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I've had luck in my low tech tanks with:

Red Tiger Lotus - Nymphaea lotus
Dark Red Ludwigia - Ludwigia repens
Staurogyne repens
Micranthemum "Monte Carlo"
Hydrocotyle Tripartita
Cryptocoryne parva
Water Wisteria - Hygrophila difformis

I often go to tropica.com; any plant requirement listed as low lighting and low CO2 is a possibility for my low tech tanks.

I have a lot of trouble with dwarf hairgrass (Eleocharis Parvula) though, it never thrives and tends to die off (which is a shame because I'd love it as a carpet).
 

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Simple easy plants for my Ramshorn snails, & other small water gardens to eventually get shrimp.
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Please Note: I am not the author of this list. The author of this list, James From Cali, is also a member on this site and he has been kind enough to continually update, revise, and update this list. For James' most updated list, please see further threads from James in this post.

This is an excellent list of low light plants for anyone looking for plants to start a low light tank. It was posted by James From Cali at: MyFishTank.Net - Your #1 Forum For Fish Hobbyist

"Plants Ideal For Low Light/Low Tech Aquaria
Some people may be wondering what plants do well in a Low Light setup. I used to be the same way(and still am sometimes) and now I am wanting to make a list of what is appropriate for this kind of tank. Any one wanting to add to the list please go ahead. List Common and Scientific name please.

Java Fern - Microsorum pteropus
Windelov Java Fern, Windelov Fern - Microsorum pteropus 'Windelov'
Narrow Leaf Java Fern - Microsorum pteropus v. 'narrow leaf'
Java Moss - Vesicularia dubyana
Green Hygro - Hygrophila polysperma
*Sunset Hygro - Hygrophila polysperma 'Rosanervig'
Ceylon Hygro - Hygrophila polysperma 'Ceylon'
Rotala Rotundifolia - Rotala rotundifolia
Rotala Rotundifolia sp. Green - Rotala rotundifolia sp. 'Green'
Rotala Indica - Rotala indica
Hornwort - Ceratophylum demersum
Parrots Feather - Myriophyllum aquaticum
Moneywort, Water Hyssop - Bocapa monnieri
Brazilian Pennywort, Pennywort - Hydrocotyle leucocephala
Crypt Wendtii - Cryptocoryne wendtii
Crypt Balansae - Cryptocoryne Balansae
Pygmy Crypt - Cryptocoryne pygmaea
Guppy Grass - Najas guadalupensis
Anubias barteri - Anubias barteri v. barteri
Anubias barteri 'marble' - Anubias barteri 'marble'
Anubias barteri v. 'glabra' - Anubias barteri v. 'glabra'
Anubias nana - Anubias barteri v. 'nana'
Coffee leaf anubias - Anubias barteri v. 'coffeefolia'
Crypt retrospiralis - Cryptocoryne retrospiralis
Crypt spiralis - Cryptocoryne spiralis
Golden nana - Anubias barteri v. 'nana golden'
Narrow leaf nana - Anubias barteri v. 'nana narrow leaf'
Petite nana - Anubias barteri v. nana 'petite'
Philippine Java Fern - Microsorum pteropus 'Philippine'
Red Java fern - Microsorum pteropus "red"
Crypt Becketii - Cryptcoryne becketii
Pelia - Monosolenium tenerum
Waterwheel Plant - Aldrovanda vesiculosa
Bacopa - Bacopa caroliniana
African Water Fern - Bolbitis heudelotii
Hornwort - Ceratophyllum submersum
Crypt Aponogetifolia - Cryptocoryne aponogetifolia
Micro Crypt - Cryptocoryne petchii
Tropica Sword - Echinodorus parviflorus 'Tropica'
Downoi - Pogostemon helferi

*Do not ned high light to attain pink color. Dosing Iron can bring out this color. I have learned this from experience.

Thank you,
James"
 

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As I posted on best red low light plants,Alternanthera rosaefolia wins fastest,cleanest grower of red plants hands down. Tiger Lotus is a beauty,can be finicky though. Crypt wendtii is unkillable..it just stops growing until you give it what it needs. Like iron. I'm getting on the Pearl Weed bandwagon now..just keep nibblers off it.
What has worked for me as a carpet is Star Grass,Heteranthera zosterifolia. Not a super short carpet- but for no Co2,it grows fast and you can trim it down to 2"..maybe 3" for less trimming.
 

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When it comes to plants and Rainbow fish? They will devour small soft leaved plants. Rotala wallichii sadly is only food to them. Hydrocotyle tripartita- same. I've had none of the fine leafed Myriophyllum type plants survive with them either. Picked to death. I've tried various types hoping one would be ignored. Nope,eaten.
Some people might have different results..I've seen photos of Rainbows and tripartia. Can't explain it!
 

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I haven't seen it mentioned but one plant that grew really well in my low tech tank is:
Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus
Also most swords will grow ok in low light- just slowly - though there are several that will just melt away...
 

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From my experience, it is a waste to put stem plant in low light tank because stem plant cannot give their best 'display' and only try to survive and maybe have a little growth.

So instead putting stem plant in low light tanks, I would prefer some cryptocoryne and anubias.

:red_mouth
Yes, it’s challenging to mix high light stem plants with low light plants, this is why Iwagami scapes typically lack color stems and Dutch scapes lack green fern and Anubias. Something nice is missing in both style that it shouldn’t be.

I have a way to get around it by providing uneven light distribution. Even though it is unnatural in nature, in my predominantly low light anubias and fern setup, I provide spot lights in one corner to shine at high light color stems.
 

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Yes, it’s challenging to mix high light stem plants with low light plants, this is why Iwagami scapes typically lack color stems and Dutch scapes lack green fern and Anubias. Something nice is missing in both style that it shouldn’t be.

I have a way to get around it by providing uneven light distribution. Even though it is unnatural in nature, in my predominantly low light anubias and fern setup, I provide spot lights in one corner to shine at high light color stems.
Not as unnatural as just about anything in planted tanks... Most places that aquatic plants grow in nature have areas of shade like trees, shrubs and marginal plants blocking certain areas and allowing others to have full sunlight. Learning about ponds taught me a lot about this.
 

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When it comes to plants and Rainbow fish? They will devour small soft leaved plants. Rotala wallichii sadly is only food to them. Hydrocotyle tripartita- same. I've had none of the fine leafed Myriophyllum type plants survive with them either. Picked to death. I've tried various types hoping one would be ignored. Nope,eaten.
Some people might have different results..I've seen photos of Rainbows and tripartia. Can't explain it!
Greggz 120g Rainbow Dutch setup is full of stems and I haven't heard from him bothered by Rainbow fish. Rainbow fish are not herbivore and if they are fed well, they shouldn't acquire the taste for plants. I keep medium to large cichlid and if they decide to destroy plants, even tough plants like Anubias and fern don't have a chance. I am able to coinhabit cichlid peacefully with plants, including a few that are herbivore (Severum), by being selective, retaining only good behavior individuals and eliminating trouble makers. Trouble makers don't necessarily have to be herbivore, and they can be aggressive to both fish and plants.

In my 125g planted cichlid tank, I have Ambula, Rotala and Dwarf lily, all have delicate leaves, and if my 10” cichlid decide to tear them up, they don’t have a chance
 

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Greggz 120g Rainbow Dutch setup is full of stems and I haven't heard from him bothered by Rainbow fish. Rainbow fish are not herbivore and if they are fed well, they shouldn't acquire the taste for plants. I keep medium to large cichlid and if they decide to destroy plants, even tough plants like Anubias and fern don't have a chance. I am able to coinhabit cichlid peacefully with plants, including a few that are herbivore (Severum), by being selective, retaining only good behavior individuals and eliminating trouble makers. Trouble makers don't necessarily have to be herbivore, and they can be aggressive to both fish and plants.

In my 125g planted cichlid tank, I have Ambula, Rotala and Dwarf lily, all have delicate leaves, and if my 10” cichlid decide to tear them up, they don’t have a chance
It's all about the individual fish. I couldn't agree more with your evaluation of cichlids and plants 😂 they are definitely the boss of their tanks!! Those are gorgeous fish, btw
 

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Blake of Blakes aquatics has had the same Rainbow fish and eating plants experience. I know that some species seem to be more plant oriented. I have a female (unknown type) that has a mouth like a grass carp- you can watch her shear Star Grass and down it goes. I think Roseline barbs are another thought 100% safe..but they made my duckweed and frogbit disappear after I put them in the tank a few years ago.
I know when I toss in cooked zucchini? All the Rainbows tear into it.
 

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Most aponogeton will do well in a low tech tank. I very much like boivinianus and madagascar lace is very popular. I would avoid ulvaceus as it will frequently hibernate for up to 6 months (you don't have to remove it but it makes landscaping unpredictable). crispus is another one that does well. With madagascar lace you have to be a wee bit careful as there are actually dozens of different types some with short leaves some with long leaves some with wide leaves and some with narrow leaves. The larger ones can easily generate leaves more than 24 inches tall and 6 inches wide.... large plant....
 

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Most aponogeton will do well in a low tech tank. I very much like boivinianus and madagascar lace is very popular. I would avoid ulvaceus as it will frequently hibernate for up to 6 months (you don't have to remove it but it makes landscaping unpredictable). crispus is another one that does well. With madagascar lace you have to be a wee bit careful as there are actually dozens of different types some with short leaves some with long leaves some with wide leaves and some with narrow leaves. The larger ones can easily generate leaves more than 24 inches tall and 6 inches wide.... large plant....
Hands down one of my favorites. So many varieties, but, yes, they go dormant. If you enjoy watching changes and enjoy watching cycles or you like to rescape a lot they're a very fun plant to play with. Crispus and ulvaceus are awesome beginner plants.
 

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20g aquarium with beginner plants and fish.
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Please Note: I am not the author of this list. The author of this list, James From Cali, is also a member on this site and he has been kind enough to continually update, revise, and update this list. For James' most updated list, please see further threads from James in this post.

This is an excellent list of low light plants for anyone looking for plants to start a low light tank. It was posted by James From Cali at: MyFishTank.Net - Your #1 Forum For Fish Hobbyist

"Plants Ideal For Low Light/Low Tech Aquaria
Some people may be wondering what plants do well in a Low Light setup. I used to be the same way(and still am sometimes) and now I am wanting to make a list of what is appropriate for this kind of tank. Any one wanting to add to the list please go ahead. List Common and Scientific name please.

Java Fern - Microsorum pteropus
Windelov Java Fern, Windelov Fern - Microsorum pteropus 'Windelov'
Narrow Leaf Java Fern - Microsorum pteropus v. 'narrow leaf'
Java Moss - Vesicularia dubyana
Green Hygro - Hygrophila polysperma
*Sunset Hygro - Hygrophila polysperma 'Rosanervig'
Ceylon Hygro - Hygrophila polysperma 'Ceylon'
Rotala Rotundifolia - Rotala rotundifolia
Rotala Rotundifolia sp. Green - Rotala rotundifolia sp. 'Green'
Rotala Indica - Rotala indica
Hornwort - Ceratophylum demersum
Parrots Feather - Myriophyllum aquaticum
Moneywort, Water Hyssop - Bocapa monnieri
Brazilian Pennywort, Pennywort - Hydrocotyle leucocephala
Crypt Wendtii - Cryptocoryne wendtii
Crypt Balansae - Cryptocoryne Balansae
Pygmy Crypt - Cryptocoryne pygmaea
Guppy Grass - Najas guadalupensis
Anubias barteri - Anubias barteri v. barteri
Anubias barteri 'marble' - Anubias barteri 'marble'
Anubias barteri v. 'glabra' - Anubias barteri v. 'glabra'
Anubias nana - Anubias barteri v. 'nana'
Coffee leaf anubias - Anubias barteri v. 'coffeefolia'
Crypt retrospiralis - Cryptocoryne retrospiralis
Crypt spiralis - Cryptocoryne spiralis
Golden nana - Anubias barteri v. 'nana golden'
Narrow leaf nana - Anubias barteri v. 'nana narrow leaf'
Petite nana - Anubias barteri v. nana 'petite'
Philippine Java Fern - Microsorum pteropus 'Philippine'
Red Java fern - Microsorum pteropus "red"
Crypt Becketii - Cryptcoryne becketii
Pelia - Monosolenium tenerum
Waterwheel Plant - Aldrovanda vesiculosa
Bacopa - Bacopa caroliniana
African Water Fern - Bolbitis heudelotii
Hornwort - Ceratophyllum submersum
Crypt Aponogetifolia - Cryptocoryne aponogetifolia
Micro Crypt - Cryptocoryne petchii
Tropica Sword - Echinodorus parviflorus 'Tropica'
Downoi - Pogostemon helferi

*Do not ned high light to attain pink color. Dosing Iron can bring out this color. I have learned this from experience.

Thank you,
James"
I think dwarf sag is also a good low light plant
 

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One must have for low tech is Rotala rotundifolia- with TRUE round submerged leaves. I think I have the name right. It was from a LFS that got it from a customer and originally when I bought it was a Co2 grown beet red leaved plant..it soon reverted to green with some burgundy to the undersides of the leaves on no Co2 in my aquarium. But for low tech its a very clean looking and orderly looking plant. A bit like R. 'bonsai'.
Its all you want in a stem plant. Want tall for a tall tank? It can do that. Want a hedge look? It can do that too. Slow but steady with no Co2.
 
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