9 Easy Plants for Betta Fish Tanks in 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks
Plants add vibrancy and liveliness to your bettas home. Not only do plants look good in an aquarium, but they absorb your betta’s waste and in return provide your betta with oxygen and clean water. When it comes to choosing the right aquarium plant for your betta’s fish tank, you want to ensure the plant is alive, does not take up too much of your bettas swim space, is easy to grow, and can thrive in your betta’s aquarium conditions. Live plants are ideal as they provide the aquarium enrichment betta fish require. Adding live plants into your betta’s tank allows you to aquascape their home and create a balanced ecosystem that both you and your betta can enjoy. With this in mind, we have reviewed the best live plants for your betta’s tank that are easy to grow for beginners and intermediates, do not grow rapidly in small environments, and have soft leaves that will not harm your betta fish.
A Quick Comparison of Our 2023 Favorites
|Best Overall||Amazon Sword||
|Best Value||Water Wisteria||
The 10 Top Plants for Betta Fish Tanks Are:
1. Amazon Sword – Best Overall
|Max height:||18 inches|
|Light demands:||Low to moderate|
The best plant overall for betta fish is the Amazon sword (Echinodorus Bleheri) because it is easy to grow, does not require a lot of light to thrive, and the plant does not need a growth medium to grow and thrive in an aquarium. It’s also beginner-friendly and does not need fertilizers or CO2 to grow. The Amazon sword is an undemanding aquarium plant originating from South America and does well in poorly illuminated aquariums where the leaves tend to grow towards a light source. Furthermore, the Amazon sword is hardy and adaptable and will not overgrow in a small betta fish tank. They grow well with other plants if your betta and other tank inhabitants are producing enough waste to feed all the plants in the aquarium.
- Requires minimal light
- Slow growing in small aquaria
2. Water Wisteria – Best Value
|Max height:||20 inches|
The best plant for bettas for the money is the water wisteria (Hygrophila difformis). Water wisteria is a fast-growing and undemanding aquarium plant that thrives in a variety of water conditions. This plant does best with a sandy, nutrient-rich substrate where its roots will take hold and grow from. Water wisteria can grow in both low-light and moderately lit aquariums, however, in low-tech aquariums, water wisteria will usually grow small with narrower leaves and stay small in size unless they are introduced into a large tank with growth-inducing fertilizers. The entanglement of leaves and stems that this plant produces provides a great hiding spot for betta fish, and this plant is beginner-friendly and does not need fertilizers or additional CO2 to thrive.
- Moderate light requirements
- Undemanding care requirements
- Can quickly overgrow in small aquaria
3. Anubias – Premium Choice
|Max height:||16 inches|
|Light demands:||Low to moderate|
The anubias (Anubias Barteri) is a popular and resilient freshwater aquarium plant which makes it our premium choice. The anubias plant is a hardy and adaptable plant that can be grown in small aquaria from as small as five gallons, which is a standard size for betta fish. Anubias has long roots that require a thick layer of substrate to root in, but you can also grow this plant between rocks and ornaments in your betta’s aquarium. They do not have high light demands and will do fine in a setup with minimal artificial lighting and no fertilizers or CO2. Anubias has bright green and long, narrow leaves and does not grow very tall making it a perfect foreground aquarium plant.
- Does not grow large
- Needs thick substrate to root properly
4. Java Moss
|Max height:||10 inches long|
|Light demands:||Low to moderate|
Java moss (Vesicularia dubyana) is an undemanding aquarium moss that can thrive in a wide range of different aquarium conditions. This is a good beginner plant that can be left to float freely in an aquarium or be grown between crevices in rocks and driftwood. Java moss has a deep green color with tiny leaves surrounded by rhizoids and stems but lacks roots that would otherwise be planted in the substrate. The rhizoids are used by the moss to attach themselves to driftwoods, rocks, or be left to float over a substrate. Java moss is not fussy when it comes to the water quality and lighting in a betta tank, so it can be successfully grown without using artificial lighting, fertilizers, or CO2 systems. This plant is great for betta fish aquascapes and can even be used in breeding tanks as it helps protect the betta eggs. If you do choose to leave java moss to float freely in your betta’s aquarium, though, it can get clogged in filtration systems or overgrow around other plants in the aquarium.
- Good beginner plant
- Can be grown without artificial lighting and fertilizers
- Ideal for aquascapes and breeding tanks
- Can clog filtration systems
|Max height:||20–30 inches|
Anacharis (Elodea) is a fast-growing aquarium plant that can be planted in your betta’s aquarium substrate, left to float freely in the water, or be glued to driftwood and rocks. This plant has long, flowing stems with branches radiating from the sides of the stem. It is a dark green color and looks great when grown with other light-colored aquarium plants. Anacharis is well-known for its algae-reducing abilities since this plant absorbs most of the nutrients in the water. The long stems of this plant provide your betta with plenty of hiding places and some bettas may even lay on the curling stems when they need to rest. In terms of care, anacharis grows faster and more vibrant under artificial light and with fertilizers such as root tabs and liquid fertilizers that can be added to the water. You will notice a significant change in their growth if you choose to bury the anacharis roots in a substrate and run a CO2 system in the aquarium.
- Can be rooted or left to float
- Provides your betta with hiding places
- Has algae-reducing abilities
- Grows better with lighting and fertilizers
6. Jungle Val
|Max height:||12–30 inches|
Jungle vals (Vallisneria americana) is a fast-growing aquatic plant that’s easy to grow because it can survive in a wide range of water conditions. This plant has a similar appearance to grass and grows upright, narrow, light green leaves and it should be rooted into a substrate for optimal growth. Jungle val is a good plant for beginners because it does require fertilizers and CO2 systems to grow, however, these additions will increase the quality and growth rate of the plant. Jungle val looks best when planted in groups (or left to produce runners) at the back or side of your betta’s aquarium where they do not add greenery to an aquarium, but also provide a safe place for your betta to hide.
- Tolerates different water conditions
- Can overgrow in small tanks
7. African Onion Plant
|Max height:||36–48 inches|
|Light demands:||Moderate to high|
The African onion plant (crinum calamistratum) is a unique flowering plant that can be grown in the background of betta fish tanks. Lighting and substrate are important aspects to consider when choosing this plant for your betta’s aquarium, as African onion grows best with bright artificial lighting and soil-based substrates which also help encourage this plant to flower underwater. Due to its slightly demanding care requirements, this plant is better for intermediates who have a high-tech tank set up. However, the African onion plant is difficult to kill, so you can keep this plant with standard aquarium lighting or plant it in a gravel-like substrate—it just will not grow as well or bloom. African onion plants grow long stems with small and slender leaves from a bulb instead of a root system. These long stems usually curl when they reach a certain length, which provides your betta with a secure area to swim around.
- Difficult to kill
- Blooms flowers in the right environments
- Does not require CO2
- High light demands
8. Water Sprangles
|Growth rate:||Very fast|
|Max height:||2 inches|
Water sprangles (Salvinia minima) is a type of free-floating fern that grows rapidly in the right conditions. This type of plant is a great form of surface coverage in a betta fish tank, especially if the tank has no lid. Water sprangle is not too picky with the amount of light it receives, but many aquarists agree that this plant does well with moderate to high lighting from the top of the betta fish tank. In comparison to other floating plants, water sprangles have significantly larger leaves and roots that dangle below the water. These roots are excellent at absorbing fish waste-products from the water, which aids as a form of filtration for betta fish tanks to ensure that the ammonia and nitrate levels are kept at a minimum for a healthier betta fish. You will have to remove patches of water sprangles from the tank each month, though, as this plant is invasive and can quickly overgrow in small tanks.
- Easy to care for
- Keeps water clean
- Does not require a substrate to grow
- Grows rapidly (invasive)
|Max height:||120 inches|
Hornwort (Cetratophyllum demersum) is a relatively easy freshwater plant to grow in betta tanks. It is a hardy green plant that has multiple stems that branch out, giving the plant a ‘fluffy’ appearance. Hornwort can either be left to float in a tank or be glued to grow from rock crevices or driftwood in the aquarium. It’s important to know that hornwort does not root but instead absorbs nutrients through its stems, so it cannot be buried in a substrate, or the plant will begin to die. Hornwort is slightly more sensitive to water conditions than other plants, and if the tank’s temperature or water parameters are too high, hornwort will begin to disintegrate and turn brown. Other than the water requirements, hornwort is easy to care for and can be successfully grown in medium-sized betta fish tanks with moderate artificial lighting and no CO2 or fertilizers.
- Does not need to be planted
- Easy to grow
- Does not require fertilizers or CO2
- Sensitive to water conditions
|Max height:||½ inch|
|Light demands:||Moderate to high|
Duckweed (Lemnaceae) is a small, surface-floating, and flowering aquatic plant. This type of plant has a rapid growth rate which allows it to form a thick covering at the top of aquariums. Duckweed has short roots that dangle below the waterline. Once duckweed has been presented with the right conditions in an aquarium (moderate lighting, nutrients, and ideal temperature), this plant will form a thick carpet along the top of your betta’s tank and help tremendously with keeping the water clean. Duckweed can be grown in a variety of tank sizes, but this plant can multiply fast which can be a problem for betta fish keepers who want an open area at the surface of their betta’s tank to feed them.
- Thrives in both small and large tanks
- Keeps the tank water clean
- Rapid growth
- Can quickly overgrow in small tanks
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting The Top Choice Plant
Why choose live plants over artificial plants for betta fish?
The pros and cons of growing live plants in your bettas fish tank greatly outweigh artificial plants. Live plants can be used to create a natural-looking aquascape for betta fish while absorbing their waste and keeping the tank water clean. It is possible that artificial plants and ornaments can leach toxic paints and colorants into the water column over time, especially in a tropical environment where betta fish thrive. Since a betta’s tank is usually on the smaller side, these chemicals can reach toxic levels quicker than in a larger tank. Furthermore, artificial plants are usually sharp and can snag bettas long and delicate fins. So, not only do live plants keep your betta’s water clean, but they also provide your betta with a safe and natural environment that they would experience in the wild.
What are the benefits of having plants in a betta fish tank?
- Cleaner water (plants absorb betta fish waste)
- Balance your tank’s nitrate level
- Provides bettas with oxygen
- Creates a natural and realistic environment
- Provide bettas with shelter
- Balances a betta fish’s environment
Of all the aquatic plants for betta fish tanks that we have reviewed in this article, our top pick is the Amazon sword because it is a great beginner plant that has undemanding care requirements while being a slow grower that will not require much maintenance in a betta fish tank. Our second favorite pick is the Anubias plant because it’s hardy and can adapt to a variety of different tank conditions. That said, all of the plants we have mentioned in our reviews do great growing in betta fish tanks, and the bettas seem to enjoy them too!
Featured Image Credit: Marko25, Shutterstock