Aquarium Floating Plants

Want to give your tank an entirely different feel? Adding these 15 floating plants to your aquarium will do the magic! In fact, they are the top recommendation for aquarists looking to improve their environment’s overall beauty.

These great floating plants will provide a natural and untamed vibe to your tank that nothing else can match. Except for the occasional cutting back of overgrown plants, the bulk of floating plants require no further work! You can’t go wrong with these plants because they’re easy to care for, proliferate, and require very little maintenance.

Ready to know more about what a floating plant is like? Read below to find it out!

Role of Floating Plants in your Aquarium

First of all, here are reasons why having floating aquarium plants is so beneficial to your setup. These are: 

Provides Cover and Shade

Your fish will benefit from the shade provided by floating plants. Many popular species, especially betta fish, prefer a lot of shade. Furthermore, the shelter provided by such plants will help to shield your fish from daytime tank lighting.

aquarium shades

Many fish species are native to areas where the water is intensely covered by the forest canopy. Floating plants can help reproduce the dappled shade patterns on the water, helping the fish feel safe, comfortable, and at ease. Also, be careful not to cover the entire surface of your tank since this will deprive other plants of light, causing them to perish.

Help Maintain Stable Water Chemistry

Because floating plants grow quickly, they are an excellent way to reduce harmful waste from your tank, such as nitrate, with no work on your part. These poisons are consumed as nutrients by floating plants, thereby removing them from your tank and promoting your plants’ growth. The chemistry of your water will be maintained in this manner, eliminating the need for costly filtering devices.

Gives your Aquarium a Natural Look


A floating plant can enhance the natural, healthy, and realistic appearance of your aquarium. This is not only a stylish design feature, but the natural environment of your tank will also help to improve the well-being of your lovely fishes. They’re designed to thrive in these conditions, so recreating it will reduce stress and improve their general health.

Natural Food Source

Many fish are omnivores, and others choose to augment their diet by nibbling on plants and algae. Floating plants can assist in supplementing a typical diet of fish flakes with nutrition, which is fine as long as the fish don’t consume the entire plant! So, while choosing a fish species, keep in mind that some are more likely to devour plants than others.

Ready to know what are these floating plants that best suit your aquarium? Keep reading.

15 Top Floating Aquarium Plants

Live Duckweed Plants (Lemna minor)


Duckweed is a fabulous floating plant for smaller aquariums because of its thin leaves and short roots. Specifically, it is best suited for aquariums under 100 gallons. It doesn’t obstruct much light and has a frog pond-like appearance. Plus, it only takes one cell to start reproducing! And once it’s in your system, it’s pretty challenging to get rid of.

Java Moss

java moss

If you don’t want to spend a lot of time worrying about your plant’s health, Java moss is a good choice. This floating plant thrives in almost any setting and can coexist with a wide range of tank mates. This plant is made up of stalks and tiny oval leaves rather than roots. It can be trimmed and kept to fit whatever look you want to achieve.

Although, you’ll need something to anchor this plant to for it to float. But that’s not a problem! A piece of cork is a common object that is highly recommended. This will float and provide a convenient surface for the moss to adhere to.

Hornwort Bunch Plants (Ceratophyllum demersum)

Hornwort is another popular aquatic plant because of its attractive appearance and simplicity of cultivation. Hornworts are British natives that can thrive in a variety of water conditions while maintaining their attractiveness. This floating plant develops densely packed structures that are dark green in color and provide hiding and foraging areas for fish.


If desired, they can be planted or left to float freely. It can grow quickly, so be prepared to cut it as needed to keep it from overwhelming your fish. Hornwort Ceratophyllum demersum can withstand frigid temperatures and are relatively easy to grow.

Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum)

amazon frogbit

The Amazon Frogbit has long branching roots and broad leaves that produce enormous rosettes. Their length is likely the most appealing characteristic to hobbyists since it provides space for foraging fish to explore. Except for thinning it out now and then, the plant requires very little care. However, you must avoid allowing the plant to become soggy, as this may cause it to rot.

Frogbit is a durable floating aquarium plant, yet it can be particularly enticing to snails, who will quickly eat the bottom of the plant’s leaves.

Cabomba caroliniana


Cabomba, also known as Carolina fanwort, is a weed that grows swiftly and provides bushy shelter for cautious fish. Cabomba plants are pale green in color and are considered weeds in their home country of America.

Depending on your tank setup, it can be planted or allowed to float freely. It’s a tough floating plant that will outlast some of the more delicate aquarium plants. Cabombas are suitable for both large and small plants, and sellers recommend them for tanks with a capacity of 5 liters or more.

Water Spangles

The floating plant Water Spangles is endemic to Central and South America. The plant grows to a considerable size and produces long, hanging roots that gather nutrients from the water column for the plant. Water Spangles’ large, flat leaves give an excellent place for fish, fry, and other aquatic animals to hide and feed.

water spangles

When compared to fast-moving surface water, water spangles prefer still water. Water spangles also feed on the nutrients in the water, acting as a bio-filter to keep algal blooms at bay.

Anacharis (Egeria densa)

Anacharis is one of the most popular and low-maintenance floating aquatic plants to grow. It doesn’t require much light, which is an advantage in a floating aquarium plant. It can also handle a wide range of water temperatures, making it a good fit for any fish you have.

If you don’t cut it, it can grow pretty enormous, so make sure it’s the right size for your tank. When it comes to oxygenating your water, this is one of the most effective plants. The plant produces a lovely white blossom that rises above the water level in the summer.

Dwarf Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes)

dwarf water lettuce

Dwarf Water Lettuce is a delicate plant that gives your tank a beautiful and understated appearance. Other floating plants may appear out of place at times, but this species is the polar opposite. It has pretty huge leaves that, if left unmanaged, can prevent light from reaching the remainder of your tank. The good news is that this plant is simple to trim and maintain.

Water Sprite

The water sprite, also known as water fern or Indian, is one of the most well-known aquatic plants. This plant provides excellent cover for fish who require it regularly. It’s a popular addition to tanks with small or shy fish since it acts as a safety net and decreases stress for all fish in the tank.

water fern

You can either plant Water Sprite in the substrate or let it float freely in the water. The plant can be utilized as a filler plant in your aquascape and is excellent for the background or mid-ground as a potted specimen.

Water Wisteria

This plant looks best floating or rooted in the substrate. It has a rapid rate of growth, which is one of the most important factors to consider as an owner. If you ignore it for too long, it will eventually take over the tank. Unlike many other aquatic plants, water wisteria will grow laterally and lengthwise, potentially crowding out other plants in the exact location.

Pennywort (Centella asiatica)


Pennywort, also known as Centella or Gotukola, is a wetlands plant endemic to Asia. The dime-sized leaves that grow along vine-like, creeping stalks give Brazillian Pennywort its common name. When the plant reaches the water’s surface, it sends out small white roots and produces tiny white blooms.

This plant can be grown either attached to the substrate or floating freely on the water’s surface. Because the plant will always grow toward the surface when planted in the substrate, it can produce a very appealing curtain effect at the back or sides of the tank.

Rotala indica

The Rotala indica is another popular floating plant that’s quite intriguing. This makes it an excellent choice for anyone wishing to add variety to their aquarium or tired of the traditional plant selections. This is a simple plant to grow because it tolerates a wide range of water conditions and thrives in lower lighting settings.


The coloration of the leaves is a unique feature of this species. The leaves may change color from green to pink as it matures, with yellow/orange in between. Rotala indica is a delicate plant that performs best when planted, although it can also be kept free-floating.

Mosquito Fern (Azolla filiculoides)


The length of this free-floating water fern is about three centimeters. It can easily split off sections to replicate vegetatively due to its free branching. The secret to using mosquito fern as a “super fertilizer” is that there are live colonies of the cyanobacterium Anabaena azollae within the recesses of the green top lobe of the leaves. These photosynthetic bacteria can convert nitrogen from the atmosphere into nitrate fertilizer.

This plant derives its name from the fact that it prevents mosquitoes from laying eggs on water surfaces. This plant, like mosquitos, prefers to develop in calm or slow-moving water.

Ludwigia repens


Ludwigia repens, often known as Water Primrose, has the potential to grow above the water’s surface if allowed to grow free-floating. The plant spreads quickly and has become a familiar sight in many regions, to the point where it is considered a weed. Ludwigia repens is a lovely and adaptable aquarium plant.

The red and orange leaves at the top of Ludwigia repens are a highlight. Because you’ll be floating it, the colors will combine in an unusual way towards the surface. This crimson and orange are strewn about among the other green leaves, giving it a unique appearance.

How to Care for your Floating Aquarium Plants?


The lighting amount you require in your planted tank is crucial when evaluating if floating plants would be suitable for your tank.

aquarium light

Many plants do not benefit from lower lighting levels. However, some fish species do. If you have other living plants in your aquarium, keep in mind that floating plants will block part of the light that would otherwise be accessible to the flora at the bottom. You can have the best of both worlds without affecting your other plantings by choosing species that are easy to thin out, such as Duckweed.

The size of the aquarium vs. the density of plants

The 15/20 gallon longs are one of the most perfect sizes for tiny planted aquariums. This tank size is also ideal for a 60cm light fixture. This tank’s dimensions provide an incredible ratio for its modest size. The planted aquarium setting becomes considerably more intriguing with more length for fish to navigate.

aquairum density

The 40-gallon Breeder is also an excellent entry-level size. It’s easy to light up and provides greater depth for those serious about aquascaping because of the reduced height with more depth ratio. Choosing this over a smaller 20-gallon fish tank gives you more alternatives when it comes to planted aquarium plants and fish.

Ready to set up an aquarium now? Don’t forget to check Plantly and purchase kits that would help you start off.

Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!

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