10 Floating Aquarium Plants for Beginners : Easy-to-Care

Floating aquarium plants are special plants that float on water. They keep the water clean, provide a cozy home for fish, and make your aquarium look beautiful. 

Let’s explore these amazing plants!

1. Duckweed (Lemna minor)

Duckweed

Duckweed is a tiny, green plant that floats on water. It’s great for aquariums because it helps keep the water clean and provides shade for fish. It’s easy to grow and looks beautiful.

  • CO2 Requirement: None
  • Growth Rate: Very Fast

Pros:

  • Light Requirement: Moderate to high
  • Water Conditions: Wide range
  • Fish Compatibility: Generally safe
  • Temperature Range: 60-80°F (15-27°C)
  • Aesthetic Impact: Lush appearance

Cons:

  • Maintenance: Regular thinning needed
  • Filtration Impact: Can clog filters
  • Reproduction: Fast propagation, can overgrow
  • Common Issues: Overgrowth control needed

Light Requirement: Moderate to high

Maintenance: Regular thinning to prevent overgrowth

Water Conditions: Adaptable to a wide range

2. Water Spangles (Salvinia minima)

Water Spangles are small, floating plants that look like tiny green leaves on the water. They help keep the water clean and provide a nice place for fish to hide and play.

CO2 Requirement: None
Growth Rate: Very Fast

Pros:

  • Provides shade for fish
  • Absorbs excess nutrients
  • Reduces algae growth
  • Easy to care for

Cons:

  • Can clog filters if not managed
  • May overgrow quickly
  • Needs regular thinning to prevent overcrowding

Light Requirement: Moderate to high

Maintenance: Regular thinning to prevent overgrowth

Water Conditions: Adaptable to a wide range

3. Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum)

Amazon Frogbit is a floating plant with round, green leaves that resemble tiny lily pads. It creates a beautiful, natural look in aquariums and provides shade and shelter for fish.

CO2 Requirement: None
Growth Rate: Moderate to Fast

Pros:

  • Provides shade for fish
  • Absorbs excess nutrients
  • Reduces algae growth
  • Easy to care for
  • Adds a natural look to the aquarium

Cons:

  • Can overgrow if not managed
  • Needs regular thinning
  • May block light from reaching other plants

Light Requirement: Moderate to high

Maintenance: Regular thinning to prevent overgrowth

Water Conditions: Prefers calm water

Read also: How To Grow Carpet Plants Without Injected CO2

4. Red Root Floater (Phyllanthus fluitans)

Red Root Floater is a vibrant floating plant with round leaves and striking red roots. It adds a pop of color to aquariums and provides a cozy habitat for fish.

CO2 Requirement: None
Growth Rate: Moderate to Fast

Pros:

  • Adds vibrant color to aquariums
  • Provides shade for fish
  • Absorbs excess nutrients
  • Reduces algae growth
  • Easy to care for

Cons:

  • Can overgrow if not managed
  • Needs regular thinning
  • May block light from reaching other plants

Light Requirement: Moderate to high

Maintenance: Regular thinning to prevent overgrowth

Water Conditions: Prefers soft, slightly acidic water

Read also: Freshwater Aquariums: Types, Setup, and Care

6. Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum)

Hornwort is a versatile floating or submerged plant with long, feathery stems. It’s great for aquariums as it helps keep the water clean and provides excellent hiding spots for fish.

CO2 Requirement: None
Growth Rate: Fast

Pros:

  • Provides excellent cover for fish
  • Absorbs excess nutrients
  • Reduces algae growth
  • Easy to care for
  • Can be used as both floating and submerged plant

Cons:

  • Can grow very quickly
  • Needs regular pruning
  • May shed needles, which require cleaning
  • Can block light from reaching other plants

Light Requirement: Low to moderate

Maintenance: Regular pruning

Water Conditions: Wide range, including cold water

7. Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes)

Water Lettuce is a floating plant with large, soft, velvety leaves that resemble a rosette. It adds a lush, tropical look to aquariums and provides shade and shelter for fish.

CO2 Requirement: None
Growth Rate: Fast

Pros:

  • Provides shade for fish
  • Absorbs excess nutrients
  • Reduces algae growth
  • Adds a lush, tropical look
  • Easy to care for

Cons:

  • Can overgrow if not managed
  • Needs regular thinning
  • May block light from reaching other plants
  • Can clog filters if not maintained properly

Light Requirement: Moderate to high

Maintenance: Regular thinning to prevent overgrowth

Water Conditions: Prefers warm water

8. Java Moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri)

Java Moss

Java Moss is a hardy, versatile plant that can grow on surfaces or float freely. It has a soft, feathery appearance and is great for creating a natural look in aquariums.

CO2 Requirement: None
Growth Rate: Moderate

Pros:

  • Provides excellent cover for fish and shrimp
  • Absorbs excess nutrients
  • Reduces algae growth
  • Easy to care for
  • Can be attached to decorations and surfaces

Cons:

  • Can grow over other plants and decorations
  • Needs regular trimming to maintain shape
  • May collect debris, requiring occasional cleaning
  • Can be dislodged easily by fish

Light Requirement: Low to moderate

Maintenance: Regular trimming to maintain shape

Water Conditions: Wide range

9. Riccia Fluitans

Riccia Fluitans, also known as Crystalwort, is a bright green, floating plant with a delicate, moss-like appearance. It adds a vibrant and natural look to aquariums and can also be anchored to surfaces.

CO2 Requirement: None
Growth Rate: Fast

Pros:

  • Provides excellent cover for fish and shrimp
  • Absorbs excess nutrients
  • Reduces algae growth
  • Easy to care for
  • Can be used as both floating and anchored plant

Cons:

  • Can grow over other plants and decorations
  • Needs regular trimming to maintain shape
  • May collect debris, requiring occasional cleaning
  • Can be dislodged easily by fish

Light Requirement: Moderate to high

Maintenance: Regular trimming to maintain shape

Water Conditions: Prefers soft, slightly acidic water

10. Azolla (Azolla filiculoides)

Azolla, also known as mosquito fern, is a small, floating plant with delicate, feathery leaves that form dense mats on the water surface. It adds a lush, green cover to aquariums and ponds.

CO2 Requirement: None
Growth Rate: Fast

Pros:

  • Provides shade for fish
  • Absorbs excess nutrients
  • Reduces algae growth
  • Easy to care for
  • Adds a lush, green cover

Cons:

  • Can overgrow quickly
  • Needs regular thinning
  • May block light from reaching other plants
  • Can clog filters if not managed properly

Light Requirement: Moderate to high

Maintenance: Regular thinning to prevent overgrowth

Water Conditions: Prefers calm water

How to control floating plants in an aquarium?

MethodAction
Regular ThinningRemove excess plants regularly.
Proper LightingModerate light levels; use a timer.
Fish/InvertebratesIntroduce plant-eating species (e.g., goldfish, snails).
Water QualityRegular water changes to balance nutrients.
Physical BarriersUse plant rings or barriers.
Manual PruningTrim roots and leaves regularly.

FAQs

Are floating plants good for an aquarium? 

Yes, floating plants are excellent for aquariums as they provide shade, absorb excess nutrients, reduce algae growth, and create a natural habitat for fish.

Do floating aquarium plants need CO2? 

No, most floating aquarium plants do not require additional CO2. They can thrive with the natural CO2 levels present in the water.

Why are my floating aquarium plants dying? 

Floating plants may die due to inadequate light, poor water quality, overcrowding, or insufficient nutrients. Ensure proper lighting, maintain clean water, and thin plants regularly.

Do floating plants need light? 

Yes, floating plants need moderate to high light to thrive. Proper lighting is essential for their growth and health.

How to keep floating plants alive? 

To keep floating plants alive, provide adequate light, maintain good water quality, and regularly thin them to prevent overcrowding. Ensure they receive enough nutrients and avoid strong water currents.

What do floating plants eat? 

Floating plants absorb nutrients directly from the water, including nitrates, phosphates, and other essential minerals. They do not require feeding like fish but benefit from a nutrient-rich environment.

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