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. Not only do aquatic plants help purify the water from your fish’s waste, but they also provide a beautiful, natural environment for your betta. 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. The rhizome is a horizontal, thick “stem” that produces roots at the bottom and leaves on top. Rhizome plants are unique because they don’t require any substrate or gravel for growth. Simply attach them to rocks or driftwood with super glue gel, and then place them wherever you want in your 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. Wait till a plantet is bigger and has a good amount of roots before detaching it and replanting it elsewhere in the tank. Read our complete article to learn more about how to care for Java Ferns.
Java fern (Microsorum pteropus)
Anubias genus, another group of Rhizome plants, is also available in many shapes, sizes and textures. Anubias nana petit, Anubias barberi, and Anubias coffeefolia are just a few of the many varieties. They can also be attached to aquarium ornaments and hardscape, just like java fern. 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.
The anubias can also be placed in an Easy Planter decoration. If you wish to modify the appearance of your betta tank, the fake rock will look natural.
Place your java ferns or anubias inside an Easy Planter. It’s an attractive, portable “pot” that can be moved around aquariums whenever you want.
3. Marimo Moss Ball
Marimo moss balls are the easiest and most accessible aquarium plant. If anubias and java fern sound daunting, they can be replaced by marimo moss balls. The unusual shape of their marimo moss balls is due to the fact that they are constantly rolled around lakes’ bottoms. Drop them wherever you see low light to “plant them”. They’re quite inexpensive and unique looking, so many people like to buy an army of marimo moss balls to fill their betta fish aquariums. 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, 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. You should not discard your newly purchased cryptocoryne plants if they start to wilt within a few days of purchase. This is because they are likely experiencing “cryptmelt.”
5. Water Sprite
The stem plant is easy to grow and can be planted in the substrate or used as a floating plant. Its fine, lacy foliage creates a dense forest for your betta fish. This jungle can be used to make bubble nests. As a fast-growing species, water sprite does a great job of absorbing toxic nitrogen compounds produced by fish waste. Use Easy Green fertilizer to ensure your water sprite does not consume all of the nutrients.
Water sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides)
6. Betta Bulb
Some people may be confused by the name “betta bulbs” that are sold in big chain pet shops. 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. These plants both send out lily pads to the surface and form a network of stems that your betta can swim between.
Banana Plant (Nymphoides Aquatia)
7. Sword Plant
Consider a large sword plant to fill your aquarium with for large aquariums. This classic aquarium favorite is loved for its easy care requirements and big, broad leaves that provide resting and hiding spots for aquatic animals. Similar to crypts, this plant also needs a high-nutrient substrate or frequent intake of root tabs to keep it healthy. The sword plant may grow long spikes when it reaches a certain size. These spikes can be used to create baby sword plants which can then be propagated 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. The tall, grass-like aquatic plant can survive in many environments and is extremely hardy. Once established in an aquarium, this aquatic plant spreads quickly by sending out baby plants every few days to make it more popular. 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 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. It can grow to a considerable height in a very short time, just like most stem plants. Simply trim the top portion of the plant to make it propagable and then replant it in its substrate. Your betta will love the jungle gym created by the plant cutting.
Pogostemon stellatus ‘octopus’
10. Floating Plants
The floating plants are great for enhancing the home’s upper layers, as betta fish love to be near the water surface. 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. Just make sure to leave about 50% (or more) of the water surface clear of leaves so that there is room for adequate gas exchange at the surface (to introduce more oxygen into the water) and for your betta fish to take a gulp of air if needed.