What are the best plants for a fish tank?

When setting up an aquarium, choosing the right plants is as vital as selecting the right fish. The green foliage not only adds aesthetic value but also aids in maintaining a healthy ecosystem within the tank. The plants provide oxygen, substrate for fish to lay eggs, and a habitat for beneficial microorganisms. However, not every plant is suitable for an aquarium, and the choice largely depends on factors like light intensity, water conditions, and the type of fish. Based on ease of care and compatibility with various species, here are some of the best plants for your fish tank.

Java Fern: A Hardy Aquatic Plant

Native to Southeast Asia, Java Fern is a popular choice for aquariums due to its ability to grow in diverse water conditions. This plant features broad, bright green leaves that provide a vibrant contrast to the fish in the tank. It’s an easy plant to care for, making it an excellent choice for beginners.

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It thrives in subdued lighting and does not require a nutrient-rich substrate. Its roots can attach to various surfaces like driftwood, rocks, or decorations. This versatile plant doesn’t need a lot of light, providing an excellent habitat for fish species that prefer lower light conditions.

Java fern reproduces by producing small plantlets on the older leaves, which eventually detach and settle elsewhere in the tank. It’s a slow grower, so you won’t have to worry about it taking over your aquarium.

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Amazon Sword: A Bold Statement Plant

Amazon Sword, an aquatic plant native to the Amazon River basin, is another top choice for aquariums. Its distinctive, robust leaves can grow up to 20 inches, creating a striking centerpiece in the tank. As this plant grows tall, it is best suited for larger aquariums.

Although it is not as hardy as Java fern, Amazon Sword isn’t too demanding. It prefers medium to high light conditions and needs a nutrient-rich substrate to grow well. This plant species also provides a great hiding spot for shy fish and a substrate for egg-laying.

To keep it healthy, supplement the water with iron and other trace elements. The Amazon sword propagates through side shoots, which can be trimmed and replanted.

Anubias: A Versatile Aquatic Plant

Anubias is a broad-leaved plant that can add a luscious green touch to your aquarium. Its leaves are thick and tough, which makes them resistant to being nibbled on by fish. This makes Anubias a great option if you have herbivorous species in your tank.

Like the Java fern, Anubias does not require a lot of light to thrive and can grow on various surfaces. It is a slow grower, so it won’t take over your tank quickly. However, it is susceptible to algae growth if exposed to too much light, so it’s best to keep it in a shaded area.

Anubias also boasts flowers that can bloom underwater, an unusual trait among aquarium plants. It propagates through rhizome division, which is an easy process, even for beginner aquarists.

Duckweed: A Floating Aquatic Plant

If you’re looking for a plant that floats on the water surface, Duckweed is one of the best. It is a tiny plant with light green leaves that float on the water’s surface, providing a nice contrast to the submerged plants. It’s also beneficial as it helps to limit algae growth by blocking light.

Duckweed is a great asset for fish tanks as it provides a natural food source for some fish species. It reproduces quickly and can cover the entire surface of the aquarium if not controlled. This can be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on your setup and the species of fish you keep.

Cryptocoryne: A Low Maintenance Aquatic Plant

Cryptocoryne, or simply ‘crypto,’ is another excellent choice for your fish tank due to its low maintenance requirements. It’s a versatile plant that can grow in various water conditions and light levels.

This plant has a unique feature called ‘crypt melt,’ where it loses leaves when introduced to a new environment, only to regrow them later. This adaptation allows Cryptocoryne to adjust to new water conditions effectively.

The plant displays a variety of colors, from green to brown, depending on the species and water conditions. The different species of Cryptocoryne also vary in size, making them suitable for both foreground and background placement in the tank.

Choosing the right plant for your aquarium depends on factors like the size of your tank, the fish you keep, and the water conditions. The above plants are among the best choices due to their versatility, ease of care, and compatibility with a variety of fish species. As a final note, always remember to consider the needs of both your plants and fish to ensure a thriving, balanced ecosystem in your aquarium.

Vallisneria: An Easy-to-Care, Tall Aquatic Plant

Vallisneria, frequently dubbed as "eelgrass" or "tape grass," is another low-maintenance plant to consider adding to your aquarium. It is an underwater plant with long, ribbon-like leaves that sway with the water current, giving your fish tank a natural river-like feel. Due to its max size of up to 6 feet, it is best suited for larger aquariums.

This plant is appreciated for its easy care level and ability to grow well in various water conditions. Vallisneria prefers medium to high light levels and can quickly cover the tank bottom with its runner-like reproduction method. It provides excellent coverage and hiding spots for fish and invertebrates.

One of the unique features about Vallisneria is its flowering habit. It produces small, white flowers at the water surface, adding a unique aesthetic appeal to your aquarium. However, similar to other aquarium plants, it requires regular trimming to keep it in control and prevent it from overly dominating the tank.

Mosses: A Carpet-Like Aquatic Plants

Mosses, particularly Java moss, are versatile and easy-to-grow plants that can add a lush carpet-like feel to your aquarium. This plant is native to Southeast Asia and is known for its hardy and adaptable nature. Given its adaptable nature, it’s suitable for beginners and a favorite of experienced aquarists alike.

Java moss has a low to moderate care level, making it easy to maintain. It grows well in a variety of water conditions and light levels. It doesn’t require a specific substrate; instead, it attaches itself to different surfaces in the tank, such as driftwood or rocks.

Java moss can grow to a considerable size, making it an excellent choice for aquascape designs. With regular trimming, you can shape it into desirable forms like trees, hills, or walls. Adding moss to your fish tank not only enhances its beauty but also provides a hiding and breeding ground for fish and invertebrates.


Setting up a thriving fish tank goes beyond just selecting the right fish. Adding aquatic plants to your fish tank can significantly enhance its aesthetic appeal and provide a healthier environment for your fish. When you buy amazon or other aquarium plants, consider factors such as the size of your tank, water conditions, and the needs of your fish.

Among the numerous options available, Java Fern, Amazon Sword, Anubias, Duckweed, Cryptocoryne, Vallisneria, and Java moss stand out due to their ease of care, compatibility with a variety of fish species, and diverse aesthetics they bring to your tank.

From floating plants like Duckweed, creating a shade and limiting algae growth, to carpet plants like Java moss, providing a lush, green environment, these aquarium plants offer different benefits. However, it’s crucial to ensure they are well taken care of to keep both your plants and fish healthy.

Remember, a well-planted aquarium not only enhances your home décor but also creates a thriving ecosystem for your fish. However, always monitor the growth of these plants as some, like Duckweed and Vallisneria, can quickly dominate the tank if not checked. In the end, your choice will largely depend on the look you desire and the specific needs of your fishes. Happy fish-keeping!

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