You are currently viewing 6 Best Plants for Dutch Style Aquascape Aquarium for Beginners

6 Best Plants for Dutch Style Aquascape Aquarium for Beginners

Dutch style Aquascape consists of colorful and vibrant plants. We will review the Best plants for Dutch style Aquascape. After reading this article you will better understand, which plants to use to accomplish that mesmerizing style.

Many aquascapers think of the Dutch style aquascape as one that requires a lot of discipline with strict rules to follow closely to achieve success.

Dutch style aquascape is often compared to a real garden as each plant is grouped in rows or layers with almost the entirety of your substrate being covered by plants. Planning your entire aquarium is important to guarantee success.

best plants for dutch style aquascape aquarium

Best Plants for Dutch Style Aquascape

The guiding principles behind the Dutch style aquascape technique consist of using many plants. You should use stem plants of no more than 10-12 species, to create a lush arrangement. In the Dutch style aquascape. Stem plants are grouped and neatly planted in rows from back to front.

We will start with the most common aquatic plants for Dutch style aquascaping.

Saururus Cernuus

Dutch-style aquascape or japanese style aquascape

Most of the Dutch style aquascape style flowers will grow to reach 6 up to 8 inches long. The Saurus Cernuus is no exception to this. When flowers have reached maturity its white flowers will change to turn brown which the plant’s namesake “lizard’s tail” comes.

It carries either heart-shaped, arrow-shaped, or lance-shaped. Upon being crushed the leaves will release either sassafras or citrus aroma.

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Saururus cernuus, Lizard’s Tail, is a colonizing perennial with fibrous rhizomes that grow along the edges of ponds, swamps, and marshes in sun to part shade. The distinctive heart-shaped leaves grow above the water 2-4′ tall.

The aqua plant used to be a very popular choice for Dutch style tanks due to its slow and modifiable growth. Besides Lobelia cardinalis, the Saurus Cernuus was the most popular stem plant used in the Leiden streets. It’s a very popular Nature Aquarium plant, mainly used as a contrast against fine-leaved Eleocharis species.

Water – 74-86 Degrees Fahrenheit

Lighting – ​Intensive light required for better growth

Appearance – Bright-green leaves as well as the darker green body

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Lobelia Cardinalis

Dutch-style aquascape or japanese style aquascape

Cardinal Plant (Lobelia cardinalis) is a somewhat unusual foreground and middle ground plant. When grown tall enough, it can also be excellent in the background. Bright green when in its submerged form it sometimes has red-purple tints on the undersides of its leaves.

Also, this red-purple coloration is more typical in its emersed form. This plant is best known for the bright red flower that grows from its emersed form.

In aquariums, the leaves turn into a beautiful shade of light-green, with stems 10-30 cm tall and 5-10 cm wide. It needs intensive light to thrive. Largely used in Dutch aquariums in so-called “plant streets”.

In open aquariums, it can grow above the water surface, where it forms very beautiful scarlet flowers and the leaves regain their color.

Water – 63-82 Degrees Fahrenheit

Lighting – For best growth, moderate to high lighting is required

Appearance – Bright-green, sometimes with red-purple on the undersides of the leaves

Hygrophila Corymbosa

Originally from South East Asia, hygrophila will spread fast in your aquarium and possess stunning green, massive leaves, almost before your very eyes.

This plant can be used in most aquariums but shines in larger ones. It will thrive both when planted underwater, as well as growing and emerging above the water surface, where it may grow purple leaves.

You can use Hygrophila to create a huge green space in your aquarium with minimal effort, easily filling up a large tank in a matter of just a few weeks.

It also absorbs nitrates and ammonia, keeping these parameters under control for the fish in your tank. There are plenty of different hygrophila out there, which are mainly distinguished by the length they reach when fully matured.

However, they all share the same major characteristics, such as requiring a good amount of lighting and usually thrive in larger tanks. - For all your creative needs!

Water – 72-82 Degrees Fahrenheit

Lighting – Bright is preferable. Best growth in High light

Appearance – ​Slightly differ with stark green color leaves

Limnophila Aquatica

Dutch-style aquascape or japanese style aquascape

One of the most used plants for Dutch style aquascape is Limnophila aquatics. It is also known as Ambulia or Limnophila Indicia. Beautiful aquarium plant circulating by finely branched leaves of light green color from South-Asia.

Under the right growing conditions, when adding CO² and growing the plant on rich soil. This plant will grow fast from 25 to 50 cm long, with each stem able to grow up to 15 cm wide.

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With good lighting, it will have horizontal side shoots growing on its sides and will become attractive with a dense bush. To get the most out of this plant, you should plant several stems in a small group.

When placed in open aquariums, it can sometimes grow shoots outside of the water carrying small blue flowers. Down below you can see what are the suitable conditions for that aqua plant.

It can be very full like a feather boa. This was growing from the bottom of my plants and came out much brighter green and less frilly than the larger stems.

Water​ – 75.2 – 80.6 Degrees Fahrenheit

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Lighting​ – It demands medium light

Appearance – Circled by light-green and finely branched leaves


Which plants are best for Dutch style aquascape

Cryptocoryne generally called Crypts is a greatly popular kind of aquatic plant. These fabulous aquatic plants have an endless list of variants and make beautiful mid-ground supplements to planted aquariums. Known for their “crypt melt”,

Cryptocoryne can be frightening at times. But they are well worth planting and the reward gained for the risk is large. Once established, these aquatic plants are however hard to maintain.

The typical habitats of Cryptocoryne are mostly not too rapidly flowing streams and huge rivers. They also live in seasonally flooded forest pools or on river banks rarely submerged.

If you think that you can take care of that plant here are suitable conditions give below.

Water​ – 75 – 82 Degrees Fahrenheit

Lighting – The lighting should be low to moderate

Appearance – Green to the olive-green body, and reddish-brown leaves

Tiger Lotus

Dutch-style aquascape or japanese style aquascape

Tiger Lotuses are a lily pad and it is one of the main plants for Dutch style aquascape. The red leaves are most likely to develop striped vegetation under high lighting.

The red tiger lotus will carry royal purple on the bottoms side of its leaves. However, if sufficient iron isn’t present, it may produce green leaves instead.

Unfortunately, the great rate at which these plants grow makes them an invasive species. Especially if they are in tropical and subtropical climates. If no freeze happens to kill them, they will most likely overtake any slow-moving water system.

They are generally categorized as pond plants because of their crazy growth rate. If left alone in an aquarium, they will quickly overtake and replace your other plants.

Planting them in an aquarium is still possible, but if you want to grow it together with other plants, it must be kept from expanding.

Water – 74 – 84 Degrees Fahrenheit

Lighting​ – Grows best under high lightning

Appearance – Almost Reddish leaves, but can also produce green leaves

What Makes Dutch Style Aquascape Stand Out

Plants are base for Dutch style aquascape. Whereas it is also important to look into the things that make the plants look so appealing to the eye.

We are mainly going to look into the Specifications, Appearance, Lightning, and Maintenance. It is a demanding aquascape style not recommended for beginners, as well as a lot of tradition behind it.

A Dutch style aquascape is all about the plants. There is no hardscaping to do with this style as we are going to use the plants to set up our landscape.

The main thing with this style is obtaining a taller tank as you will be using certain plants that do get tall. And you want to allow them time to grow and show their length before pruning.


Use a mix of differently colored LEDs. You can either use white color LEDs to make your aquarium shine or different RGB LEDs to make it look more beautiful. You should get more than 60 PAR at the substrate level to get appropriate plant coloration.

In short, Dutch aquascaping defines it’s own use of plants but distinguishes itself from the other styles by how it uses terraces and space.

So, for normal LEDs we recommend Nicrew’s Classic LED for just mono-color lighting. For multi-color RGB lighting, we will highly suggest you go with Nicrew’s RGB Plus Aquarium lights.


One of the most important factors is to maintain the aquarium plants in dutch style aquascape regularly with a proper cleaning kit. To maintain the beauty of the tank you must take needed actions like regular cleaning of the tank, water changing, trimming, etc.

Regular maintenance will also keep your aquascape away from potential algae or snail infestation. Have a schedule to clean it once a day, week, or month. The regular you follow this the longer your tank will survive.

Recommended Dutch Style Aquascape Principles

  • Maintain 4 inches for a single plant species. This will help in balancing the color and style of the aquascape.
  • No duplication of the same species in another group. It will create conflict and can cause difficulty in planting other plant species.
  • A shoal of fish should be issued with at least 12 fish from the same species The rules of the Dutch style is very restrictive. Dutch-style aquascape has various variation built for the style to adapt.
  • It depends on the things being used to build the aquascape. The common rule is to have approximately 70% of the aquarium floor planted.


Due to the heavy planting present in this style, algae will bloom in the beginning stages won’t likely occur. You also likely remarked that driftwood and rocks are not used in this aquascape style.

Another great thing to add to the Dutch style planted aquarium is fish. Having a bank of fish will bring the whole aquascape together as well as creating a better sense of completeness. Most tetra species would make great candidates when deciding what school of fish you want to use.

Want to find more? Learn about in the difference between the leading aquascape styles:
Dutch style aquascape or Japanese style aquascape | Which is better.

If you want to find more about plants suitable for nature style aquascape visit: Which plants are best for nature style aquascape aquarium.