• 1
    Select common, easy to grow freshwater plants.Freshwater plants have different lighting requirements and can sometimes be difficult to maintain. Luckily, there are some easy options for beginners that will create the look you want in your aquarium. Look for plants that are labeled as Echinoderms, Lilaeopsis, Anarchies, or Anubis.
    • Good options for tall plants include Amazon Sword and Java Fern. Amazon Sword grows quickly and easily, providing great cover for your wiring and filter system if it’s visible from behind your tank. Java Fern has long leaves and provides good protection for fish.
    • For medium-sized plants, great choices include Anubias Nana and Dwarf Sagittaria. Anubias Nana has curved stems with rounded leaves. Dwarf Sagittaria has long green leaves with curved blades and grows well around hard tank decorations like stone figurines.
  • 2
    Use mosses to decorate along the bottom and front of the tank.Easy to grow freshwater mosses include Java Moss, Willow Moss, and Water Wisteria. Moss is a low-growing plant, so you can put it in the front of your tank without obscuring other plants. It also helps keep your tank clean. Moss grows quickly, so you will see fast results with this plant.
    • Moss grows best with medium to bright light.
    • Mosses are often edible for fish.You will still need to feed your fish, however. Not all fish will eat the moss.
    • Another great option for the bottom and forefront of your tank is a plant called dwarf baby tears. This lush, leafy plant grows quickly like moss but it has a more shrub-like appearance. This plant grows best in bright light.
  • 3
    Purchase full grown plants if you want a finished look right away.Full grown plants are more expensive, but they are the easiest way to get the look you want immediately. Choose plants that have started to bud and have white roots.
    • Inspect the plants to make sure that they are free of snails, shrimp, and algae.
    • You can buy aquarium plants at a local pet shop or aquarium store. You can also find them online.
    • Research the seller before you make a purchase to ensure that they have a reputation for clean, healthy plants.
  • 4
    Grow your plants from cuttings if you want a less expensive option.While it will take longer for your final look to develop, cuttings are more economical. To grow them, you will need to acquire cuttings from an existing plant, which are sold through most aquarium stores and online. Locate the lowest stem node on your cutting, then remove the leaves below it. Plant the stem in the substrate so that it will take root.
    • You may also be able to acquire a cutting from someone you know who owns an aquarium.
  • 5
    Create visual interest by using various sized plants.Layering your plants will make your tank more attractive. Background plants should be larger, while medium-sized plants can be placed in the middle of the aquarium or along the sides. You can decorate the front of your aquarium with a carpeting plant, like moss or dwarf baby tears.
    • Plants range from small 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5.1 cm) plants up to plants that fill the tank.
    • Add figurines, rocks, and driftwood for a more interesting look. They will also provide a great place to tie down plants that do not need to be buried.