When you’re deciding how to set up your tank, choosing what plants to have is a big decision. You need to decide whether you want them to be fake or real. Floating or submerged. And on top of that if you’re a beginner you’re also going to want to pick a plant you know you can manage. Don’t worry, after reading this article you’re going to know what all the best plants for betta fish tanks are!
Why Do Bettas Like Plants?
Before you think about whether you should have a planted tank or not, you may be wondering if betta fish like plants. And there are actually a few reasons betta fish LOVE plants.
They Provide Hiding Places
Bettas only feel safe when they have a place to hide. Even though your tank is perfectly safe for them it’s still important to make sure they have this. One of the ways you can do this is by densely planting one side of your tank. This is even more necessary if you’re housing your betta with other fish. However, along with plants, caves also work great.
They Make The Tank Feel More Natural
Secondly, a bettas natural habitat will often be dense with plants on the surface and in the water. In fact, they actually provide relief from the sun and plenty of shade for your betta. So why not imitate this in your tank. The more natural your tank feels the less stressed your betta will feel.
They Keep Your Betta Entertained
And lastly, dense jungles are going to keep your betta entertained. Not only will he find joy just swimming through all the different plants in your tank, but it’s also going to give him lots of places to explore. You’ll help keep the tank feeling fresh for him and as if there are lots of different areas he can go to. Imagine what a tank with no decorations would feel like for him.
The Best Plants For Betta Fish Tanks
Now that you have a better understanding on why you should pick each type of plant, it’s time to know what the best plants for betta fish tanks are! There are so many to choose from! Some of them are real, some fake. Some are submerged while others constantly float on the surface of the tank. Whatever you’re choice they’re all going to bring a lot of life and vibrancy to your tank, and they’re all excellent choices.
Best Submerged Plants For Bettas
There are two main types of live plants that you can put into your tank. Submerged plants and floating plants. Here are the best live plants for bettas that are submerged. They’re relatively easy to take care of and they’re not going to cause any harm to your betta. First up:
- Java Fern is one of the most popular aquarium plants and is loved by all skill levels due to its ease of care and its ability to instantly transform a normal aquarium into a captivating aquascape.
Java ferns are plants native to Southeast Asia. They can be grown in and out of the water and if you want to grow more you simply have to split their rhizome and plant it.
You should be aware that Java fern can grow quite big. When you let it grow fully it can grow 13 inches high and 6-8 inches wide. Because of this, it’s recommended that you don’t put it in a tank which is 10 gallons or smaller.
Unlike a lot of plants, java fern doesn’t need much lighting. In fact, it’s often better to grow them in the shade of other plants or in low light aquariums. If java fern receives too much light then it’s leaves may start to go translucent.
Instead of planting java fern into the substrate, you should tie it to decorations. Over time, it’s roots will latch on and it won’t need to be tied on anymore. If you plant your java ferns roots, then you’re going to end up suffocating them and they will begin to rot.
- LIVE AQUARIUM PLANT – 1 Java Moss (Taxiphyllum Barbieri) golf ball size portion
- LIVE ARRIVAL GUARANTEE – We guarantee live arrival on all of our livestock. If a plant ever arrives dead send us a clear photo of the plant in the unopened bag and and we will replace once verified.
- SATISFACTION GUARANTEE – We do our very best to respond fast and ship happy, healthy plants. If you have any questions or concerns please message us we are always happy to help!
- Care instructions: place moss on rock, wood, or a structure and then wrap thread around it to secure the moss so it doesn t go all over the place in the tank
- Sunlight exposure: Partial Sun
Java moss is one of the best plants for betta fish tanks and with good reason! It can literally survive in any conditions and end up thriving. In fact, people have said they’ve taken java moss out of their tank, let it dry out completely, only for it to start growing again once it returned to their tank!
Java moss is another plant that doesn’t need to have its roots buried, instead, it latches onto rocks, driftwood, and other decorations in your tank.
Java moss is great for carpeting your tank and you can latch it to almost anything.
Another reason that java moss is great for betta tanks is that it can survive in low light and high-level light. If you let it grow in high lighting then it will be more compact, whereas in low light levels it will be darker and lankier.
Once again you’re not going to need to plant java moss, rather you’re going to need to anchor it to things in your tank and let it latch on. This is incredibly easy to do and your best bet is just tying it with fishing line.
- You will get 1 bundle, each bundle contains 3 stems. The plants will be similar to the one that you see on the picture of the listing. I will also include a mystery plant of my choosing.
Next up on the list is Hornwort. Hornwort grows all over the world, but you have to be careful with it because it is an invasive species. However, with a little bit of care, it’s going to look fantastic in your tank!
One thing to note is that hornwort is also going to require a little bit more care. If left, it can grow up to 10 feet in length which is very impressive! If you want to keep hornwort, then you’re going to need a large tank. A 15 gallon tank is a good starting size. The Fluval Flex 15 Gallon is a great choice.
If you do want to keep hornwort then it’s going to need a high light tank. Light is critical for your hornwort to grow well, and if you add it to a low light tank then it’s going to end up looking weak and pathetic.
If you plan on planting hornwort then you’re going to need to remove a big chunk of the bottom leaves. If you don’t do this then they’re going to fall off on their own and end up making a mess of your substrate.
However, remember you don’t necessarily have to plant hornwort because it can also float freely.
- LIVE AQUARIUM PLANT – 1 bunch imported Elodea Densa. (5+ stems)
Next up is anacharis/elodea/water weeds. It originally came from certain parts of South America, however, due to its hardiness, you can find it all over America.
If you want to keep anacharis then you’re going to need medium light in the tank. Obviously bigger is better for plants, but if there’s too much then you could cause more algae to grow in the tank as well.
When planting anacharis you’re going to have to plant it quite deeply. Each stem should be buried 2 inches deep so it’s roots have plenty of room to start growing. Because of this, you should also plant anacharis plants an inch away from each other. Don’t worry about the gaps because the spacing actually adds to its appeal.
- Anubias Nana is one of the most popular aquatic plants loved by both beginners and experts alike, and will instantly give your aquarium, paludarium, or terrarium a lush and natural appearance.
Anubias is another one of the best plants for betta fish tanks because of it’s relative ease to grow. It comes from Africa and it can grow either fully submerged or partially submerged. The most common type of anubias will grow 2-6 inches in height. It’s normally used as a background plant and kept at the bottom of the tank.
Anubias isn’t going to need particularly strong lighting to survive, standard aquarium lighting will do. However, for the best growth, it’s better to use a stronger light. So if you want it to take longer to grow (less upkeep) then make sure you use a mid-level aquarium light!
And remember, if you plan on adding anubias to the tank you need to make sure you’re not burying the roots. Otherwise, they’re going to start rotting and the plant will quickly die. So, you can either let it float or tie it to something. (In most cases, even if it’s free floating it will still stay at the bottom of the tank.
- Echinodorus bleheri from South America is undemanding and beautiful, and becomes 20-50 cm tall.
- A nutritious bottom promotes growth, but the plant needs pruning to prevent it depriving plants underneath of light.
- Echinodorus bleheri does well even in poorly illuminated aquariums, as it grows towards the light. It is a hardy and easy solitary plant for both beginners and the more experienced with quite large aquariums. It has been sold under the name “Paniculatus”.
If you have a larger tank then Amazon sword is definitely a great plant that you can choose. They are fairly large, growing 20 inches in length and make the perfect background plant, as well as give your betta a lot of places to hide.
Because of the large size Amazon Sword normally grows too, you shouldn’t add it to tanks smaller than 59 gallons.
This is one of the reasons that not as many hobbyists keep Amazon Sword in their tank. If you plan on growing Amazon sword then it’s going to need strong lighting as well as a lot of light throughout the day.
You should have a strong light in the tank and keep it on for 8-12 hours to make sure the plant is getting all the light it needs.
When you’re planting Amazon sword you should plant it deep into the substrate where it will begin spreading its roots throughout the tank. However, make sure you’re not burying the crown underneath your substrate otherwise it will begin to die.
- You will get 1 Aponogeton Ulvaceus Bulb ready to place in your aquarium. Grows when water temperatures are between 65-72F. PLEASE NOTE THAT THEY WILL NOT GROW IF WATER TEMPERATURE IS OVER 72F.
- The plant will start growing after a week of submerging the bulb
- Grows fast and large in a few weeks under proper conditions
- Make your aquarium stand out with this beautiful and hard to find plant
- Perfect for 10+ gallon aquariums. Not recommended for aquariums with water temperatures above 72F.
Named after the fish that love them the most, betta bulbs are a great plant to make your tank look fantastic. Betta bulbs are generally a mix of different Aponogeton bulbs that can come from Africa, Asia, and Australasi
In fact, they’ve been crossbred so much with each other, you normally end up getting a hybrid bulb.
Also, some people recommend only having betta bulbs in your tank for half a year and then storing them for the other half.
Your lighting needs are going to change for betta bulbs depending on the size of your tank. If you have a large tank then strong light will cause betta bulbs to grow rapidly. However, if you have a smaller tank then it may be better to use low lighting. This will limit how quickly betta bulbs grow so you don’t have to maintain them as often.
To plant betta bulbs you should bury the root about 2 inches under the surface of the substrate. This anchors it in place and also allows the roots to start spreading out.
Should You Use Live Or Fake Plants?
When looking for plants the first thing you should think about is whether you want to use live plants or fake plants. Believe it or not, both types of plants can be good for your tank. It all really depends on what you’re looking for. In some ways having live plants instead of fake plants will make your tank easier to maintain on the whole. However, fake plants themselves are a lot easier to maintain than live plants (obviously). Here are the pros and cons of each.
Live Plants – Pros And Cons
Live plants are more natural and they make your tank a little more realistic. However, just like fake plants, they’re going to have their pros and cons.
- During the day they’re going to produce more oxygen as well as absorbing more co2. And while this isn’t as important for your betta who can breathe from the surface, it’s still important. All the bacteria that break ammonia down into nitrates require oxygen to do it. And the more oxygen in the tank, the more efficient they’re going to be at breaking it down.
- And on the subject of bacteria. Beneficial bacteria can also grow on live plants a lot easier. And obviously, the more beneficial bacteria there is in your tank the quicker ammonia can be broken down.
- If you’re having algae problems then live plants can also be the solution for that as well. Algae is most often caused by too much nitrate in the tank. With more bacteria in the tank, there’s going to be fewer nitrates for algae to live off. As well as the fact, the plants will use up most of it too!
- It goes without saying that live plants are going to recreate a betta’s natural environment a lot more than any fake plant ever can. They’re going to make your betta feel more at home.
- They’re always growing. This is going to require more work on your behalf to make sure they’re not overtaking your tank. While your betta will love swimming through plants, it’s still important to make sure he has room to swim freely. This is particularly important when it comes to floating plants. If they get too out of control, your betta may struggle to get to the surface for air.
- And of course, live plants, in general, are just going to require more work than fake plants. You’re going to have to learn how to take care of plants and make sure that the water conditions and lighting are suitable for them.
- They’re going to add more decaying matter into your tank. Just like every plant, eventually, parts of your aquarium plant are going to fall off. If you’re not cleaning regularly then the decay is going to cause bacteria to bloom in your tank. This can be overcome by vacuuming your gravel frequently and removing any plants that look like they’re on their way out.
- If you are going to keep plants in your tank then some of them will require strong lighting to survive. So you’ll have to pay more attention when considering plants to purchase.
- And lastly, while real plants are going to create a lot more oxygen in the day, they’re going to use up a lot more at night. If you have too many live plants in your tank you may begin to starve the water of oxygen. You can fix this by adding some air stones into your tank at night.
Fake Plants – Pros And Cons
Next, you’ll find out the pros and cons of fake plants. While they’re not as good in some respects as live plants, they make up for it in a lot of different ways!
- Obviously, the biggest benefit of fake plants is the fact they require next to no maintenance. Unlike live plants, you’re not going to have to take care of them and make sure they’re getting enough lighting, etc.
- Fake plants are always going to look nice. Unlike live plants that can become tattered and decay, it’s going to take a MUCH longer time for the same thing to happen to fake plants.
- Also, fake plants aren’t going to require any specific lighting or water conditions. While you should keep your water conditions steady for your betta, you won’t have to worry about any special requirements for fake plants.
- And lastly, fake plants are easy to remove and clean. When you notice a build-up of algae and grime, or if it’s time for a routine clean you can just take them out, scrub them, and put them back in. The same can’t be said for live plants.
- Fake plants can be slightly more dangerous for your betta. Especially plastic ones. If you add plants to your tank that have sharp edges or are too rough, they could cut or graze your betta. And this in turn could make him more susceptible to diseases and illness.
- They’re going to make your tank feel slightly more unnatural. While your betta isn’t going to mind as much, if you’re a perfectionist you may be better sticking to live plants.
- Fake plants aren’t going to absorb co2 and release oxygen into your tank. If you want this to happen you’re going to need to make sure your filter is causing enough of a current on the surface, or use an air bubbler.
Which Is Best?
Both of them are going to be good for you depending on your need, and you should pick accordingly. But remember, you don’t just have to stick to one or the other. If you’re not sure why not start off with a mixture of both. And as you become a more proficient betta keeper you can choose which ones you prefer in your tank and which ones you don’t.
Any plant that you’re going to pick will make your betta happy (as long as there aren’t any sharp parts. However, if you’re still having trouble deciding or taking all the information in, here are the main points.
- Plants are great for betta tanks because they provide hiding places, make the tank feel more natural, and keep your betta entertained.
- Live plants produce more oxygen and help remove ammonia, they also harbor beneficial bacteria, reduce algae problems and create a more natural environment.
- However, they require maintenance, increase decaying matter in your tank, require different lighting, and consume more oxygen at night.
- Fake plants require no maintenance or specific conditions, and they’re also easy to clean.
- However, fake plants have a higher risk of hurting your betta, they make the tank feel more unnatural and they’re not going to oxygenate the tank.
- Java fern is a great plant that needs a 10 gallon tank, pH between 6-7 and not much lighting. Don’t plant java fern, but tie it onto decorations.
- Java moss is another great choice for any size tank, it can survive in a range of temperatures and pH. As well as this it doesn’t need any specific lighting and will latch onto anything in the tank.
- Hornwort should be kept in tanks that are 15 gallons or bigger. It needs a temperature between 59-86°F and a pH between 6-7.5. It’s also going to need strong lighting and to be planted in your substrate.
- Anacharis can also be kept in any tank and in temperatures between 60-82°F and in a pH as close to neutral as possible. It also needs medium light and to be planted deeply into the substrate.
- Anubias is a great background plant that can be kept in any tank. You should keep the temperature between 72-82°F and a pH between 6 – 7.5. It doesn’t need strong lighting, however, make sure you don’t plant it.
- If you have a big tank (59 gallons+) then Amazon Sword is a great choice. It’s hardy and can survive in pH levels between 6.5 – 7.5 and temperatures between 72-82°F. However, it does need strong lighting. To plant it, make sure it’s buried deep into the substrate of your tank.
- And lastly, as you guess by their name, betta bulbs are another great choice for betta tanks. They can survive in small tanks and need conditions similar to bettas. That is a pH between 6.5 – 7.5 and a temperature between 72-82°F. When planting betta bulbs make sure you bury the roots about 2 inches beneath the substrate and remove them from your tank for half the year.