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. 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. Our top 10 list includes many beginner-friendly plants that require little lighting and a liquid fertilizer such as 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. There are many varieties of this slow-growing plant, including 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 are special because they don’t need any substrate or gravel to grow; simply attach them to a rock or driftwood using super glue gel and place it wherever you like in the aquarium.
Java ferns also have an interesting way of reproducing. 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. You can read the full article about Java Fern Care here.
Java fern (Microsorum pteropus)
Another group of rhizome plant genus Anubias is available in a variety of 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. 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.
Anubias can be dropped in an Easy Planter decoration. The fake rock has a very natural appearance and is easy to move around if you want to change the look of your betta fish tank.
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 anubias or javaferns seem intimidating, marimo moss balls, also known as “marimo” moss, are the best choice. They are a type algae and not a moss. 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. Learn more about marimo moss balls by visiting our 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. You will often find betta fish resting on their wide, 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 to grow 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. 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. If it ends up consuming all the nutrients from the water, use some Easy Green fertilizer to keep it well-fed.
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. The banana plant, with its banana-shaped tubers at the base, and the dwarf aquarium lily, which produces reddish-bronze triangular leaves are two other easy bulb plants. Both these plants can send out lily pad that reach the surface. This creates a network with stems for your betta.
Banana plant (Nymphoides aquatica)
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. 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. 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. This aquatic grass-like plant can grow tall and thrives in all kinds 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. Pick this plant as an easy way to fill the back of your aquarium and create natural line-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. 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 very tall, as with many stem plants, in a short time. To propagate, you can simply cut off the top of the plant and place it back in the 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. 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.