Our Favorite Easy-to-Low Light Plants: Cryptocoryne Lutea, Vallisneria


Our Favorite Easy-to-Low Light Plants: Cryptocoryne Lutea, 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. You need to take into account many factors when selecting plants that will produce the best results.

What should you consider when selecting 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.

Most new aquarium keepers will want to find plants that are affordable and easy to maintain. 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

Two staples in the freshwater aquarium hobby are cryptocoryne-lutea and vallisneria. They are low-light plants that can grow in almost any light and are easy to keep. Let’s look at some 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 one is relatively inexpensive compared to other plants. It comes in one or two plants per bundle. 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. To prevent spreading diseases to your tank, wash the plants after you add them 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. Because they are faster growing and easier to raise, plants purchased from wholesalers tend to be grown up from water. The best thing to do if a plant is prone to melting is to just wait. Although the leaves might be melted, the roots are still intact and will often produce new shoots.


Vallisneria, also known as “Val”, is very similar to Cryptocoryne. It is easy to plant and grow. It can reproduce every five to six days, sending runners out that turn 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.

It is easy to maintain. One can just go in and trim the old Val when it reaches the point where it blocks out the newer plants. You can usually find it for less than five dollars. 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 definitely one of the plants freshwater plant enthusiasts will want to keep in their arsenal. When keeping multiple aquariums, it’s a good idea to keep it in one tank at all times, so that it can always be on hand when switching up an aquarium scape. Aquarists, whether new or experienced, can’t go wrong either with Cryptocoryne, or Vallisneria. They are truly some easy, rewarding and versatile plants to grow. We recommend them to anyone who wants a plant tank but doesn’t want to spend a lot.