Top 10 Betta Fish Plants for Your Aquarium
Looking for a way to take your betta fish tank to the next level? Give live aquarium plants a try. Your betta will love the natural habitat that aquatic plants provide. In the wild, Betta splendens are commonly found in tropical marshes and rice paddy fields chock-full of thick vegetation. Therefore, aquarium plants serve as excellent enrichment for your betta to explore, obstacles to block line of sight in case he gets territorial, and resting places for him to sleep at night. You can rest assured that most of the top 10 plants on our list are easy to grow and require low lighting.
1. Java Fern
Because of its thick, long-lasting leaves and low maintenance requirements, Java fern is a popular choice in aquarium hobby. This slow-growing plant comes in several variations, like needle leaf, trident, and Windelov (or lace) java fern. It has a thick, horizontal “stem” called a rhizome that produces leaves on top and roots on bottom. Rhizome plants don’t need any substrate to grow. They can be attached to rocks and driftwood with super glue gel and placed wherever you wish in the aquarium.
The reproduction process for Java ferns is also interesting. The rhizome can be cut in half to divide the plant, or the java fern could start releasing tiny plantlets directly from the leaves. You should wait until a plantt grows larger and has enough roots to be able to remove it from the tank and replant it elsewhere. You can read the full article about Java Fern Care here.
Java fern (Microsorum pteropus)
Anubias genus, another group of Rhizome plants, is also available in many shapes, sizes and textures. Some of the most popular variants include Anubias barteri, anubias nana petite, and anubias coffeefolia. As with java fern, they can be attached to various hardscape and aquarium ornaments. The substrate can be used to grow rhizome plants, but the substrate should not be buried or the plant will die.
Anubias plants don’t require substrate. Instead, they are often attached to driftwood or rocks.
You can also simply drop the anubias with its plastic pot inside an Easy Planter decoration. If you wish to modify the appearance of your betta tank, the fake rock will look natural.
Place anubias and java ferns in an Easy Planter to create an attractive “pot” that you can move around your aquarium as often as you wish.
3. Marimo Moss Ball
If java fern and anubias sound intimidating, then you can’t go wrong with marimo moss balls, the world’s easiest aquarium “plant.” Despite the name, these fuzzy green orbs of velvet are neither a moss nor plant, but rather a type of algae. The unusual shape of their marimo moss balls is due to the fact that they are constantly rolled around lakes’ bottoms. To “plant” them, just drop them anywhere in the aquarium that gets low amounts of light. Because they are inexpensive and very unique, many people buy a large number of marimo moss balls to help fill their betta fish tank. Learn more about marimo moss balls by visiting our care guide.
Marimo moss balls (Aegagropila linnaei)
Cryptocoryne or “crypts”, also known as cryptocoryne, are easy to care for and can live in low- to high-light conditions. Cryptocoryne Wendtii, one of the most commonly found types, is available in many different colors such as red, green, tropica and bronze. Many betta fish are found resting on or beneath their large, wavy edged leaves. Cryptocoryne Parva is one of the smallest and most common crypts. It has long, dark green, thin leaves that are often used as a foreground plant.
Cryptocorynes are different from other plants. They prefer to get their nutrients from ground and not the water column. This is why they love being planted in substrate that has nutrients like root tab fertilizers. Also, if you see your new cryptocoryne plant wilting soon after purchase, don’t throw it away because it is likely experiencing “crypt melt.” Just leave it in the aquarium, and it will soon recover and start growing new leaves that are used to living in your water conditions.
5. Water Sprite
This easy-to-grow stem plant is fairly versatile because you can plant it in the substrate or use it as a floating plant. Its fine, lacy leaves provide a dense jungle for your betta fish to investigate and use for building bubble nests. Water sprite, a fast-growing organism, does an excellent job in absorbing toxic nitrogen compounds made from fish waste. To ensure that it doesn’t eat all of the nutrients in the water, you can use Easy Green fertilizer.
Water sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides)
6. Betta Bulb
It is possible to see “betta bulb” at large chain pet shops and wonder what they are. Aponogeton plants are most commonly sold at big chain pet shops. They grow long, green leaves with wavy or rippled texture. You can also get the banana plant with its banana-shaped tubers and the dwarf aquarium Lily, which has reddish-bronze triangular-shaped leaves. Both these plants can send out lily pad that reach the surface. This creates a network with stems for your betta.
Banana (Nymphoides aquata)
7. Sword Plant
For large aquariums, consider filling your tank with a massive sword plant, like an Amazon sword or red flame sword. This classic aquarium favorite is loved for its easy care requirements and big, broad leaves that provide resting and hiding spots for aquatic animals. This plant, like crypts requires a nutrient-rich substrate and a regular diet of root tabs in order to be healthy. When the sword plant becomes large enough, it may start growing long spikes that turn into baby sword plants for you to propagate in other fish tanks.
Amazon blade (Echinodorus. bleheri).
Vallisneria, or val, is the best option if you want to make an underwater forest. This tall, grass-like aquatic plant is very hardy and thrives in a wide range of environments. Plus, once it gets well-established in your aquarium, it spreads like wildfire by sending out new runners with baby plants every few days. This plant can be used to fill your aquarium with water and create natural lines of sight barriers for your territorial Betta. Read more in our vallisneria care guide.
9. Pogostemon stellatus ‘Octopus’
This stem plant can be used as a background to quickly cover your betta fish tank. The ‘octopus’ nickname comes from the fact that each node on the stem produces several long and wispy leaves that look like octopus legs waving in the water current. It can grow to a considerable height in a very short time, just like most stem plants. To propagate, you can simply cut off the top of the plant and place it back in the substrate. The plant cutting will develop new roots and leaves in no time, becoming a beautiful jungle gym for your betta to play in.
Pogostemon stellatus ‘octopus’
10. Floating Plants
Because betta fish like to hang out near the water surface, floating plants are a wonderful way to enhance the upper layers of their home. Popular types include Amazon frogbit, red root floaters, and even floating stem plants (like the aforementioned water sprite). Because of the fluffy roots and dense foliage, your betta feels safe enough to build his bubble nest or take a little nap surrounded by plant life. Keep about half of the water surface free of leaves. This will allow for more oxygen to be introduced to the water and allows your betta fish to take a breather if necessary.