The Best Live Aquarium Plants (2022 Reviews)

Skylar Dial
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Researching aquarium plants can be a bit overwhelming. There are many different types of plants, many of which come in a number of subspecies. It’s impossible to know which plants are going to work well in your tank without a bit of experience.

If you have just set up a fish tank with live plants, it’s really rewarding because it gives a much more natural environment for the fish you have in the tank. But with a large selection of live aquarium plants to choose from, it’s hard to know where to start.

But I don’t want to fill your day with hours of reading about each kind of plant and their subspecies. My experienced perspective can be boiled down to the few types that produce the best results in conditions closest to what they are accustomed to and will thrive in your tank.

Ready to jump in a start tending to some plants? Don’t read on any more — here are the best live aquarium plants:

Cabomba ‬ C. bipinnata and C. exilis: These two varieties are so easy to grow and maintain. They do not require much effort to maintain or thrive in the aquarium and are very forgiving plants.

NameCategoryProduct
6 Marimo Moss Ball Variety PackBest Overall6 Marimo Moss Ball Variety Pack
AquaLeaf Aquatics Alternanthera Reineckii VAR. RoseafoliaBudget PickAquaLeaf Aquatics Alternanthera Reineckii VAR. Roseafolia
Texas Aquarium Plant BundleUpgrade PickTexas Aquarium Plant Bundle

1. 6 Marimo Moss Ball Variety Pack

Our rating: 9 / 10

6 Marimo Moss Ball Variety Pack

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Pros:

  • Density control – get smaller ones if you need less of them, and more if you want more plants
  • Comes in a wide variety of sizes
  • Require minimal maintenance
  • They help keep your fish tank clean by consuming the ammonia and nitrite
  • Does not require a lot of light or carbon dioxide
  • Suitable for wide variety of aquarium plants

Cons:

  • Do not come with planting stones or moss balls
  • Marimo balls are only suitable for freshwater
  • Live Aquarium Plants require adequate amounts of aquarium plants, it is not recommended for

Emperor angelfish, brilliant rasbora, neon tetra, and cherry barb.

2. SunGrow Mini Catappa Indian Almond Leaves

Our rating: 8 / 10

SunGrow Mini Catappa Indian Almond Leaves

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Before purchasing any aquarium plants you need to first make sure that your tank contains the necessary space and environment for them.

Although that may sound easy enough, there’s still some factors to take into account. And the aquarium plants that we’ve included in this guide have been chosen because they are not only suitable for small tanks but they also help to bring about the natural look that small aquarium owners want.

There are six fish tanks included in this guide and all of them are smaller than average. That’s because it’s only recently that smaller tanks have become popular, and with them, there’s demand for smaller and more compact accessories.

3. Greenpro Dwarf Hairgrass Live Aquarium Plants Tissue Culture Cup Freshwater Fish Tank Decorations

Our rating: 8 / 10

Greenpro Dwarf Hairgrass Live Aquarium Plants Tissue Culture Cup Freshwater Fish Tank Decorations

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Greenpro Dwarf Hair Grass is the best aquatic live plants for the Betta Tank. It’s the perfect choice for your Betta fish because they can easily adapt to warmer water.

It’s super easy to care for and maintain. All you need to do is rinse it every few days to remove excess nutrients and algae.

It’s best to get three plants so it’s easier to divide your tank into thirds.

4. Texas Aquarium Plant Bundle

Our rating: 8 / 10

Texas Aquarium Plant Bundle

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Pros:

  • Highly durable, high-quality plants
  • Ideal for beginners
  • The peace lily, water hyacinth, and anubias plants provide shade – perfect for lighting-sensitive fish
  • Very easy to maintain
  • The plants are a good size, healthy, and well-packaged
  • Wide variety of live plants
  • Reasonably priced

Cons:

  • The water hyacinth is a climbing plant, and the leaves will grow too long for the tank, which will make it hard for fish to swim beneath it
  • The leaves from the peace lily are too rigid for a Betta

The Texas Aquarium Plant Bundle contains 20 different types of live aquarium plants. This is a nice variety, and they give you a lot of options. Although we believe they should have included more of the Anubias and Java Ferns separately.

The plants are very well-packaged. The moss is wrapped in floating material, and it’s kept in large and small mesh bags to keep them submerged in the water.

5. Rooted Live Aquarium Plant Bundle

Our rating: 7 / 10

Rooted Live Aquarium Plant Bundle

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Pros:

  • A lot of different plants for a wide variety of aquariums
  • Very realistic plants that look like they belong in underwater
  • Guaranteed snail-free
  • Comes with detailed step-by-step instructions on how to keep the plants healthy and more

Cons:

  • Some fish may eat some of the plants
  • Plants are rather fragile if not handled properly
  • Chocolate color may fade over time
  • Will need to be trimmed in order to fit into the tank

This is a great set of plants for the money. It will give you a large variety of stable plants that can be used in a wide variety of aquariums.

Each plant is specific to a certain tank size. There are a few differences in the bigger plants. For instance, the stem plants are larger and two or three will be needed in a 40 gallon tank. However, the size of the plants underwater will not be all that noticeable.

This set is a little different from most because it contains live plants. These will need to be planted in your aquarium within a day or two of receiving them. Putting them in right away will ensure their healthy arrival. These plants will also need to be taken out if your aquarium water is too soft.

6. Florida 10 Species Live Aquarium Plants Bundle

Our rating: 7 / 10

Florida 10 Species Live Aquarium Plants Bundle

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Pros:

  • Tasteless and easy to grow
  • The plants are strong and can adapt to small spaces
  • The plants are small and have no strong odor
  • The plants survive for a long time
  • You don’t need too much care for the plants
  • The aquarium setup can be completed within 15 minutes
  • Plants are suitable for both freshwater and saltwater tanks
  • There are no hidden costs – Everything is included!
  • It comes with special instructions to setup the plants
  • The plants won’t drift and will stay in one place

Cons:

  • The plants can only grow up to 5cm, but the width of the plants is big
  • The plants have to be kept in the dark at all times
  • The plant colors can fade over time
  • The plants may push against and damage other plants in the tank
  • The plants are only bigger in size than threadline plants

(Floating)

7. Java Fern Bare Root

Our rating: 7 / 10

Java Fern Bare Root

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If you’re planning to create your first underwater tank, then you’d probably want to start off with live plants. They’re not only a source of beauty, but also help maintain the water quality for your underwater pets.

Java ferns are really great at absorbing nitrates from your water, which is why we’ve included it in the list of best aquarium plants. They’re extremely easy to care for and hardy too.

However, it’s best to let your plants grow in the substrate before transplanting. This will result in stronger and healthier growth.

8. Live Guppy Grass Live Aquarium Plant

Our rating: 7 / 10

Live Guppy Grass Live Aquarium Plant

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If you’d like to keep some live plants in your aquarium but don’t have enough space, then a small Malaysian or Guppy grass could be a good choice for you. This plant grows to a length of around 2-3 inches and comes in a variety of color. It’s hardy and vigorous, which means it doesn’t really need to be trimmed, but it will grow up to the top of your glass walls.

The leaves are narrow and arching and they come in green, yellow, red and white. It spreads via rhizomes and can cover a lot of area if you let it grow freely.

9. Bacopa Monnieri Moneywort Freshwater Live Aquarium Plants 8 Stems

Our rating: 7 / 10

Bacopa Monnieri Moneywort Freshwater Live Aquarium Plants 8 Stems

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3-Pack.

Bacopa Monnieri are tiny moneywort plants, but don’t let that fool you. They will thrive, adapt and multiply in freshwater aquariums with a fairly wide range of temperatures and pH levels. The Bacopa’s adaptability makes it one of the best types of aquatic plants in the world.

If we look for something to complain about, then we’d have to mention that some customers claim that their purchase arrives in full or almost full bloom. However, they are usually quick to adapt to their new home, so they end up looking fine in your tank.

10. Java Moss Portion in 4 Oz Cup

Our rating: 6 / 10

Java Moss Portion in 4 Oz Cup

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Pros:

  • * A versatile live planting which can be attached to rocks
  • driftwood
  • and other tank decorations *Very adaptable and can grow under low to high light conditions and in aquariums with high to low amounts of nutrients *Distributes oxygen evenly around the tank *The moss is harvested from the wild and is fully sustainable *Doesn’t require any fertilizers or supplements *The moss stays green when properly cared for and is of good quality

11. Live Aquarium Plants Java Moss

Our rating: 6 / 10

Live Aquarium Plants Java Moss

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Pros:

  • Can help keep your tank clean
  • Look extremely realistic
  • Easy to maintain
  • Thrives in low-light conditions
  • Can attract some animals
  • Cheap
  • Can grow at different speeds
  • Live Plants are proven to have health benefits for both plants and animals
  • Can be used as food

Cons:

  • Can be hard to find
  • Can require very specific conditions
  • Can be expensive
  • Not suitable for every type of fish
  • Some plants might sting or poison your fish

12. Mainam 30+ Stems Package Starter Beginner Set Live Aquarium Plants Java Moss

Our rating: 6 / 10

Mainam 30+ Stems Package Starter Beginner Set Live Aquarium Plants Java Moss

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Pros:

  • The variety of plants included in the package means you can create a veritable underwater jungle in your tank
  • The quality of the plants is great considering the price
  • The individual packaging ensures the health and safety of the plants
  • Suitable for both fresh and saltwater tanks

Cons:

  • The stem size is not as advertised
  • Not ideal for wider tanks

(Live Plants for Freshwater, Saltwater and Tropical Fish Tanks)

This is a low VOC value plant kit with lots of variety. The kit includes 30+ stems in 10 different species. This features an eye-catching variety of moss, swords and accents to create an ecosystem in your aquarium.

The varieties in this kit include: live aquarium moss, dwarf java moss (smooth, 20+ stems), Micro Sword (15+ stems), wisteria (25+ stems), common Anubias (15+ stems), broad leaf Anubias (20+ stems) and Rotala Indica (25+ stems).

13. Najas Guppy Grass

Our rating: 6 / 10

Najas Guppy Grass

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Pros:

  • Easy to grow and care for
  • This aquarium plant was specifically designed for tropical freshwater aquariums
  • The leaves are a rich green color
  • Good value for money

Cons:

  • The leaves aren’t as long as most other aquarium plants
  • It isn’t suitable for high light

If you’re looking for a plant that’s easy to maintain, then the Najas Guppy Grass could be the one for you. Even if you’re not an aquarist you’ll have fun with this water plant because all you need to do is rinse the leaves once a week. Plus, it’s very affordable offering excellent value for money.

The long straight leaves are the reason why it’s so easy to maintain. They’re self-cleaning, and in return, you only need to shake off any excess dust or detritus from the bottom part of the leaves. The best thing is that this plant isn’t considered aggressive, so you’ll be able to choose from different plant arrangements. The only issue some newbie aquarists may have is the fact that it requires a lot of light.

14. Mainam Echinodorus Parviflorus Rosette Amazon Sword Live Aquarium Plant Rooted Bundle

Our rating: 6 / 10

Mainam Echinodorus Parviflorus Rosette Amazon Sword Live Aquarium Plant Rooted Bundle

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Pros:

  • Available in a variety of sizes
  • Ideal for both large and small aquariums
  • Easy to maintain
  • Will help achieve optimal-growing conditions
  • Can also be used with koi fish tanks
  • Can grow up to 6 inches and will thrive in low-light environments
  • Treated and preserved against infection and infestation
  • Plant are organically-raised and free of harmful chemicals
  • The leaves and the stems are both strong and flexible
  • Great value for money (priced below 50 cents per piece)

Cons:

  • Doesn’t do well in temperate environments
  • Growth is slow for the first few weeks as they adjust to their new environment
  • Getting a really nice and full live plant can take a long time
  • The leaves are fairly thin, which means it may not be sturdy enough to withstand large amounts of drag
  • Some customers have complained about the delivery of dead plants

15. Planterest – Java Moss

Our rating: 6 / 10

Planterest - Java Moss

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Pros:

  • Seems to love artificial light
  • Very easy to transplant
  • Can be attached to things
  • Offers a very natural look
  • The moss looks great as a decorative element
  • There’s enough in each package to cover the top completely
  • Withstands bright light
  • Growth rate is pretty fast
  • At the price, it’s one of the most affordable types of plants that you’ll ever find
  • Rapidly spreads across a the tank

Cons:

  • Even when you add fertilizer, there are still some patches of surface algae
  • You need to replant regularly to keep the top looking nice and tidy

With its rugged texture and ability to grow around literally everything, Java moss is an ideal aquatic plant for the beginner. It can thrive in any water conditions, including low light. The two best things about this species are:

You can use it to conceal the gravel and other less pleasing things inside the aquarium Aesthetically, it tends to look really nice.

We’ve found that Java moss is an ideal plant for Betta fish tanks. However, if you’re looking to fill the entire aquarium with it, you’ll need to spend more cash.

16. Greenpro Java Moss Live Freshwater Aquarium Plants Easy Ready to Grow

Our rating: 5 / 10

Greenpro Java Moss Live Freshwater Aquarium Plants Easy Ready to Grow

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Pros:

  • It’s inexpensive
  • You don’t need a lot of space
  • It’s live – which most other plants are not
  • It’s lightweight and simple to maintain
  • It’s compact
  • It’s natural – unlike plastic plants
  • It’s realistic
  • Easy to attach to a steal frame

Overall, the Greenpro is great for planted tanks and turtle tanks. Since the price is so inexpensive and it’s very easy to attach to a steal frame.

17. Staurogyne Repens Tissue Cultured

Our rating: 5 / 10

Staurogyne Repens Tissue Cultured

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(Amazonia)

The Amazonia Aquatic Staurogyne Repens can be described as an undemanding aquarium plant. It’s a fast growing species that will give your aquarium an attractive and natural look. It’s suitable for beginners as well as experienced aquarists.

It can be used in a wide range of aquariums – from nano tanks to huge aquariums as it can grow in any oxygenated, freshwater aquarium. The plant forms thick and sturdy leaves, which are dark green in color. They’re also solid, so you can use them as a protective curtain. The leaves can grow up to 25cm tall, which is a bit shorter than advertised, but not by a significant amount.

18. 12 Species Live Aquarium Plants Package

Our rating: 5 / 10

12 Species Live Aquarium Plants Package

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Pros:

  • Large selection of plants, 12 in total
  • Great customer service
  • Shipment is 100% discreet
  • The 2 year warranty
  • Huge variety, more than you can get at pet stores

Cons:

  • There may not be enough to fill up your tank
  • The leaves may get a bit soiled.

This best selling plant package will make your aquarium come alive. It comes with everything you need in getting your aquarium going.

This complete live tank plant package is ideal for fresh or saltwater fish tanks.

You get a great selection of 12 varieties of plants.

19. SunGrow Aquarium Temple Plant Seeds

Our rating: 4 / 10

SunGrow Aquarium Temple Plant Seeds

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Pros:

  • Large number of seeds per package
  • Free of pesticides and harmful chemicals
  • Affordable
  • Work well in both fresh and saltwater aquariums

Cons:

  • No coverage from the manufacturer against damage on seeds during delivery
  • You might need to use a water treatment chemical to germinate them

The SunGrow Aquarium Temple Plant is belongs to the family of the Aponogetonaceae or calla lily plant, is suited to both fresh and saltwater aquariums. It will give your aquatic friends a feast with its different shades of green.

This plant has a characteristic flower spike that will impress every aquarist. The SunGrow Aquarium Plants is a very healthy specimen and they should grow pretty fast. As a rootless plant, it has a non-aggressive nature.

This plant grows from a seed and what you have to do is to rinse the seeds for a couple of hours in a bucket filled with RO water. Once that is done, place the seeds in a bowl and use peat as a medium. The SunGrow Aquarium Temple Plant will need a constant temperature of between 18 and 24 degrees Celsius. Under this temperature, this magical plant will bloom in about 30 days. Moreover, the pH range for this tree is from 5.0 to 7.0.

20. Bonsai Lotus Seeds,Water Lily Flower Plant,20PCS Finest Viable Mixed Colors Aquatic Water Features Seeds,Home Garden Yard Decor

Our rating: 4 / 10

Bonsai Lotus Seeds,Water Lily Flower Plant,20PCS Finest Viable Mixed Colors Aquatic Water Features Seeds,Home Garden Yard Decor

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Pros:

  • The seeds are of great quality and come in an ample amount
  • The water lilies are beautiful and vibrant
  • Safe for swimming
  • The price is fair given the number of seeds you are getting

Cons:

  • There are some complaints about the way the seeds were shipped
  • Some people say that it was hard to get the seeds out
  • The lily flower bulbs we received weren’t very accommodating

The Bonsai Lotus water lily seeds are an exotic choice and they deserve to be in your tank. If you want an exotic addition to your Betta tank, then these are the seeds for you. They come in a pack of 20. If you don’t want all of them, then you can choose to remove some of the seeds. Each seed is viable and you can plant it in your tank. Care is easy, all you need to do is ensure the right pH balance and ensure that the tank is mineralized. The seeds are a variation of color including green, black, blue, gold, red and white. These plants are quite compact and vibrant. They are a good addition to your Betta aquarium.

21. Betta Carpet by Luffy

Our rating: 4 / 10

Betta Carpet by Luffy

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Pros:

  • Natural looking simulation of a carpet of moss for your betta to sleep, rest, and hide in
  • Visually enhance the illusion of a 3D landscape
  • Keeps your betta healthy and happy. Studies have shown that live plants do wonders for fish, especially in small tanks
  • Easy and quick to install
  • And an appealing alternative to plastic plants
  • Safe for your betta if eaten
  • Do not fade
  • Come with a seed packet that’s easy to plant
  • Promotes aquarium ecosystem
  • Can be used with different shape and size of fish tanks

Cons:

  • Takes a while for a full carpet to take shape, especially if you plant the seeds as soon as you receive them
  • Can be more expensive than other live plants
  • Need a few of these to get a good carpet to show

Conclusion:

The Betta Carpet is a simple, natural way to help your fish tank be healthier, and your fish happier. It’s an affordable live plant that is a great alternative to plastic plants.

22. AquaLeaf Aquatics Alternanthera Reineckii VAR. Roseafolia

Our rating: 3 / 10

AquaLeaf Aquatics Alternanthera Reineckii VAR. Roseafolia

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Pros:

  • Comes in a compact size; ideal for shrimp and bettas
  • It’s easy to maintain and doesn’t require a lot of light
  • It’s an effective living water treatment
  • Light green leaves that drastically improves the health of fish
  • The color is stunning
  • Doesn’t require a lot of care
  • Allows your fish to thrive, no matter its size or age
  • It’s a high cover plant
  • Small leaves that are easy to bite on
  • It’s a fast growing leaf plant

Cons:

  • It’s slow-growing
  • Leaves are thinner and lighter than other Marineland plants
  • The price

What’s impressive about these plants is that they can be easily be placed in a wooden vase or a jar, making the entire ecosystem look polished and beautiful. It’s also affordable and can be placed anywhere in the house or retail space.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the fastest growing aquarium plant?

You will come across many aquarium plants that are advertised as the “fastest” or “easiest” to grow. However, the fastest growing aquatic plant is easily the Amazon Sword. These are an incredibly popular plant, almost totally dwarfing other species in terms of growth. You can easily have an Amazon Sword to close to the surface in the biggest tank within just a few weeks of planting.

This said, Amazon Swords come with a downside. They grow so fast that they can be a pretty invasive plant, sprawling out of control. Amazon Swords will have to be pruned heavily if you are looking for them to be anything but a jungle, and even that likely won’t help much.

Which plant is best for aquarium?

The answer is the one you like.

If you want the most efficient use of your money and the plants last the longest, choose java moss. It grows extremely fast but doesn’t get too big and you can easily trim it every month or so. You can also use it to attach other plants down to the substrate.

If you are a beginner and are looking for a more simple care, go with red cherry shrimp. They are easy to maintain and they provide you with a constant feeding opportunity and entertainment.

If you like shrimp, choose many shrimp. If you plan on having less than 10 shrimp per gallon of water, choose a light blue variety, if you want more than that, reds are the way to go. Although just like any fish or crustacean, overpopulation will bring disease and death.

Will Live plants help cycle my tank?

Plants will not cycle your tank. They will help the nitrogen cycle because they use up some of the nitrogen and carbon dioxide in the water as they grow. Likewise, they give a point for the bacteria to start colonizing the surface of your substrate and filter media. They will also help your fish and invertebrates find shelter. In addition, plants provide oxygen and help with the filtering of waste from the tank. Plants are very important to a healthy tank.

Is it hard to keep live plants in an aquarium?

Itʼs totally possible to have a healthy, pretty planted tank without a ton of work!

Plant tanks look great and they’re great for the fish. Some fish prefer the cover that plants provide. In addition, live plants naturally remove ammonia from the water.

Some plants that are a great fit for planted aquariums are Amazon Sword, Bacopa, Bundle Plant, Java Fern, Limnophila, Red Ludwigia, and Java Moss.

If your home is on the shady side, or your room is dark, the plant will grow slowly.

To get your plants growing quickly, you can put them in natural sunlight during the day, and then move them back to your tank during the night.

One of the most common mistakes people make is getting an underwater light. You don’t want to leave the light on all day long, as this will cook the plants.

Conclusion

Fish can live for up to a year in pristine condition in a plastic bag filled with water. Just add fish food!

If you’ve gone through a cycle or two of introducing fish into a new aquarium, only to have them die within a couple of days to a week, it’s because the tank was devoid of the vital elements required to sustain life.

Any hobbyist who loves fish wants a successful aquarium. But what does a successful aquarium look like? Healthy and happy fish!

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
6 Marimo Moss Ball Variety PackBest Overall6 Marimo Moss Ball Variety Pack
AquaLeaf Aquatics Alternanthera Reineckii VAR. RoseafoliaBudget PickAquaLeaf Aquatics Alternanthera Reineckii VAR. Roseafolia
Texas Aquarium Plant BundleUpgrade PickTexas Aquarium Plant Bundle