Top 10 Floating Aquarium Plants You Can Add

Have you ever imagined your aquarium looking similar to a fish’s natural habitat? Floating plants can add that extra touch to your aquarium. They make your fish tank look slightly more than just plain glass with water and substrate.

In fact, they can make the fish tank more homely for your fish. Moreover, floating aquarium plants serve other benefits you may not know. 

Aquarium Plants
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So, what’s special about them, and what floating aquarium plant should you get for your fish tank? This article answers that and other things you probably never thought about floating aquarium plants. 

Let’s find out!

Types of Floating Aquarium Plants

Floating aquarium plants are not new; you can find them in every natural freshwater habitat. And the good thing is that you can replicate that in your aquarium.

While there are many aquarium plant options, you can group them into two types; free-floating and emergent aquarium plants.

1. Free-floating aquarium plants

These types of aquatic plants are what they are; free-floating. Therefore, they don’t need to be submerged in the aquarium’s substrate.

They can grow even though they are just floating in the tank, provided that they get adequate lighting. Their roots float in the water and they usually stay at the water’s surface.

Some of the most famous free-floating plants are frogbit and duckweed.

2. Emergent aquarium plants

Emergent aquarium plants require that you submerge them in the tank’s substrate before they grow. Even though they’re planted, they will trail and float in the tank when they grow to their full height.

They can be wild and grow rapidly, but if you tend to them well, they beautify your tank and serve other benefits. An example is the parrot feather aquatic plant.

How To Decide Which Floating Aquarium Plants To Get

Floating aquarium plants are beneficial, but you can’t add all of them to your fish tank. To decide which is best for your aquarium, here are some factors to consider:

  • Your fish species

First, you need to consider your fish species. If they tend to reproduce quickly or you want them to, you may want to consider emergent aquatic plants with roots so they can serve as shelter and protect the fish fry.

Also, if nitrates are a problem in the tank, you need fast-growing floating aquarium plants like duckweed to neutralize their toxic substance and deprive them of nutrients.

  • Aquarium size

The best arrangement for aquariums is small floating plants for small fish tanks and larger plants for large tanks. Large-rooted plants can take over small tanks and crowd them, so you have to be careful there.

  • Lighting

You should also consider lighting when choosing floating aquarium plants. While they can provide low-light areas for your fish to hide and relax, they may also deprive the lives living beneath the tank.

  • Desired aquarium aesthetic

Each floating plant has its specific look. It’s up to you to choose the aesthetic you want in your fish tank. 

  • Speed of growth

Some floating aquarium plants grow quickly, resulting in excess nitrate and causing your tank to turn green too often. The faster they grow, the higher their maintenance, so you may want to consider that too.

Top Floating Aquarium Plants For Aquariums

There are many floating aquarium plants options to choose from. If you’re an expert aquarist, deciding which plant to go for may not be a problem.

However, if you don’t know much about floating aquarium plants, here are some top ones to choose from:

1. Java moss

Java moss is a popular aquatic plant and can serve different benefits in your tank. One good thing about it is that it doesn’t require much maintenance and lighting. 

You can either root it in your aquarium’s substrate or leave it to float. It will serve as a good hiding spot for younger fish. If you have driftwood in your fish tank, you can plant java moss around it.

2. Live duckweed plants

Duckweed is a very nice floating aquarium plant and adds the natural freshwater touch to your fish tank. It is suitable for small tanks below 100 liters.

It allows light to penetrate the aquarium. Also, they’re fast-growing and can cloud the tank quickly, so you’ll need to replace or prune them often.

They can grow outside the tank; therefore, ensure you place a lid on the aquarium before adding duckweed. They often tend to expand their territory, so it requires high maintenance.

3. Amazon frogbit

Amazon frogbits have broad leaves, and their roots sprout long, making them attractive. They form large rosettes and provide enough hiding places for fish.

However, their large leaves can block out light for lives beneath. They are good if you have fish that enjoy darker areas, like betta.

4. Cabomba Caroliniana

Cabomba Caroliniana is also a good option for your fish tank. You can plant them in the substrate or allow them to float.

Their color is pale green, and they are densely packed. They provide enough space for fish to hide. Plus, they’re suitable for small and large aquariums.

5. Floating moss with feather roots

This floating aquarium plant is more decorative than live. This excuses the problem of other fast-growing aquarium plants.

It’s suitable for small and large aquariums and requires low maintenance. In addition, it also serves as a shade for smaller fish. If you don’t have time for pruning and maintaining aquarium plants, floating moss is a good option.

6. Water spangles

Water spangles are also good for your aquarium. They are hardy and can survive any water condition. Their leaves serve as hiding spots for fish and can help block out sunlight.

Also, they act as biofilters and prevent algae blooms in aquariums.

7. Anacharis

Anacharis is very easy to grow and doesn’t require much maintenance. They grow tall; therefore, they are more suitable for larger fish tanks. 

In addition, they are hardy and can withstand different water temperatures and conditions. Plus, they fit any freshwater aquarium.

8. Hornwort

Hornwort is popular among aquarists, so it’s a good choice for your fish tank. They’re beautiful and low maintenance. 

You can plant them on the substrate or scatter them in the water to float freely on the surface. However, they grow fast, so you must be ready to prune at intervals because they can be too much for your fish if they overcrowd the tank.

9. Dwarf water lettuce

Dwarf water lettuce looks like the lettuce you’re familiar with, just in smaller sizes, but they’re different. They look nice floating in aquariums and can protect small fish in the tank.

However, they are invasive and can be hard to remove; therefore, don’t allow them anywhere near your water sources. 

10. Water wisteria

Water wisteria is a fast-growing floating aquarium plant and can help beautify your fish tank. It thrives whether you plant it on the substrate or allow it to float.

However, they tend to grow long and can crowd your tank, so get ready to prune and do some maintenance work.

Benefits of Floating Aquarium Plant

When getting floating aquarium plants for your tank, you should think beyond just doing what other aquarists do. You should think about their benefits, and if you weren’t considering getting any in the first place, maybe you should.

Floating aquarium plants promise many benefits, including:

  • Aesthetic appeal

Floating aquarium plants beautify your fish tank. Asides from that, they make your aquarium look natural, like the fish’s original habitat.

They add a stylish, healthy, and realistic look and boost your fish’s wellbeing in the tank. Depending on which aquarium plant you go with, you can get everyone to stop and take an extra look at your aquarium.

  • Shade and hiding place

Floating plants provide shade and hiding places for your fish. For example, some fish, like betta fish, like lots of shade in their habitat, and adding floating aquatic plants in your tank will help destress them.

This makes them more comfortable in the aquarium. In addition, the shade can serve as hiding and playing place for your fish, which helps boost their wellbeing and quality of life. They can also protect your fish from the tank’s lighting during the day.

  • Supplements fish diet 

Fish nibble on the plant in their habitat. Whether you feed them often or not, they still go ahead and feed on aquarium plants. 

Moreover, they can serve as green snacks for your fish. In fact, they contain nutrients that supplement their diet, and the good part is that it lowers their risk of being underfed.

  • Low maintenance

Growing aquatic plants in aquariums is all good and beautiful; however, some may require extra care with lighting and other factors. This is why some aquarists are often not motivated to add plants to their aquariums.

However, most floating plants require low maintenance and are easy to grow. They grow quickly and don’t need frequent pruning or extra attention. Therefore, you’ll experience little or no difficulty with them.

  • Provide aeration

Another benefit of floating aquarium plants is that they help enable aeration in fish tanks and regulate oxygen so your fish can breathe well.

  • Helps maintain stable water chemistry

Floating aquarium plants help with your tank’s health in different ways. First, they tend to grow quickly, which helps prevent an increase in damaging waste like nitrate in your tank.

They use them as nutrients and save water changes and maintenance time. Second, they help you filter your water and supplement nutrients and oxygen in the tank.

Lastly, they also release tannins when they decay, which is good for fish that like slightly acidic water.


Floating aquarium plants have their roles to play in your tank, so it’s a cool idea to have them in your tank. However, prepare to give what it takes to maintain them and ensure they don’t deprive your fish of nutrients.

Good luck!

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