The Aqua Guru is reader-supported. We may earn commission on sales via our links at no extra cost to you. View Policies.

Best Floating Aquarium Plants

The Best Floating Aquarium Plants For Beginners

Floating aquarium plants are a exceptional attribute to include into any aquarium.

These plants do not require to be attached to the base or substrate of the aquarium, plus they come in variable sizes and shapes, and can be over a foot in length.

Many of these floating aquarium plants are more suited towards Betta tanks, have their roots suspending from the surface of the water and have the plants above the surface.

Floating Aquarium Plants Comparison

Plants Growth RateMaintenance Level
Duckweed FastEasy
Water LettuceModerateEasy
Amazon FrogbitModerateModerate
Water SpanglesFastModerate
Java MossFastModerate
Riccia FluitansFastEasy
Azolla SlowEasy
Brazilian PennywortFastHard

If you already have an aquarium, the chances of you already having aquatic plants in your habitat is high.

Although if you read through this article, you’ll see suggestions of the best floating aquarium plants for you tank and why they’re be great for your tank!

The Best Floating Aquarium Plants

1. Duckweed Plants 

The best floating aquarium plants that you could have in your habitats is the Duckweed plants, as its the most low-maintenance and easy growing. It’s appearance is that of very small leaves and short roots, which can be suitable for aquariums below 20 gallons.

One point you do need to remember, is that Duckweed allows for light to pass through it, meaning that it’ll provide you with a natural pond-like appearance. This means that you’ll have a picturesque layer of greenery on the surface of the water.

You do have to remember that Duckweed grows very quickly, so you may need to trim it sometimes, if required to do so. Plus you should have a container lid on your aquarium as Duckweed is known to over grow outside tanks.

Overall Duckweed is a great floating aquarium plants to add to your environment, they’re a fan favourite among aquarium keepers and are a great method of balancing your eco-system’s mineral content.

Check it Out

2. Water Lettuce Aquarium Plants

Similar to other floating aquarium plants, such as the Amazon Frogbit plant, the Water Lettuce is an attractive floating plant that grows long roots. The plant’s rosettes are actually on the larger side, this means that they’re not as suitable for smaller aquarium setups, although they’re aesthetically pleasing.

One key point about the Water Lettuce, is that they do require a decent amount of light for growth. Ensure that you anchor its roots to one corner of your aquarium, as some hobbyists have had issues of floating roots being taken by their filters.

Water Lettuce is a fast grower, so you do have to maintain it, which means you’ll want to trim it back to ensure light reaches other plants below the surface in your tank. Water Lettuce is also more suited towards larger tanks of at least 20 gallons, but once setup does make a beautiful addition to your tank.

Check it Out

3. Amazon Frogbit Floating Aquarium Plants

One of the most beautiful floating aquarium plants is the Amazon Frogbit, as they have large rosettes, with long pretty roots. Amazon Frogbit is a very versatile plant that can easily grow in a great range of temperatures, plus at a fast rate with little issues.

Although Amazon Frogbit one point to remember, is that it does block light, but this may be preferential if you have bettas that enjoy lounging in darker areas. But this does mean that it’s probably not great for plants and fish that do prefer light.

Due to the Amazon Frogbit’s long roots, some people are worried about them being clogged in your filters. However you can simply bind them against your tank or rocks in your tank. Overall it’s an excellent plant and will make an attractive addition to your aquarium, especially if you have a betta tank.

Check it Out

4. Water Spangles

An exceptional aquarium floating plant is the Water Spangles, as it’s a hardy species that is effective in blocking sunlight, meaning it can provide excellent shading for fish species such as bettas. Moreover Water Spangles will feed off nutrients in the water, acting as a natural filter, so that you can avoid algae blooms.

Water Spangles are very versatile floating aquarium plants, as they can deal with a huge range of water conditions such as through temperature or through lighting. Moreover they’re an excellent source of food for many aquatic creatures.

One huge advantage of the Water Spangles that separate it from floating aquarium plants, is that they do not require any substrate for development.

Check it Out

5. Hornwort Floating Plant

Another great favourite among aquarium hobbyists is the the Hornwort plant. This is because of its hardiness, as the species originates from the UK, which means it can survive a great range of water conditions and temperatures, whilst maintaining its beautiful appearance.

The Hornwort plant is a dense plant, that is dark green in color, making it perfect for fish to forage through or even to hide amongst. Hornwort does although need to be planted in substrate, but once fully grown will be six foot in length and will hit the top of the water, meaning it does require trimming often.

Hornwort will also improve water quality massively, as it Oxygenates the water by removing harmful waste matter such as Nitrate and can be used to neutralise algae.

Check it Out

6. Cabomba Caroliniana Plant

Cabomba Caroliniana plant is one of the awesome aquarium floating plants, that is native to the USA. It has an appearance, that of a pale green in color and the plant can be found to either be planted or float freely on the surface of the water.

The Cabomba Caroliniana plant is a very popular option for hobbyists that keep shrimp or fry. This is because it may be densely packed but, it does have tiny openings so that they can forage around and they can hide inside.

We definitely recommend these plants for smaller aquariums and are suitable for a wide range of species.

Check it Out

7. Java Moss

An easy to maintain floating aquarium plant is the Java Moss, which is one of the most widely used plant species in aquariums at this time. This is because its a densely growing plant, that contains a biofilm, with a thin slimy layer that attaches itself to multiple surfaces.

Moreover due to its dense make-up, it provides great shading for fishes such as bettas that require spots for hiding. It’s a very tough and fast growing plant, which means it needs to be trimmed, plus it can survive in different rates in sunlight.

You may find that Java Moss can be planted but most hobbyists have it floating in their tanks. Moreover if you want speedy growth, it does best in around 73 degrees Fahrenheit and its great for being utilized for stabilization and protection for many fish species.

Check it Out

8. Riccia Fluitans

If you’re searching for floating aquarium plants that are widely utilized by aquascapers, then the Riccia Fluitans is an awesome choice for you. This is because it has a make-up of short strand pieces that interlace together, which creates a freely fitting mat.

Uniquely, the Riccia Fluitans does not have roots or leaves, plus its common among betta fishes, as it provides excellent share for fry and breeders around the surface. Moreover its appearance is that of a yellow/green moss that can grow along netting.

Aquas-capers adversely attach them to wood or rocks through nylon netting. Additionally it should be regularly trimmed to avoid huge clusters, as it can grow effectively in the correct lighting.

Check it Out

9. Azolla Filiculoides 

A very popular floating aquarium plant among hobbyists that is apart of the fern group, is the Azolla Filiculoides(also known as Mosquito Fern). It’s a very attractive plant that freely floats to the tank surface and has a stitched appearance that hides a singular root that protrudes from each stem on the plant.

It has an appearance of various colors but, has red hues to form green tangles. Moreover similar to other floating aquarium plants, it provides excellent shelter for fish species such as bettas.

Ensure that you partake in regular trimming and maintenance though, as it does grow at a fast rate.

Check it Out

10. Brazilian Pennywort

A final notable attribute that would make an awesome addition to your tank, is the Brazilian Pennywort floating plant. This is because it has flourished green appearance that delicately float above the surface.

Furthermore it provides excellent shading, whilst only needing little light to grow. Plus it can survive in variable conditions and temperatures.

Check it Out

Benefits of Keeping Aquarium Floating Plants

Whilst there might be a lot of variations of the different species of floating plants for your tank, a proportion of them should be suitable enough for you habitat.

Although, if you’re still wondering why you should even bother having floating plants in your aquarium, opposed to regular planted ones then we created a short list of benefits below.

Aeration Of The Tank

Firstly, aquatic plants are an essential source of adding Oxygen to your aquarium. These plants act as air circulation within the habitat, similar how regular plants that you see everyday do.

Floating Aquarium Plants

This means that you have extra Oxygen in your habitat, which is very beneficial to your inhabitants health. By providing an excellent aeration cycle in your tank, it’ll help prevent against toxins and other harmful bacteria from developing.

Final point to make is that floating aquatic plants work in the same manner that plants surronding us in our everyday lives do, they’ll absorb CO2, then replace it with Oxygen so that inhabitants can breathe.

Shading For Inhabitants

By supplying essential shading, species of fishes such as Betta’s will be much happier. This is because bettas thrive in shaded conditions, in order to show their colors. However you don’t need to cover the entire water surface with plants, as it may lessen the extend to how the other plants in your aquarium will grow at.

Protection & Natural Filtration

A great part about having any aquatic plants, not just floating ones, is that they soak up any organic waste in the tank. The bacterium on the plant that is developing is used as a filter process, which in effect acts as an chemical and biological filer for your tank.

Moreover, floating aquarium plants act against diseases as they’ll absorb a large quantity of harmful toxins, plus they’ll providing a hiding spot for the fish to hide and rest.

Different Source Of Food

Another great reason for keeping a floating aquarium plant is that they act as a great source of food, on top of the source of food that you already feed them.

Are Aquarium Floating Plants Easy To Grow

This means that they can add an extra bit of nutrition into their diet making it more balanced. Plus they get a more natural source of food that they’d eat in their natural habitat.

More Natural Aesthetic

A final point to make about floating aquatic plants is that they provide your habitat with a more natural looking environment. This means it gives your fishes a sense of wilderness and its an excellent stylish feature to your aquarium setup that friends and family would love to see!

How to Easily Grow Floating Aquarium Plants

As mentioned numerous times, floating aquatic plants grow rapidly, even under poor conditions. This means that they’re great for fishes that love veggies, as well as their normal flake or pellet food.

Growing plants can be easy, although they difficult to grow with fishes that have primarily veggie diets such as Cichlid fish species. If you keep these type of species of fish, then you’ll probably want the most rapidly growing floating aquarium plants such as Duckweed or Amazon Frogbit. By doing this, you will not run out of plants, even if they’re being eaten at a fast rate.

Large Aquarium Floating Plants

Having tese plants are important, as they’ll reduce waste levels, plus remove compounds such as Nitrate and Ammonia, which can be dangerous for fish. Too much Nitrate can also be dangerous for your plants, so having a regular water change will remove it, helping your plants to be healthier.

Finally, floating aquatic plants are essential for reproduction, comfort and safety for fishes in your aquarium, so make sure you find the suitable one for aquarium!


Similar to other attributes of your aquarium, its essential to research into your aquarium and the type floating aquatic plants that would be most suited towards it. Having the best floating plant will make your inhabitants much happier and healthier.

Moreover, it gives your tank a more natural look and provides great shading for fish species such as bettas. They are very low maintenance plants and are a rapid way to make your fish aquarium look a lot better!

About The Author

the aqua guru author

Jon is an aquarium keeper of over 15 years and the owner of Guppy's, Betta's and other marine life. He always likes to make changes to his aquarium for the benefit of his marine life's well-being and health using the best aquatic products on the market. You can read more about us here.