24 Best Plants for Betta Fish: Creating a Thriving Underwater Landscape

When it comes to creating a captivating and healthy environment for your betta fish, selecting the right aquatic plants is of utmost importance

Not only do live plants enhance the aesthetic appeal of your aquarium, but they also play a vital role in maintaining water quality and providing a natural habitat for your betta.

In this guide, we will take you on a journey through 24 carefully selected plants that will not only enhance the visual appeal of your betta tank but also provide a thriving natural habitat for your finned friends. 

From the elegant Java Fern to the majestic Amazon Sword, get ready to discover the perfect flora to create an enchanting underwater paradise!

Table of Contents

Java Fern: Nature’s Artistic Touch

One of the most popular choices among aquarists, the Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) adds a touch of elegance to any aquarium. 

This hardy plant is native to Southeast Asia and is renowned for its distinctive, lacy leaves. 

Its unique rhizome structure allows it to attach itself to driftwood or rocks, creating a captivating focal point in your tank. 

The Java Fern’s ability to tolerate a wide range of water conditions makes it an excellent choice for beginners and experienced aquarists alike.

Anubias: A Versatile Beauty

Another versatile and visually appealing plant suitable for betta tanks is Anubias (Anubias spp.). 

With its dark green, broad leaves, Anubias adds depth and contrast to your aquarium. 

This plant is known for its ability to thrive in low-light conditions, making it an ideal choice for aquariums with limited lighting setups. 

You can attach Anubias to driftwood or rocks, allowing it to grow and develop its unique charm over time.

Marimo Moss Ball: Nature’s Furry Friend

If you’re looking to add a touch of whimsy and uniqueness to your betta tank, look no further than the Marimo Moss Ball (Aegagropila linnaei). 

Originating from Japan, these fuzzy green balls are not only visually appealing but also provide numerous benefits to your aquarium. 

Marimo Moss Balls help maintain water quality by absorbing nitrates and providing a natural grazing area for bettas. 

Additionally, bettas often enjoy exploring and resting on these soft, spherical plants, mimicking the natural environment of their wild counterparts.

Cryptocoryne: Rich Colors and Easy Care

For those seeking vibrant colors and easy care, Cryptocoryne plants are an excellent choice. 

With their broad leaves ranging from green to reddish-brown, these plants create a stunning visual display in your betta tank. 

Cryptocoryne species, such as Cryptocoryne wendtii, are known for their adaptability to various water conditions, making them suitable for both beginners and experienced aquarists. 

These plants can be planted in the substrate or attached to driftwood, providing your betta fish with ample hiding places and a natural environment to explore.

Water Sprite: A Floating Haven

Floating plants offer a unique dimension to your betta tank, and Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides) is no exception. 

This delicate plant features fine, feathery leaves that create a lush, floating canopy. 

Water Sprite is an excellent choice for betta tanks as it provides shade, reduces light intensity, and helps prevent the growth of algae

Bettas often enjoy exploring the root systems of floating plants, making Water Sprite a captivating addition to their aquatic world.

Betta Bulb: Burst of Color and Life

If you’re seeking a plant that requires minimal effort to flourish, the Betta Bulb (Aponogeton ulvaceus) is a fantastic option. 

This bulbous plant has long, flowing leaves that add movement and vibrancy to your aquarium. 

Simply bury the bulb in the substrate, and within a short time, you’ll witness the emergence of lush foliage. 

The Betta Bulb is known for its rapid growth rate, making it an excellent choice for aquarists looking to establish a lush environment quickly.

Sword Plant: Majestic and Graceful

Sword plants (Echinodorus spp.) are a popular choice among aquarists due to their majestic appearance and ease of care. 

With their long, sword-shaped leaves, these plants add a touch of grandeur to any betta tank. 

Sword plants are available in various sizes and colors, allowing you to choose the perfect fit for your aquarium. 

These plants prefer nutrient-rich substrates and moderate lighting, making them ideal for aquarists who wish to create a captivating underwater landscape.

Vallisneria: The Perfect Background Plant

If you’re looking for a plant that will create a lush green backdrop in your betta tank, Vallisneria (Vallisneria spp.) is an excellent choice. 

With their long, ribbon-like leaves, Vallisneria plants create a vibrant and natural look in any aquarium. 

These plants are known for their ability to tolerate a wide range of water conditions and their rapid growth rate, making them an ideal background plant. 

Additionally, Vallisneria offers hiding places for bettas and serves as a natural breeding ground for many fish species.

Pogostemon stellatus ‘Octopus’: A Unique Gem

For aquarists seeking a unique and eye-catching plant, Pogostemon stellatus ‘Octopus’ fits the bill perfectly. 

With its intricate, branching stems and delicate, feathery leaves, this plant adds a touch of elegance to your betta tank. 

Pogostemon stellatus ‘Octopus’ requires moderate to high lighting and nutrient-rich substrates to thrive. 

Its unique form and vibrant green color make it a standout addition to any aquascape.

Floating Plants: Beauty on the Water’s Surface

Floating plants provide numerous benefits to betta tanks while creating a stunning visual display on the water’s surface. 

They help regulate water temperature, reduce evaporation, and provide shade for your betta fish. 

Some popular floating plants for betta tanks include Amazon Frogbit, Dwarf Water Lettuce, and Red Root Floaters. 

These plants not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your aquarium but also contribute to the overall well-being of your betta.

Creating a Harmonious Aquarium Ecosystem

The Magic of Driftwood

No betta tank is complete without the addition of driftwood

Driftwood not only adds a natural and rustic aesthetic to your aquarium but also provides hiding places and serves as a grazing area for your betta fish. 

By attaching plants like Java Fern, Anubias, and Cryptocoryne to the driftwood, you can create a stunning focal point while providing a natural habitat for your betta.

Java Moss: Nature’s Versatile Carpet

Java Moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri) is a popular choice among aquarists due to its versatility and ease of care

This hardy plant is known for its dense and lush growth, resembling a vibrant green carpet in your tank. 

Java Moss can be attached to driftwood or rocks, creating a natural and visually appealing habitat for your betta fish. 

It also serves as a great spawning site for bettas, providing them with a safe and secure environment.

Amazon Sword: The Aquatic Giant

If you’re looking to create a dramatic centerpiece in your betta tank, the Amazon Sword (Echinodorus amazonicus) is an excellent choice. 

This plant features large, sword-shaped leaves that add a touch of grandeur to any aquarium. 

Amazon Sword plants thrive in nutrient-rich substrates and require moderate to high lighting. 

With proper care, they can grow to impressive sizes, providing shade and shelter for your betta fish.

Banana Plant: Quirky and Eye-Catching

The Banana Plant (Nymphoides aquatica) is an intriguing and visually captivating addition to any betta tank. 

With its unique banana-shaped roots and broad, round leaves, this plant adds a touch of quirkiness and charm

Banana Plants prefer moderate lighting and nutrient-rich substrates to thrive. 

The long, flowing roots provide a natural grazing area for bettas, mimicking their natural habitat and creating a dynamic underwater landscape.

Hygrophila: Vibrant and Fast-Growing

Hygrophila species, such as Hygrophila corymbosa and Hygrophila difformis, are known for their vibrant colors and rapid growth

These plants can quickly fill up space in your betta tank, creating a lush and visually appealing backdrop. 

Hygrophila plants are relatively undemanding and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. 

They require moderate lighting and benefit from nutrient-rich substrates. 

With their vibrant foliage, Hygrophila species are sure to add a dynamic element to your aquarium.

Cryptocoryne wendtii: Rich Colors and Textures

While Cryptocoryne wendtii was briefly mentioned earlier, it deserves a closer look due to its unique characteristics. 

This plant is available in various colors, including green, brown, red, and bronze, adding diversity and richness to your betta tank. 

Cryptocoryne wendtii is relatively easy to care for and can tolerate a range of water conditions. 

It is an excellent choice for aquarists looking to incorporate different textures and colors into their aquatic setup.

Hornwort: Nature’s Oxygenator

Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) is a popular choice for betta tanks due to its numerous benefits. 

This floating plant serves as a natural oxygenator, releasing oxygen into the water and improving overall water quality. 

Hornwort has a unique appearance, with its needle-like, bright green foliage. 

It can be left floating or planted in the substrate, providing both aesthetic appeal and functional benefits for your betta fish.

Amazon Frogbit: Floating Beauty

Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum) is a delicate floating plant that adds beauty and functionality to your betta tank. 

With its round, lily pad-like leaves and long roots, Amazon Frogbit creates a visually striking display on the water’s surface. 

This plant helps reduce algae growth by shading the tank and provides a natural hiding spot for bettas. 

It also absorbs excess nutrients, helping to maintain water quality

Adding Amazon Frogbit to your betta tank enhances the natural aesthetic and contributes to a healthy ecosystem.

Anacharis: A Popular Choice for Beginners

Anacharis (Elodea densa) is a commonly recommended plant for beginner aquarists due to its ease of care and rapid growth

This versatile plant can be planted in the substrate or left floating. 

Anacharis has long, thin stems with whorls of bright green, feathery leaves. 

It serves as a natural water purifier, absorbing nitrates and providing oxygen to the tank. 

Bettas often enjoy swimming through the dense foliage of Anacharis, making it a great addition to their aquatic environment.

Pygmy Chain Sword Plant: Ground Cover Delight

The Pygmy Chain Sword Plant (Helanthium tenellum) is a popular choice for creating a lush carpet effect in betta tanks. 

With its short, grass-like leaves, this plant forms a dense ground cover that complements other plants and provides hiding places for bettas. 

Pygmy Chain Sword Plants require moderate lighting and nutrient-rich substrates to thrive. 

Once established, they create a visually appealing foreground, enhancing the overall aesthetic of your aquarium.

Christmas Moss: Festive Green Foliage

Christmas Moss (Vesicularia montagnei) is a decorative aquatic moss that adds a festive touch to your betta tank. 

This moss features delicate, branching fronds that resemble miniature evergreen trees

Christmas Moss can be attached to rocks, driftwood, or other surfaces, creating a natural and enchanting environment. 

It thrives in low to moderate lighting conditions and requires minimal maintenance, making it an ideal choice for aquarists seeking an eye-catching and low-maintenance plant.

Glossostigma: Creating a Lush Carpet

Glossostigma (Glossostigma elatinoides) is a popular choice among aquascapers looking to create a vibrant carpet effect in their betta tanks. 

This low-growing plant features small, bright green leaves that spread quickly across the substrate, forming a dense and lush carpet. 

Glossostigma requires high lighting and nutrient-rich substrates to thrive. 

It is often used in aquascaping layouts to mimic natural meadows and add a sense of depth and beauty to the aquarium.

Marsilea Minuta: Unique Leaf Structure

Marsilea Minuta is a unique plant that adds an intriguing element to your betta tank. 

With its clover-like appearance, this plant stands out among other aquatic flora. 

Marsilea Minuta requires moderate lighting and nutrient-rich substrates for optimal growth. 

Its compact size and distinctive leaf structure make it an interesting choice for aquarists seeking a plant that adds a touch of uniqueness and visual appeal to their aquarium.

Anubias Barteri: A Classic Choice

Anubias Barteri is a classic aquatic plant that deserves a special mention

With its broad, dark green leaves and hardy nature, Anubias Barteri is a versatile choice for betta tanks. 

This plant can be attached to driftwood, rocks, or other aquarium decorations, adding depth and interest to the aquascape. 

Anubias Barteri is known for its ability to thrive in low-light conditions and its tolerance to a wide range of water parameters

Its robust nature and aesthetic appeal make it a timeless addition to any betta tank.

The Challenge of Choosing Plants for Bettas

When it comes to selecting plants for betta tanks, there are several factors to consider. 

Bettas have specific preferences and requirements that must be taken into account to ensure their well-being. 

Let’s explore the challenges that arise when choosing plants for bettas and how to address them effectively.

Temperature: Catering to the Bettas’ Needs

One of the key challenges in selecting plants for bettas is the need to cater to their preferred temperature range

Bettas are tropical fish and thrive in temperatures between 76°F and 82°F (24°C to 28°C). 

It is essential to choose plants that can tolerate and thrive within this temperature range to create an optimal environment for your bettas.

Prefer a Low Light Level: Finding the Right Balance

Bettas are labyrinth fish, which means they have a unique organ called the labyrinth organ that allows them to breathe atmospheric oxygen

Due to this adaptation, bettas prefer low light levels in their tanks. 

When selecting plants, it is crucial to choose species that can thrive in low-light conditions

This ensures that the plants and bettas coexist harmoniously, creating a comfortable and visually appealing environment.

Prefer Low Flow: Calm Waters for Bettas

Bettas are known for their beautiful, flowing fins, which can be negatively affected by strong water currents. 

These fish prefer calm waters with minimal flow. Therefore, it is important to choose plants that can thrive in low-flow conditions

Plants with delicate leaves and fine foliage are often well-suited for betta tanks, as they can withstand gentle water movement without causing discomfort to the fish.

Small Tanks: Space Constraints

Many betta keepers opt for smaller aquarium setups, such as nano tanks or bowls. 

The limited space in these tanks presents a challenge when choosing plants. 

It is crucial to select plants that are appropriate for the tank size and can fit comfortably without overcrowding. 

Compact plants, such as mosses, carpeting plants, and small ferns, are great options for smaller betta tanks as they provide greenery without overwhelming the available space.

Bettas Like to Lounge: Providing Resting Spots

Bettas are known for their fondness of lounging and resting on plants. 

They appreciate having broad leaves or surfaces where they can rest and observe their surroundings. 

When choosing plants, consider species that offer suitable resting spots for your bettas. 

Options like broad-leafed plants, floating plants with large leaves, or plants with textured surfaces can provide the perfect lounging areas for your bettas to enjoy.

Live Plant Alternatives for Betta Fish Tanks

While live plants are highly beneficial for betta tanks, they may not be the ideal choice for every aquarist. 

Fortunately, there are alternatives available that can still provide aesthetic appeal and enrichment for your betta fish tank. 

Let’s explore the alternatives to live plants and their pros and cons.

Fake Plants: Low Maintenance and Durability

Fake plants, also known as artificial or silk plants, are a popular alternative to live plants in betta tanks. 

These plants offer the advantage of low maintenance, as they require no special lighting or fertilization. 

They are also durable and do not decay or shed leaves, making them a long-lasting choice. 

Fake plants come in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, allowing you to create a customized and visually appealing aquascape. 

However, it is important to choose high-quality fake plants that are non-toxic and fish-safe.

Aquarium Rocks – Decor Options: Adding Texture and Structure

Aquarium rocks provide an alternative way to enhance the aesthetics of your betta tank. 

Rocks like lava rocks, seiryu stones, or dragon stones can add texture, structure, and natural appeal to your aquarium. 

They can be arranged creatively to create caves, hiding spots, or interesting focal points

While rocks alone may not provide the same benefits as live plants, they can serve as a decorative element in your tank, creating a visually pleasing environment for your bettas.

Fake vs. Real Plants – What Is Better?

The choice between fake and real plants ultimately depends on your preferences, level of commitment, and the specific needs of your betta tank. 

Live plants offer numerous advantages, such as oxygen production, water filtration, and natural aesthetics. 

They create a more dynamic and biologically diverse environment, contributing to the overall well-being of your bettas. 

However, they do require proper lighting, fertilization, and maintenance

Fake plants, on the other hand, offer ease of use, durability, and a wide range of decorative options without the need for special care

Consider your own preferences and the needs of your betta tank to make the best decision for your specific situation.

Final Thoughts

Selecting the best plants for your betta fish is a crucial step in creating a captivating and healthy aquarium. 

From the artistic charm of Java Fern and Anubias to the whimsical allure of Marimo Moss Balls and floating plants, each plant brings its unique beauty and benefits to your betta tank. 

By carefully choosing a combination of these plants, along with driftwood, you can create a harmonious aquatic ecosystem that promotes the well-being and happiness of your betta fish. 

So, let your creativity flourish as you curate a stunning underwater world for your beloved betta fish.


Vlad Mihalache

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