15 Popular Fast Growing Aquarium Plants For Your Tank

Watching your plants grow is one of the most rewarding parts of aquascaping. Although every plant has its appeal, fast-growing aquarium plants allow you to see the process in action. If you are looking for plants that will reward your love and care with tons of rapid growth, here are 15 of our top recommendations!

1. Amazon Sword

Amazon Sword Paniculatus Potted Live Aquarium Plants

Scientific Name: Echinodorus bleheri

Lighting Requirements: Low to Medium

Water Requirements: 6.5-7.5 pH

Temperature: 72–82 °F

Maximum Size: 24 inches

Care Level: Easy to Moderate

At 24 inches tall, the Amazon Sword Plant makes an excellent background plant. Its bright green, lance-shaped leaves sprout from a central root crown, making this a popular plant for the center of a tank. The Amazon Sword Plant is considered an “underwater palm” due to its tall, thin profile and dark green leaves that grow in rosette-shaped clusters.

Keeping this plant healthy is very easy. It can tolerate low to medium lighting and a wide array of water conditions. It prefers nutrient-rich and fertilized waters, but it can even be grown in very basic aquariums! The Amazon Sword Plant is also cheap and affordable, making it a great beginner’s plant. 

One thing to look out for when keeping the Amazon Sword Plant is its ability to outgrow the rest of your aquarium. At 24 inches, this plant can easily overtake the entire tank, so plan accordingly. To prevent algae buildup and to keep your other plants healthy, trim down the leaves as needed. 

2. Amazon Frogbit

Amazon Frogbit
Image Source : flickr.com

Scientific Name: Limnobium laeviatum

Lighting Requirements: Medium

Water Requirements: 6.0-7.5 pH

Temperature: 64 to 84 °F

Maximum Size: 20 inches

Care Level: Easy to Moderate

If you dream of owning traditional lily pads in your aquarium, the Amazon Frogbit Plant is an excellent alternative. Its broad leaves closely resemble those of a Lily Pad, but this plant does not require any special care as actual water lilies do. Simply install an artificial LED light to provide it with medium lighting, and this plant will thrive in almost any water condition.

What’s great about this plant is its natural ability to spread across the top of the water. It is not uncommon to see Amazon Frogbit plants covering the surface of an entire aquarium, which can make for a stunning sight. Unfortunately, this can be dangerous for small fish that may get caught in the root. To mitigate this problem, choose species of fish that are less likely to spend time hiding near its plant roots.

As a relatively common and resilient plant, the Amazon Frogbit is very easy to care for. It can even survive in colder temperatures, making it a great choice for people who tend to forget to turn their aquarium heater on. To learn more about plants that don’t need a substrate, check out this article!

3. Dwarf Sagittaria

Close up of Dwarf Sagittaria

Scientific Name: Sagittaria subulata

Lighting Requirements: Moderate

Water Requirements: 6.5-7.5 pH

Temperature: 72 to 82 ºF

Maximum Size: 12 inches

Care Level: Easy to Moderate

The Dwarf Sagittaria is an ideal freshwater plant for both beginners and advanced aquarists. As a mid-sized plant, it makes an excellent foreground plant in medium to large aquariums, but it can even be grown as a compact foreground or background plant in smaller tanks.

Because of its grass-like appearance and green leaves, it can even be used to add a touch of natural style in Takashi Amano-inspired aquariums while keeping ammonia levels under control. Caring for the Dwarf Sagittaria is also fairly straightforward, especially if you already have some experience with aquarium plants.

For best results, choose a moderate light setting of at least 3 watts per gallon and a nutrient-rich substrate. If you notice your Dwarf Sagittaria getting too tall, simply trim off the top to promote bushier growth and new side shoots.

4. Java Moss

Java Moss
Image Source : instagram.com

Scientific Name: Vesicularia dubyana

Lighting Requirements: Low

Water Requirements: 5.0 – 8.0 pH

Temperature: 70-75 °F

Maximum Size: 10 inches

Care Level: Easy

The Java Moss is an extremely popular plant due to its versatility and attractive appearance. Once an established Java Moss colony grows, it will begin to drape over the substrate and create a lush green carpet. It can be used effectively as both a carpeting plant or a moss wall, and it can even be tied to driftwood or rocks for a more natural look.

Its shallow root system also makes it ideal for nano tanks where space is limited. If you own aquariums without substrate, or you plan to keep your Java Moss in a jar with only small rocks, you can simply place your moss directly on the surface where it will begin growing. Those hoping to create a carpeting effect can easily accomplish this by using a gravel substrate.

Although this plant is very easy to care for, it must be removed from its container and rinsed once every few weeks. If not, the buildup of algae will gradually prevent the plant from obtaining adequate nutrient levels and sunlight for photosynthesis. 

5. Hornwort

Hornwort

Scientific Name: Ceratophyllum demersum

Lighting Requirements: Moderate

Water Requirements: 6.0 -7.5 pH

Temperature: 50 – 85°F

Maximum Size: 6 feet

Care Level: Easy

For hobbyists who own larger aquariums, the Hornwort is a godsend. This plant can grow up to 6 feet tall, making it the perfect backdrop for a background aquarium. In addition to its impressively tall height, Hornwort will also create a vibrant green hue thanks to its lush leaves and stems. With regular trimming, this plant will also look at home in a small-to-midsized tank.

Often seen as the perfect plant for beginners, the Hornwort is capable of adapting to a wide variety of tank conditions and water parameters. This plant is a column feeder, so be sure to add some liquid fertilizers when you’re setting up a Hornwort tank!

The most difficult thing about caring for Hornwort is knowing when to trim the stems. If left too long without pruning, the stems can begin to look unattractive and may even cause your plant to lose nutrients. If you notice the level of your substrate beginning to rise, it is a clear sign that you need to trim this plant back.

6. Brazilian Pennywort

Brazilian pennywort
Image Source: flickr.com

Scientific Name: Hydrocotyle leucocephala

Lighting Requirements: Low

Water Requirements: 6-8 pH

Temperature: 68 to 82 °F

Maximum Size: 24 Inches

Care Level: Easy to Moderate

Yet another mainstay in the aquarium hobby, the Brazilian Pennywort is a great little plant for helping maintain the cleanliness of your aquarium. The thin, grassy leaves that grow from its large stems are extremely efficient at absorbing excess nutrients and debris in your tank.

Having access to adequate amounts of light is a fundamental requirement for any plant, but the Brazilian Pennywort makes it easy. This plant is much more adaptable when it comes to light exposure, which means you can easily use lights as low as 1-2 watts per gallon in your aquarium without worrying about the plant turning any less vibrant.

Fish keepers looking to house this plant in a tropical fish aquarium would be pleased to learn that the Brazilian Pennywort will thrive under mildly acidic or alkaline conditions, which makes it a good match with most species of fish. Fish-safe aquarium plants are often hard to find. So, if you are looking for one that has a long lifespan and is easy to care for, this just might be your best bet! 

7. Water Wisteria

Water Wisteria

Scientific Name: Hygrophila difformis

Lighting Requirements: Low to Moderate

Water Requirements: 6.5-7.5 pH

Temperature: 75–82 °F

Maximum Size: 20 inches

Care Level: Easy 

Coming in at number 7 on our list of the 15 most popular fast-growing aquarium plants is the Water Wisteria. If you are looking for a plant that can be easily tamed and won’t make your life hard, this might just be the best option out there!

Much like other easy-going plants, the Water Wisteria will do just fine under low to medium lighting conditions, making it an ideal choice for beginners who are looking for easy-to-care plants. If you are particularly interested in nurturing this plant to its maximum potential, the Water Wisteria is also capable of adapting to setups with higher lighting requirements.

The Water Wisteria is also perfect for individuals who are undecided on tank placement. It grows up to 20 inches in height, which means that it will look at home in both low or high tank placement setups, and even in larger aquariums. 

8. Bristly Water-Clover

Marsilea hirsuta in the Botanischer Garten, Berlin-Dahlem
Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Scientific Name: Marsilea Hirsuta

Lighting Requirements: Medium to High

Water Requirements: 6.2 – 7.5 pH

Temperature: 65 – 82 °F

Maximum Size: 3 inches

Care Level: Easy to Moderate

The Bristly Water-Clover is a unique plant that resembles four-leafed clovers and is often found in shallow muddy water or swamps. It is a very distinctive sight, and resembles short grass more than it does any other aquatic plant. With a maximum height of 3-4 inches, the Bristly Water-Clover is a low-growing plant that can be tucked in between other plants and decor for a seamless look.

The Bristly Water-Clover has short, erect stems which grow out of rounded, fleshy green leaves. The leaves look like they are covered in bristles, hence the name. Because they are rather short, these plants need plenty of light. Fortunately, they are accustomed to strong lighting and even thrive under aquarium lights as powerful as 70 watts per 10 gallons of water.

All in all, this is a low-maintenance plant that will add an interesting accent to your tank while requiring very little attention from you. Just remember to provide it with its ideal conditions, and it will keep your aquarium looking beautiful for a long time.

9. Micro Sword

Micro Sword Bunch Lilaeopsis Novaezelandiae Live Aquarium Plants

Scientific Name: Lilaeopsis brasiliensis

Lighting Requirements: High

Water Requirements: 6.8 – 7.5 pH

Temperature: 70 to 83 °F

Maximum Size: 3 Inches

Care Level: Moderately Difficult

Are you looking to challenge your gardening skills? The Micro Sword might just be your best bet. It’s a slow-growing plant that requires very specific conditions, but if you are willing to take on the challenge, it will reward you with its long-lasting presence in your tank.

Both beginners and experienced fish keepers would benefit from adding this plant to their tanks. It thrives on plenty of light, so be sure to add a couple of high-intensity light sources in your tank to ensure optimal growth. Using a full-spectrum LED light or a metal halide bulb is recommended for this plant, so be sure to keep that in mind if you decide to opt for this particular beauty.

Micro Sword also extra care in the form of pristine water quality. Be prepared to do a weekly water change, and even more often if you notice that your fish or plants are not thriving as they should be.

10. Giant Hygro

Emersed Hygrophila Corymbosa
Image Source: flickr.com

Scientific Name: Hygrophila corymbosa 

Lighting Requirements: Low

Water Requirements: 5.5 – 8.0 pH

Temperature: 68 – 86°F

Maximum Size: 24 inches

Care Level: Easy

The Giant Hygro lives up to its name, with the largest specimens growing up to 24 inches tall. This hardy plant tolerates a wide range of water parameters and will thrive in pH levels ranging from 5.5 – 8.0. It is also rather undemanding in terms of light requirements and can survive with just a single 15- watt bulb in your aquarium.

Because of its easy-going nature, the Giant Hygro is perfect for aquarists who want to maximize plant growth and coverage without having to spend hours on maintenance and care every single day. It will require some trimming, but the Giant Hygro is a sturdy plant that can stand up to quite a bit of abuse before it finally gives in.

If you’re hoping to turn your tank into an underwater jungle, this would be the perfect plant for you. Its ability to thrive under a range of conditions makes it the ideal choice for aquarists who are just starting out. It will quickly turn your tank into a lush, green environment that every fish would love to live in.

11. Duckweed

Duckweed aquarium plant.

Scientific Name: Lemnaceae

Lighting Requirements: Low

Water Requirements: 3.0–10.0 pH

Temperature: 63 – 86 °F

Maximum Size: 1 inch

Care Level: Very Easy

Though this may be a list of fast-growing plants, the duckweed does so at a rate that leaves most tank-dwelling plants in the dust. It’s a small plant that only grows to about an inch in size, but don’t let this trick you into underestimating its value – it can serve as both an attractive and functional decoration for your tank.

The duckweed is extremely hardy, tolerating a wide range of temperatures and parameters ranging from 3.0 – 10.0 in pH levels. These versatile plants can also be kept with a variety of fish and aquatic animals, so if you’re looking for a plant that is both easy to care for and compatible with your current tank inhabitants, this may just be your new best friend.

Because of their hardy nature and rapid growth rate, these plants can quickly take over your water surface if not closely monitored. To avoid this, simply lower the water level in your aquarium and only allow the duckweed to grow on pieces of driftwood or rocks which you can attach them to using some fishing line or string. 

12. Anacharis (Brazilian Waterweed)

Anacharis
Image Source : flickr.com

Scientific Name: Egeria densa

Lighting Requirements: Medium

Water Requirements: 5.0-7.5 pH

Temperature: 50 to 82 °F 

Maximum Size: 6 feet

Care Level: Very Easy

Do your own fish that enjoy snacking on plants? You should try growing the Anacharis plant! In addition to being a hardy and low-maintenance plant, it’s also an excellent source of food for your tank’s inhabitants, especially those that love to graze from the surface.

This is one of several species that can grow up to 6 feet in length, though it will likely grow to a fraction of that size if kept in an aquarium. This is still enough to provide timid fish with shelter and hiding spots, so it’s also a great plant for making your fish feel at home.

Like many of the other plants on this list, the Anacharis is easy to grow and maintain, tolerating a wide range of water parameters while growing best in pH levels between 5.0 – 7.5. It needs moderate light levels and has an ideal temperature range between 50 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

13. Ruffled Sword Plant

Aponogeton crispus
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Scientific Name: Aponogeton Crispus

Lighting Requirements: Moderate

Water Requirements: 5.0 – 8.0 pH

Temperature: 75 – 82° F

Maximum Size: 20+ inches

Care Level: Easy to Moderate

This underwater plant may look like a stiff and uninviting sword, but it’s actually quite the opposite. The ruffled sword plant is another great way to add some natural beauty and life to your aquarium without having to worry about over-fertilizing or excessive lighting.

The ruffled sword plant’s unique appearance allows it to create a beautiful water feature in your tank while raising oxygen levels. The plant’s sword-shaped leaves are also a great source of food for your fish, helping them to grow healthy and strong while keeping the tank clean.

The Ruffled sword plant requires moderate lighting levels between 5.0 – 8.0, with an ideal water temperature range of 75 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit. It should be planted on a coarse substrate with frequent water changes to prevent the growth of algae.

14. Green Foxtail

Green Foxtail
Image Source: www.liveaquaria.com

Scientific Name: Setaria viridis

Lighting Requirements: Low to Moderate

Water Requirements: 6.1 – 6.5 pH

Temperature: 60°F to 86°F

Maximum Size: 4 feet

Care Level: Easy

If you’re looking for a tall, green plant to spruce up your tank, then look no further. The Green Foxtail is not only easy to grow but is perfect for both foreground and background aquarium displays.

Jutting out at almost 4 feet in height with its bristly leaves, the Green Foxtail is an excellent choice for aquariums that are below 30 gallons. It’s an upright plant, meaning its tall structure can give timid fish a great hiding spot to peek out of without being noticed by the tank’s more aggressive inhabitants.

This is another plant species that has a speedy growth rate, especially when provided with high amounts of light and regular water changes. It grows best in pH levels between 6.1 – 6.5 and needs low to moderate lighting levels.

15. Pondweed (American Waterweed)

Pondweed (American Waterweed)
Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Scientific Name: Elodea canadensis

Lighting Requirements: Low to Moderate

Water Requirements: 6.5 – 10 pH

Temperature: 65 to 75 degrees F

Maximum Size: 10 feet

Care Level: Easy

Last but not least, we have a perennial plant that’s great for aquariums of all sizes, the American waterweed (also known as Canadian pondweed).

This plant has an interesting appearance that resembles something like a large clump of grass. It has an upright stem with flat, waxy leaves which gives it its common name of “pondweed” due to the resemblance to plants that grow in freshwater ponds.

Its reputation for being hardy and easy to grow has made it another popular choice among aquarium hobbyists, especially for beginners. It will tolerate low to moderate lighting, and a broad pH range of 6.5 – 10, making it a great option for almost any aquarium setup.

Conclusion

We hope this list of 15 fast-growing aquarium plants gave you some ideas of what to use in your tank. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about the article or would like some recommendations on a specific plant, then please feel free to let us know in the comment section below!

As always, if you enjoyed this article, we would really appreciate it if you shared this article with your friends. Thanks for your support, and have fun with your tank!

Wanda is a second-generation aquarist from the sunny tropics of Malaysia. She has been helping her father with his freshwater tanks since she was a toddler, and has fallen in love with the hobby ever since. A perpetual nomad, Wanda does her best to integrate fish-keeping with her lifestyle, and has taken care of fish in three different continents. She loves how it provides a nice break from the hustle and bustle of life.

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