14 Best Live Plants for Betta Fish Tank (Care Guide)


Have you ever pondered on possible ways to keep your betta fish happy and lively? Have you also wondered at the magical touch required to refresh the look of your betta fish tank? All you need to do is read through this article, to glean the necessary tricks you need.

It is of utmost importance to note that betta fish does not require a small space like that of a small bowl to live in. Surprisingly, they thrive better in an atmosphere that mimics their natural eco-system.

Their natural eco-system suggests possibly large spaces containing thick vegetation. However, the popular opinion that betta fish can survive in small glass bowl came to be because these cute fishes have the ability to breathe air from the surface with the aid of their labyrinth which functions as lungs.

Let’s talk a bit about the betta fish tank:

To set up a betta fish tank, you have to follow these steps:

Pick the right kind of tank for your betta fish.

Getting the right kind of betta fish tank is the only seeming middle ground between a small glass bowl and their enriching, ideal environment.

To set up a betta tank, you need to consider space as we have established; something capable of retaining at least 5 gallons of water will work out fine. MarineLand 5 Gallon is one of my Favorite Tank for Betta Fish.

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Getting whatsoever kit you might require to set up the tank from a pet store will be a totally bad idea because the quality you the products you might get may not be the right fit.

Also, you will most likely pay so much for those kits when you can actually get a Fluval Spec V which will serve its purpose effectively.

Bettas have the ability to jump quite high, so your tank must possess a tight lid for safety, you do not want to have your betas jumping out of their tank every now and then. Some major advantages of getting a large tank for your betta includes;

The nitrogen cycle of the mini-aquarium will not be easily disrupted; it will instead be easily established and maintained.

The water in the tank will not get contaminated so quickly. The water in small tanks is prone to easy contamination because of lack of space. You will not experience this with a large sized-tank.

A large-sized tank can be heated without any form of external complications. It is quite safe.

You need filters.

Filters make it easy for your betta to swim effortlessly because their original environment is large bodies of water that possesses gentle current. Check this one on Amazon.

Filters also enhance the nitrogen cycle of the betta fish. The absence of appropriate filters in the betta fish tank will make it difficult for their long fins to move against the current. Your filter has to fit your chosen tank size perfectly.

Water heaters are indispensable.

You need to get a water heater for your betta fish tank because water heaters make the temperature bearable for the survival of the fish. I Recommend you Check the SZELAM Smart Mini Aquarium Heater on Amazon

They are tropical animals, used to a temperature that ranges between 78 and 82 degrees. Any temperature range below this might pose a threat to the growth sustenance of your betta fish.

A heater will, in essence, serve to regulate the temperature of the tank. Should your tank fall below the required specifications and requirements, you stand the risk of overheating the water in your tank thereby endangering your betta fish.

This is one very important reason why you must try to put in place the required materials in the exact specifications described.

You need the right kind of substrate.

A substrate is usually required to line the bottom of the tank because it mimics the original habitat of the betta fish.  It also houses the necessary good bacterias which also functions in regulating the environment to be created for the fish in the betta tank.

A more pleasing kind of substrate will be fine gravel or fine sand in place of gravel which contains large pieces of rocks. Make sure you Check out our list of Best Substrate for Planted Tanks.

It could happen that food and waste substances cling to the cutting edges of the large pieces of rocks, this will only aid the creation of ammonia, which is not health-friendly for the betta fish.

I know you certainly would not want to hurt your betta fish that’s right! So you need to stay away from large rocky gravel.

Also, choosing a substrate with colors like black, white, brown or any other natural colors to line your tank will work in creating the right kind of environment for your betta.

Any color off natural will look artificial; pink or orange will look nothing like the natural environment of your betta fish. Make your fish happy; choose natural colors to line your betta tank!

The depth of the lining to be created with the substrate is also an important point to consider. If you intend on using live plants to line your betta tank (which is most encouraged), I will require a substrate lining of two inches; but if you prefer silk or plastic plants, you will simply require one inch.

Get your most preferred kind of plant for your betta fish tank.

Some people prefer the use of artificial silk or plastic plants for their betta tank; it is totally not a bad idea to use artificial plants, however, you should make sure that the kind of artificial plants being used does not have sharp edges.

Sharp edges will be injurious to your betta fish (it will be so sad to get the thin fins of the betas injured through the sharp edges of the plastic plants).

Live plants breathe out oxygen which is crucial for the survival of the betta fish. Their functions do not end at oxygen production, they are also essential in the removal of nitrates.

They also enhance the creation of a healthy, natural environment for your betta. In choosing live plants for your betta tank, you need to consider the conditions necessary for its growth.

They are summarized in the table below.

Conditions to consider
The size of the tank Small(2-5 gallons) or large (10 gallons and above)
The growth pattern of the plant Slow or fast
The kind of substrate required Fine-gravel or rocky substrate
The lighting requirements Low or high-intensity lighting
Heating Mild or extreme temperature
Fertilizer Liquid, tablet or plug fertilizers
The intensity of maintenance. Light or rigorous

Best Live Plants for Betta Fish Tank

1. Amazon Sword

This plant has broad leaves and it is loved by most betta fish. It is known to grow very large over time; therefore there are some necessary requirements you need to be intimated with if you intend to use the Amazon Sword for your betta tank.

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If you intend on keeping a 2-5 inches tank, you probably should have a re-think on using this kind of live plant for your betta tank because of how broad its leaves can grow.

Amazon sword also has the ability to grow a little bit deeper into the substrate; hence you have to consider getting a quality substrate 9about 3-4 inches in depth) that can effectively anchor the roots of these plants.

It also requires low to moderate lighting to thrive well.

Net upon the kind of live plants you can use for your better tank is –

2. Marimo Balls

These plants grow as unique spherical balls and they create such a beautiful environment for the betta fish. They are one of the best options to consider for a betta tank.

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The Marimo balls are a species of good algae. Due to their spherical nature, they provide a cushion-like effect for the bettas, they can also be adapted into a toy by the bettas for resting and relaxation.

Marimo balls can grow well under any range of temperatures. They also require minimum lighting for growth and they do not occupy a large area, unlike the Amazon Sword, hence, it is recommended for tanks ranging from 2-5 gallons.

3. Water Sprite

With parts easy to trim, it is considered as one of the betta fish favorites. It does not necessarily require the deep substrate to be planted; it can let to float free on the surface of the water tank planted in a 1-2 inch deep substrate.

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Floating water sprite can be adapted by your betta fish as a good cover for building bubble nests! Water sprite is known to grow quickly but it can also be trimmed as it grows, to control its size and the measure of space it may occupy.

You can cut the base of its stem to prevent its leaves from becoming rotten out in your tank. Water sprite is one beautiful live plant that can be used as a playground by your betta fish. It is excellent for starters.

4. Java fern

It is also known as Microsorum Pteropus. It is an excellent plant for beginners. This aquatic plant does not require too much light, neither does it require extra nutrient dosing for it to thrive. It is a simple “unstressful” plant which is commonly used in aqua spaces.

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The Java fern does not require rooting into the substrate; instead, it attaches itself to rocks. It requires a cheap LED light; it thrives in a wide range of temperatures (15-28 degrees Celsius).

It also can grow in water which is either slightly acidic and soft or alkaline and hard because it adapts well.

Unless you prune it often, it has the ability to grow so tall hence you might consider using it for a tank up to the size of 10 gallons or lesser-if you would watch it closely and prune when necessary.

5. Anubias Nana is another great choice you can make.

The Anubias Nanas are quite small. Their size is a great advantage that enables them to fit into better tanks. You certainly will not have to worry about keeping an eye on its growth and pruning it every not and then, to avoid it growing up to the tank’s lid.

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If you are considering having a small betta tank that measures up to about two gallons, then Anubias Nanas is your one of the best choices you can make.

Another beautiful feature of the Anubias Nanas is that it has broad wide leaves. These eaves are often adopted by the bettas into relaxation spots. The bettas find it comfortable to sleep on the broad leaves.

You do not have to worry about getting an expensive light kit with the Anubias Nanas. It thrives effectively in low light. Its substrate has to be fine gravel for proper growth. It really does not depend on the use of fertilizers to grow but it won’t mind if you spare some once in a while!

6. Pennywort

This live plant has good features that enable it to fit perfectly for utilization in a betta tank. Firstly, it does not require so much lighting-which means you will conserve so much money by getting it for your betta tank.

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Secondly, it can thrive anywhere in the tank; above the water surface, on the water surface, below the water surface anywhere! It is very easy to care for because it does not require any delicate treatment or considerations. A one-two inch(s) substrate layer will function effectively for the pennywort

However, pennywort has the natural tendency to move towards the surface of the tank. When allowed to dwell there for quite a while, it can cover the surface quickly thereby preventing bettas from getting the needed air for breathing because bettas can breathe from the surface.

This means you have to be at alert to make sure the pennyworts do not cover the surface of the tank. We certainly do not want anything posing as a risk to the survival of our precious betta fish—-do we?

7. Hygrophila

From its name; you can guess that it will function well for a betta tank! There are two main varieties of the hygrophila plant-Temple narrow leaf and Kompakt.

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Hygrophila is a popular aquatic plant with broad leaves. These broad leaves can function as resting spots for the bettas—this attribute makes it a great plant you can use.

Not only that, Hygrophila thrives in its suitable substrate (fine-gravel) to enable its roots to gain much penetration.

If you are considering having one small cute tank (between 2-10)gallons in size Hygrophila might not be the best choice for you, except if you would not mind performing an extra duty of continual punning to keep its height in check because it can grow up to about 28 inches tall.

However, it is suitable if you like to create a betta tank measuring up to the size of 20 gallons.

The lighting requirement for Hygrophila is about 2-3 watts per gallon of water.

Fertilizers rich in iron and carbon dioxide will further enhance its growth.

8. Java Moss

Java Moss is a perfect fit for beginners. It is very easy to care for and it beautifies aqua space. Without much lighting requirements (low to moderate), the java moss thrives very well in a wide range of temperatures.

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It also does not require rooting into the substrate available. It can, however, be attached to driftwood and left to float or sink into the bottom of the tank.

It is a good consideration for your betta tank, to give your fish place and colorful place as a home. No form of fertilization is needed for the Java Moss.

Here is a cheat code; the usage of very warm water with this plant will retard its growth rate, however, planting it in cold water will make it thrive so fast!

9. Duckweed

Duckweed, if effectively managed can be a great source for joy to your betta fish. It is known for its ability to grow quite fast and also float up to the surface of the tank.

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If it is not properly pruned, it can prevent your precious betta fish from getting enough oxygen supply necessary for its sound health.

Now, here is the balance point;

If you want to create a tank with a perfect natural look for your betta fish, you can consider this plant. But you must also be ready to prune it regularly avoid it cutting off a significant amount of light necessary for the growth of other low-level plants.

10. Anachris

This live plant grows very fast. It is known to fish farmers because it is mostly employed by them in fish keeping. It also does not require so much lighting, and it can be attached to a draft wood and left to sink to the bottom of the tank, or allowed to float on the surface of the betta tank.

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One importance of the Anachris is that it functions in the filtration of toxins and it serves as a control mechanism for algal growth. This important feature makes it a very wonderful plant to be considered for a home aquarium.

Bettas are fond of hiding in the Anachris, and also adapting it for a perfect relaxation spot.

Care and proper monitoring mechanism must be put in place to ensure that the Anachris, when left to float, does not cover the surface of the betta tank.

11. Wisteria

This is another popular aquarium plant. Known as Water Wisteria, this plant has some amazing features which make it suitable for usage in a betta tank.

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It requires moderate lighting for proper growth and survival (about 2-3 watts per gallon is the deal). It also requires any kind of substrate for growth.

It’s very unique leaf patterns makes it a perfect resting and hiding spot for the bettas. In addition, it makes very good aqua spaces with its color and beautiful outlines.

It is important to note that the Water Wisteria can grow very tall (up to about or over a foot). This means that supervision and regular pruning will be required to make sure it does not grow past the lid of the betta tank.

If you wish to give your betta fish so much space (through the construction of a 10 -20-gallon tank, then the Water Wisteria will be just perfect to use.

Regular fertilization is required to keep this plant alive and well.

12. Hornwort

Hornwort is a very versatile plant. It requires low light set up but if the lighting is too dark, it will die. it is also easily adaptable.

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Not only does it pose to be a great cover for the betta tank, but it also does not root hence it grows best being left to float on the water surface. It requires just some minute amount of fertilizer for its “up-keep”.

One good reason why you should use this plan in your betta tank is because of its ability to remove toxins from the aquarium and also filter nitrates.

However, keeping the Hornwort will require some extra carefulness on your path because it tends to grow quickly. Not only will it require regular punning, but it will also require effective handling because its bristles are easily detachable with tendencies to float all around the betta tank.

13. Amazon Frogbit

This plant can be found on ponds and can be adapted for aquariums. They also produce small white flowers that beautify the aquarium. It is a fast-growing plant that can cover the surface of the betta tank.

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Moderate to high levels of lighting is required for the survival of the Amazon frogbit. Since it does not root, it is required to float but care must be taken to ensure that the plants are kept away from the filter so that it does not rot. Little fertilizer is also required for this plant.

14. Dwarf Hairgrass

This plant is verdant and pleasant. It is ideal in the creation of a balanced eco-system for your betta fish. It requires driftwood to enable it to grow.

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It also requires medium lighting for survival as well as temperature ranging from 70-83oF. it requires a rich substrate to thrive. Some additional portion of fertilizer will also enhance its growth.

Benefits of Live Plants in Aquarium

Apart from maintenance (regular pruning, application of some supplemental kinds of fertilizers and water temperature control), there seem to exist plenty of advantages to be gained from the use of live plants for your betta tanks. They are;

Reduction in Algal bloom

making a choice form the kinds of live plants described above provides you with the ability to eliminate algae. Some plants like Anachris and Marimo balls compete with algae for nutrients, thereby reducing their chances of survival.


The use of live plants for your betta tank makes it aesthetically pleasing to the eye. It gives it the features and feel of a naturally planted aquarium. This can barely be achieved with the use of fake plants.

Proper filtration

live plants are natural filters. With their recruitment into your betta tank, you will not need to pump in so much effort into working up a filtration system for your aquarium. Those nitrates and toxins will get the proper filtration which they deserve!


Live plants utilize carbon dioxide for their own survival and give out oxygen. In essence, they pump the water full of oxygen, which is an essential aeration mechanism.

An increase in the oxygen-carrying content of the water reduces the growth of algae and promotes excellent fish health. It is a win-win situation having a live fish in your betta tank.

Now that we have fully dissected the kinds of live plants you can use for your betta tank, here are some other pieces of information which will prove useful.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do Betta Fish like lots of plants?

Betta fish has quite an attraction for attractive plants with parts large enough to serve as play or relaxation spots. However, the presence of lots of plants will most likely congest the betta tank thereby creating little space for free movement of the betta fish.

Do bettas need decoration?

Decorations beautify the aquarium if they are safe-proof to ensure they cause no harm. It is not an essential need; it can only be supplied based on availability.

Can better fish live in a vase with a plant?

Yes, they can because they can survive on the surface. However, this can be injurious in the long run. The aquatic habitats of the bettas are large ponds and spaces. They thrive more in large spaces.

Do bettas like a fake plant?

Fake plants are not a bad choice but aeration, filtration, beautification are only a few of the advantages live plants have to offer. These make them a seemingly better choice.

Now you know all it takes to take care of your betta fish effectively. Go for it, treat those wonderful bettas right!

Saurabh Kumar

I am a passionate Fish Keeper, with years of Experience in the Hobby & this is my site. You will find some really useful tips and Information that I learned the Hard way.

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