Preparing the fish aquarium is just as much fun as choosing the fish thanks to the creative décor and beautiful plant choices that are available to us.
When it comes to choosing the plants, however, things get a little complicated.
Should you choose live plants or artificial? What are the benefits of each kind and which ones are right for you?
Whether you’re planning a fun tank for the kids at home or a relaxing tank for your business waiting area, our guide below will answer all of your questions and provide you with the info you need in order to choose the best aquarium plants.
Top 6 Aquarium Plants Table
|1. Marineland Bamboo (ML90548)||3 feet||$$||4.7|
|2. Aqueon Fern Aquarium Plant||14 inches||$||4.3|
|3. Jardin Plastic Aquarium Tank Plants Grass Decoration||6.5 inches||$||4.3|
|4. Green Water Plastic Plant Decoration for Aquarium||12 inches||$||4.3|
|5. LUFFY Giant Marimo Moss Balls||1.5 – 2 inches (diameter)||$$||4.2|
|6. 50 Live Aquarium Plants / 12 Different Kinds - 4 Amazon Swords (3 kinds, 1-RED), Java Fern, Ludwigia, Cabomba and much more! Great plant sampler||50 plants (various sizes)||$$$||3.9|
Live Plants or Artificial?
You have two options when it comes to decorating your fish tank: live plants or artificial plants.
There are pros and cons to each kind, so be sure to take them into consideration as you decide which are the best aquarium plants for your tank.
- Live Plants. Live plants create a natural habitat for your fish to live and thrive in. Remember the following if you decide to use live plants in the tank: how big they will grow, the type of water they need, the appropriate number of plants based on the size of the tank.
- Pros. They take in the carbon dioxide in the water and give off oxygen for fish, they reduce the amount of algae in the tank and they are edible to fish.
- Cons. If you don’t want to use artificial light, then you’ll need to place the tank in a well-lit area; in the dark, plants won’t produce as much oxygen which means you might need to compensate with an air stone; the plants will decay and if you don’t clean them in time, they can create excessive amounts of waste in the tank and detached leaves can clog the filter.
The cons seem to outweigh the pros here, but there really is nothing like having a natural plant environment for your fish. If you have the time to care for the plants and you carefully plan your tank’s contents, it is well worth it.
Those of you searching for live plants should check out number 6 in our table above.
- Artificial Plants. Aquariums with artificial plants are much easier to plan and maintain, plus you never have to worry about them dying or growing too large for the tank.
- Pros. Wider variety of plants to choose from, the tank can be placed anywhere, regardless of the amount of natural light, they won’t decay and they don’t carry any parasites or snails and you don’t need to worry about excessive growth.
- Cons. They don’t absorb carbon dioxide or produce oxygen and they won’t act as a supplemental food source for fish.
Quality is key when it comes to choosing an artificial plant. Make sure that there are no wires or jagged edges protruding, as they could be very harmful to your fish.
It’s true: artificial plants just can’t offer your fish the benefits that real plants do, but they are much easier to care for and perfect for those of you who want a low-maintenance tank.
If you prefer artificial plants, then numbers 1-5 in our table are excellent choices.
Top 3 Best Aquarium Plants Reviews
If you’ve already decided to use artificial plants and you have a minimalistic approach when it comes to your fish tank décor, then you’ll love this bamboo plant from Marineland.
The plastic leaves are quite realistic considering that this is an artificial plant and the leaves are gentle for your fish to swim through (no sharp edges).
Thanks to the length, you can either float it on the top of your tank (best for tanks that are at least 24 inches long) or anchored under the rocks, allowing you to place it in a variety of locations that your fish will enjoy.
It’s appropriate for both aquariums and terrariums and a perfect refuge for the shier fish in the tank. If you’re aiming for a more natural look without the real plants, this is an excellent choice!
This natural-looking fern from Aqueon has a weighted base and plastic foliage that has just enough volume to provide a hiding place for fish without taking over the tank.
The plastic isn’t too rigid, great to place at the back of the tank where you’d like to fill in the backdrop.
In terms of color, it provides a more natural looking green. Mix it with plants that have a splash of color to help even out the look of your aquarium or in a tank where you’d like it to look as natural as possible without having to include real plants.
A quality artificial plant at a great price!
This 10-piece plant set allows you the freedom to spread the plants out in a more natural pattern: almost as if they are naturally growing and sending up new shoots in the bottom of your fish tank.
These are short – just 6.5 inches tall – but you can wedge them into rocks or on other objects in the tank to make it look like they’re growing at different heights.
We aren’t too crazy about the green (it’s brighter than it looks in the picture) but if you want to brighten up your tank, then the green does add a bit of flair. Definitely not as natural as some of the other plants we checked out, but still a great option if you need some small filler plants here and there.