10 Best Floating Aquarium Plants (& How To Care For Them)

Floating aquarium plants are a great way to add beauty and texture to your fish tank. Floating plants provide natural filtration, preventing the build up of toxins from fish waste and providing oxygen for your aquatic critters. Not only do they look attractive, but they also help create a balanced ecosystem in your tank.

Floating plants are beneficial to your fish because they can provide shade and hiding spots. This can help reduce stress for your fish and make them feel more comfortable in their environment. The roots of the floating plants can also act as a buffer between other aquarium decorations, reducing the risk of snagging or abrasions.

When choosing floating aquarium plants, you should look for varieties that are easy to care for and do not require a lot of maintenance. Below are the things you need to know about using floating plants in fish tanks.

What Are the Easiest Floating Aquarium Plants to Keep?

Many aquarists would like to grow plants in their tanks, but few can really do it because of a lack of resources (time, money, or knowledge). This is when the fascination with plants that float comes into play. For the most part, all that is needed to keep floating plants healthy is the occasional trimming of overgrown plants.

Below are some fast-growing, low-maintenance, and simple-to-care-for floating plants.

Anacharis

There is no need for any specialized lighting or equipment, making this floating plant ideal for novice aquarists. Fast-growing and well-suited to large, medium, or even small tropical aquariums, provided that water temperatures are kept low. An advantage of Anacharis is that it serves as a ready food supply for fish while also efficiently absorbing nutrients from the water.

  • Water pH: 6.5 – 7.5 range
  • Hardness: Soft to hard
  • Temperature: 59 °F (15 °C) – 82 °F (28 °C).
  • Lighting:  Moderate – High lighting

Duckweed

Duckweed is the best floating plant to use if you have goldfish in your aquarium because goldfish love to eat it. These rapidly multiplying little lotuses are highly effective at filtering out nitrates, potassium, phosphates, and other organic compounds from water. There are lots of places for fish to hide, including among the tiny, bright green leaves and the dangling roots.

  • Water pH: prefer neutral pH around 7.0 but can adjust to acidic or basic
  • Hardness: Soft to Hard water
  • Temperature: between 42-92° F (5.6-33.3° C)
  • Lighting: Low to High light

Amazon Frogbit

The Amazon frogbit is a great floating plant for ponds and aquariums of any size, but especially for those with a lot of fish. Because of their size and rapid growth, a few Amazon frogbits are all you need to cover your aquarium, providing shade for your fish without requiring frequent trimming. Fish eggs, fry, and juveniles can all develop safely in their dangling roots.

  • Water pH: 6.0 – 7.5 range
  • Hardness: Soft to moderately hard water
  • Temperature: 64° – 86° F (18° – 30° C)
  • Lighting:  Moderate to High

Java Moss

One of the best floating plant species for newbie aquarists, Java moss thrives in an aquarium with tiny shrimp and small fish populations. Because of its adaptability and low care needs, it can be used in a variety of tank setups. These plants can float freely in the water, be fastened to pieces of driftwood, form a carpet on the floor, or be mounted to the walls of an aquarium.

  • Water pH: 5.0–8.0
  • Hardness: Very soft – very hard
  • Temperature: 59 – 82°F (15 – 28°C)
  • Lighting:  Low to medium

Red Root

The Red Root Floater is a nice change of pace from the typical green floating aquatic plants found in a healthy aquarium. This low-maintenance species of floating plant has green leaves in dim lighting and deep crimson leaves under bright light. The name comes from the fact that the roots are always a brilliant shade of red, regardless of the lighting.

  • Water pH: between 6.5 – 7.5.
  • Hardness: Soft to moderately hard water
  • Temperature: 72-80°F (22–26°C)
  • Lighting:  Low to High

Floating Ferns

This aquatic plant floats well and thrives in aquariums with cooler temperatures. Fish communities with big appetites and even bigger poop outputs can benefit from this fast-growing plant species. The addition of carbon dioxide to the water is unnecessary for their growth, and they do best in slow-moving water conditions.

  • Water pH: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Hardness: hard water
  • Temperature: between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Lighting:  Moderate to High

Dwarf Water Lettuce

Dwarf water lettuce grows quickly and has velvety, soft leaves that attract little fish and shrimp. These plants are native to Lake Victoria in East Africa and have thick roots that hang down into the water. Breeding fish can safely deposit their eggs and young, and shrimp can safely hide there.

  • Water pH: 6.5-7.2 pH
  • Hardness: Soft to moderate hardness
  • Temperature: 70 to 80 °F (21-27°C)
  • Lighting:  Medium
tropical  aquarium with fishes  and green water plants

Crystalwort (Riccia)

The crystalwort riccia is one of the most stunning of all aquarium floating plants. This multipurpose plant can even develop beautiful carpets on the water’s surface, evoking images of a golf course. In addition to being low-maintenance, it also provides shrimp and breeding fish with appropriate hiding spaces, which is essential for the successful incubation and growth of their eggs and young.

  • Water pH: 5 to 7.5
  • Hardness: very soft to moderately hard water
  • Temperature: 20 to 27 °C
  • Lighting:  Medium to high

Subwassertang

Subwassertang, the German word for freshwater seaweed, is a popular choice for shrimp aquariums due to its low water toxicity and low maintenance needs. It is nearly maintenance-free because it does not produce roots. While the Subwassertang may not be as well-known as some other floating plants, it is still a great option for those just getting into aquascaping.

  • Water pH: between 6.0 – 8.0
  • Hardness: Prefers soft water but can tolerate hard water
  • Temperature: 20 – 24 °C (68 – 75°F)
  • Lighting:  Low to moderate

Salvinia Cucullata

Salvinia cucullata is another little-known but very lovely floating plant, much like the Subwassertang. Curled upwards, the half-inch leaves give the plant a characteristic bag shape and a lovely bouquet-like appearance when grouped together. These plants are well suited to aquatic environments, as they can digest the organic wastes left over from fish food and fish poop with little trouble at all.

  • Water pH: 6.5-7.5
  • Hardness: Tolerate soft or hard water
  • Temperature: 68 – 80 °F (20° – 27 °C).
  • Lighting:  Low-Medium

Best Floating Aquarium Plants for Bettas

Betta fish need an environment that reflects their native habitat. Tank affects betta fish health. Creating a betta-friendly tank is necessary. One technique to make a tank betta-friendly is to add floating plants.

Here are the 5 most popular floating plants for betta aquariums.

Duckweed

We doubt one could exhaust the list of duckweed’s advantages for a betta aquarium if one were to begin compiling a comprehensive list of them. First of all, it’s a fantastic food item for your betta. Its delicate leaves create an absolutely stunning scene in your aquarium. Furthermore, it removes waste nutrients and contaminants from the tanks.

However, due to its prolific growth, it needs to be pruned frequently. Because of this, once you plant duckweed, it will grow. It can never be completely eradicated.

Amazonia Frogbit

When deciding what kind of large floating plants to purchase for your betta fish, Amazon frogbit is a great option. As a floating plant for bettas, Amazon frogbit offers countless benefits. For the betta fish, the amazon frogbit provides the ideal environment of low light and darkness. In addition to its lengthy roots, the leaves are broad and tasteless. It will help your betta feel more at home in its native environment. It requires practically no upkeep and works in a wide range of environments.

Water Spangles

Each of the 12 spangles in this betta plant cluster has five leaves. Adding this will undoubtedly give your tank a more endearing appearance. It’s useful for removing algae-promoting nutrients from the water and keeping the tank looking clean. It has special maintenance difficulties, though. It’s hardy in a wide range of water conditions, but its growth necessitates specialized aquarium lighting and fertilizers.

Java Moss

Having a tank at home almost guarantees that you already have this plant. The variety of applications for this plant is practically infinite. As a tank ornament, it can float freely or be shaped into a variety of forms. The icing on the cake is that it can be obtained without any special care or attention.

Water Sprite

This is the best floating plant for bettas. Bettas prefer to hide within the massive leaves of the aquatic plant. When they are ready to mate, they construct a little nest out of these leaves. Keep in mind that bettas like a completely dark and lightless environment. They can get just the right amount of light by hiding among the foliage. It is necessary, however, to regularly trim the plant’s leaves and stems.

Hornwort

Hornwort is another form of floating plant that can help clean up your aquarium by consuming nitrates, toxins, organic detritus, and fish waste. In addition, betta fish thrive in the shade provided by its leaves. Hornwort has a strong tolerance for a wide variety of water conditions; thus, it needs little to flourish. As a result, it is the default choice for novices.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Floating Aquarium Plants

Aquarium plants can brighten up any underwater scene, and they can also provide some important benefits for your fish. While there are many types of aquarium plants to choose from, floating plants are a great option for those who want the benefits of live plants with minimal hassle. Keep reading to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of floating aquarium plants.

Advantages:

• Floating aquarium plants are great for providing visual interest and beauty to a tank. They often have interesting shapes and colors, which can create a stunning effect in an aquarium.

• Floating plants provide hiding places for small fish, such as neon tetras. This can help reduce stress in the tank by giving them places to hide and feel secure.

• Floating plants can also act as a natural filter for the tank, helping to remove nitrates and other pollutants from the water.

• Floating aquarium plants reduce algae growth in tanks by competing with it for nutrients, light, and other resources.

Disadvantages:

• Floating aquarium plants can be difficult to keep in place and might need frequent maintenance.

• If there are too many floating plants, they can block out the light necessary for other aquarium plants to survive.

• Floating aquarium plants may also require more frequent trimming than rooted plants because they tend to grow faster. 

• The roots of some species of floating plants can be harmful to fish if ingested, so they should be taken out of the tank when necessary.

• Floating aquarium plants can sometimes release toxins into the water which can cause problems for both fish and other aquatic life. It is important to research any floating plants before adding them to an aquarium.

• Floating aquarium plants can also be difficult to keep in place. If the water is too turbulent, they may get pushed around and have a difficult time growing.

Overall, while there are some challenges associated with keeping floating aquarium plants, they can add a great deal of beauty and life to an aquarium. With proper maintenance and research, they can be an excellent addition to any tank.

FAQ

Are Floating Plants Good for Your Aquarium?

An aquarium would benefit greatly from the addition of some floating plants. In addition to being beautiful, they are useful in many ways, including reducing food and oxygen costs and improving tank aesthetics.

Do Floating Plants Need Co2?

Through photosynthesis, floating plants remove nitrogen and phosphorus from the water and release oxygen. As a result of their submerged leaves, they may obtain carbon from the surrounding air without the need for a carbon dioxide (CO2) system.