In no particular order, my top 5 easy aquarium plants are:
- Amazon Swords
- Dwarf Aquarium Lily
1. Amazon Sword
Amazon swords get most of their nutrients from their substrate. They love dirted tanks or soil-type substrates. For swords to thrive, they do need additional nutrients in the substrate such as root tabs. Dirt and soil-type tanks will not need root tabs if you've recently set up the tank, but after a month or so you will want to start regularly using root tabs.
What I like to do is pair Eco-Complete with root tabs. Swords are normally grown outside of the water before being sold, so it can be common for them to melt once you add them to your tank. But don't worry because they will grow back once they adjust to being submerged.
Vallisneria is a long-growing eelgrass that, if given a chance, can grow up to 6 feet long. Val feeds off the substrate as well as the water column, so it is important to fertilize the water column with liquid fertilizers and also to use root tabs for substrate nutrition.
It can take some time for Vallisneria to settle in, but after around six weeks it will start multiplying rapidly and can easily create a jungle-type look in your tank.
3. Dwarf Aquarium Lily
Dwarf Aquarium Lily can create a similar jungle-type look if allowed to overgrow. The large leaves provide great hiding spots for fry and timid fish. This plant benefits from using root tabs, but water column fertilization will still help it thrive.
Cryptocorynes, or crypts for short, are another great and easy aquarium plant. Like Amazon Swords, crypts commonly melt once being added to a new tank but recover quickly once they have adjusted to the water chemistry. Crypts can sometimes be sensitive to drastic changes in water chemistry such as large ( > 75%) water changes but normally come back once they adjust. Aside from those small issues, crypts can be very forgiving and make a beautiful foreground or midground plant.
Anubias are last on the list but are my personal favorite along with crypts. Anubias are slow growers but extremely hardy and forgiving. In fact, it can be a challenge to kill this plant just because it's so hardy. For this reason, Anubias make great low-light plants as well as good plants for tanks that don't receive additional fertilizers.