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WARNING: Do not buy a floating aquarium plant before reading this, the wrong choice could cause you to lose your fishes.

Floating plants are fantastic decorative pieces that can beautify your aquarium.

However, how do you know which is best for your tank?

Some of these plants can block sunlight or even drain other tank inhabitants' nutrients, thereby creating a disaster.

Don't you worry!

We're going to show you the 10 best floating aquarium plants for your tank, review their features as well as their pros and cons, so you can make the best decision for your own aquarium.

Here we go.

Comparison (With Table)

Floating Plants

Suitable for Beginners/ Care Level

Ideal pH

Temperature Range (oF)

Propagation mode

Yes/Moderate

6.0-7.5

71-82

Sexual and Asexual reproduction

Yes/Moderate

6.5-7.5

72-80

From the stalks

Water Wisteria

Yes/Easy

6.0-8.0

68-82

Through stem cuttings

Yes/Easy

6.5-7.5

60-85

Sexually by forming chains from vegetative buds

Water Sprite

Yes/Easy

6.5-8.0

60-80

Replanting stem trimmings

Yes/Easy

6.0-7.5

64-80

Sexual production/ Flower pollination

Yes/Easy

5-9

59-90

Cutting off daughter plants, splitting

Yes/Easy

6.0-8.0

68-79

Cutting and side shoots

Yes/Moderate

6.0-7.5

68-82

Cutting

Anacharis

Yes/Easy

6.0-8.0

68-75

Cutting

Floating Aquarium Plants Reviews 

Dwarf Water Lettuce

This fantastic floating plant will grow quickly in your tank with almost no fertilization.

They are naturally found in Africa but have become popular worldwide among aquarists because of their resilience and versatility.

Key Features

You can easily recognize this plant by its large, thick, and spongy broad leaves. It also has a generally pale green color, and it is shaped like a somewhat rounded structure.

It grows to about 10-25 inches in diameter with a long and stringy root structure. Dwarf water lettuce propagates through sexual and asexual reproduction.

The leaves are parallel-veined, enclosed in short hairs that make it look like a basket so it can trap air bubbles to float. Looking at the roots, you will see a unique long stringy structure, and its dioecious flowers are sitting in the middle of the plant.

If you do get this plant, here's some info to keep you from "killing it in the first week":

It requires a pH of 6-7.5, a temperature range of 71-82OF, and water quality between soft and moderately hard.

Pros

  • High broad leaves that are very beautiful and chromatic
  • Inexpensive
  • Gives the tank inhabitants a lot of shade and places to hide, especially shrimps and fish fry.
  • Moderate or fast growth rate
  • Provides the tank with an excellent aesthetic look

Cons

  • Blocks light to bottom-dwelling fishes because of its large shade
  • It might not work for small tanks because of their broad leaves
  • Requires a lot of nutrients that may leave other plants starving

Our Thoughts

Anyone can care for the dwarf water lettuce easily. Once you give it adequate conditions and propagate it properly, it'll keep growing for a long time. However, try not to submerge it in water as the leaves will get wet, and it might die after some time.

What Customers Say

"Looks pretty cool. Planning to get a lot more. After two weeks, some are turning yellow, and some are dead, but overall, the plant is doing well."

Red Root Floater (Phyllanthus Fluitans)

As the name says, this floating plant has distinctive red roots, and I find it to be one of the most popular aquarium plants among my aquarist friends.

If the tank's lighting conditions are high, the red color is more pronounced, making it very attractive and lighting up the whole tank.

Key Features

Red root floater (Phyllantus Fluitans) is originally from South America, the Amazon River Basins into Central America.

It has since adapted to become a floating plant that can survive in diverse living environments. This plant propagates through the stalks as they can branch out, divide and grow fast without any interference.

It needs nutrient-rich water to properly develop its red roots and hue leaves, most especially iron content. The root system of this plant is long trailing, and it has brittle creeping stems. Apart from the bright red colors on its underside and root, its green leaves have a characteristic reddish hue color when in intense lighting.

Don't forget.

It requires a pH of 6.5-7.5, a temperature range of 72-80oF, and a water quality ranging from soft to moderately hard.

Pros

  • Trimming is easy because of its small size
  • Grows fast in favorable living conditions
  • Uniquely suited for humid aquatic habitats
  • Propagation is relatively convenient.

Cons

  • Healthy growth and development are highly dependent on access to nutrients.
  • It will only bloom in tanks with intense lighting conditions.

Our Thoughts

Although it might be a little more challenging than others on this list, beginners can still care for this plant adequately. I see it as an inexpensive and easy way to add a shade of red to your aquarium.

What Customers Say

"You only need to get one of these in your tank. If you're not careful, your tank will be full of them, and you won't be able to control their spread."

Water Wisteria

Water wisteria is a popular choice among newcomers to fish keeping because of its unfussy nature and ability to develop fast without much interference. 

Its natural habitat is in Southern Asian countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. In these countries, you can find the plant in shallow water bodies and marshy habitats.

Key Features

There are two ways to grow with the Water Wisteria if you're putting it into your aquarium – floating on the water surface or under the water. Introducing Water Wisteria into your tank is very unproblematic. 

It is very versatile and will be just fine in a wide variety of conditions in the tank.

This plant propagates through stem cuttings, so simply cut the stem parts and grow them in a nutrient-filled substrate.

The leaves of the Water Wisteria have a bright green color with an oval shape and lace-like. It also has serrated margins with small granular hairs on the leaf surface. The root system is fragile to attach to substrate easily and absorb the nutrients needed for survival.

The plant requires a pH of 6.0-8, a temperature range of 66-82oF, and a water quality ranging from soft to moderately hard.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Beginners will have no problems handling it.
  • It leaves a lot of space for shrimps and fish to hide.
  • Effortless to maintain
  • Propagation is easy

Cons

  • Inappropriate temperatures will affect leaf structure and color.
  • It does not properly grow when you float it but blossoms when you plant it.

Our Thoughts

This is one of the most versatile floating plants, and it has an amicable relationship with most fish varieties. 

You can easily multiply this plant through stem cuttings and have a wide family with little effort and a small supply.

What Customers Say

"Pleasantly surprised with the way it was packaged. It has long full-rooted stems, all-around a foot in length. They're all growing wonderfully in my pool."

Duckweed(Lemnaceae)

Duckweed (Lemnaceae) is known as one of the tiniest flowering plants ever. 

Because of their versatility, these plants are found in many aquatic environments. However, slow-moving water is where it thrives best. 

It requires only a small amount of attention and care, and will grow amazingly in almost any tank setup you put it.

Key Features

Are you a beginner when it comes to aquariums? If yes, you should put the Duckweed at the top of your list.

Why, you ask?

It grows fast without much external interference, and it thrives with a lot of tank inhabitants.

You can spot this plant by its easily identifiable fronds/flat leaves, usually about one to three in number. Duckweeds propagate sexually by forming chains of stems from their vegetative buds.

Duckweed can float and stay just below the water surface because of its air pockets. Its bright green leaves measure at less than an inch, and its single root sticks out from each frond.

It requires a pH of 6.5-7.5, a temperature range of 66-85oF, and a water quality ranging from soft to moderately hard.

Pros

  • Needs minimal maintenance
  • Keeps the toxins at acceptable levels
  • Can survive in different types of tank setup
  • Creates great hiding spots for shrimp and fry
  • Fast-grower

Cons

  • It might be challenging to collect and discard after pruning
  • It covers the space and prevents sunlight, and might deplete oxygen

Our Thoughts

Duckweed doesn't need a lot of attention to blossom fast, making it an excellent choice for beginners. Your only task is keeping the plant mass in check so it doesn't cover the water surface totally.

What Customers Say

"Very happy with my purchase. Even with the slight odor, the package came with a generous amount."

Water Sprite

Water Sprite (Ceratopteris Thalictroides) is a fast-growing aquarium plant adaptable to different aquariums and water types. You will find Water Sprites in ponds, marshes, swamps, and almost every other slow-moving water body.

Key Features

It is an excellent addition to water hobbyists in their gardens that don't require a lot of attention or care. Its narrow green leaves have a lace-life structure that sets them apart from other plants. Just like other floating plants, it has long floating roots to gather the required nutrients for survival properly. 

Water Sprite propagates when baby plantlets develop on the parent plant, which falls to the water column. These later grow into full plants; you can also propagate manually by replanting stem trimmings in a nutrient-rich substrate.

There's more.

Water Sprite has dormant or proliferous buds with large scales on them plus fleshy and short rhizomes. It requires a pH of 6.5-8, a temperature range of 60-80oF, and a water quality ranging from soft to moderately hard.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Grows well under several light conditions
  • Easy maintenance under several tank setups
  • Fast-growing plant
  • Reduces algae-growth in the tank

Cons

  • Needs frequent trimming
  • It may become a mess in the tank if it overgrows
  • Competes significantly with other plants

Our Thoughts

The Water Sprite is a tough plant that can live for a long time without any challenges. It is also aesthetically pleasing and will instantly beautify any tank you put it in.

What Customers Say

"The plant was a wonderful addition to my water feature. It came in a sizable amount and had excellent roots; I would be getting more."

Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium Laevigatum)

Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium Laevigatum) is a floating plant that is naturally found in Central and North America. It's a famous inhabitant of slow-moving fresh water bodies such as marshes, swamps, ponds, and ditches. I consider it more of an ornamental addition to the tank because it has a fresh and attractive look.

Key Features

Frogbit plants grow very fast and will cover a lot of space in your tank in a short while, so you have to be careful with them. The leaves of this plant grow out in a way that lies flat on the water surface. The smooth nature of the leaves is what lets them stay buoyant on the water. Its propagation method is through sexual production and flower pollination.

Frogbit plants can reach up to heights of 20 inches and 0.5-3 inches in width. It requires a pH of 6.0-7.5, a temperature range of 64-80oF, and a water quality ranging from soft to moderately hard.

Pros

  • It has a very dense shade cover
  • Can adapt to a wide variety of temperature conditions 
  • It grows fast and requires little to no maintenance.
  • It serves as a stunning decorative piece that can significantly improve your tank's aesthetic
  • Great for sucking up the ammonia and nitrates in the tank

Cons

  • Long roots may get tangled in the aquarium filters.
  • Because of its large size, the other inhabitants' movement could be restricted when it blocks waterways.
  • Sunlight absorption and nutrients may be affected for the bottom-dwelling plants.

Our Thoughts

Experts and beginners alike will be pleased with the Amazon Frogbit. Be careful while changing the water so the leaves don't get submerged and turn brown.

What Customers Say

"Four months after my purchase, and it has pleasantly taken over my tank. I didn't think it would survive because of its small size, but this is a welcome surprise."

Java Moss (Taxiphyllum Barbieri)

Java moss (Taxiphyllum Barbieri) is a well-known floating aquarium plant in the practice of aquascaping. It is prevalent because of its ease in propagation, versatility, and how it naturally brings the tank to life.

Key Features

Java moss propagates by division. Pieces of the plant bunch will break off and attach to hardscapes or surfaces in the aquarium. It has oblong leaf cells that can grow up to 4 inches tall. Java moss has a soft bright green moss with branched stems and two short coastal.

The tiny, overlapping round-shaped leaves cover the irregular branching. It requires a pH of 6.0-8, a temperature range of 59-90oF, and a water quality ranging from soft to moderately hard.

Pros

  • An excellent breeding area for egg-laying fish species
  • Java moss is a great forage area for juvenile fish, invertebrates, and small fry.
  • Aerates the aquarium naturally.
  • Assists in keeping the tank clean with chemical and biological filtration
  • Tiny, lush green stems and leaves beautify the tank.

Cons

  • Algae may begin to grow on its body which would be deadly to other tank inhabitants.
  • Doesn't get enough nutrients or light, some parts may begin to turn brown.

Our Thoughts

This is a great plant for a beginner setup as it takes a lot to kill them, so mistakes aren't as deadly. You can leave the Java moss to float or root it down – whichever fits your aquarium. 

What Customers Say

"The product matched the description, and I even found a tiny snail in my pack. However, I noticed a brown coloration but hopefully did great in the tank."

Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum)

Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) is originally naturally found in North America. Still, you can find it in all other continents except Antarctica in the last couple of years. It is usually a cosmopolitan submerged plant in freshwater habitat common in lakes, ditches, ponds, and streams with moderate to high nutrient content.

Key Features

Hornwort is characterized by its greenish to yellowish color with needle-like and filamentous leaves that grow on its high slim stems. It propagates by vegetative fragmentation, which is typical for invasive plant species like it. A part of the parent plant divides and develops into an independent plant. You can do this manually by cutting the stems and float them on the water surface.

It requires a pH of 6.0-8, a temperature range of 75-79oF, and a water quality ranging from soft to moderately hard.

Pros

  • It prevents the growth of blue-green algae.
  • Absorbs the harmful chemicals from fish waste and decayed plant matter
  • Provides great cover for shrimp and fish
  • Oxygenates the water and keeps it aerated
  • Cleans up the tank water and makes it clear

Cons

  • Too much light can make the tips go brown or bronze.
  • Leaves aren't healthy.

Our Thoughts

Stay away from Hornwort if you have a small tank, as it is an invasive species that spreads fast and adapts quickly. If you have fry in your tank, they'll love hiding behind the Hornwort's leaves.

What Customers Say

"Even though a lot of the green dropped off and it started turning brown, it has since recovered. It is growing healthy and thriving in my 55-gallon tank."

Cabomba Caroliniana

Cabomba Caroliniana's natural home is South America. It is known for its invasive properties, which have led some US states to ban it.

Check for its availability in your state before deciding to purchase one for your aquarium.

Key Features

With very striking physical similarities with the Hornwort, you might mix up both plants. However, Cabomba plants can only be submerged In their natural habitat when the natural waters have dried out. Cabomba propagates by making terminal cuts from the mature stems and plants them into your aquarium substrate.

It requires a pH of 6.0-7.5, a temperature range of 68-82oF, and a water quality ranging from soft to moderately hard.

Pros

  • It has a lot of biofilms which is great for shrimplets and newly hatched fry.
  • Outcompetes algae for nutrients and stunts its growth
  • Absorbs all the harmful chemicals from fish waste, such as ammonia and CO²
  • Aerates the tank water and oxygenates it
  • Creates excellent hiding places for fry, fish, and shrimp

Cons

  • Once planted, you risk damaging it if you try to move.
  • Challenging to plant them into the substrate because of their delicate stems
  • It does not fare well in an environment change and might melt in pH > 8

Our Thoughts

Cabomba has stricter light requirements than most of the other floating plants, so they need high light intensity to stay healthy. Stay away from Cabomba if you have fishes like goldfish or cichlids that like to nibble on plants. Other than that, its purple and red varieties will fit excellently in your tank.

What Customers Say

"Plants arrived healthy and on-time. It has been blossoming in my tank ever since."

Anacharis (Egeria Densia)

Anacharis (Egeria Densia) is a well-known plant for its fast growth, adaptability, and versatility. You can get a bunch from your local fish store at a low price.

Key Features

Anacharis is easily identified by its green foliage and varying colors from light to bright green. If you want to propagate your Anacharis, cut off portions of the mature plants and plant them in the substrate. They will grow roots in no time and fully develop into independent plants.

It requires a pH of 6.0-8.0, a temperature range of 59-82oF, and a water quality ranging from soft to moderately hard.

Pros

  • It has fantastic absorption property that makes it great for absorbing chemicals in the water
  • Effective at reducing algae growth in the tank
  • It gives fish and shrimp a place to hide.
  • Great shape and form make it a decorative piece for your tank.
  • Useful foraging place by providing biofilm for newly hatched fry and shrimplets

Cons

  • May wither within days after planting if you don't give it time to adjust
  • Can enter dormant states where it doesn't grow or die
  • The discoloration is a risk under low light conditions.

Our Thoughts

Anacharis is an excellent plant to display in your home freshwater aquarium. It is a common choice among hobbyists because of its versatility, resilience, and fast growth. The main maintenance with this plant is trimming the shoots, so they don't overrun the tank.

What Customers Say

"I bought them two weeks ago, and they're doing great in my tank. My tank is far more beautiful than it was before."

Customer Reviews

Dwarf Water Lettuce

"Looks pretty cool. Planning to get a lot more. After two weeks, some are turning yellow, and some are dead, but overall, the plant is doing well."

Red Root Floater

"You only need to get one of these in your tank. If you're not careful, your tank will be full of them, and you won't be able to control their spread."

Water Wisteria

"Pleasantly surprised with the way it was packaged. It has long full-rooted stems, all-around a foot in length. They're all growing wonderfully in my pool."

Duckweed

"Very happy with my purchase. Even with the slight odor, the package came with a generous amount."

Water Sprite

"The plant was a wonderful addition to my water feature. It came in a sizable amount and had excellent roots; I would be getting more."

Frogbit

"Four months after my purchase, and it has pleasantly taken over my tank. I didn't think it would survive because of its small size, but this is a welcome surprise."

Java Moss

"The product matched the description, and I even found a tiny snail in my pack. However, I noticed a brown coloration but hopefully did great in the tank."

Hornwort

"Even though a lot of the green dropped off and it started turning brown, it has since recovered. It is growing healthy and thriving in my 55-gallon tank."

Cabomba Caroliniana

"Plants arrived healthy and on-time. It has been blossoming in my tank ever since."

Anacharis

"I bought them two weeks ago, and they're doing great in my tank. My tank is far more beautiful than it was before."

FAQs and Additional Tips

Which Other Plants Can I Put in My Tank Apart from Floating Aquarium Plants? 

Anchored plants are the alternative plants you can go for if you don't want floating tanks in your aquarium. 

However, they will need a lot more maintenance as you would have to hold them down, so the water doesn't uproot them.

Where Can I Get These Plants?

You can get these plants from local aquarium shops near you. These shops can also advise on the best for your tank according to your inhabitants and setup.

Please do your research too before going to aquarium shops to get misled as they also, like all humans, can make mistakes. You can also get the plants online from Amazon, eBay, or other sources. Just make sure it is legal for you to have the specific plants in your state.

What to Consider in Selecting Floating Plants?

Here are some factors to consider in selecting plants for your tank.

Aquarium Size

Many of the floating plants grow fast, ensuring you have enough space in your aquarium to handle them. 

If you put fast-growing plants in a small aquarium, they will stress your fishes and put them at the risk of death.

Livestock in Aquarium

Take the fishes and your other tank inhabitants into consideration. 

Floating plants could help breeding fish such as platys as their roots will be a great sheltering spot for them.

Lighting

Many plants do not survive well in low lighting conditions, and floating plants will take out some of the light for the other plants at the bottom of the tank.

Care and Maintenance

Floating plants require varying levels of care and maintenance. Choose one that can effectively fit into your schedule.

Growth Speed

Even though they all grow fast generally, they still have varying growth speed levels. This means they can cover the water surface very fast.

Final Verdict 

In conclusion, any of the floating plants above will be a great choice for your aquarium.

No one is the best in all aspects; it all depends on your tank setup, size, lighting, care, and maintenance. As long as you put all of these factors into consideration, you should have no problems with the listed products.

So, if we were to choose among these ten plants, we would choose the Duckweed. It's a low-maintenance plant with few restrictions on how we can use it in my aquarium.

Water Wisteria and Java Moss would also make excellent plants for any aquarium. Still, Duckweed is a slightly better option, in our opinion.

So, remember to give any plant you choose the required care and attention. Trimming them regularly is also necessary, so they don't overrun the tank and punish the other inhabitants.


About the author 

erictoth595

My name is Eric. I'm the owner of snugaquarium.net and a writer with a passion for aquariums and fish-keeping. I love to watch the three different species of freshwater fish floating around in my homemade aquarium in my spare time.

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