Best Freshwater Aquarium Plants

If you’ve had an aquarium for a while or even if you’re new to the whole fishkeeping experience, then you are most likely aware of the beneficial effects that plants can have on the overall environment of your fish tank. More specifically, if you don’t have any plants in your aquarium, then you may notice that your tank is empty and boring. On the other hand, if you have plants residing in your tank, whether they’re real or fake, they have the ability to make your aquarium look more natural, beautiful, and they can even make your fish seem happier and healthier.

Since having aquarium plants in your freshwater aquarium give your fish the ability to benefit from a variety of other effects, you should consider placing plants in your aquarium. But it can be difficult to choose what kind of plants to put in there as well as how many and how to care for them. Given that, you may find this informational guide helpful in your buying experience, since I’ve compiled together a few products that I highly recommend.

Different Types of Aquarium Plants

Foreground plants

Foreground plants are classified as plants that you place in the front-portion of the tank. Given their placement, these plants are usually shorter and typically grow slowly. This gives the fish and other organisms in your freshwater tank the ability to swim around effectively without getting caught up in plants.

Mid-ground plants

These types of plants are typically taller than the foreground plants, and they’re placed behind them. Not only that, but these types of plants can also go around the sides of the tank. This can help your fish feel more at home in the tank, since the mid-ground plants prevent them from having to see the glass sides of the tank. Given their ability to fit around the sides and behind the foreground plants, they can add more natural aesthetics to the tank without taking away any swimming space from your fish.

best aquarium plants

Background plants

Unlike mid-ground or foreground plants, background plants are classified as ones that typically get placed in the back of the aquarium. They’re responsible for creating a backdrop for the aquarium, so they help to make the tank look more natural. Not only that, but they’re also beneficial for their ability to hide any of the tank equipment that is usually installed in the back-potion of the aquarium (1).

Advantages of Aquarium Plants

Improve chemical filtration with aquarium plants

Having plants in your aquarium can improve the quality of the chemical filtration in the water, since they can remove waste that’s excreted by the fish. Not only that, but plants also have the ability to remove any other decaying matter in the water, so the tank’s water quality will remain healthy.

Plants in general contribute to the carbon cycle, can they have the capability to absorb any nitrates that are in the water. Even though they can offer additional chemical interaction for your tank, they’re not able to provide sufficient enough filtering in order to completely replace a filter. Given that, you should still have the tank equipped with a filter that offers the necessary chemical filtration.

Reduce algae

By having plenty of plants in your fish tank, you will be able to significantly reduce the amount of algae that will grow in your tank. This is because the plants essentially use up the nitrates, potassium and trace elements that other algae need in order to grow. So by having a large amount of plants in your aquarium, algae have limited resources needed in order to grow effectively.

Reconstruct the natural environment

Freshwater fish are used to the natural habitat of rivers, streams, and lakes. Given that, placing them in an enclosed fish tank isn’t ideal for their home. That’s why plants are highly recommended for you to install in your tank. They can increase the livelihood of your fish by surrounding them with plants that remind them of home.

Act as a sanctuary

If you have a fish tank that houses organisms that are territorial or aggressive in any way, then having plants can benefit all of the fish involved. Plants give the fish and other organisms a place to hide and recuperate if another aggressive fish attacks them. Not only that, but your fish may even enjoy sleeping in these certain areas.

Increase oxygen levels

Since plants engage in photosynthesis and release oxygen, they’re able to provide additional oxygen for your fish to breathe effectively. Not only that, but plants also consume the carbon dioxide that the fish release in the water (2).

Check out this video on freshwater aquarium plants:

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing Freshwater Aquarium Plants

Lighting source

It’s important for you to consider what type of lighting that you have in your aquarium, since some lights don’t offer photosynthetic light. Your plants require sunlight in order to grow properly, so you’ll have to purchase lighting that offers the right kind of sunlight for the plants that you have in your aquarium.

Aquarium size

You should also consider what size aquarium you have because that will help you figure out how many plants you’ll be able to fit in the tank. For instance, if you have a smaller aquarium, you will not only need to find plants that are smaller, but you’ll also need to purchase lesser plants. You may also want to consider what size your aquarium is. You can utilize the shape of the tank by purchasing plants that fit in all of the empty spaces.

Rate of growth

It’s important to consider how fast your plants will grow, since you don’t want to buy plants that will grow quickly and require you to trim them every week. This is especially important to consider when you’re purchasing foreground plants, since they typically rest on the ground and are meant to take up little space. Given that, you should purchase plants for your aquarium that grow slowly while still looking natural and complementing the appearance of your aquarium.

Your purpose for wanting them

There is a diverse market for aquarium plants, so you have a large amount to choose from. Given that, each type of aquarium plant is able to offer different benefits and features. Because of that, you should consider why you want aquarium plants in the first place, and then you can choose ones that best fit your specific needs.

Type of fish that you have

You may find it helpful to think about what kind of fish that you already have in your tank before placing any plants in there. Some fish don’t like certain types of plants and others prefer certain kinds. Because of that, you may find it beneficial to purchase plants that work well with the fish that you have in your tank.

Best Freshwater Aquarium Plants Reviews


1. Mainam Brazillian Micro Sword Live Aquarium Freshwater Plants


You should check out these plants because they come in a bundle, and they’re able to act as either mid-ground or background plants. Not only that, but you can also trim these plants in order to make foreground plants. These plants are slow-growth plants, and they’re able to be taken care of in high to moderate lighting conditions.

Furthermore, these plants can also be returned and replaced within three days if you receive them in the mail and they’re dead.


  • Affordable
  • Can act as either a foreground, mid-ground, or background plant
  • Slow-growth


  • Difficult for fish to travel through when they’re grown in thick patches

2. Greenpro Dwarf Baby Tears Hemainthus Callitrichoides Live Plants


These are the best freshwater aquarium plants because they act as a great foreground plant. These plants are able to act as a carpet on the floor of the aquarium, since they are short and don’t get in the way of the fish while they’re swimming.

In addition to that, this plants is recommended for you because it ensures safety for your aquarium, since it was grown using the latest technology and was carefully inspected before being shipped out to you.


  • Acts as a carpet plant
  • USDA approved
  • Grown using the latest technology and facility on the market


  • Difficult to place in your fish tank

3. G’z 6 Water Wisteria Live Aquarium Plants


This aquarium plant is highly recommended for you because it comes in one bunch of six stems for you to place in your aquarium. They can grow between three to five inches in height, so they would effectively work as either a foreground or a mid-ground plant source.

Moreover, this plant is recommended for you because it requires low to medium light, so you don’t have strict water regulations for taking care of this plant. Once you place this plant system in your fish tank, the roots will typically develop within the next one to two weeks.


  • Acts as a foreground plant
  • Requires low to medium lighting
  • Available in a bundle


  • Substrate is required

4. Mainam Amazon Sword Plant Echinodorus Bleheri Tall Live Aquarium Plants


These plants are recommended for you because they come in a bundle and they’re extremely easy to grow. These plants require low to moderate lighting conditions, and they are able to grow at slow rates. Given that as well as their height, these plants are great for acting as either mid-ground to background plants.

Additionally, you have the option to return the plants to Mainam on Amazon if you’ve received dead plants in the mail, and you’ll receive new ones at no additional cost.


  • Positive customer service
  • Slow growth
  • Requires little light to grow


  • Most expensive plant on this list

5. Mainam Anubias Barteri Colin Leaves Live Aquarium Plants


You’re advised to check out these plants because they have large leaves that are able to hide fish when they want. Not only that, but these leaves are large enough to block out the light from the lighting source in the tank, which is beneficial for your fish to utilize when they’re sleeping.

Furthermore, these plants are extremely easy to grow, since they require little to moderate lighting conditions. Additionally, they grow slowly and they can act as either mid-ground or background plants.


  • Require little maintenance
  • Grow slowly
  • Act as a sleeping or hiding place for your fish


  • More expensive than some of the other plants on the list


Overall, each of these aquarium plants have the ability to offer you a wide range of benefits, including the ability to make your aquarium look natural, beautiful, and just Ike your fish’s home environment. Not only that, but each of these aquarium plants is able to effectively cover the empty spaces of your fish tank without getting in the way of your fish swimming around. In addition to these benefits, all of these plants can provide additional chemical filtration for your tank, which ensures that the water in your tank is clean at all times.

Given these benefits, you should consider checking out one of the aquarium plants on this list. But they all offer beneficial features, so it can be difficult to decide on the best freshwater aquarium plants for you. Because of that, you’re most recommended to purchase product #3: G’z 6 Water Wisteria Live Aquarium Plant. This plant is able to offer the best benefits while also being available at an affordable price.

More specifically, this plant comes in one bunch of six stems and they grow three to five inches in height. They also require little maintenance and can withstand lighting conditions that are low to moderate. Given these benefits, you should purchase this G’z 6 Water Wisteria Live Aquarium Plant on the market.

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