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. In the wild, Betta splendens are commonly found in tropical marshes and rice paddy fields chock-full of thick vegetation. Your betta will find aquarium plants an excellent way to enrich his life. They can also serve as obstacles and places to rest, as well a place for him to go 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
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 is distinguished by a thick horizontal “stem”, called a Rhizome, which produces both roots and leaves at the 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. 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)
Another group of rhizome plant genus Anubias is available in a variety of sizes and textures. Some of the most popular variants include Anubias barteri, anubias nana petite, and anubias coffeefolia. Similar to javafern, they can be attached directly to aquarium ornaments or hardscape. Rhizome plants can be planted into the substrate as well, but be careful not to bury the rhizome or else the plant may die.
Anubias plants don’t need substrate. They are instead attached to driftwood and other rocks.
You can also simply drop the anubias with its plastic pot inside 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 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 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. The unusual shape of their marimo moss balls is due to the fact that they are constantly rolled around lakes’ bottoms. You can simply drop them in any aquarium with low light levels to “plant” them. Because they are inexpensive and very unique, many people buy a large number of marimo moss balls to help fill their betta fish tank. For more information, please visit our marimo-moss ball care guide.
Marimo moss balls (Aegagropila linnaei)
Cryptocoryne plants, or “crypts” for short, are known for their undemanding care and ability to live in low to high light conditions. Cryptocoryne wendtii is one of the most popular types. It comes in many colors, including green, bronze and tropica. 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 to grow new leaves.
5. Water Sprite
This stem plant is very versatile. You can either plant it in the substrate, or you can use it as floating plants. Its fine, lacy foliage creates a dense forest for your betta fish. This jungle can be used to make bubble nests. Water sprite is a fast-growing species that absorbs toxic nitrogen compounds from 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, which are usually long, light-green leaves with a rippled, or wavy texture, are what you will find most often. 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. 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
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. Similar to crypts, this plant also needs a high-nutrient substrate or frequent intake of root tabs to keep it healthy. Once the sword plant grows large enough, it can start to grow long spikes which you can use to make baby sword plants that you can propagate in other fish tank.
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. It spreads quickly once established in your aquarium by sending out new runners every few days with baby plants. 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. As with most stem plants, it can grow quite tall in a short amount of time. 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
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). 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.