April 4

The 16 Best Floating Plants for Aquariums : Beautiful and Beneficial


Floating aquarium plants may add an entirely new dimension to your aquarium. They are the most popular option for aquarists who wish to improve the beauty of their aquarium as a whole.

The greatest floating aquarium plants can provide your fish tank an authentic and untamed air that cannot be achieved by any other means. Something about the light and colours they emit completely alters your viewpoint.

In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about the best-floating plants for aquariums. This list will provide you with all the possibilities you require to take your aquarium to the next level!

What Are Floating Aquarium Plants?

floating aquarium plants

Floating aquarium plants are types of aquarium plants that have roots that cannot anchor themselves in any substrate type. They are a great addition to the aquarium because of the mobility, depth, and texture they provide.

These aquatic plants comprise a tissue known as aerenchyma. This tissue contributes to the plant’s overall ability to float.

In addition, these plants can take in significant quantities of organic materials and chemicals, including nitrate and phosphate. They are effective in water purification, and certain species can even remove heavy metals from their surrounding environment. In aquariums or lakes, their roots help keep the water clean and provide fish and fish fry shelter. This helps microfauna like infusoria grow.

These plants are hardy and require little maintenance; as a result, your aquariums will reap the benefits of their addition. After all, they developed the ability to float to absorb the most sunlight possible.

The Benefits of Floating Plants For Your Tank

Floating plants greatly help the aquarist take care of their aquariums, and in some cases, like biotope aquariums, their presence may be almost a must. There are other benefits to adding floating plants to your aquarium besides their visual appeal.

Floating aquarium plants greatly help the aquarist take care of their aquariums, and in some cases, like biotope aquariums, their presence may be almost a must. There are other benefits to adding floating plants to your aquarium besides their visual appeal. Let’s discuss them in detail.

1.     Oxygen & Food

Floating plants are well-known for their capacity to oxygenate aquarium water. This is one of the many benefits that floating plants offer. They help fish and other aquatic species by releasing oxygen into the water as they develop and photosynthesize. This provides a healthy environment for fish. In addition, the fish and other critters that live in the tank may be able to get some of the food they need from the floating plants.

Many fish species rely heavily on free-living microfauna, including livebearers, tetras, and even adult tiny fish species like Rasboras and Killifish. Several different species, notably cichlids, plecos, and Corydoras, consume the biofilm that develops on the roots and the underside of the leaves as a source of nutrition.

2.     Cover For Your Fish

Fish may find shelter and safety from predators due to the floating plants, which is still another benefit of these plants. This is crucial for timid or easily agitated fish since floating plants may provide a secure place to escape and hide when they feel threatened.

3.     Nutrient And Algae Control

Moreover, floating plants are an excellent tool for regulating your aquarium’s nutrients and algae levels. As they develop, they can take nutrients from the water, which helps maintain the water pure and minimizes the possibility of algal blooms. Also, some floating plants give off natural chemicals that can stop algae from growing.

4.     Provides Cover and Shade

In addition to giving fish a place to hide, floating plants can provide shade. This is of utmost significance for species of fish that are too sensitive to bright light or whose optimal growth occurs in low-light situations. Also, plants that float on the water can help control the temperature of the water, making it cooler in the summer.

    You must be aware of the light levels that your tank’s inhabitants require to grow. It’s possible that some of them like the waters to be dark, while others would rather be in the light. This fact should be considered when selecting how much of the surface area you want your floating plant to occupy.

    5.     Help Maintain Stable Water Chemistry

    Floating plants can also help keep the water chemistry in your tank stable. They can assist in regulating pH levels and preventing the accumulation of potentially dangerous substances as they draw nutrients from the water. In addition, they can help avoid rapid changes in the water’s chemistry, which can be stressful for fish and other aquatic species. These changes can be prevented by using these products.

    6.     Gives your Aquarium a Natural Look

    Adding some floating aquarium plants to your aquarium might help give it a more natural appearance and atmosphere. They not only give fish and other aquatic critters a natural place to live but also lend a touch of verdant beauty to the environment of your aquarium. Floating aquarium plants can make your aquarium look better and create a more balanced ecosystem, no matter how big or small it is.

    The 16 Best Floating Plants for a Healthy Aquarium Ecosystem

    Many aquarium plants need to be planted on the substrate to grow, but floating aquarium plants don’t. Because the roots of these aquatic plants do not reach down to get nutrients from the substrate but rather gather nutrients from the aquarium water, the substrate around them does not need to be planted with anything.

    The following are some of the most popular varieties of floating aquarium plants for beginners:

    1.   Red Root Floater 

    Red Root Floater 

    Red root floaters may not be the most popular aquarium plant you can have, but they are about to surprise you. This one-of-a-kind plant may be found in its natural habitat in South America and requires relatively little maintenance. It can live in all sorts of water conditions, and its name is very fitting.

    Its common name, “red floating aquarium plants” or “red root floater,” comes from the fact that, under optimal conditions, the plant’s leaves may take on an almost entirely red color. The color of the plant’s roots and the lower part are typically red at all times; however, it is quite remarkable how the leaves may switch between different colours.

    2.   Amazon Frogbit

    Amazon Frogbit

    The use of amazon frogbit in an aquarium is an excellent technique to soften the appearance of hardscape and to give the impression that the tank is located in a more natural setting. This plant does not require a substrate, although it does prefer to be grown in a container with some pebbles to help keep it in place. When watered often and treated with liquid fertilizer, frogbit grows.

    Its stems may go up to 12 inches in length, so you should be ready to prune them. If the leaves do not become moist, they will maintain their erect position on the stem and have a dark green colour. The flowers are little clusters that can be pink or white and bloom on top of the water’s surface. 

    3.   Hornwort

    floating hornwort plant

    This plant is very popular in aquariums because it is so simple to care for. The fact that hornwort can grow in a variety of environments and can tolerate a wide range of light intensities makes it a good option for beginner growers. You just need to be careful not to over or drown this plant, which will flourish in aquariums.

    4.   Java Moss 

    Java Moss

    Many people think that java moss can only be used in aquariums with plants whose roots are in the substrate. This is not true, though, because this material can be used as a floating plant in any freshwater aquarium. This material may be used as a floating plant but can also be connected to rocks and driftwood for additional stability.

    It is essential to remember that java moss is quite similar to stringy moss. Because of this, when it is not rooted, java moss has a unique appearance from other floating plants. That java moss requires so little maintenance is one of the many reasons it is so popular.

    5.   Water Wisteria

    Water Wisteria

    One other common aquarium plant is known as water wisteria. You can let it float freely at the top of the aquarium, or you may plant it firmly in the substrate below. There is no denying the aesthetic value that this plant possesses. There is something about the colours of this plant that, when exposed to the right amount of light, come to vibrant life. It possesses long, narrow leaves that are attached to a thick stem. The stems can be good places to hide as long as the aquarium doesn’t get too crowded.

    This one develops rapidly, similar to that of many other types of aquatic plants. Because of this, you will need to closely check it to ensure that it does not completely take over your aquarium.

    6.   Anacharis


    One of the most common aquarium plants, anacharis, also called Elodea densa, does not require any substrate to grow. On the other hand, this plant makes use of the fact that water has a surface tension to cling to rocks and driftwood; therefore, all that is required of you is to place it in an area where it will be able to develop without being disturbed.

    Also, it expands quite rapidly! The anacharis plant may produce an abundance of pink blooms and grow to lengths of up to two feet in only a few short weeks. Because it can tolerate a wide range of illumination levels, anacharis is an excellent option for beginner gardeners searching for something simple to grow.

    7.   Water Sprite 

    Water Sprite

    These fun-loving floating freshwater aquarium plants have been in aquariums for a long time. It provides good protection for fish who need to hide from other fish, and it is frequently used for aquariums with a variety of species in them, including little fish and big fish.

    You will need to keep an eye on the growth rate of the water sprite, just like you will need to keep an eye on the growth rate of many of the other floating plants. Even though it is hardy and strong, it can quickly take over the rest of the tank if it is not pruned regularly.

    8.   Brazilian Pennywort

    Brazilian pennywort is a cool-looking plant that floats and can change how your aquarium looks and feels. Its wide, round leaves are spread out, forming a beautiful pattern on the surface of your aquarium that will enable some filtered light to reach the remainder of the aquarium. 

    It doesn’t grow as quickly as some other floating aquarium plants, and you can change how fast it grows by changing how much light it gets.

    9.   Floating Fern

    Floating fern, also known scientifically as Salvinia natans, is a tiny and delicate floating plant that grows in nano tanks and other small aquariums. It offers the fish in the aquarium a good amount of shade and helps to reduce the amount of light that can enter the tank, making it an excellent choice for species that grow in low-light environments. The algae growth can also be inhibited by floating fern, which contributes to regulating nutrient levels.

    10.   Dwarf Water Lettuce

    Dwarf Water Lettuce

    The Dwarf Water Lettuce plants (also known as one of the best floating plants for betta) are adorable group plant that gives your tank a refined and understated appearance. It is also an excellent choice for beginners. Some other floating plants can sometimes look a little out of place, but this one doesn’t. The overall appearance of it is strikingly reminiscent of something else. Your tank will have a much more natural appearance as a result. Additionally, this plant is also considered the best floating aquarium plants for betta fish.

    Fact: All the water lettuce plants are considered slow growing floating aquarium plants.

    11.   Salvinia cucullata 

    Salvinia cucullata 

    Salvinia cucullata is another low-maintenance floating plant that gives fish good shade and cover while being simple to care for. It is an excellent plant for aquariums with low light levels and helps reduce the spread of algae, making it a fantastic addition to aquariums. In addition, Salvinia cucullata is an efficient nutrient absorber, which contributes to the water being pure and healthy.

    12.   Subwassertang


    Pellia endiviifolia, often called subwassertang, is an unusual floating plant that looks like a dense bed of small leaves. Fish may make great use of the shelter and shade it provides and contribute to the stability of the water’s chemistry. 

    13.   Crystalwort Riccia

    Crystalwort Riccia

    Crystalwort Riccia, or Riccia fluitans, is a floating plant that grows quickly and is best suited for aquariums with intense illumination. It contributes to the stability of the water’s composition while also providing great oxygenation. In addition to being an efficient nutrient absorber, crystalwort riccia can also play a role in suppressing algae growth.

    14.   Banana Plant

    Nymphoides aquatica

    The distinctive banana plant, also known as Nymphoides aquatica, is a kind of aquatic plant that floats and has roots that look like bananas and are quite lengthy. It gives fish and other aquatic animals great hiding places and helps keep the water’s composition stable. 

    15.   Mosaic Plant

    Mosaic Plant

    The mosaic plant is a popular floating plant for aquariums. The leaves of this plant are tiny and spherical, and they are organized in a pattern that looks like a mosaic on the surface of the water where it grows. The maintenance requirements for mosaic plants are low, and they can thrive in various moisture levels. In addition to looking nice, mosaic plants can help the ecosystem in your aquarium in many ways.

    Before introducing mosaic plants to your aquarium, ensuring they have a sufficient surface area to spread out and develop new roots is essential. They can also grow by cutting off pieces of their stems and replanting them in the soil or letting them float on the water’s surface.

    16.   Duckweed


    The term “duckweed” refers to a duckweed floating aquarium plants that live on the surface of the water. It is characterized by leaves that float on the surface of the water and roots that grow submerged in the liquid. Duckweeds are also known as floating aquarium plants with long roots. It grows in temperate areas all over the world, but it does best in warm, moist places. You may want to reduce the amount of duckweed you add at once by chopping it up into smaller pieces before placing it in your aquarium because it has the potential to form a very thick mat in some aquariums.

    Tank Setup For Floating Plants 

    Floating plants are incredibly low-maintenance, but that does not mean they have no ideal tank type. Here’s the tank setup of floating aquarium plants:

    Going Lidless/Hoodless

    One of the most important things to think about when setting up an aquarium for floating plants is whether or not you need a lid or hood. The amount of light, air, and carbon dioxide that may reach floating plants can be limited by covering the container with a lid or hood with a tight seal. If you want to improve the ventilation and light penetration, consider using an aquarium with an open top or removing the cover or hood.


    To survive, floating plants need to have access to sufficient lighting. LED lights are a good option since they are energy efficient, produce little heat, and can be adjusted to simulate the sun’s daily cycle. While certain floating plants, like the crystalwort riccia, need a lot of light to thrive, others, like the salvinia cucullate (floating aquarium plants salvinia), do better with less illumination. You should find out what kind of lighting your floating plants need and provide it.

    Selecting The Right Filter

    When setting up an aquarium for floating plants, use the proper filter. While filters are necessary for preserving the purity of the water, they also have the potential to generate a vigorous current that may be harmful to floating plants. If you want to keep your floating plants from being disturbed, you might want to look into purchasing a filter that has a low-flow rate, such as a sponge filter or a canister filter with an adjustable flow.

    One further thing to consider is the material used in the filter media. Because nutrients are necessary for the survival of floating plants, you should avoid employing filter media such as activated carbon that removes nutrients. Think about utilizing filter media such as bio medium or live plants, which can give additional nutrients to the system.
    Note: The requirements mentioned above are only for live floating aquarium plants. These requirements are not necessary for artificial floating aquarium plants or fake floating aquarium plants.

    How To Care For Floating Plants?

    Floating Plant

    You must consider numerous parameters to provide proper care for floating plants.


    Nutrients are essential to the growth of floating plants. They get these nutrients from the water column, so keeping the water quality in excellent condition is essential by performing frequent water changes and using adequate filtration. You can also add to their food by giving them liquid fertilizers or root tabs. 

    CO2 Injection

    Although CO2 infusion is not required for the growth of floating plants, it may benefit the plant’s general health and growth. CO2 injection can make floating plants grow faster and bigger, giving them an advantage over algae for nutrients. If you decide to inject CO2, you need to pay close attention to the pH levels and make adjustments as necessary.


    Floating plants are great for beginners because they are easy to grow more of. It is sufficient to cut off a section of the plant and relocate it to an alternative location within the tank. To ensure that the plant continues to thrive, you must routinely prune the plant and remove any diseased or dead leaves.

    Tank Maintenance

    You must do routine tank maintenance to keep your floating plants healthy, especially beginner aquarium plants. Make sure to change the water often to keep the water quality high and eliminate any extra nutrients. In addition, be sure to remove any leaves from your floating plants that are dead or decaying, as they might contribute to the water’s quality deterioration and algae growth.

    Pests and other problems

    Floating plants may bring many advantages to your aquarium, but they may also be prone to a variety of concerns, like pests and other issues, that may hinder their development and general health. Here are some of the more prevalent pests and other issues that may damage the condition of floating plants in an aquarium.

    Algae Overgrowth

    The proliferation of algae is one of the most typical issues that might arise with floating plants. Algae can quickly grow over your floating plants, blocking out light and stopping them from growing. Maintaining a high water quality through frequent water changes and the application of adequate filtration can help avoid an overgrowth of algae. 

    Snail Infestations

    Another prevalent threat to floating plants is the presence of snails. They can hinder the development of your plants or even cause them to die if they feed on the leaves and roots of your plants. Consider putting snail-eating fish in your aquarium, such as loaches or pufferfish, to avoid having an infestation of snails. 

    Bacterial and Fungal Infections

    The leaves of floating plants are sometimes prone to bacterial and fungal diseases, which can result in the leaves becoming yellow or withering away completely. To keep these diseases from spreading, ensure your water is clean, and don’t put too many fish in your tank.


    Do Floating Plants Oxygenate The Water? 

    Yes, floating plants may help oxygenate your aquarium’s water. They indirectly add oxygen to the water since the oxygen made during photosynthesis is used later and turned back into carbon dioxide (CO2). Indirectly, the movement of plants on the surface will increase the exchange of gases in the water of the aquarium, which will lead to a higher level of oxygen.

    Why are my Floating Aquarium Plants Dying?

    There are several potential causes for the death of floating aquarium plants, including inadequate lighting, poor water quality, or a deficiency of nutrients. Overcrowding, extreme temperature, and the presence of pests or diseases are further possibilities. It is essential to make an accurate diagnosis of the specific problem and immediately begin taking measures to put a stop to any additional financial losses.

    Do Floating Plants Stop Algae?

    Algae growth in your aquarium can be slowed down with the aid of floating plants, but they may not totally stop it. A number of conditions, such as an abundance of nutrients, an absence of proper illumination, or poor water quality, can all contribute to the formation of algae. Floating plants can help eliminate excess water nutrients by eating algae’s main food sources, like nitrates and phosphates.

    Do Floating Aquarium Plants Need CO2?

    Floating aquarium plants don’t have to be given extra CO2 because they can get the carbon they need from the air CO2. During the process of photosynthesis, plants take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into oxygen and carbohydrates from their food. Floating plants are no different. They require carbon dioxide from the air and give oxygen to the water.

    Will Floating Plants Block Light?

    Yes, floating plants can block some light from reaching the water in the aquarium. The leaves of floating plants can float on the water’s surface, where they can condense into a layer that decreases the quantity of light reaching the deeper layers of the water. Depending on the requirements of the plants and aquatic life you keep in your aquarium, this might have either beneficial or bad impacts on the aquarium.

    Can You Have Too Many Floating Plants in an Aquarium?

    Yes, you can have multiple floating plants in an aquarium. Floating plants can have various positive effects, such as providing shade, oxygenation, and the uptake of nutrients; nevertheless, everything must be balanced.

    What are Floating Silk Aquarium Plants?

    Floating silk aquarium plants are fake plants meant to float on the surface of the water in an aquarium. These artificial plants can be created from silk or other types of synthetic materials. They are frequently employed as a decorative feature in aquariums and can provide fish and other aquatic organisms with protection and shade. Silk floating plants, in contrast to real plants, do not require light, nourishment, or maintenance. As a result, silk plants provide an alternative for aquarium owners that is both low-maintenance and long-lasting.

    Final Thoughts

    Adding floating plants in an aquarium will unquestionably give your aquarium a wild and realistic look. This is a quick and easy way to make your fish tank look beautiful with little effort.

    But remember, before adding anything to your fish tank, you should prepare and conduct research, just like you would with any other ornament.


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