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Planting Advice - 55g Community


AC Members
I've recently set up a 55g I picked up from the local Facebook marketplace. Gravel substrate, a few pieces of driftwood, and a few fish that mostly came with the setup.

Current inhabitants:
  • 1- Angelfish
  • 2 - Standard Tiger Barb
  • 1- Albino Tiger Barb
  • 1 - Golden Barb
  • 3 - Cories
  • 1 - Khuli Loach
Obviously plan on expanding stock, but I'd like to get some plants going first for better health. I will NOT be using CO2 or dosing ferts (maybe an occasional root tab). Want something simple that will not easily get out of control. Here is what I'd prefer based on somewhat limited experience...
  • 1 - Amazon Sword (or something similar) off center to the right in that open space.
  • Stem plants that will give height/texture in the rear corners.
  • Some short grasses in the foreground.
  • Perhaps something attached to the driftwood (I have a couple of small Anubias Nana and a big ball of Taiwan Moss that I've had in another tank for a long time).
I like variety, but don't want chaos. I know it is hard to grow anything in the red/pink spectrum in low light/low tech, but I'd love some different colors/textures if there are workable options. What suggestions do you have for my setup?

Edit: Bonus points if you can point to good sources as it is hard to come up with much plantwise around here.


the loach

AC Members
My first question would be what kind of lighting is exactly in there. When you say 'pink' I think of a Gro Lux type but the picture doesn't look pink at all.
This is kind of important cause you want the plants not only to stay alive but grow. There is a difference between 'low light' and 'low light'. You want to aim for 1 watt per gallon for low light plants. Most prefab tanks aren't even made for that but luckily they have led strips nowadays.
Some low light plants:
Grass like: Saggitaria, Eleocharis parvula
I think Ludwigia is one of the few plants that get red with low light. Rose Swords will do it as well.
Anubias, Java fern, African fern, Java moss, Hydrocotyle leucocephala, anacharis, Crypt wendti are other low light plants.


AC Members
When mentioning red/pink I was referring to the plants themselves, not the light. My light is bright white LED.

the loach

AC Members
The problem with led lighting is that it currently still has an even lower output of Lumen per foot as fluorescent tubes. Sadly producers of prefab aquarium led fixtures seem to have have very little knowledge about the needs of aquatic plants.
So check the Lumen rating on your led fixture and the length, and I can determine which plants you can grow.
I'm a huge fan pg Crypt. Flamingo as a pink plant.. It should be available tissue cultured from most any fish store selling Dennerle planted aquarium products (or orderable)

Otherwise I think Han Aquatics sells it as grown submersed - http://www.hanaquatics.com/ ; I've bought plenty there in the past. there are likely other places online too


Global Moderator
Staff member
Sounds like a great plan!

I know the issue I've run into with my 55g with plants is in regards to the footprint. The 12" front/back eventually makes things difficult.


AC Members
The light I have is this one in the 48" model. Currently has one "day white" strip in it, but it can be expanded to three strips with assorted color temps. I'm happy to add more as needed, and likely will regardless.

I read on another forum where, according to Aqueon, 3 light strips rate 41 PAR at 12". They estimate about 20 PAR at 24". Some on that thread said not enough light while others said their plants were healthy and growing.
Whether enough will depend on the plants that are being grown... they will all have their own requirements.

A bit like growing apples or oranges.

the loach

AC Members
Can't help you with that as this is IMHO one of those companies selling questionable products (not even 1 technical specification of this product at their own site?) to hobbyists. I would never buy or endorse something like that.
PAR for instance is a unit used for growing terrestrial plants, but it is useless for show aquariums. I assume you want the fish to look good and natural while growing aquatic plants like most hobbyists.
That is where the units Kelvin and CRI are important and Lumen as well. So for this purpose PAR is about as useful as stating how many miles per gallon the thing does.
In essence PAR is the opposite of CRI and Lumen. I can tell about cheap fluorescents and led strips which make the fish and aquarium look great but IMHO Par is for growing plants in your basement when you don't care what it looks like.


AC Members
Lol. Ok. I picked up this tank with a lot of accessories (including the light) second hand for cheap. Worst that can happen is it doesn't quite do the job and I upgrade or change course.

But assuming a low light low tech setup, I'd still love plant recommendations and sources. I'd particularly like more options for a variety of tall background plants and something grass-like in the foreground.