Aquarium Plants

27 Of The Best Plants For Betta Fish

What are the best plants for betta fish? That’s a question you’ll be asking yourself if you’re setting up a tank for your new betta fish. Did you know that bettas love plants of all kinds?

Bushy planting provides a safe place for your betta to hide, flat-leaved plants create a hammock where your pet can rest, while free-floating species are perfect for building bubble nests and protecting fry.

If you are a beginner, you will need to know whether to use real or fake plants. Also, you need to know the maintenance and care requirements of different plant species.

In this guide, we take a look at 27 aquatic aquarium plants that work well in betta tanks, as well as answer all your questions.

DO betta fish EAT PLANTS?

Betta fish are technically classified as omnivores, although plant matter and algae make up a very small part of their diet in the wild. Betta fish need a diet that is high in protein, most of which comes from meaty foods.

If you have algae growing on the live plants in your betta’s tank, you may see your betta nibbling on the leaves of the plant occasionally, but it’s the algae your pet is after, not the plant itself.


Most of the popular aquatic plants that you can use in a planted betta tank are betta safe.

However, many of the plants sold with a bowl or vase with a plant on top should never be placed in an aquarium.

Those plant species include bamboo and peace lilies. Although your betta mate will not eat the plants, they may contain chemicals that are toxic to fish. The same applies to the betta fish terrarium, which often contains a few houseplants, rather than true aquatic species.


Aquatic plants are supplied to the trade by large producers, mainly in Europe and the Far East. These operations produce a wide range of aquarium plants and houseplants. Stores generally order large bunches of mixed plants, often including non-aquatic species.

So how can you spot a houseplant?

  • Avoid anything that has a variegated leaf, i.e. red and green or green and white.
  • A houseplant will stand upright in a pot unassisted, while most aquatic species droop when removed from the water.
  • Houseplants have leaves that are shiny and feel waxy.
  • The tips of the leaves of non-aquatic plants are often pointed to allow runoff of rainwater.

All non-aquatic plants die and gradually decompose in the tank, poisoning the environment by causing pH levels to rise and nitrate levels to rise as they rot.

Bottom line;you don’t want houseplants in your betta tank!

THE BEST LIVE PLANTS FOR betta fish tanks

In this section of our complete guide, we list 27 of the best live plants for betta fish.


  • Full Name: Amazon Sword Plant (Echinodorus bleheri)
  • Care Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Light level: high

The Amazon Sword Plant is a tropical broadleaf species that can grow up to a meter in height, although aquarium specimens generally do not reach that size. That said, the Amazon Sword is generally recommended for a larger aquarium of at least 10 gallons and is not suitable for a nano tank or small setup.

The plant must be firmly anchored in at least three inches of the substrate to prevent the leaves from catching the flow of water in the tank and being pulled off. In addition, the species requires a supplement of nutrients and additional CO2 to fuel growth.

Bettas love to lounge on the plant’s wide, hammock-shaped leaves, which also provide additional surface area on which beneficial bacteria can grow. You can propagate the plant by planting its seeds in moist sand or simply by removing the new plants that develop on the submerged flower stems and planting them directly in the substrate.

Periodically remove dead or algae-covered leaves by pinching or clipping cleanly at the base of the stem.


  • Full Name: Pygmy Chain Sword Plant (Echinodorus tenellus)
  • Difficulty of care: moderate
  • Light level: high

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Aquascaping enthusiasts often use the Pygmy Chain Sword plant as a carpet plant in tropical tank setups.

The plant self-propagates by sending runners under the substrate. New sword plants spring up along the corridors. These baby plants mature and grow, branching further along the aquarium floor until a beautiful «lawn» of lush plants is established.

The Pygmy Chain Sword plant is moderately easy to grow, being tolerant of a wide range of temperatures and pH conditions. However, the plant needs high light levels and a nutrient-rich substrate to stimulate growth and spread. That makes this species an ideal foreground plant for betta fish tanks, which tend to be small. Therefore, you can easily keep lighting levels high and bright enough for the Pygmy Chain Sword plant.

Regarding the maintenance of these plants, you may need to periodically pinch back some of the growth to keep the spread of runners in check.



  • Full name: Glossostigma elatinoides
  • Difficulty of care: Difficult
  • Light level: high
  • Glossostigma elatinoides is a favorite plant for advanced aquarists who want to create a Japanese style theme in their betta tank. These small aquarium plants come from Australasia, where they grow submerged in swamps and are submerged on the shores of lakes and ponds. The plant grows to a height of just a couple of inches, making the species ideal for foreground use.

    Cultivating Glossostigma elatinoids is not easy. The plant requires a high level of light. If the lighting in the aquarium is not bright enough, the plant grows towards the light, instead of reaching out and spreading. So when you plant this species, make sure it is not shaded by other plants or decorations.

    Ideally, Glossostigma should be used in shallow tanks so that plenty of light is available. That makes the species perfect for a betta fish tank. To help the plant spread out and form a mat at the bottom of the tank, divide each pot into several smaller clusters. You can also boost growth by using CO2 and keeping water on the soft side.

    Propagation occurs through runners, dividing the plant, taking cuttings, and removing daughter plants from the main stem.


    • Full name: Aegagropila linnaei
    • Difficulty of care: moderate
    • Light level: low

    Marimo moss balls are one of the best aquarium plants for bettas and are widely available at good fish stores and online.

    Aegagropila linnae are not actually plants, but a kind of algae that form bright green spheres. The balls are found in lake beds, where smooth water flows gradually and tirelessly gives way to algae. in its familiar spherical shape.

    Marimo moss balls are perfect for a tank with low or indirect lighting, preferring a temperature below 75o Fahrenheit, so they can be used in unheated tanks as well. Water quality should be good, with few nutrients and ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels as close to zero as possible.

    I find that betta fish love these unusual additions to their tank, using them as resting spots and often pushing the moss balls around like soccer balls! Marimo moss balls are maintenance free, although you should be aware that the spherical shape can flatten out after a while if the current in the tank is too slow.


    • Full name: Bolbitis heteroclita difformis
    • Difficulty of care: moderate
    • Light level: moderate

    Bolbitis heteroclita difformis is a small species of fine-leaved dwarf fern sometimes sold under the name Mini Bolbitis. The plant comes from the island of Negros in the Philippines, but was not discovered as an aquarium plant until very recently.

    The plant can grow submerged or submerged, although the underwater part of the plant grows very slowly and its parsley-like leaves are smaller than those of the emerging part of the plant. The plant can be grown attached to driftwood or rocks with twine until the roots take over to form an anchor.

    The plant is dark green with delicate, pinnate leaves, which grow about three inches tall. Eventually, Bolbitis heteroclita difformis will form a dense mat if the right conditions are given.

    You can propagate the plant relatively easily by cutting off daughter plants from the main stem or by taking cuttings. The plant will propagate by putting out rhizomes, but its growth is very slow.



  • Full Name: Brazilian Pennywort, Hydrocotyle leucocephala
  • Difficulty of care: Easy
  • Light level: moderate
  • Pennywort is popular with hobbyists for its versatility and easy care needs. The plant comes from marshes and wetlands in northern Argentina to southern Mexico.

    Pennywort is named for its dime-sized, penny-shaped leaves. The leaves grow alternately on a vine-like stalk that grows quickly to eight inches tall. At each leaf joint, small white root shoots appear. On the surface of the water, the plant produces white flowers.

    The plant can grow underwater and float on the surface as well, providing the perfect place for your betta fish to build a bubble nest or hide whenever it wants. The plant is also edible and tastes like watercress if you fancy adding a few sprigs to your salad.

    Pennywort is easy to care for and doesn’t need a lot of light to do well, gravitating to the surface as it grows to reach the light. You’ll need to trim the plant fairly often to keep the leaves from completely covering the surface, so your betta fish can feed freely and breathe air when needed.


    • Full Name: Cryptocoryne wendtii Green Gecko
    • Difficulty of care: Easy
    • Light level: low to medium

    Green Gecko is a great choice for beginning hobbyists thanks to its tolerance to a wide range of aquarium conditions and hardiness.

    The plant comes from Sri Lanka and is an extremely attractive broadleaf plant. The leaves are pale green with a reddish-brown area in the center of the leaf around the stem and a dark reddish-brown midrib. Bettas love lounging on plant leaves, whose wavy edges create the perfect hammock shape for sleeping fish.

    Like many of the Cryptocoryne species, the Green Gecko is a slow grower and quite undemanding when it comes to its care requirements. You can encourage more vigorous and lush growth by providing good quality LED lighting, CO2, and high quality aquarium soil.

    To propagate the plant, simply cut the new seedlings from the parent plant and place them in the aquarium soil. With its five to six inch leaves, this low growing plant is perfect for the middle of your planted betta tank.


    • Full name: Duckweed (Lemna minor)
    • Difficulty of care: Easy
    • Light level: low to medium

    Duckweed is an incredibly easy-to-grow aquatic plant that is perfect for creating a natural, swampy environment in your betta’s tank. The plant is also excellent at absorbing excess nutrients from the water, as well as providing the perfect medium for bubbling. My fish love duckweed! It is a wonderful hiding place for timid species and provides safety and shelter for vulnerable fry.

    However, there is a downside to duckweed in that it grows extremely vigorously and can be difficult to manage once it gets a foothold in the tank. Duckweed tolerates any intensity of flow and proliferates with terrifying rapidity. A single plant can multiply X three in a single day!

    Too much duckweed can cover the surface of the water completely, preventing your betta fish from feeding and breathing air when they need to. Additionally, weeds will block precious light to plants in the lower levels of the facility, slowing their growth. A simple and easy way to control duckweed is to use a ring of plastic tubing to restrict the surface area the plant can cover.

    9. hygrophila

    • Full name: hygrophila polysperma
    • Difficulty of care: Easy
    • Light level: moderate to high

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    hygrophila is another type of broadleaf plant that is loved by betta fish and their owners. The plant’s leaves are perfect resting places for fish, and the species can grow up to 28 inches tall, providing great background cover for shy species.

    You will need an extra 20 gallon tank to accommodate one of these plants as they grow extremely fast and will soon overrun a small aquarium.

    hygrophila performs best in high light levels to prevent leaf drop and keep leaves looking good. The species has bright green leaves, and there is also a red-leaved form available which makes a very attractive splash of colour, provided your lighting levels are sufficient.



  • Full name: Cryptocoryne wendtii, Wendt’s water trumpet
  • Difficulty of care: moderate
  • Light level: moderate to high
  • Cryptocoryne wendtii, or Wendt’s water trumpet, is an aquatic weed native to Sri Lanka. The plant is very easy to grow and also quite hardy.

    The species is widely used by aquarists and comes in various colors including brown, green, red, and mixtures thereof. Leaf texture also varies, as does leaf size, growing anywhere from five inches to 18 inches.

    Once the plant has settled into its new tank environment, it grows easily. So, don’t panic and assume your plant is dead if it seems to be in pain after you initially bring it home. Eventually, new root growth will appear and the plant will be no worse off.

    Crypto wendtii is propagated by dividing a specimen into small plants and placing them back in the substrate. The plant also produces rhizomes that spread from the root system.


    • Full name: Bucephalandra, Buce
    • Difficulty of care: Easy
    • Light level: low to high

    Bucephalandra is also known as Buce, and is one of the most popular new aquarium plants on the market right now, having only been around for a relatively short period of time.

    The plant hails from the jungles of Borneo and comes in more than 30 different varieties, each with its own size, shape, and coloration. Buce is very easy to grow, making her suitable for the novice hobbyist. However, it is a very slow growing plant, so you will need to be patient. When fully grown, the plant can reach up to 10 inches in height.

    The growth rate of the plant is directly related to the amount of light it receives. Basically, the lower the light levels, the slower the plant grows. Bucephalandra is capable of growing both submerged and above water, making it perfect for a betta fish terrarium.

    Unfortunately, algae tend to grow on Buce leaves, so it’s worth investing in a cleaning kit, such as the Amano shrimp or nerite snails.



  • Full name: Anubias Barteri (var. Barteri)
  • Difficulty of care: super easy
  • Light level: low to high
  • Anubias barteri hails from West Africa and has a reputation for being pretty bulletproof when it comes to aquarium life.

    Like other varieties of Anubias, Anubias barteri is very slow growing. But don’t let that put you off! The plant is incredibly easy to care for and will happily grow in a tropical tank with variable lighting and virtually any water setting.

    Although fish and snails do not eat the tough leaves of the Anubias barteri plant, you may find that colonies of algae grow on it. Of course, a lazy betta fish will make good use of the plant’s foliage as a resting place!

    This species of Anubias grows to a maximum height of around 18 inches to 24 inches tall. You will need to grow the plant attached to driftwood or rock, as the root system will rot if you bury the rhizome in the substrate.

    Once the plant settles in the aquarium and begins to grow, it may produce a flower spike with a fragrant white flower once it reaches the surface.

    13. WISTERIA


  • Full name: Water wisteria (Hygrophila difformis)
  • Difficulty of care: Easy
  • Light level: moderate
  • Water Wisteria is a favorite aquatic plant among hobbyists that does very well in dimly lit tanks, making it a great choice for your betta’s home.

    The plant is bright green with wide, spreading leaves that create very beautiful patterns and unusual shapes. Water Wisteria actually changes its shape, depending on how it is grown and planted. You can grow the plant as a single specimen or cut it back to create a carpet plant to use in the foreground of the aquarium.

    When allowed to grow freely, Water Wisteria can reach over a foot in height. However, as long as you trim and shape the plant regularly, you can grow it in a small 10-gallon tank.

    14. vallisneria


  • Full name: Vallisneria
  • Difficulty of care: Easy
  • Light level: low to high
  • Vallisneria is a tropical aquatic plant that resembles seagrass and lends itself very well to life in an aquarium.

    The plant is very easy to care for, making it ideal for a beginner to add to their betta tank.

    Vallisneria can be found in several varieties, including a very attractive variant called Vallisneria spiralis, which has corkscrew-twisted leaves. For a spectacular plant, you may want to look at Vallisneria gigantea which grows large enough to spread over the surface of a modest sized betta tank.

    To maintain the plant and keep it looking neat, simply use scissors to trim off excess growth. These plants are ideal for use as a backdrop or to cover filtration equipment.



  • Full name: Banana plant (Nymphoides aquatica)
  • Difficulty of care: Easy
  • Light level: low to high
  • Banana plants are a common sight in the warm, slow-moving waterways of the southeastern US.

    The plant is named for its swollen, banana-shaped roots that it uses to store nutrients. The banana plant has broad leaves that grow towards the surface of the water, where it can get maximum light. The color of your banana plant will depend on the amount and intensity of light it receives and can range from lime green to reddish-purple.

    The banana plant is very undemanding and can bring a multi-layered look to your aquascape by creating a very attractive lily pad look. However, you want to make sure that the plant’s leaves don’t completely obscure the surface, cutting off light to other plants and preventing your betta fish from feeding and breathing when it wants to.


    • Full Name: Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus)
    • Difficulty of care: super easy
    • Light level: low to moderate

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    The java fern is one of the most popular plants among hobbyists. The bright green leaves not only look very attractive, but the species is also very easy to grow, as long as you don’t bury the rhizome.

    I have successfully raised java ferns in a low light setup, attached to a piece of bog wood with a piece of twine, and I think that’s the best way to grow them. Since the plants grow quite slowly, you won’t have to worry about maintenance too often.

    The plant reproduces by attaching small baby ferns to its leaves. Simply remove the new plants and attach them to a hard surface in your aquarium.


    • Full name: Aponogeton ulvaceus
    • Difficulty of care: Easy
    • Light level: moderate

    Aponogeton ulvaceus comes from Madagascar. The plant has translucent, light green leaves that grow in delicate whorls up to a foot long or more, making them a fantastic showpiece in a large tank. The plant comes in a few varieties with different shapes, colors and sizes of leaves at maturity.

    You usually buy Aponogeton ulvaceus as a dry bulb, which makes it easy to get the plants online if you can’t find them at your local fish store. Simply bury the bulbs in your aquarium substrate and watch as the plant quickly grows to the surface in search of light.

    A single root can produce more than 40 leaves when given the right growing conditions.


    • Full name: Anubias Barteri var. lullaby
    • Difficulty of care: super easy
    • Light level: low to high

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    Anubias nana is one of the best live plants for betta tank use! The wide leaves make the perfect hammock for a resting betta fish, and the plant is incredibly easy to care for.

    The plant grows very slowly, is small at maturity and does not need bright lighting, making it ideal for a small aquarium. Also, snails and fish don’t like the leaves, so don’t eat them. Anubias is versatile enough to attach itself to driftwood, or you can root it in the aquarium substrate if you prefer.

    At full maturity, the plant grows up to seven inches tall. To propagate Anubias nana, simply divide the rhizomes and attach the new plant to a rock or piece of wood, or fix it to the substrate.



  • Full name: Christmas moss (Vesicularia montagnei)
  • Difficulty of care: super easy
  • Light level: moderate
  • Christmas Moss is similar to Java Moss in that it is extremely easy to grow, is very hardy, and looks very similar.

    Vesicularia montagnei will be content in virtually any light level, although moderate light is preferred. This is a topical plant species, so the temperature of the water in the tank should be warm, ideally between 78o and 80o Fahrenheit.

    Although Christmas Moss spreads very easily, instead of making an IPO all over the tank, the plant grows in small clusters that resemble fir trees, hence the common name of the species. You can use the plants to create a beautiful forest of tiny trees at the bottom of your betta fish tank.



  • Full Name: Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum)
  • Difficulty of care: super easy
  • Light level: low to high
  • Amazon Frogbit is a great alternative to Duckweed if you like the look but don’t enjoy the plant’s acquisition habit.

    Amazon Frogbit is also a floating plant, but it grows larger than duckweed, making it easier to tidy up and still look neat. The plant produces long tangles of roots that dangle into the water, creating a maze of shady hiding places and nest-building sites for a betta fish and shelter for the fry of other fish in the tank.

    The plant is useful because it removes nutrients from the water. However, Frogbit can also cut the light of anything that lives below it. You can control the spread of the plant by placing a ring of plastic tubing in the water to restrict the plant’s growing area.



  • Full name: Marsilea Minuta, Waterclover
  • Difficulty of care: Easy
  • Light level: high
  • Marsilea Minuta is a species of water fern that is also commonly called water clover due to the shape of its leaves.

    This can be a nice and unusual plant for a betta setup thanks to its hardiness and easy care. Marsilea Minuta tolerates a wide range of water temperatures and is slow growing.

    That said, this species does need high levels of lighting to thrive. If the plant doesn’t get enough light, it will bolt to the surface and the light, instead of covering the substrate. When grown in the right conditions, Marsilea Minuta forms a clover meadow that provides excellent ground cover.

    The plant is propagated without propagation by placing runners along the floor of the aquarium.



  • Full Name: Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides)
  • Difficulty of care: Easy
  • Light level: moderate
  • Water Sprite is a species of aquatic fern that bettas love as a perfect place to hide and explore amidst the plant’s forest of leaves.

    The plant will grow in low light conditions, but does much better in a tank where light levels are high. The more light they receive, the faster and more luxuriantly the plants grow, absorbing nutrients and cleaning the water as well.

    If you are looking for floating plants for betta fish to create surface cover for nest building and provide plenty of hiding places for a shy betta fish, Water Sprite is a good choice. Alternatively, you can grow the plant in the substrate. You’ll need to trim the leaves at the base of the stem and discard them so they don’t rot in the tank.

    23. JAVA MOSS

    • Full name: Java Moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri)
    • Difficulty of care: super easy
    • Light level: low to moderate

    Java Moss comes from Southeast Asia. This is one of the easiest to care for and hardiest aquatic plants you can find, making it a good choice for the beginning


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