Floating plants for freshwater aquariums are a stunning addition to include in any aquarium. These plants are not attached to the base of the tank and exist in various shapes and sizes from just over 10 inches in length.
Some of these floating aquarium plants have roots that hang afloat in the tank water from live plants floating above them. If you own an aquarium, chances are there are plants in it.
In this article, we’ve reviewed the 10 best floating plants we think we need to talk about because we consider them the best for your aquarium. But first, let’s check out the benefits of floating aquatic plants.
Benefits of floating plants in aquariums
With such a large and varied number of species of floating aquarium plants, you can surely find the one that meets the requirements of yours. However, you may be wondering: why would you need floating aquatic plants? Well, today we are going to introduce you to some of the benefits of putting these plants in your aquarium.
1 – Shading
Providing perfect shading for other aquarium plants and also covering your betta from lights entering the aquarium is an essential feature. Shading for aquarium fish will truly reveal their beauty and different colors.
Keep in mind, if you decide to cover the entire surface of your aquarium, it may decrease the rate at which your other plants grow, so it’s wise not to overdo it.
2 – Aeration
Floating aquatic plants are a good way to add oxygen to your aquarium. These plants act as an air circulation system, just like the vegetation outside the aquariums.
This provides additional oxygen to the tank water, which will be of great benefit to your fish in the long run. An adequate amount of oxygen helps protect the reservoir from toxins.
Air circulation in a fish tank is generally controlled by live plants, just like in nature. Some of the floating aquatic plants regulate O2 so that the fish and other inhabitants of your aquarium can breathe.
3 – Prevention, Protection, and Filtering
Floating plants for freshwater aquariums can serve as filters, useful for evacuating fish waste in the tank. The bacterium that grows on the plant is used as a filter element and can handle chemical and biological filtration quite well.
Limiting the chemicals that harm fish can be extremely taxing for floating plants, so it’s always ideal, but not mandatory, to have a reinforcement filter system nearby.
Floating plants will be the perfect protection for your aquarium fish, safeguarding them from disease and providing a place for fish to play or hide.
4 – Wild Look
Floating plants will give your aquarium that wild look, with the roots hanging freely. Creating a natural look will not only enhance the beauty of the tank, it will also allow your fish to feel comfortable.
These floating aquarium plants are exceptionally intriguing and will add some amazing style features to your aquarium. Including these plants creates an incredibly natural look and feel for your aquarium.
Choosing plants with hanging roots will surely give your aquarium a more natural feel. There is a huge range of floating plants, and you need to choose them based on the feel and look of your aquatic habitat. You will need to choose plants that fit your tank without compromising other components.
5 – Alternative Food
It’s highly impossible for fish to starve or be exposed to infections due to irregular feeding in a planted aquarium. Typically, the only source of food would be what you provide them.
However, with floating plants, your fish will have one more thing to munch on or eat, rich in nutrients and part of a great diet. The best so that every fish is healthy, whether small or large!
The 10 Best Floating Aquarium Plants for Beginners
Although many aquarium plants need to be grounded in the substrate in order for them to grow, this is not true when it comes to floating aquatic plants. These plants do not collect nutrients from the substrate using their roots, but they draw them from the water, without the need to be planted.
Some of the best floating plants for freshwater aquariums are discussed below:
1 – Lemna minor
You may probably know the lemna plant as the small floating aquatic plant that can grow and cover an entire lake in just a few weeks. However, it can also be used in aquariums; just don’t approach it if you’re not sure you need it, as it’s hard to dispose of!
You can use the lemna plant to cover fish in the upper water layer, but as mentioned earlier, it’s also a good choice if you plan to use the plants as food for your betta. The lemna plant requires little or no care and will be suitable in almost any type of aquarium.
2 – Limnobium laevigatum
In case you are looking for a floating aquatic plant with beautiful long roots and large rosettes, then you have come to the right place! Limnobium laevigatum is fairly easy to grow and can withstand a wide range of temperatures, providing your betta with ample coverage.
It blocks out a considerable amount of light, but in opaque water biotopes, it’s usually maintained without any problem, as other plants and even fish prefer more covered environments.
In case you are having trouble with the roots getting stuck in the filter, you can try tying the Limnobium laevigatum to one side of the aquarium. This can be done by attaching fishing line to the suction containers, and placing the aquarium plants in this “allotted” space; after that, they will not be able to float in the direction of the filter.
3 – Water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes)
Similar to Limnobium laevigatum, aquatic lettuce has long, attractive roots.
The rosettes of the plant are on the larger side, which makes the plant less suitable for smaller aquarium setups; in a larger tank, however, it can be extremely decorative. Just remember that it grows very quickly, obstructing a significant amount of light.
In case you don’t want your other aquarium plants to be overwhelmed for nutrient uptake and lighting, or worry about having problems with roots penetrating the filter, use the fishing line strategy to keep it tied to one side. or a corner of the aquarium.
Always remove dead or yellowing leaves and excess growths to make your water lettuce green and healthy.
4 – Salvinia Minima
Minimal Salvinia is another nice choice to consider for your aquarium. These plants are really strong and can handle a wide range of water conditions, but you will need to use a special aquarium light if you want them to grow inside.
These plants make a good cover for the betta that doesn’t like sunlight very much. In addition, they are an excellent food source for both omnivores and herbivores. Aquatic plants usually feed on the supplements in the tank water, thus preventing algae growth. Obviously, one of the main advantages of these is that they do not require any substrate.
5 – Common Salvinia
The common Salvinia is a small plant that grows in clusters and floats on the surface of the water. It grows well in still waters that are not disturbed by the waves.
It’s not recommended to include them in your aquarium in case you have a tight filter. The plant can quickly and easily cover the surface of your aquarium in no time.
Constant care is required so that it does not overgrow and does not cover too much light for the bottom plants. The normal Salvinia plant is part of the fern group and does not produce flowers.
6 – Ceratofillo (Ceratophyllum demersum)
This floating species is one of the hardiest aquarium plants of all. It will thrive well in environments that could destroy weaker plants such as algae and is a really tempting choice for most aquariums.
Ceratophyllum can be grounded in the substrate, but it can also be left suspended over water. This aquarium plant has one major drawback. On some occasions, it releases needles which can slightly damage the aquarium.
Likewise, it becomes a little less attractive in a high-light environment, as it becomes stringy and elongated.
7 – Vesicularia Dubyana (Singapore moss)
This floating plant is among the most popular for aquariums. It grows very fast, is difficult to kill, and has a fairly low maintenance requirement. If you attach it to a large stone on the bottom, it will extend over the entire surface of the tank.
Due to the plant’s known floating nature, we suggest tying it to something that partially blocks it, so that it doesn’t roam too freely around your aquarium.
It has a low to mat growth pattern and is almost ” fluffy “. This plant resists between 22 and 32 degrees, but it has been found that the plant develops more rapidly around 22/23 degrees. Likewise, it grows best in any lighting conditions, making it easy to house in your aquarium.
However, its growth was estimated to be the fastest in medium to high lighting environments. It can be used as a landscaping or substrate cover, even protection, bottom lining, and breeding specific types of fish.