selecting the right aquarium plants. Today we will learn how to add dashes of brilliant red to your aquarium.

Red freshwater plants come in various shapes and sizes to fit any tank size. Planting these beauties isn’t complicated – all it takes is a little bit of patience and some research to find out which plants can thrive in different conditions.

The right combinations can benefit your fish and make your aquarium look awesome.

Let’s jump straight to ten different types of red freshwater aquarium plants for your tank without further ado!

1. Ludwigia Repens

Ludwigia Repens
Source | Wikimedia

Ludwigia Repens or Ludwigia Red is a beautiful plant that can reach lengths of up to 18 inches. These red plants have an attractive, thin texture and are known for their ample leaves with tiny hairs on the edges.

They require hardy conditions to thrive – needing at least six hours per day of light. Make sure to place your aquarium in a relatively close spot to the window to receive some direct sunlight.

These plants grow at an approximate rate of one inch per week and are low in maintenance.

Red Ludwigia is very suited for different aquarium conditions. It can live in water with a pH of 6-7.5 and temperatures from 68-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Alternanthera Reineckii

Alternanthera Reineckii
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This red aquarium plant is low on maintenance. However, it can only be grown in a CO2-injected tank.

The leaves of Alternanthera Reineckii are dual-toned – green on top and red at the bottom. This color combination makes them look great in an aquarium.

However, if you want to grow AR in a non-injected Co2 tank, the red color will be subdued.

This plant also needs light for about 6 hours a day. Unlike Red Ludwigia, the growth rate of this aquarium plant is relatively slow.

Another version of Alternanthera Reineckii called AR mini stays below 3 inches of height, making it best suited for smaller tanks.

3. Rotala Rotundifolia

Source | Wikimedia

Rotala Rotundifolia is again pretty low on maintenance and an excellent choice for your aquarium. The name translates to “The plant with the round leaves.”

The plant has 15 cm to 30 cm long stems and long, narrow leaves. It is not as demanding but needs a lot of light to produce colors of red.

Rotala Rotundifolia can be grown without CO2 injection. You may prune it from time to time to form lovely dense bushes.

4. Nymphaea Lotus (Zenkeri Red / Red Tiger Lotus)

Source | Wikimedia

The red tiger lotus has been around for a long time. Its leaves are orange-red with dark spots.

Also known as Nymphaea lotus ‘Zenkeri Red,’ it is very hardy and does well in non-CO2 tanks.

It can grow taller or smaller depending on how many nutrients you give it and how tall you want your plant to be (by pruning).

It’s easy to take care of this plant, and it doesn’t need much water.

Ideally, you should grow it in the center of the tank, as it looks pretty good there.

5. Red Root Floater

Red Root Floater
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Red Root Floaters are relatively easy to grow in an aquarium. Bearing the scientific name “Phyllanthus Fluitans,” this plant floats on the tank’s surface.

They are not as fast-growing as other aquarium plants. However, they like being close to the light.

Ordinary lights will work, but they do exceptionally well under full-spectrum plant lighting.

Because of their floating nature, they provide shade and act as a sponge for nutrients. They also stop algae from growing in the lower regions of the tank, keeping your fish happy.

6. Red Watermilfoil

red aquarium plants
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Red Watermilfoil (Myriophyllum Tuberculatum) is a feathery-leaved plant that is tricky to take care of. 

It grows to around 2 feet in height and needs nitrates in the tank (5-15ppm). It also needs substantial iron and a rich substrate to grow well.

However, the plant thrives in a broader range of water parameters and tends to grow in a thick and bushy manner once established.

7. Cryptocoryne Wendtii Red

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Cryptocoryne wendtii is again a beginner-friendly plant species. It does not need carbon dioxide or enriched substrates. However, it will slow down if not fed well.

This plant has more of a bronze color but turns increasingly red with moderate full-spectrum lighting.

It may grow up to 16 inches high and twice as wide. The roots require spreading out much more than other aquarium plants.

The plant is super sensitive and must not be disturbed. Also, avoid sudden changes in water parameters such as light, pressure, and temperature to prevent stressing the plant.

If you are looking forward to one of the easiest red freshwater aquarium plants to grow, Cryptocoryne Wendtii Red is a no-brainer.

8. Red Cabomba

Red Cabomba
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Red Cabomba is also known by the name Cabomba fur ata. The plant looks beautiful when planted in groups.

It reaches a height of 30 cm to 80 cm, with each stem growing about 5 cm wide, giving it a solid foundation.

Red Cabomba requires carbon dioxide, full-spectrum lighting, and regular fertilization for optimal growth.

9. Copper Leaf Ammania

Copper Leaf Ammania
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The Copper Leaf Ammania is a freshwater plant with bright colors. It can grow to be bright red or dark red-orange with green and yellow patches on its leaves.

It needs optimum nutrition and specific tank conditions to grow and stand out from other plants.

Also known as Ammania Senegalensis, the plant needs significant iron for good health and coloration.

10. Lobelia Cardinalis

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The Cardinal plant leaves are bright green on the top and red underneath. They grow from 4-12 inches tall and produce red flowers.

However, they need ample light and iron for developing deeper colors.

The plant also calls for greater care and patience. To ensure healthy and sustained growth, provide moderate C02, nutrient-rich fertilizer, and medium lighting.

Caring for Red Freshwater Aquarium Plants

Red Aquarium Plants are different from their green counterparts and usually need more care. Some noteworthy points are:

  • They need extra carbon dioxide and enriched soil like ADA Aquasoil.
  • Red plants need to have more light than other plants. They can’t grow without it.
  • They prefer warmer water as compared to green plants.

FAQs on Red Freshwater Aquarium Plants

Do red aquarium plants need CO2?

The majority of red aquarium plants need CO2 to develop the red color. Some plants can grow without CO2 but will look faded red.

Do red aquarium plants lose their color?

Although the red color in freshwater aquarium plants depicts how happy the plants are, there may be times when your red plants fade away or turn green. One primary reason plants lose their red color is the lack of nutrients and light. Another reason might be the lack of CO2 in your tank. If you fulfill the conditions, these plants will again turn bright red.

Do fish give CO2 in the tank when they breathe?

Fish give off a small amount of CO2 when they breathe. But this is not enough for your red freshwater aquarium plants. You might have to look at CO2 injectors to provide them with enough carbon dioxide to remain red.

Wrapping Up!

There are plenty of options for you to choose from when it comes to red plants for aquariums.

It would be wise to go with plants requiring less maintenance as a beginner. Once you have gained experience, you can add more demanding plants to your aquatic collection.

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