Whether you’re designing your aquarium aquascape from the bare-bones or you want to spruce up your existing aquarium decor, Modern Aquarium has the best background aquarium plants for you. Most of these are versatile, low maintenance and hardy specimens that can be easily grown in your aquarium and create beautiful aquascapes. Explore all our colorful and vibrant tall background aquarium plants in our top six round-up.
Best Thin Background Aquarium Plants - Thin
Vallisneria is our favorite choice of background plant. It’s a long, thin plant with bright green leaves that taper into a point. While there is some variation among the different species — like the wider, corkscrew leaves of Vallisneria Asiatica — their leaves typically remain slim. Many aquarium hobbyists find that Vallisneria can grow all the way to the top of their tank, plus it has a little extra that floats along the top of the water. These beautiful floating leaves provide unique cover for the fish below and make particularly shy fish feel more secure.
Since this plant is easy to care for and has a medium growth rate, it’s a great plant for beginners to integrate into their tank. Vallisneria is not a fussy plant: it requires water temperature between 70 - 85 °F and a moderate amount of lighting.
Best Background Aquarium Plants - Leafy
A plant that offers a little more visual variety is the Anubias species. Some of the Anubias plants grow both broad and tall leaves and, depending on the availability of nutrients and lighting, can grow quite large. They are incredibly hardy plants and can grow in varied conditions. Whether partially or fully submerged, Anubias plants produce thick, broad and deep green leaves that can withstand the most boisterous fish. Anubias will thrive in water temperatures between 60 - 80 °F.
Best Background Aquarium Plants - Bushy
An option that’s a little more unique, the Rotala Indica has a distinct shape and a special decorative aspect. The stems and leaves of this plant typically grow upwards, but that’s not the only cool thing about it. Rotala plants are also known for creating tiny oxygen pearls that look beautiful and help to oxygenate your tank.
Rotala is a tall background aquarium plant that will appreciate a nutrient-rich substrate with some CO2 supplementation. Adding API CO2 Booster Plant Supplement and Seachem Flourish Plant Fertilizer will help keep the plant in great shape. Rotala will grow well under varying environment temperatures, lighting conditions, and water temperatures.
Best Background Aquarium Plants - Show/Focal Point
Also known as Echinodorus, Sword plants are another good choice for beginners. Nearly negligible maintenance requirements allow you to leave them almost completely alone. They do their best under good light and a nutrient-rich substrate, but even those are not a crucial necessity. In fact, in lieu of a rich substrate, you can simply insert either Seachem Flourish Root Tabs or API Root Tabs into the substrate under their roots.
With their rosette-shaped leaves on the ends of long stalks, Sword plants have been known to reach over 20 inches tall — perfect for large tanks or as a focal point in smaller aquariums! You can customize the look of your tank with a number of different specimens that range from light viridescence to a deep forest green hue.
Most Colorful Background Plants
The Ludwigia plant is the best background aquarium plant for tanks of all sizes. It grows fast and has a tendency to grow both tall and wide if left unchecked. The plant will require a little bit more maintenance in terms of pruning and trimming in order to keep it in a more compact shape. This plant will consume nutrients either from the water column or soil and will appreciate nutrient-rich substrate, regular dosing of aquarium plant supplements and good light.
Many of these tall aquarium plants will produce pinkish-purple hue colored stems or bottoms of their leaves. These pinkish colors and hues are strikingly beautiful against the green background of the leaves.
Best Undulating Background Plant
Available in many different shapes and hues, our Cryptocoryne plants offer you the chance to add a unique look to your tank. Cryptocoryne will produce leaves from bright green to reddish-brown. They’re guaranteed to really stand out in your aquarium.
Some specimens, like our favorite Cryptocorynes Retrospiralis, will produce long undulating leaves that taper like a spear. Some can grow up to 18 inches tall to fill medium and large tanks.
Shop the Best Background Aquarium Plants
With our recommendations for the best background aquarium plants, you have plenty of choices ahead of you! Opt for the color and shape that works best with the other plants in your tank while keeping their maintenance needs in mind!