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. 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 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
Because of its thick, long-lasting leaves and low maintenance requirements, Java fern is a popular choice in aquarium hobby. 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 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.
Java ferns have a unique way of reproducing. You can either cut the rhizome in half to split the plant into two, or your java fern may start popping out little plantlets directly from their leaves. Wait until the plantt has grown to a sizeable size and has established roots before you can remove it from your tank and replant it. For more information about java fern care, read our full article here.
Java fern (Microsorum pteropus)
Another group of rhizome plant genus Anubias is available in a variety of sizes and textures. Anubias barteri and Anubias Nana Petite are some of the most common varieties. As with java fern, they can be attached to various hardscape and aquarium ornaments. The substrate can be used to grow rhizome plants, but the substrate should not be buried or the plant will die.
Anubias plants do not require substrate and instead are commonly attached to driftwood and 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 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
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. They are constantly rolled on the bottom of lakes, creating their unusual shape. 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, 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. The fine, lacy leaves create a dense jungle that your betta fish can explore and use to build bubble nests. Water sprite is a fast-growing species that absorbs toxic nitrogen compounds from fish waste. To ensure that it doesn’t eat all of the nutrients in the water, you can use Easy Green fertilizer.
Water Sprite (Ceratopteris Thalictroides).
6. Betta Bulb
It is possible to see “betta bulb” at large chain pet shops and wonder what they are. Aponogeton plants are most commonly sold at big chain pet shops. They grow long, green leaves with wavy or rippled texture. 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 (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. 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. 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 blade (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 tall, grass-like aquatic plant is very hardy and thrives in a wide range 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. 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 stem plant can be used as a background to quickly cover your betta fish tank. Because each stem node produces many long, wispy leaves, the ‘octopus” nickname is derived from the fact that they look like octopus legs waving to the water current. It can grow very tall, as with many stem plants, in a short time. 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
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. There are many types of floating plants, including red root floaters and Amazon frogbit. The dense foliage and fluffy roots make it easy for your betta to create a bubble nest or just relax in the company of other plants. 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.