Top 10 Weirdly Beautiful Aquarium Plants

Top 10 Weirdly Beautiful Aquarium Plants

No one can say how many species of plants are used in aquarium hobby, as there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different types of aquatic plants.

Nonetheless, even within this vast array of diversity, there are some plants that immediately catch the eye because they are so unlike any others, almost alien in appearance.

Whether you are new to the hobby or a seasoned aquarist, these weirdly beautiful plants can make a fantastic addition to your tanks, especially if you’re looking for something not ordinary.

In this article, I have compiled a list of the most peculiar, mesmerizing, and strangest plants (spoiler – and more) in terms of their shape and/or coloration.

Here are some of my top picks:

  1. Subwassertang 
  2. Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
  3. Madagascar lace (Aponogeton madagascariensis)
  4. Eriocaulon cinereum
  5. Banana plant (Nymphoides aquatica)
  6. Marimo moss ball
  7. Myriophyllum mattogrossense
  8. Limnophila Sessiliflora var. Orange
  9. Caloglossa (Caloglossa beccarii)
  10. Guppy grass

1. Subwassertang 

Subwassertang Care Guide – Planting, Growing, and PropagationSubwassertang has a unique appearance with its delicate, feathery fronds that resemble small fern leaves.

This amazing plant lacks a stem, leaves, and roots – they only have branching, deer antler-like, flat green thalli. 

An interesting aspect of this plant is that (besides the genus Lomariopsis) it still does not have a scientific name. Biologists note that there are no records of it growing naturally in aquatic environments. It’s believed that all currently sold plants are clones.

All in all, Subwassertang is a visually appealing, low-maintenance aquatic plant that offers both aesthetic value and functional benefits in aquariums.

Subwassertang Basic Requirements:

  • pH: 6.0 – 8.0
  • Water Hardness: Soft to hard water
  • Temperature tolerance: 64 – 75 °F (18 – 24 °C)
  • Lighting: Moderate
  • Propagation: by splitting
  • Care level: Easy

Subwassertang

PROS CONS
Hardy plant Sensitive to Seachem Excel
Can be used in nano tanks Susceptible to algae growth
Can tolerate a wide range of water conditions  
Provides a lot of surface area for shrimp and fish to feed on  
Provides a lot of cover for small fish and shrimp  
Does not require any substrate  
Easy to propagate  

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2. Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)

Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) in the Aquarium. Care Guide – Planting, Growing, and PropagationLucky bamboo has long, slender stems with bright green foliage. Its elegant appearance adds a touch of beauty and serenity to aquarium landscapes.

In aquarium settings, only the stem is submerged, while the foliage emerges above the waterline. This peculiar arrangement creates a visually striking and captivating appearance, making lucky bamboo a standout feature in any aquatic environment.

Its vertical growth habit provides a vertical dimension to aquascapes, enhancing the overall aesthetics.

Lucky bamboo Basic Requirements:

  • pH: 6.5 – 8.0
  • Water Hardness: Soft to hard water
  • Temperature tolerance: 60 — 80 °F (16 — 27 °C)
  • Lighting: Moderate
  • Propagation: by cuttings 
  • Care level: Easy

Lucky bamboo

PROS CONS
Relatively hardy plant Sensitive to chlorine, fluoride, etc.
Can be used in nano tanks Not a fully aquatic plant
Easy to propagate  

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3. Madagascar lace (Aponogeton madagascariensis)

Madagascar Lace (Aponogeton madagascariensis) Care Guide – Planting, Growing, and PropagationMadagascar lace is a captivating aquatic plant renowned for its distinctive and unusual perforated leaf structure, which sets it apart from other aquarium plants.

Basically, this is the only aquatic plant that has perforated leaf morphology.

This striking feature has fascinated aquarium enthusiasts for over a century, making Madagascar lace a cherished and sought-after addition to aquatic landscapes worldwide.

Madagascar lace Basic Requirements:

  • pH: 5.5 – 7.5
  • Water Hardness: Soft to hard water
  • Temperature tolerance: 68 — 75°F (20 — 24°C)
  • Lighting: Moderate to high 
  • Propagation: via bulbs (daughter plants)
  • Care level: Difficult

Madagascar lace

PROS CONS
Very beautiful. Unique Sensitive to water parameters
Can be used in nano tanks Requires CO2, nutrient-rich substrate, and fertilization
Provides a lot of surface area for shrimp and fish to feed on Dormancy period
Provides a lot of cover for small fish and shrimp Perforated leaves require regular cleaning
Easy to propagate Need large tanks

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4. Eriocaulon cinereum

Eriocaulon cinereum Care Guide – Planting, Growing, and Propagation profileEriocaulon cinereum has needle-like leaves that extend in all directions, giving it a striking resemblance to sea urchins. This distinctive leaf arrangement sets apart this plant from other aquarium plants.

Due to its eye-catching appearance and compact growth habit, Eriocaulon cinereum can be an excellent choice as a foreground plant in aquariums.

This plant can be challenging to cultivate compared to others in the aquarium. However, with proper care, it will thrive and become a stunning focal point.

Eriocaulon cinereum Basic Requirements:

  • pH: 5.5 – 7.0
  • Water Hardness: Soft to hard water
  • Temperature tolerance: 68 — 82°F (20 — 28°C)
  • Lighting: Moderate to high 
  • Propagation: by cuttings 
  • Care level: Difficult 

Eriocaulon cinereum

PROS CONS
Very beautiful Sensitive to water parameters
Can be used in nano tanks Requires CO2, nutrient-rich substrate, and fertilization
Provides a lot of surface area for shrimp and fish to feed on Ugly flower stalks
Provides a lot of cover for small fish and shrimp Short lifespan
Easy to propagate  

 Related article

5. Banana plant (Nymphoides aquatica)

Banana plant (Nymphoides aquatica) Care Guide – Planting, Growing, and Propagation mainThe most striking feature of the Banana plant is its tubers, which resemble a banana, giving it an unmistakable appearance that stands out among other aquatic plants.

This plant also has large (up to 4 inches (10 cm)) floating leaves which have an ovate to reniform shape, and small submerged leaves. Leaf texture can vary from smooth to significantly roughened, particularly on the underside.

Banana plant Basic Requirements:

  • pH: 6.0 – 7.5
  • Water Hardness: Soft to medium water
  • Temperature tolerance: 68 — 79°F (20 — 26°C)
  • Lighting: Moderate to high 
  • Propagation: by cuttings 
  • Care level: Medium 

Banana plant

PROS CONS
Unique appearance Sensitive to water parameters
Grows fully submerged and partially emerged Not for small tanks
  Hard to propagate
  Bananas are not permanent

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6. Marimo moss ball 

Marimo moss ball (Aegagropila Linnaei)I simply cannot make this list without Marimo Moss balls. Even though technically, it is not exactly a plant, but a rare form of filamentous green algae, it is still a very popular choice for planted tanks. 

Their spherical shape sets them apart from other plants commonly found in aquariums. Marimo Moss Balls are unique and look really beautiful! 

Do you know that Marimo Moss Balls can live more than 100 years?

These intriguing and delightful green fuzzy balls are sure to capture attention and enhance the beauty of any aquarium.

In addition to their aesthetic appeal, Marimo moss balls are incredibly easy to care for. They can thrive in both freshwater and brackish water. This makes them ideal for both beginner and experienced aquarists.

Marimo moss balls Basic Requirements:

  • pH: 7.0 – 8.0
  • Water Hardness: Soft to hard water
  • Temperature tolerance: 43 — 75°F (5 — 24°C)
  • Lighting: Low to Moderate
  • Propagation: by splitting
  • Care level: Easy

Marimo Moss Balls

PROS CONS
Has a unique form
Very beautiful and decorative
Cannot tolerate warm temperatures
Easy to care for and maintain Grows very slowly
Hardy Many fake Marimo moss balls on the market
Great for nano tanks.  
Does not require substrate  
Live for dozens of years  
It is cheap  

 Related article:

7. Myriophyllum mattogrossense

Top 10 Weirdly Beautiful Aquarium Plants Myriophyllum mattogrossenseThis plant has delicate, feather-like leaves with a light green hue. When subjected to bright lighting, the plant’s leaves take on an elegant fan-shaped appearance with some red coloration.

In general, many plants from the genus Myriophyllum resemble a Christmas tree. However, most of them tend to branch weakly, requiring frequent trimming.

Matogrossense myriophyllum is an exception, actively branching even without trimming. When trimmed, it can be done above a lateral branch, resulting in a neat and fluffy bush with star-like tops on the lateral shoots, avoiding the need to deal with unsightly stumps.

The beauty and decorative appeal of matogrossense simply cannot go unnoticed.

Myriophyllum mattogrossense balls Basic Requirements:

  • pH: 6.0 – 7.5
  • Water Hardness: Soft to hard water
  • Temperature tolerance: 68 — 79°F (20 — 26°C)
  • Lighting: Moderate to high
  • Propagation: by cuttings
  • Care level: Easy-Medium

Myriophyllum mattogrossense

PROS CONS
Very beautiful and decorative
Relatively hardy
Not for nano tanks
Provides a lot of surface area for shrimp and fish to feed on Heavy root feeder
Provides a lot of cover for small fish and shrimp  

8. Limnophila Sessiliflora var. Orange

Top 10 Weirdly Beautiful Aquarium Plants Limnophila Sessiliflora var. OrangeUnlike its common green counterparts, the stunning orange variation of Limnophila Sessiliflora adds an extraordinary touch to any tank.

What makes this plant truly remarkable is its unique orange-red hue, which adds a burst of brightness and contrast to aquarium layouts. This vibrant coloration makes it an eye-catching addition to any aquascape.

Another interesting feature is that the plant’s leaves lift and fold as darkness falls. During the day, they return to their original position, forming a lush crown. This characteristic is independent of artificial lighting.

In addition to its striking appearance, Limnophila Sessiliflora Orange is relatively easy to care for, making it suitable for both beginner and experienced aquarists.

Limnophila Sessiliflora balls Basic Requirements:

  • pH: 6.0 – 8.0
  • Water Hardness: Soft to hard water
  • Temperature tolerance: 73 — 82°F (22 — 28°C)
  • Lighting: Low to high
  • Propagation: by cuttings
  • Care level: Easy-Medium

Limnophila Sessiliflora var. Orange

PROS CONS
Vibrant Appearance
Hardy
Not for nano tanks
Provides a lot of surface area for shrimp and fish to feed on Aggressive growth
Provides a lot of cover for small fish and shrimp  
Easy to Care for  

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9. Caloglossa beccarii

Top 10 Weirdly Beautiful Aquarium Plants - Caloglossa beccariiCaloglossa (Caloglossa beccarii) is one of the rare but incredibly beautiful red algae often utilized in aquariums as a decorative plant. With its appearance resembling moss, Caloglossa is frequently referred to as Red moss.

The so-called Red moss can display various colors such as reddish-brown, purple, and brownish hues. It consists of numerous elongated branching plates. As it grows, the red alga firmly attaches to driftwood and rocks, typically forming clusters and balls in the aquarium.

By arranging it, we can easily give the aquarium’s interior design a unique appearance. It’s hard to find another plant that can so effortlessly mimic the semblance of red moss like Caloglossa.

Caloglossa beccarii Basic Requirements:

  • pH: 6.0 – 8.0
  • Water Hardness: Soft to hard water
  • Temperature tolerance: 73 — 82°F (22 — 28°C)
  • Lighting: Low to high
  • Propagation: by splitting
  • Care level: Easy

Caloglossa beccarii

PROS CONS
Has a unique form
Very beautiful and decorative
Can easily spread around the tank
Easy to care for and maintain  
Hardy  
Great for nano tanks  
Does not require substrate  

10. Guppy grass (Najas guadalupensis)

Guppy Grass (Najas guadalupensis)Personally, I adore this plant not only for its ease of care but also for the aesthetic it brings to the aquarium.

When you look at this plant, it is impossible hard to tell where it begins and where it ends. It appears as if it is just a huge tangle of intricately intertwined thin branches. Guppy Grass is undoubtedly one of the weirdest plants in the hobby.

This plant is very undemanding. It does not require much light or specific water parameters, making it a great choice for low-light aquariums.

Guppy grass Basic Requirements:

  • pH: 6.0 – 8.0
  • Water Hardness: Soft to hard water
  • Temperature tolerance: 68 — 79°F (20 — 26°C)
  • Lighting: Low to moderate
  • Propagation: by breaking stems
  • Care level: Easy

Guppy Grass

PROS CONS
Fast growth rate Fragile, easy to break
Easy to care for and maintain Creates a mess in the tank due to its excessive growth
Hardy Once established, it can be hard to get rid of
Helps to slow down algae growth in the tank Can block sunlight absorption for lower-dwelling plants in the tank
Does not require substrate  
Absolutely wonderful for sucking up nitrates and ammonia  
Provides a lot of cover for small fish and shrimp  

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Some Other Interesting Options:

  1. Climacium japonicum (for paludariums)
  2. Rhodobryum giganteum

In Conclusion

Of course, in the world of aquarium keeping, there are plenty of amazing and beautiful plants that can be interesting for hobbyists.

Nonetheless, there are always those that stand out particularly strongly, whether it’s due to their shape, color, or intricate structure. These plants, in my list, embody what one might term ” weirdly beautiful”.

If you disagree with any of my choices, or if you know of a plant that definitely deserves a place on such a list but hasn’t been mentioned, you can always reach out to me. I would be more than happy to consider adding it.

Related articles:

  1. Submerged Aquarium Plants as Nitrate Suppressors
  2. Advanced Guide to Planted Tank Lighting.
  3. Top Coldwater Aquarium Plants

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