Best Plants for Betta Fish

Carol M.
Fisheries Consultant

Aquarium plants have many benefits to a fish tank, such as a beautiful appearance. They offer chemical and physical benefits to your aquarium water. Again they provide a unique filtration system to your tank and eliminate the decaying organic matter.

Again, aquatic plants aerate the water column. Like any other plants, aquatic plants undergo the process of photosynthesis, releasing oxygen into the water. Also, they consume carbon dioxide emitted by the fish.

Therefore, these plants are essential for your betta fish. You don't want to deprive your fish of all these benefits.

Here is a checklist of the best plants to use for your betta fish in no particular order. We hope the plants will design your betta tank in the best way possible.

Top 6 Plants for Your Betta Fish

1. Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus)

Most fish keepers prefer this plant due to its long, thick leaves and fewer maintenance practices. It’s a slow-growing plant and has several varieties, such as needle leaf and trident Windelov java fern. Also, it has a thick, horizontal stem (rhizome). 

Plants with rhizomes are unique, and they don't require substrate or gravel to grow. They attach to rock or driftwood that you can make using a super glue gel. Be aware that the plant can grow large, 13 inches higher, 6-8 inches wide. It's best to grow this plant in tanks larger than 10 gallons.

Requirements for Growth
  • pH- 6-7 and temperatures 68-82 degrees F.
  • Can tolerate the shade of other plants or low-light tanks

2. Java Moss (Taxiphyllum Barbieri)

Java is another best plant for your betta fish as it can grow in any condition. It's very hardy, easy to care for, and becomes appealing in your tank. It’s the best beginner plant for your betta fish.

You need not bury the roots; instead, the roots will latch on to the tank's rocks, driftwood, or other decorations. Also, you can let it float, and it will finally carpet with time. Java moss creates a dense tangle of growth that your betta fish will love to explore. However, this plant requires a lot of care to control its growth.

Another species that you may consider is Christmas Moss. It's better than java moss as it grows slowly and thus is easy to maintain. 

Requirements for Growth
  • pH 5-8 and temperature 70-75 degrees F though can survive up to 86 degrees F.
  • Can grow in low light and high-level light

3. Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides)

This aquatic fern is suitable for betta fish as it provides them with a perfect playing ground. It often grows fast and becomes a source of nutrients, but it may be a bit of a nuisance. Water sprite is a great plant to consider as you can plant it or let it float freely on the water surface.

This plant grows fast, but it's easy to trim it. You should cut the stem at the base and throw away the leaves to prevent rotting in the tank. Remember, since it's a floating plant, it can cover the water column and block the light. So, you should be vigilant to trim it when it becomes large.

Requirements for Growth
  • It's easy to maintain and plant
  • Requires a moderate level of light

4. Anacharis (Brazilian Waterweed)

This plant is also known as elodea or water weeds. Its native origin is South America, but you can find it anywhere in America since it's a hardy plant. You should bury the stem 2 inches deep during planting to give the roots room for growth. Again, ensure you space each plant about an inch away from the other.

This plant offers more hiding places for your fish. You need to watch out when they grow as they can damage your fish fins. They grow fast and can form a dense forest and sometimes clog the small tanks. Therefore, always keep trimming them to control their growth.

Requirements of Growth
  • Temperatures of between 60-82 degrees F and pH should be neutral
  • Medium level of light

5. Amazon Sword (Echinodorus bleheri)

This plant requires a larger tank for growth as it's a bit large, up to 20 inches in length though aquarium species don’t grow that large. It provides the best background for your tank and offers hiding places for your fish. You should plant the Amazon deep into the substrate for the roots to grow and ensure you don't bury the crown; otherwise, the plant will die.

The Amazon plant has broad leaves, and it's suitable in larger tanks of at least 10 gallons. When planting, bury it at least 3 inches into the substrate to prevent it from being uprooted by the water flow. It also requires a nutrient supplement to boost growth. You can plant seeds or even use new plants and plant them into the substrate.

 Your fish will love resting on the broad leaves, offering a large surface area for bacteria growth. Remember to clear dead or algae-covered leaves by trimming them at the base or pinching them out.

Requirements for Growth
  • The pH level is 6.5-7.5, and temperatures are between 72-82 degrees F.
  • Requires a high level of lighting and around 8-12 hours of light
  • Nutrients supplements

6. Betta Bulbs

Betta fish love this plant, that’s why the name. It contains a mix of different bulbs from Africa, Asia, and Australia. It's highly mixed, and mostly you will get a hybrid bulb. While planting, you should bury the roots about 2 inches deep in the substrate to provide support when growing.

This plant can grow up to 12 inches in length and 20 inches in width. So, you require a large tank to grow them and maintain their growth by regular pruning. If you control their growth, it's easy to care for them and creates a better natural environment for your fish.

 
Requirements for Growth
  • The pH of 6.5- 7.5 and temperatures between 72-82 degrees F.
  • It can survive in low and high light, but it's best to give them low light if in a small tank to control its growth.

Pros and Cons of Live Plants

Pros: 

  • Produce more oxygen for your fish
  • Breakdown ammonia into less toxic compounds through the beneficial bacteria
  • They harbor beneficial bacteria that facilitate the recycling of waste products.
  • Plants eliminate algae in your tank as they mostly grow due to high nitrates. With nitrates being broken down, the algae can’t grow.
  • Act as a natural environment for your fish, which helps your fish be happy and control stress.
  • Forms hiding places for your fish and areas to explore.
  • Balances your tank water chemistry
  • Control the level of carbon dioxide level in the water column

Cons:

  • Add decaying matter into the tank, and if you fail to clean it can cause bacteria to bloom and deplete oxygen.
  • They can grow large and reduce space for your fish to swim.
  • Require more care than artificial plants
  • Some require more light levels to grow.
  • They release oxygen during the day and consume it at night. To fix this, you need to add some air stones into the tank at night.

Conclusion

These aquatic plants are suitable for your betta fish. They make your tank appealing and look more natural. Again, they provide hiding places for your betta fish and keep them happy. Betta fish plants also provide oxygen to the fish, eliminate ammonia, and even harbor beneficial bacteria.

However, these plants require proper maintenance for the growth and survival of your fish. Sometimes they may require different lighting at night, consume more oxygen at night and even add decaying matter to the tank.

If you fail to check on your tank regularly, you may harm your fish due to oxygen depletion. So, always remove the decayed organic matter, and trim the plant when necessary. Finally, understand the plant's growth habits and find one that fits your tank.

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