10 Best Background Plants For Aquariums | Aquascape Addiction

10 Best Background Plants For Aquariums

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Our top 10 list of what we feel are some of the best background plants for aquariums, we cover each in detail covering lighting info, growth rate, size and much more to give you some ideas for your tank.

10 Best Background Plants For Aquariums

When it comes to aquariums, different locations need different plants. Generally we say that any aquarium has a foreground, mid-ground, and background. Finding plants for your aquarium is already hard enough, but now you need ones for the background specifically. This is what we are here to help you with today, to help you find out what the best background plants for aquariums are.

We have put together a list of our top 10 favourite background plants with an overview of each (this one is our top pick), they are all decent options in our opinion but it all comes down to personal preference but hopefully this gives you some ideas;

Jungle Vallisneria Our Top Pick 9.6/10
Ludwigia Repens For Larger Aquariums 9.3/10
Giant Hairgrass Easy To Control 9.3/10

Best Background Plants For Aquariums: Top 10

Here are our top 10 with a quick overview of each one;

1. Vallisneria

Vallisneria, often known as Jungle Vallisneria is in our opinion one of the best background aquarium plants out there (you can buy it here). It features really long and thin leaves which are green in color and come to a point at the end. The reason why they make for a good background plant is because they do not grow very wide, but they do grow nice and tall.

The leaves can end up growing from the bottom of the tank all the way to the top and they float around beautifully in the water. Vallisneria can be easily rooted down in a soil like substrate, but can also be anchored down to some rocks or driftwood as well.

People like this plant to be in rear corners for the most part. It’s an easy to take care of plant with a medium growth rate. It requires a medium amount of light, fairly warm water, and doesn’t need any other special treatment.

You can buy Vallisneria at Amazon here

2. Rotala Indica

Due to its tall stature, Rotala Indica is a fantastic choice for background placement in any aquarium. This plant looks a lot like green stems or green vines which grow upwards (you can buy Rotala Indica here). The stems feature short, green, and rounded leaves.

What is really cool about this plant is that it is known to create little oxygen pearls, which not only looks cool but also helps to oxygenate the tank. Each cluster has a dozen or more stems. You can tie them together if you wish, but they are best left to grow by themselves.

They will grow upwards more than outwards, thus making them a good background plant. Rotala Indica is fairly easy to care for, but they do like a nutrient rich substrate with lots of CO2. That being said, they do fine in varying water conditions, temperatures, and lighting.

You can buy Rotala Indica at Amazon here

3. Echinodorus Bleheri

One of the things that people really love about this hard to pronounce plant is that it is great for beginners. It is easy to care for and does not require all that much maintenance. It does do well with a healthy amount of light, plus it does not hurt to have a nutrient rich substrate.

However, it is not totally necessary. When it comes to temperature and water parameters, the hardy Echinodorus Bleheri can survive in varying conditions. Some people have said that this plant is easier to keep alive than it is to kill.

It makes for a great aquarium background plant because it features really long, thin, and bare stems with a single large leaf at the top of each stem. The leaves like to grow to the water’s surface when given a chance. Their large, wide, green, and pointed appearance definitely helps add some life to any aquarium.

You can buy Echinodorus Bleheri at Amazon here

4. Ludwigia Repens

Something that needs to be noted right off the bat is that this particular plant is good for backgrounds, but is best suited for larger aquariums. This plant does grow fairly fast and can get pretty big too, so if left to grow unchecked it will take up too much space in a smaller aquarium.

They are really nice plants though, especially thanks to the combination of their green stems with their pinkish-reddish leaves. In essence, they look like a small bush with individual green stems, each of which have leaves running of the length. Also, this is not the easiest plant to grow.

Unlike some of the other options which we would classify as beginner, Ludwigia Repens is intermediate in care difficulty. It needs lots of nutrients, it needs lots of light, and it likes lots of CO2 as well.

You can buy Ludwigia Repens at Amazon here

5. Green Cabomba

Green Cabomba is a cool looking background plant for aquariums. It kind of looks like one of those pine trees with those really thin and long needles, but underwater. It looks like a pine tree with several stems, each of which are brown and feature long needles that grow in evenly spaced clusters along those stems.

It is a very unique choice to go with no doubt. It does make for a good background plant because it tends to grow taller than it does wide. It does grow in width a little bit, plus the stems will spread out over time, but most of the growth is vertical.

If you want to use this plant for a smaller aquarium, you will need to trim it down fairly often as it grows fast and can reach 2 feet in height with proper care. This is a fairly easy plant to care for with the exception that it needs a lot of light.

6. Cryptocoryne

Cryptocoryne is a very unique looking plant no doubt. When not submerged the leaves are green, but when you put it in your aquarium the leaves will turn reddish brown.

Some people don’t like the look of it because it almost looks like the leaves are rotting and dying. However, for certain aquariums this reddish-brown coloration can really stand out as something good. The leaves are really long, they are fairly thick, and come to a point at the end, plus they flow and undulate all the way through.

This plant is kind of like a bunch of shorter stems, each with a single long leaf growing from it. It can reach up to 18 inches in height, so it is best suited for medium and larger aquariums. It is fairly easy to take care of as well.

7. Giant Hairgrass

A simple yet good looking addition to any background aquarium setting, giant hairgrass looks exactly as you would imagine. It is a cluster of grass with each leaf growing very long and tall, kind of like little spindles.

Each stem or leaf, as you will, has a little dark knob on the end from which several more shoots grow out of. This plant does grow fairly tall, but is also easy to control. Simply trim it down to size as you see fit. It is great for breeding tanks and tanks with little fish because it helps provide cover.

When it comes to care, keeping alive is not too difficult. A good nutrient rich substrate is recommended. This plant also likes to have lots of light. It is also recommended that you provide it with some extra CO2.

8. Onion Plant

This particular plant is definitely a unique looking one. It consists of one compact center from where many stems grow out of. The leaves are very long and they grow in every which direction. These stems each have very many little green and rounded leaves growing from them.

It’s a very bright and cool looking plant that can add some much needed color and life to any aquarium. It’s a great option for all kinds of tanks. The onion plant does grow fairly large, so it is best suited for medium and large aquariums.

Now, the onion plant does need a lot of light, CO2, and fertilizer (more on that here)to be healthy, plus it likes a nutrient rich substrate. It’s not an overly difficult plant to grow, but it is also not suited for first time aquarists.

9. Bacopa Monnieri

Yet another background plant for aquariums, Bacopa looks like a bush consisting of many stems and leaves. The stems are fairly thin, they are long, and they do grow quite tall. Each stem has clusters of rounded leaves which grow at regular intervals.

This particular plant does grow quite tall and is also quite wide, so it is best suited for larger aquariums. Caring for this aquarium plant is fairly easy and more than possible for beginners to keep alive.

It does need a fair amount of lighting and it does best in nutrient rich substrate (we have covered substrates over at this article). However, it does not require the addition of CO2 and needs no other special treatment.

10. Ludwigia Repens

This is actually one of our favorite background plants. It looks like a little bush with lots of stems coming from the bottom center. Each stem grows large, red, and rounded leaves. Actually, the whole plant is red, which makes for a really nice addition to any aquarium.

The plant itself is not very wide, but it can grow up to 18 inches tall, so for smaller aquariums it needs to be trimmed occasionally. It does also grow pretty fast, so trimming will need to happen often if you have a small aquarium.

The demands of Ludwigia Repens are not too high. A medium amount of light, nutrients, and CO2 will do just fine. It’s ideal for beginners.

Tips On Choosing The Right Aquarium Plants

Keep in mind the difference between the various kinds of aquariums plants. There are background plants, which are usually quite tall and ideal for the back of the tank. Aquascape background plants are very popular indeed.

There are midground aquarium plants, which are slightly smaller, and often ideal for the sides or the middle of the tank. There are also foreground plants, which are best for the front or middle of the tank, as they are relatively short.


Something else to consider when choosing aquarium plants is what kind of substrate you have in your tank.

Some aquarium plants require a specific kind of substrate to grow properly, while some do not require any substrate at all.

Types of Fish

You do also have to consider the type of fish you have in your aquarium, as not all plants and fish are compatible with each other.

Some fish will eat the plants you have in your tank, which is obviously not ideal, unless that is what you are going for.

On that same note, you do also have to consider that fish require certain water parameters, such as temperature and pH levels, which the plants you choose must also be able to survive in.

Commonly Asked Questions

What Are Some Good Tall Background Aquarium Plants?

When it comes to tall aquarium plants which are ideal for the background of your fish tank, there are quite a few that you can go with.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones, as well as options that are easy to care for.

  • Water wisteria.
  • Amazon sword.
  • African water fern.
  • Java fern.
  • Anubias.
  • Dwarf aquarium lily.
  • Madagascar lace plant.
  • Giant hair grass.
  • Cardamine lyrate.
  • Cryptocoryne balansae.
  • Dwarf onion plant.
  • Red flame sword plant.
  • Egerias nanas.
  • Rotala indica.
  • Vallisneria Spiralis.
  • Ludwigia.

I Need Some Easy Background Aquarium Plants, Which Should I Choose?

Yeah, some aquarium plants are much harder to care for than others, and it can be a real pain. Some plants grow way too fast, some overtake the aquarium, and some change water parameters too.

Just because you are getting background plants does not mean that they necessarily have to be hard to care for.

Let’s take a look at some of the easiest to care for aquarium background plants right now.

  • Jungle valisneria.
  • Ludwigia repens.
  • Giant hairgrass.
  • Rotala indica.
  • Echinodorus Bleheri.
  • Green cabomba.
  • Cryptocoryne.
  • Onion plant.
  • Bacopa Monnieri.


When it comes to the best background plants for aquariums, all of the above options make for great choices in their own right (Jungle Vallisneria is our top pick). Just take your time when choosing!