Aquarium Plants List With Pictures

The following are some of the most popular types of aquatic plants for sale online. They include the ones that have been used successfully in aquaria.

Some of them may not be suitable for every type of tank, but they will work well if you choose the right one for your needs.

1. Floating Plants

Floating plants are among the easiest to grow and maintain in a reef tank. They require very little care, so it’s easy to keep them alive in any environment.

You’ll need a small container (a pot or glass jar) with holes big enough for the plant roots to enter. A few leaves will do just fine; you don’t even need to water them regularly!

2. Live Plants

Live plants are usually easier to grow than their floating counterparts, since they’re less likely to get damaged from strong currents and waves. However, they’re still susceptible to algae growth.

If you want something that’s going to provide nutrients directly into the water column without being eaten by other organisms, then live plants might be better suited for your situation.


The majority of these plants are macroalgae and cannot be used in an aquarium, but there are several types of corals that are suitable. In fact, some species of hard coral are so effective at removing toxins that they can even be used to neutralize the effects of pollution!

4. Substrate Plants

Aquarium Plant How To: Types Of Plants That Can Be Used In An Aquarium on

These are by far the easiest plants to maintain since you can simply stick them into the sand or gravel. Most of these species grow in relatively shallow waters, so they don’t require very intense lighting.

It’s important to be careful with smaller species, however, since they can easily be uprooted by the movement of fish and other creatures in the tank.

Five Common Aquarium Plants For Beginners

If you’re just starting out, the following plants are some of the easiest types for you to cultivate:

1. Hornwort

Hornwort is one of the smallest species of plants that can survive in a tank. It grows in fresh water and is capable of living in a wide range of conditions, as long as there is no strong sunlight exposure.

These plants are able to survive in just about any type of water, so long as it has no strong chemical additives. It is important to keep hornwort out of any salt water tanks, however, since it will die almost instantly.

2. Bacopa Monnieri

Another easy-to-maintain plant is the bacopa monnieri. It is a shade-loving plant that can grow even in shallow waters of about six inches.

Under the right conditions, it can spread rapidly and out-compete algae for nutrients, allowing you to keep the tank clean without much hassle.

3. Valisneria

This is one of the most popular plants for freshwater aquariums that are kept by beginners. It can grow in just about any type of water, even those with low quality.

It grows relatively quickly, allowing it to out-compete harmful algae and other organisms. It can also tolerate varying levels of lighting, making it a great option if you want to brighten up the tank a bit.

4. Java Fern

Aquarium Plant How To: Types Of Plants That Can Be Used In An Aquarium at

Java fern is a type of plant that does not require too much maintenance. It grows rather slowly, so you won’t need to worry about it taking up space in the tank.

It also has tiny leaves, so it won’t be disturbing any fish that might like to sleep on the bottom of the tank. It is a little more difficult to grow than other plants since it requires higher levels of lighting, but once it gets going you shouldn’t have much to worry about.

5. Anacharis

Last but not least, we have the anacharis. This is another type of plant that grows in freshwater and can survive in a wide range of conditions.

It can grow very quickly if the tank conditions are to its liking, so you’ll need to trim it every once in a while. Still, anacharis is one of the most popular plants for fish tanks and is relatively easy to maintain. You may even be able to find it at your local pet store, though there are many different species so make sure you’re buying the right one!

Be sure to research the type of plants that you plan on using before planting them in the tank. You don’t want to introduce anything that will harm your fish or compete with them for food.

Even some plants that are safe for a typical aquarium might not be safe for a betta tank, so do your research!

How To Plant Your Aquarium

Now that you’ve got your plants, it’s time to get started! You’ll first need to turn off your filter and heater so that the temperature drops significantly.

This will help ensure that your plants don’t die due to the temperature being too hot or too cold.

Remove any stand-alone decorations in the tank and wipe down the sides of the tank. Once everything is dry, you can start planting your aquarium.

Aquarium Plant How To: Types Of Plants That Can Be Used In An Aquarium at

The first step is to put a thin layer of sand at the bottom. This will not only help with aesthetics, but it will make it easier for plants to take root in the tank.

You can buy special sand for this purpose or you can just use ordinary play sand, whatever you have access to. Only a thin layer is necessary, about as thick as a playing card.

After the sand, you can start planting. If you want to create a specific layout for the plants, now is the time to do it.

If not, you can just start dropping them in wherever you like. Some people even plant them randomly for a natural look. Again, make sure that there’s only a thin layer of plants on the bottom and none of the plants are blocking the betta bowl or the filter intake.

Once your tank is fully planted, you can turn your filter and heater back on. Make sure the plants have enough time to adjust to the new temperature in the tank.

If the tank was cold, you may even want to wait a day before turning on the heater at all.

That’s it! Assuming you bought healthy plants and planted them correctly, your tank should start to look great pretty quickly.

Within weeks, your plants will grow and spread and you’ll have a great looking little ecosystem going.

Of course, if you don’t like the look of any of it, you can always start over again! It’s all part of the fun.

Planting Tips

When planting your aquarium, it helps to have a plan in mind before you start. You don’t want to put a lot of work into the tank and then end up with an ugly layout.

Aquarium Plant How To: Types Of Plants That Can Be Used In An Aquarium - Picture

One thing to keep in mind is that bigger plants will need more light and will block more light from getting to smaller plants nearby, so you may want to arrange your plants from largest at the back to smallest at the front. You’ll still get some natural effect from the different shades, but you’ll also still be able to see your fish.

If this isn’t your priority, you can of course just drop all your plants into the tank and organize them later. It’s really up to you and what you think looks good.

When arranging your plants, there are a few tricks you can use to make your tank look very natural. For example, placing plants in such a way that they create little caves and tunnels is a great way to add cover for your fish and gives them space to explore.

Another thing you can do is plant some of your taller or medium sized plants in the back and then drop some smaller plants in front of them. This will help to break up the line of sight and make it seem more spacious in the front.

You can also use the surface area of your tank to display some taller plants, then drop some smaller ones in behind them. This creates a nice effect while still allowing light to filter through to the back of the tank.

Remember, when arranging your plants, you want to make sure there’s no light blocking plants directly behind where the light is located. This will help to make sure everything gets enough light.

Also, don’t go overboard with the plants. It’s better to have a smaller number of plants in large groups than it is to have a large number of plants in small groups.

The more plants you add, the less water volume there is for the fish to enjoy and the more waste they produce that will need constant maintenance.

This guide should give you a great start, but there’s always room to experiment. Get creative and have fun!

Sources & references used in this article:

Thousands introduced annually: the aquarium pathway for non‐indigenous plants to the St Lawrence Seaway by J Cohen, N Mirotchnick, B Leung – Frontiers in Ecology and the …, 2007 – Wiley Online Library

Marginals aquarium plant system by DS Biggs – US Patent 8,166,921, 2012 – Google Patents

Artificial aquarium plant by AH Willinger – US Patent 4,340,625, 1982 – Google Patents

Artificial aquarium plant, anchor and container therefor by AH Willinger – US Patent 4,185,743, 1980 – Google Patents

Aquarium atlas by R Riehl – 1998 –

Beyond ballast water: aquarium and ornamental trades as sources of invasive species in aquatic ecosystems by DK Padilla, SL Williams – Frontiers in Ecology and the …, 2004 – Wiley Online Library

Aquarium studies on the selectivity of 16 aquatic plants as food by fingerling hybrids of the cross between Ctenopharyngodon idella♂ and Cyprinus carpio♀ by GS Duthu, RH Kilgen – Journal of Fish Biology, 1975 – Wiley Online Library

The aquarium trade as an invasion pathway in the Pacific Northwest by AL Strecker, PM Campbell, JD Olden – Fisheries, 2011 – Taylor & Francis

Article anchoring accessory for use with aquariums by LI Wechsler – US Patent 5,451,443, 1995 – Google Patents



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