Floating Aquarium Plants: All To Know

There are many ways to decorate a fish tank or pond in your compound. But, floating aquarium plants are the best way to rework your aquarium.

These plants can give your space a completely fresh look. They are the best choice if you are thinking of ways to give your tank an aesthetic appeal.

But now the problem is there are so many aquarium plants to choose from. Therefore, it may be challenging to decide which ones to introduce and which ones to avoid.

The first step to take if you’re looking for plants for your aquarium is to assess if your fish can tolerate the plant. You also need to consider the size of your aquarium when making this decision.

If you want some suggestions, you have come to the right place. Today we look at the top 15 floating aquarium plants you can consider. Please keep reading to learn about them.

What Are the Advantages of Having Floating Aquarium Plants?

Before reviewing the best plants, let’s start by looking at how aquarium plants can benefit your setup.

Of course, the most obvious one is that they make the surroundings beautiful, which is something all of us want for our environment. But, these plants offer other benefits apart from beauty.

For instance, they are super easy to grow and maintain. You’re already busy taking care of your fish in the pond or tank.

So the last thing you want is another burden to carry over your shoulders. Most aquarists love the idea of having plants in their aquarium. But only a few have the time, money, and effort to dedicate it to taking care of the plants.

Thankfully, floating plants need less time and money investments. Most of these plants don’t need a lot of effort to care for them. Occasional pruning should be enough to ensure the plants grow well.

Aside from that, these plants also offer shade for your fish, depending on which species you choose.

They protect your fish from too much light during the day, keeping them comfortable. However, please do not cover the entire tank with plants since underground plants also need light.

Another advantage is that floating plants help reduce toxins from the tank quickly.

So, you will not need to change water frequently to deal with nitrate. These plants also help aerate your tank. They supply your fish with oxygen which is crucial for their health.

Lastly, floating plants provide your fish with food. When you have them in the aquarium, it’s highly unlikely that your fish will be underfed.

These plants act as an automated food source and add nutrients. Hence, they can supplement the synthetic food and give your fish a balanced diet.

How to Choose the Right Floating Plant for Your Aquarium?

So now you know what benefits floating plants offer to your environment. The next important thing is to choose the right plant for you. Although it seems complicated, it doesn’t have to be.

Here are some factors to help you decide on the right plant to buy.

The Fish Species You Have

Some plants may not be favorable to your fish, depending on the species. Therefore, you should evaluate the animals in your pond before deciding.

freshwater aquarium

Plants with roots help shelter newborn fish, making them comfortable. Thus, they are recommended for fish that reproduce.

On the other hand, if you’re dealing with a nitrate problem, you should opt for fast-growing plants like duckweed which can help absorb toxins and protect your fish.

How Fast the Plant Grows?

Most floating plants are fast growers. This is an advantage as they can quickly get rid of nitrate and provide oxygen to your fish. However, this fast growth rate also means that your tank becomes green quickly.

Even if you have small non-invasive plants, they can grow quickly and occupy most parts of your tank.

That’s why it’s crucial to consider the growth rate before buying a plant. Generally, a variety that grows quickly requires high maintenance since you’ll need to prune it regularly.

The Size of Your Pond or Tank

Smaller plants are suitable for smaller ponds. Remember that you don’t want to overcrowd your fish’s living space as it can cause stress.

When introducing plants, please factor in the size. If you have a large tank, it can accommodate several fast-growing varieties. But also, think of the capacity before you buy your plants.


When adding plants to your aquarium, you should consider the lighting needs of other plants in the tank. Most floating plants provide cover and shade for fish.

However, they can block light from reaching the bottom of the tank, which isn’t good for plants growing beneath.

Your floating plants should allow some light to reach the tank’s bottom. Some varieties like duckweed are easily thinned out, allowing you to control the light penetration.

The Look You Want to Create

As earlier mentioned, floating plants help add aesthetic appeal to the surrounding. Therefore, having them in the tank will change its look and feel. So, you should visualize the type of look you want to achieve.

Shrimp and krill tend to forage in long-rooted plants and can fill a significant part of your pond with greener.

Most floating plants are suitable for a natural look that’s plant-filled. However, remember that some varieties grow quickly and can change the look of your surroundings within no time.

Top 15 Best Floating Plants for Your Aquarium

#1. Hornwort

Hornwort is many people’s favorite floating plant for various reasons. One is that it looks fantastic. Also, it is a low-maintenance plant recommended for aquarists who want a plant without the hassle of taking care of it.

hornwort in aquarium

It adds a calm and relaxing mood to your tank. Its deeply green color changes the appearance and lighting of your aquarium. The leaves growing from its thin stem have a wispy look that makes the aesthetic more beautiful.

Since it’s a floating plant, you can pair it with most fish species. But, please research the fish species in your pond before introducing them to your pond.

The only downside of this plant is the growth rate. You need to constantly check the plant as it can grow quickly, cover the surface and clog filters and other equipment.

#2. Anacharis

This plant is also another popular choice among aquarists. It’s one of the easiest floating plants to grow and doesn’t need much care and maintenance.

For this reason, it is recommended for those setting up their tanks for the first time.

It can thrive in various temperatures, making it suitable for different aquariums. But, like Hornwort, you should check it regularly since its fast growth rate.

#3. Live Duckweed Plants

Duckweed is a great floating plant for new aquarists. It is suitable for small tanks or ponds as it has short roots and small leaves. It allows enough light to pass through, meaning the plants growing below will not surface.


However, it also grows quickly. Thus, you may need to replace it often or prune any overgrown roots when necessary.

Additionally, experts recommend keeping a lid on the aquarium before introducing this plant.

Note that it can expand its territory and grow outside your tank. But removing these overgrowths is not that simple. So prevent this by closing your aquarium.

#4. Java Moss

If you are looking for an attractive and versatile plant, this is a winner. The plant is super easy to grow.

Yamato Shrimp on Java Moss

You can fix it to a rock or a piece of wood and leave it to grow. Or, you can allow it to roam around your tank on top of the water.

Java Moss produces thick and fluffy foliage, allowing aquarists to use it as a carpet for their tank or wall covering.

Many people mostly use it in spawning tanks to provide an excellent medium for reproducing fish and to cover vulnerable newborns.

#5. Red Root Floater

We love this plant because it is very appealing. It has red roots, hence the name red root floater, and light green leaves, which turn red in light exposure.

The plant is generally easy to grow and maintain and provides excellent shade for fish.

It originates from South America and does well in slow-moving or still waters. Since it is a tough plant, it’s recommended for beginners.

It only needs enough light and space to grow. But please do not provide too much light.

The plant also needs iron to maintain the red color. If it’s not enough, supplement it with fertilizer. But do not use unwanted chemicals as they can damage your plant.

#6. Cabomba

Cabomba is another beautiful floating plant to add to your tank. It’s grown worldwide thanks to its adapting characteristics.

The plant can grow to a height of 20 inches in high light levels and enough feeding. So, it’s a bit taller than most other aquarium plants.

It has a beautiful appearance that will add gorgeousness to any pond. Also, it’s one of the easiest plants to maintain.

You only need to place it at your aquarium, and it will do the rest of the job for itself. It thrives on various water surfaces provided there is enough light. People use it to cover and provide shade for their fish. It can be beneficial to critters as well.

#7. Amazon Frogbit

Next, we have this popular floating plant that’s loved for various reasons. Amazon Frogbit is appealing and fun to stare at, adding some aesthetic appeal to your aquarium.

amazon frogbit

It has long roots that create an appealing effect in a fish tank and also features wide, flat, and strong leaves.

The plant doesn’t need too much maintenance as it can flourish in different water parameters. It is well-behaved and doesn’t require constant trimming.

We recommend this plant for those starting their aquarium for the first time who don’t want the hassle of caring for plants.

#8. Dwarf Water Lettuce

Dwarf water lettuce is not related to the lettuce that most of us know. It only has this name because its leaves are shaped like lettuce and form a head shape.

Water lettuce

It’s a unique beauty to add to your fish pond or tank. The green leaves floating on the surface create a great space to look at.

But you should bear in mind that this is considered an invasive species. So, you may not easily find it in your location.

If you put this plant in your aquarium, please do not let it reach natural water sources. It can easily overwhelm them, and removing it is not that simple.

#9. Floating Moss with Feather Roots

The plant is recommended for both indoor and outdoor fish tanks. Its feather roots offer a great place for your fish to relax and hide. Aside from that, it can also decorate your pond, thanks to its appealing look.

But, you need to note that this is an artificial plant and doesn’t have the same ability to balance minerals as live plants.

However, you can still use it to offer shade for your fish. Plus, there is nothing to lose trying it as it requires low maintenance.

The plant’s feathers provide ambient space for fish to hide. So, it supports the well-being of newborns. Additionally, you only need to check it out occasionally since it is an artificial plant.

#10. Water Wisteria

Water Wisteria is among the easiest plants to grow, making it suitable for beginners in the fishkeeping industry. It is also a versatile plant that you can leave floating on the water surface or anchor on a substrate.

The only problem is that you need a large tank to allow the plant to grow to its maximum height and spread up.

Also, you need to supply it with enough light and occasional pruning to keep the plant at its best. Please note that you shouldn’t grow this plant if you have snails, goldfish, or silver dollars, as they will eat it.

#11. Brazilian Pennywort

If you want to create a neat look, opt for this floating plant. It can completely change your aquarium’s look.

As a member of the Apiaceae family, it is generally undemanding. Your plant is good to go as long as you offer it low to medium light and moderate feed.

Brazilian Pennywort originates from South America and features a pretty fast growth rate. It can spread to 6 inches and attain a height of 24-inch height. The leaves are large and circular and grow neatly spaced from each other.

How fast the plant grows depends on the light provided. Moderate light can help control the development of this plant. It would be best if you also trimmed it regularly to maintain the neatness.

#12. Rotala Indica

This is a unique plant as it doesn’t have an aquatic look like the ones we have reviewed above. But, it’s a suitable choice for people who want to add variety to their ponds or want something different.

The plant has green leaves that are truly outstanding. But on the bottom, the leaves are pink-red, which is what makes the plant unique.

This may not seem like that much of a deal at first, but you’ll appreciate it when there’s some movement. It’s easy to care for this plant as it only requires that you prune it regularly.

#13. Water Spangles

It is a hardy plant that can thrive in various water environments. It’s loved because of its excellent ability to block out sunlight.

Therefore, your fish can enjoy the shade it provides, and it also offers the young ones a place to hide. The plant also feeds nutrients in the tank, acting as an excellent bio-filter. So, you will not have to worry about algae blooms.

#14. Ludwigia Repens

This aquatic plant comes from the same family as Evening Primrose. Some people call it Creeping Primrose-Willow, and it is mostly found in America.

The plant spreads easily, which is why it is a common sight in many places. For this reason, some people regard it as a weed.

It is a beautiful and versatile plant that you can either grow on the water surface or anchor to the substrate. Its color is dark green, red, and reddish-brown, depending on how deeply it is submerged.

#15. Mosquito Fern

Lastly, we have this attractive plant that helps prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in the aquarium.

It does well in slow-moving or still water, just like mosquitos. It’s easy to care for and maintain and can suit different pond sizes.

Final Thoughts

Apart from beautifying your fish tank or pond, floating plants can also add some functionality to your aquarium.

The good news is most plants require low maintenance, and you can grow them easily.

Plus, many of them absorb nutrients from the water while sucking nitrates out of it. Therefore, they keep your animals safe while providing shelter.

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