December 13

Top 7 Red Aquarium Plants and How to Care for Them


Adding plants to your aquarium is beneficial in more than one way. Plants add nutrients for your fish, clean up the water, add much-needed oxygen, and if you are adding red plants, they take aesthetics to a whole another level.

After all, green isn’t the only option. Red plants add a bright pop of color that can make your aquarium stand out.

However, which red aquarium stem plants are the best and care for them? In this article, we will be sharing some of our favorite red aquarium plants, along with tips about their care.

Seven Best Red Plants for your Aquarium

We have ranked these plants on the basis of care and maintenance. The first few are easy to care while the last ones require the most attention and maintenance.


Dark Red Ludwigia Repens

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  • Light – Medium to High
  • Growth height – 20 inches. The longer the stem, the taller it will grow.
  • Propagation – Stem Cuttings or dividing the root ball

LUDWIGIA REPENS or Water Primrose is a beautiful red aquarium plant.

This lovely plant is the easiest to care for and grows relatively slowly. So, you have plenty of time to feast your eyes on its fantastic color. It requires medium light and thrives in nutrient-rich water. A fully flourishing Repens can grow up to 20 inches.

Water primrose can be planted by stem cuttings or by dividing the root ball. It is also an excellent plant for foreground aquariums.


Water primrose grows well in hard and soft waters, although experts recommend slightly acidic water for optimum growth. Its suitable temperature is 75 to 79 F. Make sure there is the regular addition of CO2 along with trace elements, good lighting (2 to 4 Watts per gallon), and iron-rich fertilizers. 


Rotala Indica Rotundifolia

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  • Light – Moderate to High
  • Growth height – Up to 12 inches
  • Propagation – Head Cuttings or Runners

ROTALA ROTUNDIFOLIA red is a beautiful red aquarium plant of the Lythraceae family. It’s also effortless to care for, making it ideal for novice aquarists. 

It does best in well-lit aquariums with moderate to high water flow. The brighter the light, the redder its leaves will become. This plant can grow quite tall, so be sure to provide plenty of space in your aquarium.

Red Rotala is a fast-growing aquarium plant. However, it needs regular pruning to keep the base of the plant protected from light. You can skip pruning if you have some adult fish in the aquarium that you plan to breed or you want to shelter a species. In both cases, the Red Rotala aquarium plant provides plenty of space. 


Rotala Rotundifolia requires regular checks. You need to snip away any dead stems or leaves. Otherwise, they may pollute the tank water. Moreover, brush up the densely packed stems to bring up any decaying organic matter to the surface and clean out the water. You should also incorporate any supplemental fertilizer in your routine. In this regard, dosing these plants with some potassium and chelated iron will ensure optimum growth and popping red leaves. 


    Alternanthera Reineckii Rosanervig

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    • Light – Moderate to High
    • Growth height – 10 to 12 inches
    • Propagation – Stem Cuttings or Leaf Cuttings

    ALTERNANTHERA REINECKII, or AR, is a beautiful red aquarium plant with bright red leaves. 

    It comes in several varieties. The “mini” Reineckii, a bit shorter, is much redder than others. AR is a very slow-growing plant, making them ideal for new aquascapers. 

    It requires moderate to high light and thrives in nutrient-rich water. Depending on which variety of AR you get, you can place it in your aquarium’s foreground, midground, or background. Lastly, AR grows best in a temperature range of 71 to 82.4 Fahrenheit. 


    No, your AR doesn’t necessarily need CO2 injections. It can do fine without them. Good lighting, however, helps improve the red coloration and leave intensity. But keep in mind they are susceptible to algae, which can be a challenge with high-intensity light. To take care of that problem, keep some algae-eating species in your aquarium. 


    Copper Leaf Ammania

    • Light – Moderate to High
    • Growth height – Up to 17.72 inches
    • Propagation – Stem Cuttings (At least 10 inches long stems are necessary)

    AMMANIA SENEGALENSIS or Copper Leaf Ammania is a beautiful red aquarium plant known for its copper leaf coloring. While not many hobbyists prefer it for their aquarium, a little effort can make it an excellent addition to any freshwater aquarium. 

    This plant requires low to moderate light and thrives in nutrient-rich water.

    It does best when planted by dividing the root ball or placing it in a group of other plants to spread out. This plant also spreads very quickly, so be sure to have extra room in your aquarium if you decide to add it.


    In order to get your desired color as well as growth, make sure you are providing enough lighting and nutrients. Remember! It requires high lighting and nutrient-rich water. A higher iron content will pop the red tones in the stem and leaves. While CO2 is not necessary, it can help with robust growth. 


    Ludwigia palustris

    • Light – Moderate to High
    • Growth Height – 3 to 12 inches
    • Propagation – Stem Cuttings

    LUDWIGIA PALUSTRIS or Water Purslane is another easy read aquarium plant that is perfect for beginners due to its ease of care. It’s not demanding or fragile at all. This hardy plant grows exceptionally fast, though. 

    It requires moderate light and thrives in nutrient-rich water. It can grow tall (up to 12 inches and even more), ideal for taller aquariums or mid-ground positions.

    However, it requires an iron-rich substrate to flaunt the red. It also needs CO2 supplementation. 

    How to Care for LUDWIGIA PALUSTRIS

    Like other Ludwigia species, Water purslane does best when it is kept slightly warm and at a pH level of 6 to 7.0. Pruning leads to multiplication. So, only do it when necessary. Also, don’t forget to provide enough space so that they can have multiple easily without getting crowded. 


    Red Cryptocoryne Wendtii

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    The Red Cryptocoryne Wendtii is a very popular low-light red aquarium plant. It’s good for beginners, but professional aquascapers will be able to get the most out of it. 

    It’s native to Southeast Asia and comes in various colors and sizes. Hence, you can create a mesmerizing red variety for any aquarium – whether you use it in the midground or foreground. 

    Furthermore, it’s a very slow grower that can adapt to a variety of water parameters. Just make sure you are not introducing any sudden changes. 


    It’s a very hardy plant that requires moderate care. It thrives in both soft and hard water conditions. Plant it directly into the substrate so that it can make deep roots. Although it does well in low light, you have to regularly add fertilization and change the water at least once a week. This plant will thrive even under LED lighting bulbs.  

    • Light – Low
    • Growth Height – up to 8 inches
    • Propagation – Root Cuttings


    Lobelia Cardinalis

    • Light – Moderate to High
    • Growth Height – 4 to 12 inches
    • Propagation – seed, cuttings, division or separation

    Also known as the Cardinal Plant, Lobelia Cardinalis is versatile. It is native to North America and works best as a foreground red aquarium plant. Its bright red flowers look fantastic when used in the background.  It is green when submerged. 

    Under moderate light, It grows anywhere between 4 to 12 inches. Hence you can get quite a variety within the same species as per your needs. 

    Moreover, it requires moderate to bright lighting. CO2 supplementation can also help. Natural fertilizers can also increase coloration. 

    How to Care for LOBELIA CARDINALIS

    Cardinal Plant is not a very demanding one. However, it flourishes in a nutrient-rich substrate and benefits from regular supplementation. Provide Flourish Nitrogen, Flourish Iron, Seachem Flourish, etc., at regular intervals, and your Cardinal plant will thrive. The plant grows according to the tank and the nutrients it receives. Therefore, the size of the tank doesn’t matter. 

    Final Thoughts

    So, these are our favorite red plants for aquariums. Adding red creates a stunning visual impact in the aquarium. It can really produce a focal point to break away the monotony of green hues.

    We hope this article provided enough information to fill out your aquarium with suitable red aquarium plants.

    As always, don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks!


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