Betta like shade, which is why having a floating plant like Amazon Frogbit, Water Sprite or Water Spangles in your betta fish tank is a great idea. A floating plant has roots submerged underwater and attached to the substrate or a piece of wood or rock, with the leaves floating on top of the water surface.
A floating plant that is fully submerged, including the leaves, is referred to as a submersed macrophyte which serves as a valuable habitat for underwater creatures like your betta fish and other aquatic animals.
The Benefits of Floating Plants for your Betta Tank
The most significant benefit of using floating plants for your betta tank is that floating plants are good at filtering fish waste and removing nitrates from your tank’s water while oxygenating the water. This makes your aquarium cleaner and improves water quality.
Using floating plants makes your tank more attractive. At the same time, your betta fish might benefit from some shade from your floating plants to avoid excess bright light.
They also serve as a hiding spot for your pet fish, making them less stressed in general. In addition, floating plants are usually low maintenance and provide an algae snack for your pet if they are hungry. Consider it the betta fish version of getting in their vitamins and minerals.
Top 3 Floating Plants for your Betta Fish Tank
Several floating plant options are available, but these are my top three.
Scientific name: Limnobium Laevigatum
The Amazon frogbit is identifiable by its smooth and bright green leaves with small white flowers. Like other floating plants and your betta fish, the amazon frogbit prefers slow-moving water. As the name suggests, this plant is native to Central and South America and requires at least a 10-gallon tank to start, and it is floated on the water column.
Scientific name: Ceratopteris thalictroides
Water sprite is another floating fern, a popular floating plant amongst aquatic culture enthusiasts and betta fish owners. It is characterized by a darker green stem with green leaves. Water sprite grows fast and efficiently and is most suited to the mid and background of your tank. It doesn’t need to be planted in a deep substrate and can even float freely on the surface. It is a good floating plant for the shy fish in your tank and is an excellent choice for beginners trying their first floating plant. Another benefit is that it absorbs ammonia easily, making your tank a healthier place for your betta to live.
Scientific name: Salvinia minima
Water spangles are light green, free-floating ferns with clustered, textured leaves that prefer still water and are incredibly easy to grow. Their stems and roots make ideal breeding grounds for fish, and the shade they provide for your betta is ideal. In addition to the benefit of shade, this plant also removes heavy metals from the water. Water spangles grow very fast, and you need to keep up with maintenance. It’s is considered an invasive species in parts of the Southern United States, so please be careful with disposing of the pruned parts of this plant.
When choosing a floating plant, be sure to factor in maintenance. A floating plant should not take up more than 50% of the surface area of the tank so as not to block the exchange of gases and make it more difficult for your betta fish to get oxygen.
8 More Recommended Floating Plants for a Betta Fish Tank
As mentioned, there are many options to choose from when it comes to floating plants.
Scientific name: Taxiphyllum Barbieri
This deep green plant is beginner-friendly, and it has no roots, only leaves, and stems. It is straightforward to grow and is versatile. You can use java moss as a carpeting or a floating plant, and it can serve as a breeding ground or as a safe area for small fry.
Scientific name: Ceratophyllum dermersum
There are many species of hornwort, and the most common for aquatic freshwater tanks is ceratophyllum dermersum. This plant is another easy grower that is great for beginners requiring at least a 15-gallon tank. This green plant often appears to be one plant, but it is actually several. Betta fish like hornwort, and it allows them to explore, but some caution is required. If your betta fish has a torn fin, then it is better to remove the hornwort, which can be pretty tough, and replace it with a silk version
Scientific name: Cabomba Caroliniana
This floating plant is classified as a weed in some parts of the world. It has pale green leaves in a fan shape. It is moderately difficult to grow and breaks easily. It is a good choice for fish breeding grounds as it is densely packed. It also allows smaller fish to hide from predators.
Scientific name: Rotala indica
Sometimes referred to as an Indian toothcap, this floating plant is beautiful. The leaves are a vibrant reddish-pink color adding a dash of whimsy and contrast to the green of most aquarium plants. Rotala indica requires a fair amount of light to grow well and do better when planted, meaning they work best as a centerpiece in your tank.
Dwarf Water Lettuce
Scientific name: Pistia stratiotes
This light green perennial plant originates from the Nile River in Egypt. Generally, their roots extend quite far down the water column in an aquarium, giving fish wispy root trails to play with and nibble on. This plant offers the added benefits of removing nitrates and ammonia from the water, which is great for your betta fish, who cannot tolerate these things at all. This plant is moderately challenging to grow and should be left to beginners with some experience.
Scientific name: Lemna minor
Approach with caution. This plant, while an excellent floating plant, spreads like wildfire. It has tiny, green floating leaves giving your tank a natural but swampy look allowing your betta to feel less exposed because it offers many places to hide.
Scientific name: Ludwigia repens
Like the Rotala Indica, Ludwigia repens this floating plant offers a nice contrast to the usual greens of aquatic plants offering leaves in brown, red, and green colors. Similar to other floating plants on this list, the water primrose is quick and easy to grow, needing medium to high lighting and a low tank.
Scientific name: Elodea densa
This floating plant is a popular bright green addition to your tank. It is essentially a stem with small green leaves. It grows to give your tank a forest-like appearance and is very popular because of its versatility and adaptability. It also offers your betta fish great opportunities for exploring and hiding.
Do Betta Fish Like Plants in Their Tank?
If you have a betta fish, you should seriously consider using plants in your aquarium. Betta fish like interactive environments that also provide them with cover from predators. If you have a mating pair, then plants also make sense for your tank, because then your pair can find a safe place for their bubble nest and eggs.
All in all, using plants in your betta fish tank is inexpensive and low maintenance. It’s a nice way of enriching your tank for your betta fish.
How to Keep your Floating Plants Alive?
Floating plants are relatively easy to keep alive, but you should remember that although they are usually low maintenance, they need regular trimming to keep them under control. Most floating plants grow fast!
Other factors to consider are maintaining enough light for your chosen floating plant and doing some research before choosing your plant. They are affected by the size of your tank and the placement within your home. Floating plants prefer mild currents and match your plant to your fish. Mosquitos are sometimes a possibility, so keep an eye open if you need to do some pest control.
Wrapping It Up!
Floating plants are a fantastic idea for improving your betta fish’s tank environment and offer numerous benefits for your betta fish. There are multiple options when it comes to buying floating plants for your betta fish tank, and the internet is an excellent place with websites and threads dedicated to these topics. Be sure to browse our comprehensive website for ideas and helpful tips for your tank, plants, and fish.
If you want to read more articles about plants, please visit our posts here.
About the author
Hi, I am Alex.
My passion is aquariums. I am especially drawn to betta fish. I love experimenting, learning, researching, and writing about them.
You can find the articles I wrote here