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. Aquatic plants not only purify water from fish waste but also create a natural habitat for your betta. Betta splendens, a species of Betta, are often found in densely vegetated tropical marshes. Your betta will find aquarium plants an excellent way to enrich his life. They can also serve as obstacles and places to sleep at night. Rest assured, most of the plants in our top 10 list are beginner-friendly species that only need low lighting and a comprehensive liquid fertilizer like Easy Green.
1. Java Fern
Java fern is one of the most well-liked plants in the aquarium hobby because of its long, thick leaves and low maintenance care. You can find this slow-growing plant in many forms, such as needle leaf, tridentine, and Windelov (or laces) 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 using super glue gel. Then, place them anywhere you wish in the aquarium.
Java ferns have a unique way of reproducing. The rhizome can be cut in half to divide the plant, or the plant may begin producing little plantlets right from its leaves. Wait till a plantet is bigger and has a good amount of roots before detaching it and replanting it elsewhere in the tank. For more information about java fern care, read our full article here.
Java fern (Microsorum pteropus)
The Anubias genus is another group of rhizome plants that comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and textures. Anubias nana petit, Anubias barberi, and Anubias coffeefolia are just a few of the many varieties. Similar to javafern, they can be attached directly to aquarium ornaments or hardscape. You can also plant rhizome plants in the substrate, but it is important to not bury them. Otherwise the plant could die.
Anubias plants don’t require substrate. Instead, they are often attached to driftwood or rocks.
The anubias can be placed in an Easy Planter decoration. If you wish to modify the look of your betta tank, the fake rock will give it a natural appearance.
Place your anubias or java fern inside an Easy Planter as an attractive “pot” that can be moved around the aquarium whenever you like.
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. Their unusual round shape comes from being constantly rolled around the bottom of lakes. To “plant” them, just drop them anywhere in the aquarium that gets low amounts of light. These balls are very affordable and have a unique look. Many people love to purchase an army of marimo moss balls to supplement their betta fish tanks. For more information, please visit our marimo-moss ball care guide.
Marimo moss balls (Aegagropila linnaei)
Cryptocoryne plants or “crypts”, are well-known for their low maintenance and ability to survive in low to high levels of light. Cryptocoryne Wendtii is the most commonly found type. There are many types of this plant, including 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, unlike most other plants, prefer to eat their nutrients from the ground, not the water column. Therefore, they love to be planted in substrate with nutrients such as root tab fertilizers. If your cryptocoryne plant starts to wilt soon after you purchase it, do not throw it out. It will likely be experiencing “crypt melt” and will start growing new leaves.
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. The fine, lacy leaves create a dense jungle that your betta fish can explore and use to build bubble nests. As a fast-growing species, water sprite does a great job of absorbing toxic nitrogen compounds produced by fish waste. If it ends up consuming all the nutrients from the water, use some Easy Green fertilizer to keep it well-fed.
Water sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides)
6. Betta Bulb
You may see “betta bulbs” sold at big chain pet stores and wonder what exactly they are. Aponogeton plants, which are usually long, light-green leaves with a rippled, or wavy texture, are what you will find most often. Other easy bulb plants include the banana plant (with its banana-like tubers at the bottom) and dwarf aquarium lily (which produces reddish-bronze, triangular leaves). Both of these plants will send out lily pads that reach the surface, forming a network of stems for your betta to swim in between.
Banana Plant (Nymphoides Aquata)
7. Sword Plant
If you have large aquariums, you might consider adding a huge sword plant such as an Amazon sword or red flame blade to your tank. The classic aquarium favourite is beloved for its simple care requirements and large, broad leaves that provide hiding and rest areas for aquatic animals. This plant, like crypts requires nutrient-rich substrate and a regular diet of root tabs to keep it 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 sword Echinodorus Bleheri
If you wanted to create a thick underwater forest but only had money for one plant, vallisneria (or val) is your winning ticket. This aquatic grass-like plant is hardy and can thrive in all kinds of environments. It spreads quickly once established in an aquarium. Every few days, new runners are sent out with baby plants. This plant is a great way to add color and texture to your aquarium. Read more in our vallisneria care guide.
9. Pogostemon stellatus ‘Octopus’
This unique stem plant is another great option for background plants that will quickly cover your betta tank with lots of greenery. Each node of the stem produces several long, wispy and wavy leaves that resemble octopus legs waving in water current. This is why the name “Octopus” was given. As with all stem plants, it can get quite tall quickly. For propagation, simply trim off the top half of the plant and replant it in the substrate. Your betta will love the jungle gym created by the plant cutting.
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. You can choose from red root floaters, Amazon frogbits, or floating stem plants like the water sprite. Your betta will feel safe and secure with the dense foliage and fluffy roots. 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 breathe.