15 Best Red Aquarium Plants For Your Fish!

Last Updated on 2023-08-30

Red aquarium plants are a stunning addition to any aquatic setup. Whether you want to create a dramatic effect or an all-out red show, these beautiful plants will give your fish tank the brightness it needs. With a variety of plant types, from deep-hued stems and small creeping ground varieties to large spreaders and multi-colored foliage, there’s something for everyone. Red aquarium plants also boast numerous benefits which help the health of your fish and aquascaping in general.

For one, most of these plants contain pigments that block out some light to reduce algae growth, while others release oxygen into the water, which increases DO levels and provides extra nutrition for finned species alike. Furthermore, they add texture and color to your tank, creating a vibrant underwater forest that will wow any viewer. From beginner to advanced hobbyists and everyone in between, red aquarium plants are definitely worth considering when decorating your fish tank!

What Red Aquarium Plants Should You Keep in Your Aquarium?

When it comes to aquariums, red plants can make an incredible addition to any setup, creating a vibrant look and adding needed energy to the tank. Red aquarium plants come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and are adapted for most types of freshwater tanks. Whether you’re setting up a fully planted tank or just want some accents, don’t forget about these stunning red aquarium plants!

Red aquarium plants that would look great in a planted tank are listed below.

Ludwigia Palustris Super Red

Marsh seedbox, water purslane, fake loosestrife, and marsh purslane are only a few of the common names for Ludwigia Palustris. In addition to its dark crimson foliage, its bushy appearance and upright growth have made it a popular choice. When combined with other green plants, this one creates a striking contrast in the aquarium.

  • Water pH: 5.0 – 8.0
  • Hardness: very soft to very hard
  • Temperature: 15 – 28°C (59 – 84°F)
  • Lighting: medium to high lighting

Ludwigia Repens

Another plant that works well in aquaria is the Ludwigia Repens. Originally from the more tropical parts of North and Central America, this fish does well in warmer, shallower waters. It can also flourish in water, adding a gentle touch of beauty to the ecosystem.

Different parts of this plant will show off a wide spectrum of colors, all of which will be in the same family. As the plant’s leaves are typically a mixture of red and green, you should notice some subtle differences between the two colors. Some older plants develop striking red hues as they age, providing striking contrasts to the surrounding greenery.

  • Water pH: 6.0 – 8.0
  • Hardness: Soft to hard
  • Temperature: 20 – 28 °C (68 – 82 °F)
  • Lighting: Low to Medium
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Ludwigia Glandulosa

The Ludwigia Glandulosa is a member of the same plant family as the first two, but it looks very different from them. The leaves are larger and more pointed, and they will be a darker shade of green and crimson that tends toward purple. There are also purely purple variants, which get darker as they age.

While the 15-inch maximum height of Ludwigia Glandulosa makes it a good choice for even the smallest aquariums, it may need to be pruned to avoid the spread of lateral branches. This is essential if you want the plant to develop its full bushy shape.

  • Water pH: 5.0 – 7.0
  • Hardness: very soft-hard
  • Temperature:
  • Lighting: very strong light

Alternanthera Reineckii

This plant is commonly referred to as AR mini because of its diminutive stature and bushy look. While AR mini may look different, it is actually just a dwarf variety of the regular Alternanthera Reineckii. Leaves range in size and form, and the plant’s red coloration goes from light to dark brown, depending on the subspecies. The leaves of certain varieties are shorter and pointer, while those of others are longer and crinkled.

  • Water pH: 6.0-7.0
  • Hardness: soft to hard
  • Temperature:  63-82 F
  • Lighting: Moderate to High lighting

Nymphaea Zenkeri

Because of the stripes or spots on its leaves, this plant is sometimes referred to as the Tiger Lotus. A rusty dark red color with black specks, drops, and wide leaves give Nymphaea Zenkeri an eye-catching appearance. The ability of this plant to generate both submerged leaves attached to the bulb and floating leaves on long stems makes it stand out.

  • Water pH:  5.0 – 8
  • Hardness:  soft or hard water.
  • Temperature:  72° – 86° F (22° – 30° C)
  • Lighting:  Moderate to High

Echinodorus Reni

Add some ecological diversity to your aquarium with this species. The broad, big leaves of the Enchinodorus Reni vary in color from green to yellow to white to bright red.

The leaves of most plants are not all green. The plant’s low maintenance requirements and striking contrast when housed among bushy species have made it a favorite among aquarists and aquascapists.

  • Water pH:  6.0 – 8.0
  • Hardness:  soft – very hard
  • Temperature: 22 – 28°C
  • Lighting: medium to high lighting

Rotala Indica

Due to its adaptability and versatility, Rotala indica is a popular plant among aquarists. The plant can be sculpted into whatever form the aquarist envisions with little skillful trimming. The leaves of this species can be either round or pointed, and their stems can grow to a length of 25 inches or more.

  • Water pH: 6.0 to 7.5
  • Hardness: Soft
  • Temperature:  72 and 82° F
  • Lighting: Moderate to High

Rotala Macrandra

Despite sharing a genus with its predecessors in the genus Rotala, this species has a visually different and novel appearance. Its leaves are larger, longer, and more uncommon than those of other plants, despite the fact that they share the same colors. The red variety of this species is especially infamous for being difficult to cultivate, contributing to the species’ overall reputation for being more fussy.

  • Water pH: 6.0 to 7.0
  • Hardness:  Soft water
  • Temperature:  72 – 77 °F (22 – 26 °C)
  • Lighting: Thrives under strong lighting

Rotala Yao Yai

There is a wide range of species in this family, and they are all bushy enough to work in aquascaping and planted aquariums. This plant comes in a variety of colors, including red, pink, and rusty brown, and has either small, round leaves or pointy leaves, depending on the species. You can trust the Yao Yai to cover the substrate in your planted aquarium, making it an ideal addition for aquariums with erect plants.

  • Water pH:  4.0 – 8.0
  • Hardness: Soft water
  • Temperature:  4 – 32°C
  • Lighting: Medium to Strong Lighting

Cryptocoryne Wendtii Red

Species under this genus show a wide range of variation in terms of body shape, coloration, and preferred aquatic environment. Since Cryptocoryne Wendtii can thrive in a wide range of conditions, it’s safe to say that there are no “optimal” water conditions for this species. The plant’s leaves can be green, red, or brown, and they are often long and corrugated.

  • Water pH:  6.8 to 7.2
  • Hardness:  Moderate to Hard
  • Temperature:  68 and 82°F
  • Lighting:  Low to Moderate

Helanthium Tenellum Red

This plant is more often known by its common name, Pygmy chain sword, which is much easier to say. The Helanthium tenellum is a bog plant; thus, it does not require bright light to thrive. Its slow growth habit and grass-like look make it an excellent choice for use as a tank lawn.

The addition of this species will give your aquarium a more natural appearance while also benefiting the substrate and making it suitable for a wider range of bottom-dwelling aquatic critters. Additionally, there are variants of this species that are capable of upright growth (up to 20 inches in height).

  • Water pH:  5.5 to 7.5
  • Hardness:  Soft – hard
  • Temperature:  16-28°C
  • Lighting: medium lighting

The Cryptocoryne Spiralis

This plant’s long, spiraling leaves provide the illusion of life to the aquarium, from which the plant gets its common name. Adding this to fish tanks is a great idea because it improves the aesthetics of the habitat without taking up too much room. You can confidently grow Cryptocoryne Spiralis next to shrubs without worrying about its long, narrow leaves suffocating the smaller plant.

  • Water pH:  6.5 to 7.5
  • Hardness:  Moderate to Hard
  • Temperature:  75° and 82°F
  • Lighting:  under low to moderate lighting

Lobelia Cardinalis

Lobelia cardinalis might be thought of as the salad of the fish tank world. The plant itself stays short and bushy, with leaves that are oval-shaped, almost circular, and that stay low to the ground. There is a terrestrial species of Lobelia with bright red blossoms that is sometimes mistaken for the water Lobelia Cardinalis.

  • Water pH:  6.0 – 7.5
  • Hardness:  Soft to moderately hard water
  • Temperature:  63° – 82° F (17° – 28° C)
  • Lighting: Moderate to high

Meebold’s Red Lagenandra

Another low and lovely shrub with leaves. This plant needs a heavy substrate to bury its rhizome and strengthen its root system, and it comes from India. Great for tanks with fish that live in the middle or at the top and won’t come into contact with the plant.

Meeboldii will have more subdued coloration ranging from dark brown and crimson to various shades of purple. It’s a lovely alternative for tanks with a lot of green plants that might use some variety in color.

  • Water pH:  6.0 – 7.5
  • Hardness:  soft to moderate
  • Temperature:  12 – 28°C
  • Lighting:  medium to high

Scarlet Barclaya Longifolia

It’s no secret that this particular red Asian plant is highly sought after by aquarists. Its tall, pointed leaves will make quite an impression and give your aquarium a striking new look. Its rippled leaves can get quite large, sometimes even touching the water’s surface.

  • Water pH:  7 – 8.5
  • Hardness:  soft to medium hard water
  • Temperature:  65-86°F
  • Lighting: Medium lighting
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How Do You Keep Red Aquarium Plants Red?

It’s a question that hobbyists have been asking for years, and unfortunately, there is no one perfect answer. We’ll take a look at some of the most common methods used to keep red aquarium plants looking their best.

  • The main factor in sustaining the deep red coloration is proper lighting. Red aquarium plants need a good quality LED or High Output T5 fixture with a light spectrum that provides a good balance of both blue and red wavelengths. The intensity should be high enough to provide at least 2 watts per gallon of tank capacity. This can be easily achieved by adding an additional T5 bulb or a good-quality LED light.
  • Proper nutrients and fertilizers for red aquarium plants. Red aquarium plants need an adequate amount of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium, as well as other micronutrients such as Iron and Manganese. When using liquid fertilizer, it is important to provide the proper ratios in order to avoid nutrient deficiencies.
  • Routine pruning and thinning of red aquarium plants are necessary in order to keep them healthy and vibrant. Pruning helps to remove old stems and foliage, which can prevent light from reaching newly growing shoots. This will also help promote new growth, which has a deeper red coloration. It is also important to avoid overcrowding the tank as this can prevent plants from receiving enough light and nutrients.

With these simple steps, you will be able to keep red aquarium plants healthy and vibrant for many years to come. Proper lighting, nutrient supplements, and maintenance will help ensure that your beautiful red plants remain red and healthy.

Why Are Your Red Aquarium Plants Dying?

Your red plants in the tank could be dying for a variety of causes, many of which are common to all plants. Among these are:

Not Enough Light

Red plants need as much light as other types of plants, and sometimes even more. Without the proper amount of light, your tank plants will not have enough energy to live, let alone grow and thrive.

Too Much Heat

Some red aquatic plants are very sensitive to temperature changes, so if you have your tank too hot or in direct sunlight, it could be too much for them.

Not Enough Nutrients

Some plants, in order to flourish and stay healthy over time, require fertilization, which may not always be available. Your plants’ growth and development depend on a number of different nutrients, but iron, potassium, and phosphate are the three most important ones. When plants aren’t getting the proper nutrients, they may not grow as much, turn out the right colors, or even die.

Poor Water Quality

Red aquatic plants are also sensitive to water quality, so if your tank is not properly maintained and filtered, then it could be a major factor in why your plants are dying.

Diseases or Parasites

As with any living being, red aquatic plants can become infected by various forms of disease and parasites. Make sure to check for signs of these before you introduce new plants into your tank.

Too Much Competition

If you have too many plants in your tank, they may be competing for the limited resources in your tank and end up dying from starvation or lack of light.

Improper Substrate

Rooted plants require a strong and sturdy substrate to bury their roots and anchor themselves in. Otherwise, they will be unable to endure water currents and fish activity. Plants will not be able to establish strong roots or take up nutrients efficiently in gravel or other large-particle substrates.

Taking into consideration the above factors, you should be able to identify why your red aquatic plants are dying and take the appropriate steps to rectify them. Regular maintenance is also important to keep your tank clean and healthy, so make sure to keep up with this as well.

How to Care for Red Aquarium Plants for Beginners

Caring for red aquarium plants may seem intimidating for a beginner, but with the right guidelines and tips, it is possible to keep these beautiful aquatic plants thriving in your tank. Here are some useful tips on how you can care for red aquarium plants:

1. Ensure optimal lighting – Red aquarium plants require bright lighting in order to grow and thrive. Choose the right bulb for your tank, such as full-spectrum LED lighting. This will help simulate natural sunlight and encourage photosynthesis in the plants.

2. Regularly monitor water parameters – To keep red aquarium plants healthy, it is important to regularly check the pH level of your tank’s water.  The ideal pH range for most red aquarium plants is between 6.0 and 7.5. Additionally, monitor the nitrate level of your tank’s water to keep it balanced and healthy for the plants.

3. Provide enough nutrients – Red aquarium plants need nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, and other essential nutrients in order to thrive. You can either add a commercial aquarium fertilizer or provide nutrients directly to the plants by using root tabs.

4. Prune and trim as needed – Red aquarium plants can grow quickly if they’re given the right conditions, so you may need to prune and trim them occasionally for optimal growth. Make sure to use clean and sharp scissors when pruning the plants.

5. Avoid overcrowding – Overcrowding can be a big problem for red aquarium plants, as it limits their access to light and nutrients. Make sure to give your plants enough space in the tank so they can thrive without competing with other aquatic life forms. 

Following these tips will help you maintain the health and happiness of the red aquarium plants. If you give these colorful aquatic plants in your tank the attention and care they need, you will be able to admire their stunning appearance for many years to come.


Are Red Aquarium Plants Hard to Keep?

It can be challenging to cultivate red aquarium plants; however, there are a few easy red plants that will turn red without much effort as long as their fertilization requirements are met, and the PAR levels are not too low.

Do Red Aquarium Plants Need Co2?

Red aquarium plants provide a splash of color. Generally speaking, many red species need CO2, more specialized illumination, and consistent fertilization to properly show off their hues. On the other hand, there are some species that are able to thrive even in the absence of CO2 injections.

Do Red Aquarium Plants Need Red Light in Aquarium?

Yes, red aquarium plants do need red light aquarium bulbs. Unfortunately, reducing the amount of red light in your aquarium will also reduce the vibrancy of reds. Any variety of green in your aquarium’s plants will pop against a red backdrop.

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