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 a variety of shapes and sizes to fit any tank size. Planting these beauties doesn’t have to be 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 of these plants can create a dramatic effect that will impress even the most seasoned aquarium enthusiasts and benefit your fish in the aquarium.
Without further ado, let’s jump straight to ten different types of red freshwater aquarium plants for your tank!
1. Ludwigia Repens
- Source| Wikimedia
Ludwigia Repens or Ludwigia Red is a beautiful red 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.
The creeping water primrose requires hardy conditions to thrive – they need at least six hours per day of light. Make sure to place your aquarium in a spot that is relatively close to the window but still receives some direct sunlight. These plants grow at an approximate rate of one inch per week and have been known for their low 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
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This red aquarium plant is low on maintenance. However, this 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 appear to 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 one of the best low maintenance choices for your aquarium. It is known to be an excellent plant for beginners due to its robustness. When planted in the substrate, it also does well as an immersed plant where its roots are submerged underwater.
The name means “The plant with the round leaves.” Rotala Rotundifolia 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 red leaves.
Rotala Rotundifolia can be grown without CO2 injection. It is a stem plant and has the ability to grow tall. 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. It proliferates, so it is significant in size. If you give it enough water and a deep substrate, the leaves will be big too. The 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 too. It can grow to be taller or smaller depending on how much 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.
You should ideally grow it in the center of the tank, as it looks pretty good there.
5. Red Root Floater
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Red Root Floaters are relatively easy to grow in an aquarium. They are not as fast-growing as other red aquarium plants. However, they like being close to the light. Ordinary lights will work, but they can also grow under full-spectrum plant lighting. Bearing the scientific name “Phyllanthus Fluitans,” this plant floats on the surface of the tank.
Floating plants like this one provide shade, and they act as a sponge for nutrients. This stops algae from growing in the lower regions of the tank, making your fish ecstatic!
6. Red Watermilfoil
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Red Watermilfoil is quite tricky to take care of. Feathery-leaved plants need a lot of tender loving care to thrive. Unlike the Rotala, Red Watermilfoil needs nitrates (5-15ppm), or its growth will be stunted. It also needs iron supplements and a rich substrate to grow correctly. However, it can thrive in a broader range of water parameters and tends to grow in a thick and bushy manner once established!
The scientific name of the Red Watermilfoil plant is Myriophyllum Tuberculatum, and it grows to around 2 feet in height.
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, but it will slow down if it is not fed. This plant has more of a bronze color, but the color turns increasingly red with moderate full-spectrum lighting.
It may grow up to 16 inches high and gets wider as it grows taller. The roots have to be able to spread out much more than other types of 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
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Red Cabomba is a common aquarium plant. It is also known as Cabomba furcata. The appearance of this plant looks very pretty when it is planted in groups. It reaches a height of 30 cm to 80 cm, and each stem can become about 5 cm wide, giving it a solid foundation.
Red Cabomba requires carbon dioxide, a lot of light, and regular fertilization for optimal growth.
9. Copper Leaf Ammania
- Source| aquaticarts.com
The Copper Leaf Ammania is a freshwater plant that has very bright colors. It can be bright red or dark red-orange with green and yellow patches on its leaves. It needs proper nutrients and conditions to grow, but once established can be very bright and stand out from other plants in the tank. Commonly known as Ammania Senegalensis, this plant also needs high 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 inches to 12 inches tall and produce red flowers. However, they need ample light and Iron nutrients for developing deeper colors.
The Cardinal Plant requires greater care and patience. You need to provide moderate C02, nutrients in the form of fertilizer, and medium lighting to ensure healthy and sustained growth.
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.
- Another essential thing to consider is that they enjoy warmer water than green plants.
FAQs on Red Freshwater Aquarium Plants
The majority of red aquarium plants need CO2 to develop the red color on them. Some plants can grow without CO2, but they will look faded red.
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 for plants to 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.
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 the option of CO2 injectors for your plants to provide them enough Carbon Dioxide so that they remain red.
There are plenty of options for you to choose from when it comes to the best red plants for aquariums. As a beginner, it would be wise to go with plants requiring less maintenance. Once you have gained experience, you can then add more demanding plants to your aquatic collection.