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. Aquarium plants provide betta with a variety of enrichment, such as a place to rest at night, an obstacle to his line of sight, and a way to make him feel safe. 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. There are many varieties of this slow-growing plant, including needle leaf, trident and Windelov (or “lace”) 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.
Java ferns also have an interesting way of reproducing. You can either cut off the rhizome to make two plants, or you could let your java fern grow little plantlets straight from the leaves. Wait until the plant has grown to a sizeable size and has established roots before you can remove it from your tank and replant it. You can read the full article about Java Fern Care here.
Java fern (Microsorum pteropus)
Anubias genus is another group that includes rhizome plants. It comes in all shapes and sizes. Some of the most popular variants include Anubias barteri, anubias nana petite, and anubias coffeefolia. 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.
You can also drop the anubias in a Easy Planter decoration. If you wish to modify the appearance of your betta tank, the fake rock will look natural.
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 java fern and anubias sound intimidating, then you can’t go wrong with marimo moss balls, the world’s easiest aquarium “plant.” Despite the name, these fuzzy green orbs of velvet are neither a moss nor plant, but rather a type of algae. The unusual round shape of marimo moss balls is due to their constant rolling around in the bottoms of lakes. Simply drop them into an aquarium that receives low levels of light. Because they are inexpensive and very unique, many people buy a large number of marimo moss balls to help fill their betta fish tank. To learn more, see 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. One of the most common types, Cryptocoryne wendtii, comes in many varieties, such as green, bronze, tropica, and red. You will often find betta fish resting on their wide, wavy-edged leaves. Cryptocoryne parava, however, is one small crypt with long, narrow, deep green leaves. This plant is often used for a slow-growing background 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. Don’t toss your new cryptocoryne purchase if it starts to wilt shortly after it was purchased. This could be due to “crypt melting”. Just keep it in an aquarium and it will recover quickly and begin growing new leaves.
5. Water Sprite
This easy-to grow stem plant can be either planted in the substrate (or used as a floating one). Its fine, lacy foliage creates a dense forest for your betta fish. This jungle can be used to make bubble nests. Water sprite is an extremely fast-growing species and does a fantastic job at absorbing toxic compounds such as nitrogen compounds that are produced from fish waste. You can add some Easy Green fertilizer if it begins to consume all the nutrients in the water.
Water sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides)
6. Betta Bulb
Sometimes, you may find “betta bulbs”, which are often sold at chain pet stores. Aponogeton plants, which are usually long, light-green leaves with a rippled, or wavy texture, are what you will find most often. You also have the banana plant with its banana tubers at the base, and the dwarf aquarium Lili (which produces triangular reddish brown leaves). These two plants send out lily leaves that reach the surface. They form a network which allows your betta’s to swim in between them.
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. The classic aquarium favourite is beloved for its simple care requirements and large, broad leaves that provide hiding and rest areas for aquatic animals. This plant, like crypts requires nutrient-rich substrate and a regular diet 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 you can then propagate in other fish tanks.
Amazon blade (Echinodorus. bleheri).
Vallisneria, or val, is the best option if you want to make an underwater forest. This aquatic grass-like plant is hardy and can thrive 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 background plant that can quickly cover your betta fish tank with tons of greenery. Each node of the stem produces many long and wispy green leaves that look almost like octopus feet waving in the current. This is why the name “Octopus” was given. It can grow very tall, as with many stem plants, in a short time. You can propagate the plant by simply removing the top half of it and placing it 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
Because bettafish love to hang out close to the water surface, floating plant are a great way for them to increase the top layers of their home. The most popular types are the red root floating floaters, Amazon Frogbit and floating stem plants (like that mentioned water sprite). Your betta can build his bubble nest, or simply take a break in the lush foliage of these dense plants. 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.