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How about developing a list of plants in order of general light tolerance starting from the lowest?

Java Moss
All Anubias
All Java Fern
Lotus?
?
It would be difficult to develop that list. For one thing, CO2 lowers the light needs of most plants - high CO2 allows the plants to grow with less light than it takes with little CO2. To make a usable list we would have to agree on what "low light" means, what amount of CO2 the list is based on, and what we consider as "good" growth for a plant. And, there are hundreds of different plants to consider.
 

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Being as this is a low light plant list in the low tech forum, I don't think it would be that difficult, for an expert, that is. Presumably no one here would be using CO2.
 

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I think anubias could grow, slowly, with just the natural light in a house.

Egeria densa, is really, really undemanding, it did grow up like mad in my low light tank.

A lof of crypts are quite forgiving.

Ceratopteris thalictroides too, in my low light tank, was growing like mad and doing baby plants all the time, and it was rooted to the bottom, not even floating.

Maybe it was already told, i did not look at all the posts.

However i do have some issues with some plants in the list in post no. 258.

Bacopa caroliniana is not a low light plant, it will just grow leggy and ugly, if at all.
Bacopa monnieri too.
Hygrophila polysperma was struggling in my low light tank and i lost it.
Same for ludwigia repens, struggling, ugly, full of algae.
Rotala rotundifolia same as ludwigia repens in low light in my tank.
Cabomba caroliniana requires a minimum of light, hardly a low light plant, limnophila sessiflora would be better, less demanding, and the look very similar.
Hydrocotyle leucocephala, yes if floating but not floating in low light, it did die.
Riccia fluitans, floating yes, not floating i doubt it.

From my little experience for what it is worth. My low light tank was a 24" high one with one led fixture Beamswork third generation (121 - 0,2w leds 10000K). It did ran for 8 months.

Another issue maybe the perception some may think their low tech tank is low light while they effectively have medium or higher light.

Michel.
 

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Another issue maybe the perception some may think their low tech tank is low light while they effectively have medium or higher light.

Michel.
That was a major problem when virtually no one used PAR meters to find out how much light they really had. And, the list came from that period of time. Also, plants need less light if they have a good amount of CO2 in the water, so plants that do well with low light for people using CO2, may do poorly for people who don't use CO2. It is a little more complicated than the list here suggests it is.
 

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I would agree there is quite a range of light tolerance on that list.. I've always taken it as "plants that someone managed to make work in low tech", and not strictly low light...

I've had good luck with rotala sp. green and rotala colorata in my 10 gallon tank at 38 PAR.. I've had bad luck with them in my main tank at 28 PAR, at least the ones my mollies didn't chew on end up growing weird.


There's a huge amount of variation in what people will call "low light" and "good growth" as Hoppy mentioned.. but there's also variation in the correct identification of plants which may be corrupting that list.

Was that HC really hemianthus callitrichoides, or did someone have a different plant like Hemianthus glomeratus and mistake the name? Or have Monte Carlo and fail to identify the difference (ok, monte carlo is newer than this list AFAIK, so maybe that isn't it).

In fact, it's really odd that HC, aka dwarf baby tears, is on that list, but HG, aka baby tears and a much less demanding plant, isn't...
 

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Also, plants need less light if they have a good amount of CO2 in the water, so plants that do well with low light for people using CO2, may do poorly for people who don't use CO2. It is a little more complicated than the list here suggests it is.
Just wondering, is that from your own observations or have you read it somewhere? If so could you post a link or the name of the book, just interested to know how that works since I thought light drove everything.

Thanks
 

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You shouldn't need a book... Just a basic understanding of photosynthesis should tell you that light is useless to a plant without CO2 and H2O...

Photosynthesis uses energy from light to break down CO2 (or in some cases carbonate) and H2O, and re-bind the carbon and hydrogen together into sugars, and releases the oxygen. Thus this reaction can be limited by any of the three required materials.

In terrestrial plants, CO2 is never an issue as it is abundant in air, and generally lack of water causes other more major problems for a plant. Thus, terrestrial gardeners tend to view photosynthesis as entirely light driven, as it is the only practical limiting factor.

In aquatic plants, water is never an issue, but CO2 is poorly soluble in water, and is quite often a major limiting factor if there is sufficient light.

Also, consider that under low CO2 concentrations, the plant needs to use mechanisms that concentrate carbon, or extract carbon from carbonates. Both of these require more energy, thus you get less sugar produced per quantity of electrons hitting the plant.
 

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Understood... I was just trying to give a basic explanation that should be understandable to most and give the correct overall idea.

If you start digging into a biology text you'll get more into the specific reactions of photosynthesis, but that's a very "looking at the trees not the forest" perspective.

Pretty much all texts that cover photosynthesis either:

a) Get technically deep really fast into the specific mechanisms and reactions going on. Most biology/botany books or research papers do this.
or
b) Cover it at the same simplistic level I did above (light+water+co2 = sugar + O2), and move on to other topics. Most gardening books do this, right next to the one paragraph discussion of fertilizers. Elementary school science texts also cover it at a similar level.

Regardless, given the general concepts, you could easily grab a decent biology text book and get into the specifics of photosynthesis...

You could also dive into the relevant wikipedia articles:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthesis

Which breaks down into 2 sets of reactions, one set depending on light, the other not but directly coupled to the light dependent reactions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light-dependent_reactions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light-independent_reactions
 

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Also, consider that under low CO2 concentrations, the plant needs to use mechanisms that concentrate carbon, or extract carbon from carbonates. Both of these require more energy, thus you get less sugar produced per quantity of electrons hitting the plant.
:proud: Thanks mattinmd, that's a really useful post, and this is the piece of understanding I was missing.

mattinmd said:
If you start digging into a biology text you'll get more into the specific reactions of photosynthesis, but that's a very "looking at the trees not the forest" perspective.
This is exactly the problem I had, I tried to gather the information from the wikipedia page to refresh my understanding, but I got so bogged down in details that I was missing the basics.
 

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The list should be seen as an opinion, which is not necessarily correct. For example, HC- Hemianthus callitrichoides will not grow well at all without CO2 and with low light. And, many of the stem plants listed will grow, but will be a big disappointment, with low light and no CO2 or Excel.
I was looking through this thread for some stem plant recommendations. Like you mention, I have tried a couple of stem plants, most recently Rotala indica, which just hasn't grown well, or much at all. I have a 20 long with a Stingray Finnex, no co2, following Barr's fertilization guide. Any suggestions for a stem plant that wouldn't be a disappointment? :) Thanks!
 

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This was really interesting. I just used the list for inspiration- but looking up many plants on the side, to see if they need C02 (I don't add it) and what they look like in different conditions. So many I was at first interested in I don't think will do well for me at all. I don't have a PAR meter, but judging by the growth habit of my plants I think I actually have med light, or low/med perhaps...

Can anyone tell me what its like growing Aponogeton Rigidifolius in low tech med light? I saw it on the list, but what I read elsewhere online says it demands high light. I really love the look of this plant and if it has slow growth or doesn't get as big when in lower light/no C02, I'm okay w/that. It wouldn't take over...
 

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A low tech, liberally stocked, well-established tank with a substrate rich in organic matter and biological activity has more CO2 than most people expect.
Fish produce co2.
Aerobic bacteria (in the substrate, particularly) produce a lot of co2.

The problem imo is people over-filter tanks- all the surface agitation drives the co2 out.
I've had heavily plantedunfiltered tanks, set up in windowsills and generous supplemental light do amazing things, with much less algae than you'd assume.
I speculate it was because of the naturally produced co2
 

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I have two nice sized java ferns, two amazon swords, and three other plants I cant remember what there names are. I have 55 gallon with 7 white clouds (one of which lookin like gonna lay some eggs) got 1 small pleco, and two cory cats, and there all friendly but those cory cats really bring some fun to the tank my wife said they look and swim like dolphins haha, ill post some pics when I can, my question is when I gravel vac should I not leave the plants be and go around them?, really don't like or think good idea to pull them out and move everytime to vac the tank, thanks
 

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Anacharis and Elodea are also low light. They make good floaters, right at the surface.
 

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What about using glosso with DSM to start? Aquasoil and possibly root tabs but no CO2, medium light. Would this work?
 

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For anyone who found this through google like I did, here is the more recent post and list. I have edited to be formatted for QOL.

I will post a Google sheets link shortly as this forum does not support tables it seems.


Code:
Fresh Water Plants - Low Light Recommendations		
			
			
Category	Common Name	Scientific Name	Placement
FERNS & MOSSES	African Water Fern	Bolbitis heudelotii	Background
	Christmas Moss	 Vesicularia montagnei	Anywhere
	Erect Moss	Vesicularia reticulata	Anywhere
	Flame Moss	Taxiphyllum alternans	Anywhere
	Four Leaf Clover	Mariselia quadrifolia	Foreground
	Java Fern	Microsorum pteropus	Midground
	Java Moss	Taxiphyllum barbieri	Anywhere
	Marimo Ball	Cladophora aegagrophila	Anywhere
	Marsilea hirsuta	Marsilea hirsuta	Foreground
	Mini Pellia	Riccardia chamedryfolia	Anywhere
	Narrow Leaf Java Fern	Microsorum pteropus v. 'narrow leaf'	Midground
	Needle Leaf Java Fern	Microsorum pteropus 'needle leaf'	Midground
	Peacock Moss	Taxiphyllum sp. 'peacock'	Anywhere
	Pellia	Monosolenium tenerum	Anywhere
	Pheonix Moss	Fissidens fontanus	Anywhere
	Philippine Java Fern	Microsorum pteropus 'Philippine'	Midground
	Red Java fern	Microsorum pteropus "red"	Midground
	Riccia	Riccia fluitans 	Foreground/Floter
	Round Pellia	Süßwassertang	Anywhere
	Singapore Fissidens	Fissidens sp. "Singapore"	Anywhere
	Singapore Moss	Vesicularia dubyana	Anywhere
	Taiwan Moss	Taxiphyllum sp.	Anywhere
	Thread Leaf Watersprite	Ceratopteris siliquosa	Background/Floter
	Tropica Java Fern	Microsurm pteropus 'tropica'	Midground
	Water Clover	 Mariselia minuta	Foreground
	Watersprite	Ceratopteris thalictroides	Background/Floter
	Wavy Leaf Java Fern	Microsorum pteropus undulata	Midground
	Willow Moss	Fontinalis antipyretica	Anywhere
	Windelov Java Fern	Microsorum pteropus 'Windelov'	Midground
	Zipper Moss	Fissidens zippelianus	Anywhere
Category	Common Name	Scientific Name	Placement
STEM PLANTS	American Waterweed	Elodea canadensis	Background
	Anacharis	Egeria densa	Background/Floter
	Bacopa	Bacopa caroliniana	Background
	Brazilian Pennywort	Hydrocotyle leucocephala	Background/Floter
	Ceylon Hygro	Hygrophila polysperma 'Ceylon'	Background
	Combomba	Combomba carolina	Background
	Downoi	Pogostemon helferi	Foreground/Mmidground
	Dwarf Ambulia	Limnophila sessiliflora	Background
	Fine Leafed Wisteria	Hygrophila balsamica	Background
	Giant Hygro	Hygrophila corymbosa	Background
	Green Hygro	Hygrophila polysperma	Background
	Guppy Grass	Najas guadalupensis	Background
	HC	Hemianthus callitrichoides 	Foreground
	Hornwort	Ceratophylum demersum	Background/Floter
	Moneywort	Bocapa monnieri	Background
	Parrots Feather	Myriophyllum aquaticum	Background/Floter
	Red Ludwigia	Ludwigia repens	Background
	Rotala Indica	Rotala indica	Background
	Rotala Rotundifolia	Rotala rotundifolia	Background
	Rotala Rotundifolia	Rotala rotundifolia sp. 'Green'	Background
	Stargrass	Heteranthera zosterifolia	Background
	Sunset Hygro	Hygrophila polysperma 'Rosanervig'	Background
	Water Pennywort	Hydrocotyle ranunculoides	Midground
	Water Wisteria	Hygrophila difformis	Background
	Watersprite	Ceratopteris thalictroides	Background/Floter
	Waterwheel Plant	Aldrovanda vesiculosa	Background
Category	Common Name	Scientific Name	Placement
FLOATERS	Anacharis	Egeria densa	Background/Floter
	Brazilian Pennywort	Hydrocotyle leucocephala	Background/Floter
	Duckweed	Lemna minor	Floter
	Giant Slavinia	Salvinia molesta	Floter
	Hornwort	Ceratophylum demersum	Background/Floter
	Parrots Feather	Myriophyllum aquaticum	Background/Floter
	Red Root Floater	Phyllanthus fluitans	Floter
	Riccia	Riccia fluitans 	Foreground/Floter
	Thread Leaf Watersprite	Ceratopteris siliquosa	Background/Floter
	Watersprite	 Ceratopteris thalictroides	Background/Floter
Category	Common Name	Scientific Name	Placement
CRYPTOCORYNE	Crypt Affinis	Cryptocoryne affinis	Midground
	Crypt Aponogetifolia	Cryptocoryne aponogetifolia	Background
	Crypt Balansae	Cryptocoryne balansae	Background
	Crypt Becketii	Cryptcoryne becketii	Midground
	Crypt Lutea	Cryptocoryne lutea	Midground
	Crypt Parva	Cryptocoryne parva	Foreground
	Crypt Pontederiifolia	Cryptocoryne pontederiifolia	Midground
	Crypt retrospiralis	Cryptocoryne retrospiralis	Background
	Crypt spiralis	Cryptocoryne spiralis	Background
	Crypt Walkeri	Cryptocoryne walkeri	Midground
	Crypt Wendtii	Cryptocoryne wendtii	Midground
	Crypt Willisi	Cryptocoryne willisi	Midground
	Micro Crypt	Cryptocoryne petchii	Foreground
	Pygmy Crypt	Cryptocoryne pygmaea	Foreground
Category	Common Name	Scientific Name	Placement
ANUBIAS	Anubias Afzelli	 Anubias afzelli	Midground
	Anubias barteri	Anubias barteri 	Midground
	Anubias barteri 'marble'	Anubias barteri 'marble'	Midground
	Anubias Barteri v Angustifolia	Anubias barteri v angustifolia	Midground
	Anubias barteri v. 'glabra'	Anubias barteri v. 'glabra'	Midground
	Anubias nana	Anubias barteri v. 'nana'	Anywhere
	Barteri Round Leaf	Anubias barteri v. ‘Round Leaf’	Background
	Caladiifolia	Anubias barteri v Caladiifolia	Midground
	Coffee leaf anubias	Anubias barteri v. 'coffeefolia'	Midground
	Congensis	Anubias congensis	Background
	Gigantea	Anubias gigantea	Background
	Golden nana	Anubias barteri v. 'nana golden'	Anywhere
	Gracilis	Anubias gracilis	Midground
	Hastifolia	Anubias hastifolia	Background
	Lanceolota	Anubias lanceolota 	Background
	Marbled Nana	Anubias barteri nana 'Marble'	Anywhere
	Minima	Minima	Midground
	Narrow leaf nana	Anubias barteri v. 'nana narrow leaf'	Midground
	Petite nana	Anubias barteri v. nana 'petite'	Anywhere
Category	Common Name	Scientific Name	Placement
SWORD PLANTS	Amazon Sword	 Echinodorus amazonicus	Background
	Argentine Sword	Echinodrous argentinensis	Background
	Melon Sword	Echinodorus osiris	Midground
	Pygmy Chain Sword	Echinodorus tenellus or Helanthium tenellum	Foreground
	Red Flame Sword	Echinodorus 'Red Special'	Midground
	Ruffle Sword	Echinodorus major	Background
	Tropica Sword	Echinodorus parviflorus 'Tropica'	Midground
	Uruguay Amazon Sword	Echinodorus uruguayensis	Background
Category	Common Name	Scientific Name	Placement
LILY'S	Lotus	Nymphaea pubescens	Foreground
	Tiger Lotus	Nymphaea zenkeri 	Midground
Category	Common Name	Scientific Name	Placement
GRASSES	Contortion Val	Vallisneria asiatica	Background
	Corkscrew Val	Vallisneria tortifolia	Background
	Crinum aquatica	Crinum aquatica	Background
	Crinum calimistratum	Crinum calimistratum	Background
	Dwarf Hairgrass	Elocharis acicularis 	Foreground
	Dwarf Sag	Sagittaria subulata 	Midground
	Giant Hairgrass	Elocharis montevidensis 	Background
	Micro Sword	Lilaeopsis braziliensis	Foreground
	Onion Plant	Crinum thaianum	Background
	Valliseneria rubra	Valliseneria rubra	Background
	Vallisneria natans 	Vallisneria natans 	Background
	Water Celery	Vallisneria americana 	Background
Category	Common Name	Scientific Name	Placement
APONOGETONS	Aponogeton bouvianus 	Aponogeton bouvianus 	Background
	Aponogeton crispus	Aponogeton crispus	Background
	Aponogeton elongatus	Aponogeton elongatus	Background
	Aponogeton ulvaceous	Aponogeton ulvaceous	Midground
	Aponogeton undulatus	Aponogeton undulatus	Background
	Rigidifolius	Aponogeton rigidifolius	Background
 
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