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7 Best Floating Aquarium Plants for Beginners

Having plants in your aquarium doesn’t have to be time or money-consuming. Wondering how is that possible? The answer is – floating aquarium plants. Many of them don’t require any extra effort or care, which makes them perfect for beginners.

Floating plants

Aside from looking nice and exotic, these plants have many more benefits. They are excellent for providing shade for your fish, they can de-stress them and even become a great place for them to sleep. Floating plants are also a good source of food. They grow quickly, and you won’t even notice if some of your fish start feeding on them. Another excellent pro of having live vegetation (both floating and the ones that grow in tanks with gravel or sand) is that they reduce damaging waste from your aquarium and they keep the chemistry of your water stable. Your plants will consume nitrate, and they will keep the aquarium aerated. Are you already convinced to set up your fish tank with some lovely floating greenery? Here’s everything you need to know about the seven best floating aquarium plants.

Amazon Frogbit

Having this plant will be an amazing addition to your fish tank. It’s very easy to care for it, which makes it very popular. It has beautiful round and glossy leaves that grow during the whole year. However, these leaves can cover the entire water surface if not thinned regularly. This can cause problems for fish such as gourami that have to get to the surface to breathe, while the water can also become depleted of oxygen. Amazon Frogbit likes soft to moderately hard water, the temperature should be 64 to 84 °F, and it can grow up to 20 inches. It’s important to know that the top of the plant must be kept dry so that it doesn’t begin to rot.

Amazon Frogbit Optimal Requirements:

LightingMedium to Hight
Optimal pH6.0 – 7.5
Water HardnessSoft to medium
Optimal Temperature64 – 84 °F (18 – 28 °C)

Amazon Frogbit – check price on Amazon

Duckweed

This tiny floating plant with bright green leaves can thrive in every still water, including aquariums. It takes no time for them to cover the whole water, so it’s essential to keep it under control. It doesn’t require specific conditions to thrive. Actually, it’s harder to stop it from growing than to care for it. Duckweed cleans and purifies the tank water, and it reduces algae growth, but it can be annoying when it comes to aquarium maintenance. Its small leaves cling on everything, and it’s very hard to completely remove it from the tank. Fish like it, and some feed on it, like tilapia and goldfish.

Duckweed

Duckweed Optimal Requirements:

LightingRequire enough exposure to sunlight
Optimal pH6.5 – 7.5
Water HardnessSoft to hard
Optimal Temperature60 – 90 °F (15 – 32 °C)

Duckweed – check price on Amazon

Hornwort

This plant has a reputation as one of the most widespread aquatic plants since it can be found everywhere except for Antarctica. As Amazon Frogbit and Duckweed, it also grows quickly and cleans water from nitrates, ammonia, and phosphates that are left from the excess fish food and fish waste. The temperature in which this plant thrives varies from 50-85°F and it likes a gentle flow. However, do not keep it near your filter because the needles can get sucked up. Hornwort doesn’t need carbon dioxide injection, and any amount of light fits. If you see that this plant is starting to grow out of control, make sure you prune it. Aquarium snails like eating the dying leaves of this plant, but you won’t see goldfish or other herbivore fish eating it.

Hornwort Optimal Requirements:

LightingModerate
Optimal pH6.0 – 7.5
Water Hardness5 – 15 dGH
Optimal Temperature50 – 85 °F (10 – 30 °C)

Hornwort – check price on Amazon

Cabomba

Another floating plant that requires little to no care at all – Cabomba grows in almost every setting, and it’s a very adaptable plant. If it has soft to moderately hard water, 72 to 82 °F, and lots of light, you can expect it to grow one inch per day. It demands trimming since it easily overpopulates other plants. Green Cabomba is very widespread, while red or purple Cabomba can be difficult to find and grow. If you’re looking for an oxygenating herb that will provide shelter for your fish while demanding almost no care, Cabomba is the one for you.

Cabomba Optimal Requirements:

LightingHigh
Optimal pH6.0 – 7.5
Water Hardness3 – 8 GH
Optimal Temperature72 – 82 °F (22 – 28 °C)

Cabomba – check price on Amazon

Azolla

Azolla caroliniana will be a great addition to your fish tank – this floating fern is used as a fertilizer and stores large quantities of nitrogen compounds. It can be a great food source for your fish, and it’s easy to care for. If it has enough bright lightning, it will grow fast. The pH range for this floating plant is 5 – 8, and recommended temperatures are anywhere between 59 and 80.6°F. If you plan on breeding your fish, keep in mind that the roots of Azolla are a great shelter for baby fish.

Azolla Optimal Requirements:

LightingLess than full sunlight
Optimal pH5 – 8
Optimal Temperature59 – 80.6 °F (15 – 27 °C)

Azolla  – check price on Amazon

Floating Bladderwort

What separates floating bladderwort from other plants we mentioned is that it’s actually a carnivorous plant. It has small food traps that resemble bladders, which is how the plan got its name. However, this doesn’t mean that the floating bladderwort will eat your fish – it feeds on zooplankton, microorganisms, and nutrients from the tank. This plant has yellow flowers if provided with medium lighting. Keep it at 65 to 75°F and watch out for potential overcrowding. An amazing pro of this plant is that it doesn’t require as much pruning as other floating plants on this list. If you’re looking to pair it with other plants, choose Hornwort or Azolla.

Floating Bladderwort Optimal Requirements:

LightingMedium
Optimal pH6.5 – 7.5
Optimal Temperature65 – 75 °F (18 – 24 °C)

Floating Bladderwort– check price on Amazon

Red Root Floater

If you’re looking for something more exotic that will stand out from all the green plants, a little bit of red will be an amazing choice. Red Root Floater is very popular because of its unique look and easy maintenance. This floating fern prevents unwanted growth of algae, removes contaminants, and biological waste from the water. It can easily cover the water surface if left unmonitored, so don’t leave your tank for too long without removing the floaters as they spread. The plant originally has green leaves that turn deep red if kept under high light. They can also have white flowers. Keep the plant in pH anywhere between 6.5 and 7.5 and temperatures from 70 to 82°. Try to maintain low water flow since the red root floater doesn’t like much water surface agitation or movement.

Red Root Floater Optimal Requirements:

LightingModerate to high
Optimal pH6.5 – 7.5
Water HardnessSoft to moderately hard water
Optimal Temperature70 – 82 °F (21 – 28 °C)

Red Root Floater – check price on Amazon

Sources:

  1. Duckweed – AquaPlant
  2. Mosquito Fern (Azolla) – AquaPlant

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