Last update: October 31, 2023

5 Best Floating Aquarium Plants

Do you have a fish tank or fishpond in your compound that you would like to transform?

You can rework the look of your fish pond by introducing floating aquarium plants. The plants give your fish pond or Aquarium an entirely fresh look.

They are the best if you are considering giving your fish pond and the surrounding environs an aesthetic appeal.

For you to choose the best plants for your Aquarium, you first need to assess if the fish are better suited for that plant. Also, the size of your Aquarium plays a significant role; if your fishpond is less than 40 liters, then you should opt for small plants.

Below are five of the top floating aquarium plants for novices. But first, how does a floating aquarium plant add value to your fishpond.

What Are The Benefits of Aquarium Plants?

The good thing about these aquarium plants is that they provide your fish with more oxygen as they go through photosynthesis.

The plant’s branches and leaves provide the fish with shade, and for the small fish and tadpole, it acts as a hiding place.

Fish that loves eating live vegetation can also snack on these floating plants. The aquarium plants absorb fish waste and nitrogen components in the water, making the water clean and easing the filter’s workload.

They also prevent the growth of other species, such as harmful bacteria. Do not plant this freshwater plant in an open water body as it can get out of control and become a hazard.

1. Hornwort

hornwoth floating plant

Hornwort is also referred to as Coontail. It is a popular aquatic plant suitable for a fish tank or a fishpond. This is because it’s the easiest aquarium plant to grow and maintain. Fish keepers love hornwort because of its fluffy-like stems, which overgrow and absorb any excess nutrients in the water.

You will find it floating on the water, but when planted at the pond or aquarium base, it creates a bushy-like appearance under the water because of its long fluffy branches. Hornwort has pine-like leaves that are thin and rigid. Its bushy-like appearance provides the fish and shrimp with ample protection.


Hornwort can grow in various water conditions, making it ideal for newbies. Apart from Antarctica, this freshwater plant can grow anywhere else on the continent. Because of its fast growth rate, you only need a little of it. Hornwort prefers still waters as they contain loads of organic nutrients.

Where to buy

You can buy hornwort at Amazon, Life Aquaria, PetSmart, and Pond megastore


The advantage of a hornwort is that you can plant them in extreme weather conditions. Check on it regularly and prune it back to avoid overgrowth as it will block from getting to the other plant.

Its overgrowth will also limit gaseous exchange and nutrients available, which may cause your fish to die because of inadequate oxygen.

2. Red Root Floater

aquarium with red root floater

Phyllanthus Fluitans is a favorite of many because it’s appealing. The plant got its name because of its red roots.

The red root floater has round and light green leaves, which, when exposed to bright light, the plant’s leaves turn red, giving the Aquarium a spectacular look. Fish keepers love Red root floater because they are easy to grow and maintain in any aquarium. They also provide shade for the fish.


Red root floater originates from South America. And you can find it in the Amazon River basin, where it extends its growth into Central America. The plant flourishes in still or slow-moving waters, and you can find it everywhere across the globe where it’s not expensive to grow.

Where to buy

You can buy red root floater at Amazon, Modern Aquarium, Etsy, and BucePlant.


It is a tough plant, making it suitable for beginners. The primary requirement for growing Red root floater is light and enough surface area. However, do not expose the plant to too much light; instead, it’s best to use artificial lighting, which is easier to control.

Ensure that the water pH ranges between 6.5 to 7.5 and that carbon dioxide content is low. The water hardness should be between 0-30Dgh. The aquarium temperature should be maintained between 18 to 20 degrees Celsius.

Your plants need enough iron to maintain their red coloration, so if it’s not enough, you can supplement by adding fertilizers. However, avoid unwarranted use of chemicals as they may harm your plants and fish.

Prune out excess red rood floater as it may lead to overgrowth covering the Aquarium’s entire surface. This will affect other plants’ growth, nutrients, and gaseous exchange and may lead to the fish and plants’ demise. Start trimming the leaves under the water.

3. Cabomba

cabomba in aquarium

It is also known as the Carolina Fanwort. It is a beautiful freshwater plant that is liked by pond keepers and aquarium hobbyists.

This is because it is easy to grow, and its fast growth once planted. The Carolina Fanwort has a bright green pigmentation with purple undertones and lace-like foliage that is segregated into feathery-like segments.


Cabomba hails from the Southeastern United States. Due to its invasive nature, Cabomba is considered problematic in the United States’ western and northern parts.

Cabomba can grow in any water body that is stationary or moving slowly. Often you will find it in rivers, ponds, and small lakes. It is dense and multiplies, eventually outgrowing other plants

Where to buy it?

You can buy Cabomba from Amazon, PetSmart, LiveAquaria, and Aquarium Plants Factory (APF).


It easy to grow and care for Cabomba because it can grow in almost any fishpond setting. It is a substrate, and it grows to a point where its white flower emerges on the water’s surface. Cabomba should be handled with care because its delicate foliage stems are susceptible to breakage.

You can use small pots to plant Cabomba at the base of the Aquarium. Trim regularly to prevent overgrowth. Also, you can replant cuttings obtained from mature plants.

The plant requires adequate light to grow, so if you are using an artificial lighting system, ensure that it at least 3 watts per gallon. Although Cabomba does not require Carbon dioxide, its inadequacy can cause the shedding of leaves.

The plant provides shade, clean, and well-oxygenated environment for the fish by removing nitrogen components.

4. Dwarf Water Lettuce

dwarf water lettuce on water

It is also referred to as Nile lettuce and is ideal for fishponds and aquariums.

Dwarf water lettuce has a cabbage-like appearance, and its leaves have parallel veins. The plant leaves are covered by short soft hairs that entrap air, facilitating the plant’s buoyancy.

Between the leaves, you will find flowers that produce rounded berries once pollination takes place. The plant has elongated white or black roots that extend downwards into the water, providing anchorage and breeding areas for the fish.


It originated from Africa and was discovered alongside the Nile River. The only place you cannot find Nile lettuce is Antarctica.

Where to buy it?

You can buy Dwarf water Lettuce at Amazon and Etsy.


Before introducing Nile lettuce to your fishpond, you need to know how to care for it. Under the fit growing conditions, Nile lettuce can occupy a lot of space, so make sure you plant just the right amount to avoid overcrowding.

This plant does not thrive in bright lights, so ensure that there is enough shade. It would be ideal to use artificial lighting bulbs such as full-spectrum T8 or T5. Also, make sure that the aquarium humidity is above 70 degrees Celsius.

Although Nile lettuce can grow in varying water conditions, it’s best to ensure that the temperature ranges from 72 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintain the water pH of 6.0 to 7.5.

Dwarf water lettuce prefers still or slow-moving water, so ensure that the fishpond filtration system does not have strong water current. Trim the plant regularly to prevent overgrowth and ensure there are spaces between the plants to allow light.

It would be best if the root does not reach the aquarium floor as they can get interwoven with other decorations in the Aquarium. Remove the plants and trim the roots to keep them under control after every two weeks. No harm is done by pruning the roots.

5. Amazon Frogbit

amazon frogbit floating

It is a lily-like aquarium plant that floats on the fishponds and still waterways—frogbit blooms in July and August. During winter, the Amazon Frogbit become dormant and is mostly found buried at the pond’s base in the mud.

When it blooms, it provides a refuge for tadpoles, dragonfly larvae, and small fish.

Amazon frogbit has a white flower in the middle, which is encircled by small kidney-shaped leaves. It snowballs once introduced, and if not controlled, can be hazardous as it prevents other plants from growing by blocking light. It can be dangerous; especially when people pass by as it hides the water entirely, appearing like firm ground.


Amazon Frogbit hails from Central and South America.

Where to buy it?

You can buy it from Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Aquatickart.


The plant prefers freshwater and any other aquatic environment. It can grow in any condition, be it a shade or full sun. Although it can grow in a wide range of water conditions, it thrives in water whose pH ranges from 6 to 8 and a temperature of 15 – 28 degrees Celsius. It can also do well in salty water.

Deciding on the Best Floating Aquarium Plants: Key Considerations

Armed with comprehensive insights into the advantages and varieties of floating plants, you’re almost ready to dive in. But hold on, let’s first explore some crucial variables that should shape your decision-making process for choosing the most suitable floating plants for your aquatic sanctuary.

Lighting Factors

Light is a pivotal element in determining the suitability of floating plants for your aquarium. It’s not just about illumination; it’s about the life force that drives the health and vibrancy of floating fish tank plants.

shutterstock 1938102652

As we’ve already delved into the wide array of floating plants, it’s clear that no two species have identical light requirements. Whether it’s the subdued light that some live floating aquarium plants love or the robust illumination preferred by others, gauging your aquarium’s light—both natural and artificial—is non-negotiable.

Remember, these verdant floaters act as natural umbrellas for your finned friends, but excessive shade could stifle the growth of submerged flora. Achieving the right light equilibrium is, therefore, essential to a balanced aquatic ecosystem.

Visual Allure

If you’re yearning to recreate the serene vistas of a natural aquatic habitat, floating plants offer unparalleled aesthetic appeal. With a myriad of shapes, sizes, and leafy structures, these plants are like the paint strokes on a masterful aquatic canvas. Long-rooted varieties serve as intricate playgrounds for shrimp to navigate, adding both functional value and a pop of greenery to your aquarium.

Harmonizing Water Conditions

Last but not least, your choice of floating plants must align with the water quality parameters that your aquatic pets need for a thriving life—be it pH levels, water current, temperature, or nutrient content. A rambunctious water current might not suit delicate artificial floating aquarium plants, potentially causing harm rather than aesthetic pleasure.

Most floating aquarium plants flourish in a pH range from 5.0 to 8.0, and can adapt to temperature fluctuations between 60°F and 89°F. Ensure that these parameters align with the needs of your fish and other aquatic life.

Don’t overlook the nutrient dynamics of your water either. Regularly test for nitrates, carbon dioxide, and phosphates. If your water chemistry shows irregularities, specific floating plants can serve as organic filters, regulating excess nutrients and enhancing overall water quality.

In summary, the choice of the best floating plants for aquarium settings is not a decision to make lightly. Consider it a balancing act that melds aesthetic aspirations with practical requirements, all while maintaining a healthy, dynamic environment for every tank inhabitant.


These are the best Aquarium floating plants for beginners, as they are easy to plant and maintain.

More so, their aesthetic appeal and natural benefit make them the best. Try them, and you will be amazed at how much better your pond will look.

Ian Sterling

Ian Sterling, founder of, began his aquarium journey over 30 years ago, driven by a deep fascination for fish and their diverse personalities. His website,, is dedicated to making fishkeeping accessible and enjoyable, offering beginner-friendly guidance, expert insights, and a community for aquarists to connect and share experiences.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *