Our Favorite Easy & Low Light Plants: Cryptocoryne Lutea and Vallisneria


Our Favorite Easy & Low Light Plants: Cryptocoryne Lutea and Vallisneria

Lots of aquarists are drawn to planted aquariums. Planted aquariums are beautiful and natural. They also provide a healthy and rich environment for fish and other aquatic animals. A lot of times, however, newer aquarists especially, struggle with choosing the right plants for their planted aquarium. There are many things to consider when choosing plants that will yield the most successful results.

Consider these things when choosing plants. You should consider the light requirements of your plants. Do you need more powerful lights? Maintenance and trimming are also important factors, along with cost, appearance and substrate requirements.

The majority of new aquarium keepers will be looking for plants that are low-maintenance and cost-effective. There are many good options out there for plants to start out with, and at Aquarium Co-op there are two that come to mind immediately as easy with low requirements.

Our Favorites

Vallisneria and cryptocoryne, lutea are two of the most popular freshwater aquarium plants. These plants are low light and can be grown under any light. They also make great pets and are very easy to maintain. Let’s break down some of their similarities and differences.

Cryptocoryne lutea

Cryptocoryne-lutea is used as a background or middleground plant in nano aquariums. It is slow-growing and does not require a lot of attention. This plant is quite affordable compared to other varieties. You will get one or two plants per bunch. The easiest way to start growing this crypt is to simply remove the pots from which they were packaged and place them on top of the substrate. You will always want to wash off the plants before adding it to the tank to avoid introducing diseases to the tank.

A common issue, that you might have heard of, with incorporating crypts to a new tank is the “crypt melt,” which is when a crypt plant is grown out of the water and then melts when put underwater. Wholesale plants are usually grown out of water because they grow faster and are easier for you to raise. It is best to wait until a plant thaws before you do anything. The leaves might melt off but the roots will still be intact and usually shoots of new plants will come back up.


Vallisneria, also known as “Val”, is very similar to Cryptocoryne. It is easy to plant and grow. It can propagate every five or six days, sending out runners that grow into new plants. Its appearance is a bonus, as it will grow to the top of the aquarium. It works particularly well for schools of fish and for breeding fish. The dense carpet of plants allows baby fish to survive. Fish like an Angelfish might use the leaves to stick their eggs onto.

The maintenance is very low, one can simply go in and trim it when the older Val grows to the point that it shades out newer plants. It is usually available for under five dollars as well. There are many varieties of Val. However, it is best to start with the standard Val. It is easy to grow and can be branched out later.

Give Them A Try

Val is a plant freshwater plant lovers will want to have in their collection. It’s best to keep your Val in one aquarium at all times. This will allow you to easily switch between aquariums. New, or established, aquarists can’t go wrong with either Cryptocoryne or vallisneria. These are great plants that are rewarding, easy to grow and very versatile. For anyone wanting to have a planted tank without spending a lot, they are what we recommend.