8 Of The Best Plants For The Walstad Method!

Selecting the best plants for Walstad method aquariums is more important than people realize as plants provide natural filtration and help maintain safe and stable water parameters.

There are plenty of cheap and easy-to-find plants in the hobby that work well but a simple combo of using Limnophila Sessiliflora or Rotala Rotundifolia as your submerged plant with Salvinia or Red Root Floaters can easily maintain a thriving Walstad tank.

Here are my experiences with some of the best plants for Walstad tanks.

Limnophila Sessiliflora

Limnophila Sessiliflora
Limnophila Sessiliflora

Limnophila Sessiliflora is the best plant for Walstad aquariums due to its rapid growth rate using the nitrogen compounds in your tank maintaining safe water parameters for your fish.

Many online vendors list Limnophila Sessiliflora as having a fast growth rate but in my experience, it’s the fastest growing stem plant in the hobby by far.

It works well with low to medium light and no CO2 making it the perfect option for Walstad tanks.

Limnophila Sessiliflora is a nitrate hog and can quickly use up the ammonium and nitrate in your aquarium starving itself of food.

This can cause the plant to turn brown but you can feed your fish more, increase the number of fish in the aquarium, or start to dose the tank with a liquid fertilizer to fix the issue.

Salvinia

Salvinia In My Tank
Salvinia

Salvinia is the best type of floating plant for Walstad aquariums as it uses up huge amounts of ammonium and nitrate to support its rapid growth rate.

There are different variants of Salvinia on the market but they all have a rapid growth rate making it perfect for the Walstad method.

Unlike some other floating plants, Salvinia does very well under low light removing the need for an expensive aquarium light keeping costs low.

I remove fist fulls of Salvinia from my aquariums each week due to its rapid growth rate but this only takes a minute so I would still class it as a low-maintenance plant.

Rotala Rotundifolia

Rotala Rotundifolia
Rotala Rotundifolia

Rotala Rotundifolia is a great plant for the Walstad method as it is cheap, easy to find, and has a fast growth rate.

Various plants from the Rotala family are on the market with some having a slower growth rate than regular Rotala Rotundifolia.

I have tried some of these alternatives and would always recommend Rotala Rotundifolia for a Walstad tank as its faster growth rate allows it to remove large amounts of ammonium and nitrate from your aquarium.

Rotala Rotundifolia works well under various lighting conditions and I have kept it in my shrimp jars that run a cheap USB light helping to keep costs as low as possible.

Pearlweed

Pearlweed
Pearlweed

Pearlweed is one of the best options for a single-plant Walstad tank setup as it’s cheap, easy to keep, and grows quickly.

The idea of a single-plant Walstad tank is that you only use one plant in the tank and very few plants in the hobby can do this well.

Pearlweed can be trimmed to act as a foreground or carpeting plant while also being left to grow out in the mid and background to add height to the tank.

A single tub of Pearlweed can easily take over an aquarium within a month or two so it will require a lot of maintenance in Walstad tanks with multiple plants.

Red Root Floaters

Red Root Floaters In My Guppy Tank
Red Root Floaters

Red Root Floaters are another great floating plant for Walstad method aquariums that help naturally purify your water.

They seem prone to melt if water gets splashed on them but the main culprits of water splashing are filters and air stones that are often left out of Walstad tanks.

Salvinia does seem to grow faster than Red Root Floaters making it a better option but many people are drawn to Red Root Floaters due to their red hue.

You will need a medium-intensity light and plenty of nitrates in your water to get the red hue on Red Root Floaters and many Walstad tanks use low-power lights with other fast-growing plants that also consume nitrates.

This makes it difficult to get the Red Root Floaters to turn red with this type of aquarium and mine have always kept their standard green color.

Hygrophila Polysperma

Hygrophila Polysperma
Hygrophila Polysperma

Hygrophila Polysperma can be a good plant for Walstad method aquariums as its rapid growth rate helps maintain safe water parameters for your fish.

I used to use Hygrophila Polysperma heavily in my tanks but its unpredictable growth rate annoys me.

Unlike Limnophila Sessiliflora and Rotala Rotundifolia which grow vertically, Hygrophila Polysperma grow out in all directions.

This can block light from plants below it and potentially cause problems in your tank.

The unpredictable growth rate may increase maintenance for your tank if you want to maintain a pristine aquascape.

Hygrophila Polysperma ‘Rosanervig’

Hygrophila Polysperma 'Rosanervig'
Hygrophila Polysperma ‘Rosanervig’

Hygrophila Polysperma ‘Rosanervig’ has a fast growth rate and can work well in Walstad method tanks.

This plant has a virus that limits chlorophyll production in the leaves causing pale leaves that can develop a pink hue in the right lighting.

Pink leaves on easy to keep plants are rare so this makes Hygrophila Polysperma ‘Rosanervig’ a popular option in the hobby.

Just like regular Hygrophila Polysperma, it grows out in random directions and often grows horizontally rather than vertically presenting similar issues to Hygrophila Polysperma.

Duckweed

Duckweed
Duckweed

Duckweed is cheap and easy to find with its rapid growth rate making it a great option for Walstad aquariums.

This plant will use up huge amounts of ammonium and nitrate in your aquarium helping to keep your fish safe but it does come with downsides.

Sticking your hand in your tank for maintenance will result in tiny duckweed leaves covering your arm.

Duckweed is difficult to remove too as a single leftover duckweed leaf will propagate within days and quickly cover the surface of your aquarium.

I ended up having to re-scape my tank that had duckweed in it as it was too difficult to remove.

This is why I prefer to keep Salvinia or Red Root Floaters as my floating plant of choice but the lower price of duckweed can make it a better option for people on a budget.