Best Plants For Betta Fish – Real Or Artificial?

Oct 13, 2020

Best Plants for Betta Fish

In the wild, bettas often hide beneath the plants and build a bubble nest around them. Now wouldn’t it be nice to give them this ‘privilege’ within your tank’s safety? But plants can make or break an aquarium, really. So, here’s a list of 5 best plants for betta fish, chosen carefully by keeping your betta’s health, personality, and tank requirements in mind. 

My Pick of Top Plants for Betta Fish

Best Live Plants for Betta Fish:

  • Java Moss
  • Anacharis
  • Betta Bulbs
  • Java Fern

Best Artificial Plants for Betta Fish:

  • GloFish Unique Fluorescent Plant for Aquarium Decoration
  • QUMY Large Aquarium Plants
  • Otterly Pets Plastic Plants for Fish Tank
  • Smarlin Aquarium Plants Decoration

My Choice

When choosing live plants, I often go with betta bulbs, also called Marimo moss balls. These plants thrive in the same water parameters as bettas, and my bettas love playing with it. 

On top of that, self-sufficient betta bulbs don’t require any special care, and thus, fit perfect into my time-constraint lifestyle.

As for the artificial plant, I like the illusion of depth Smarlin Aquarium Plants provides. It’s good to go in both salt and freshwater tanks and has a soft texture that won’t hurt my betta. The 18-month warranty won’t hurt too! 

Now let’s move on to the detailed reviews of the best plants for the betta fish. All the plants mentioned in our list below are very much loved by betta owners.

Live Plants for Betta Fish

Java Moss

Java Moss is one of the few plants that can not only survive but thrive in any condition. 

This plant doesn’t even need to have its root buried to grow.

It can only latch onto the decorations, driftwoods, or stones. That’s why Java Moss is a great plant choice for bettas. 

Is it suited for beginners?

Yes. Java Moss is a low-maintenance plant, making it the right choice for ones that have just started to dabble in this hobby. 

As long as you keep the lighting low, there’s not much to worry about. 

How much lighting does it need?

Java Moss flourishes in low to medium light. That way, the plants will be darker and lankier. It’s not that high-level light is too detrimental to this plant, but the plant will become more compact. 

How do I plant it?

You don’t need to plant Java Moss. You can anchor it to anything on the tank and let it latch on. 

Temperature and pH Level

The best temperature for your Java Moss to bloom is between 70-75°F. Still, most java moss can survive at temperature up to 86°F.

  • PH level: 5-8, which is a vast range. 
  • Fertilization: Not required 

Anacharis

Anacharis plants are very easy to care for as they can survive a wide range of conditions and propagate super quickly. 

To begin with, anacharis exhibit very unique behavior. At daytime, this plant will flow to the surface to absorb the sun’s light and heat. And at night, it will softly float down to rest for the next day. 

Is It Suited for Beginners? 

Absolutely. Anacharis isn’t demanding to start with. It can survive any condition, proliferate quickly, doesn’t easily die.

Moreover, it supplies a fair amount of oxygen that’s important to remove the ammonia that’s toxic to fish. 

How Much Lighting Does It Need?

Anacharis loves light. That’s why it flourishes the best when floating at the top. But brighter light can wither the plant and promote algae’s growth. So, make sure the tank is moderately lit. 

How Do I Plant Best Plants for Betta Fish?

When planting anacharis, each stem has to be buried about 2 inches deep to have plenty of space to grow. The stems should also be at least an inch far from each other. 

Temperature and pH Level

The best temperature for anacharis is anywhere between 70-78°F. But it can easily sustain in temperatures between 60-82°F. Hence, you don’t have to worry about it messing with your betta’s ideal temperature. 

  • PH Level: 6-7.5
  • Fertilization: Not required but will thrive when a little is added

Betta Bulbs

You can tell by the name that betta bulbs will make great plants for your betta, after whom the plant was named. 

Generally, betta bulbs refer to a mix of different Aponogeton bulbs native to Asia, Africa, and Australasia. Also known as Marimo moss balls, these are some of the most hassle-free live plants that will naturally improve your betta’s wellbeing. 

Is It Suited for Beginners?

Technically, betta bulbs are algae. So, they’re pretty much self-sufficient. They can sustain without any special care in a wide variety of environments for many years. Plus, they’re compatible with most plant kinds—that’s one less thing to worry about.

How Much Lighting Does It Need?

Here, the lighting needs are subjective to the tank’s size. If it’s big, the lights need to be bright, causing the betta bulbs to grow fast. You can choose moderate lighting so that the bulbs don’t grow too quickly, and you don’t maintain them too often. 

How Do I Plant It?

To plant the betta bulbs, you have to bury the root 2 inches beneath the substrate’s surface. It helps to anchor the root in place and spread out. 

Temperature and pH Level

Betta bulbs thrive at a temperature between 72-82°F.

  • Ph Level: 6.5-7.5
  • Fertilizer: If you’re adding gravel as a substrate, you’ll have to fertilize the plant. For that, simply place the fertilizer tablet neat the root, and it will feed you betta bulbs for several months. 

Java Fern 

A Southeast Asian native, Java Fern is a versatile plant grown both inside and outside the water. 

Java Fern’s slow growth, unusual leaf structure, and propagation method have made it an all-time favorite amongst fish keepers. If you want to grow some more, you can split the rhizome and plant it. 

Is It Suited for Beginners? 

Absolutely, yes. As long as you keep the lighting low, they won’t grow too big or wide. However, if allowed to grow to its full potential, java ferns can grow up to 13 inches high and 6-8 wide. 

How Much Lighting Does it Need?

When it comes to growing Java Fern, almost any light condition will do. However, you still wouldn’t want to expose it to bright lights. That will only make the plant grow bigger and paler. 

How Do I Plant It?

Ensure that you don’t bury the plant as it will decay fast if the rhizome is covered. Instead, you can tie it to the decorations. After some time, the roots will latch on, and you don’t have to tie them anymore. 

Temperature and pH Level

Java ferns need temperature anywhere between 68-82°F.

  • PH Level: 6-7
  • Fertilization: Not required but will thrive when a little is added

Artificial Plants for Betta Fish

GloFish Unique Fluorescent Plant for Aquarium Decoration

GloFish has a reputation for making durable and quality products for aquariums, and GloFish Unique Fluorescent Plant is a good testimonial. 

Available in four unique colors—two shades of green, pink, and red—these plants can create a unique seafloor experience and elevate the look of your tank. That being said, the lights aren’t too bright, which is a good thing for diurnal bettas. 

Its tall and dense leaves provide a nice hideout for your bettas, while the illuminating feature will be a good source of entertainment. 

Unlike most artificial plants that come with a plastic base, this one has a weighted ceramic bottom. As a result, it’s easier to be buried and stay put. 

The leaves are soft enough for your betta to lounge on and relax. 

Suppose you’re looking for an inexpensive way to add a pop of color to your betta tank and gift fish something they like. In that case, the GloFish Unique Fluorescent Plant can be a great choice. 

We’d recommend you to go with a medium or large size if you’re looking to achieve a fuller look. 

QUMY Large Aquarium Plants 

The non-toxic, plastic plants from QUMY look very lifelike and will surely revamp your betta fish tank’s appearance by several folds.

Available in four stunning colors—red, purple, blue, and green—they add a bold splash of color to the tank. Its ceramic base will make sure that the plant stays put in its place and doesn’t float away.

Undoubtedly, your betta will love the atmosphere these lanky plants provide as they swim and hide through the leaves.

As both plant and ceramic bases are non-toxic, they won’t mess with the tank’s pH level.

These plants don’t fray like silk plants, and they don’t come apart either. Moreover, the leaves are big enough, and the overall plant is dense sufficient for your bettas to hide in without damaging their fins.

However, the sizing is on the larger side. It can take up a good amount of space in a small aquarium. So, be mindful of your tank’s and the plant’s size.

Otterly Pets Plastic Plants for Fish Tank

The lifelike plastic plants from Ottery Pets come in a set of 8 vivid and complementary colors.

These plants are made with inert non-metallic plastic material. Likewise, the base is ceramic. So, they won’t mess with your tank’s pH level or release harmful toxins.

The weighted pedestals prevent the plants from floating around the tank. On top of that, the plant body is detachable from the pedestal, making the cleaning process simpler.

Similarly, the edges are not sharp and stiff. You don’t have to worry about your betta being injured or its fins being cut.

With a lifetime guarantee by Otterly Pets, you can also be relieved about the product’s quality.

Available in vibrant shades of blue, green, and pink, these products can add life to your aquarium and amuse your betta for a long time.

As they are available in sizes ranging from 4 to 12 inches, they are well-suited for 20 gallons or bigger tanks.

Suitable to be used in both freshwater and saltwater tanks, Smarlin’s aquarium plants are made with non-toxic and soft plastic, making these perfect additions to your betta’s tank.

For starters, the leaves are of different sizes and heights. It doesn’t only give an impression of depth but provide a comfortable and more natural setting for your bettas. Your bettas can safely sleep beneath them or on top of them. The leaves also sway very naturally in the water, which gives them a realistic vibe.

The sand base effectively holds the plant in its place and prevents it from floating around.

There’s a 45-day money-back guarantee and 18-month warranty on the plants. Hence, you can be reassured about the quality of this product.

Smarlin Aquarium Plants Decoration

Suitable to be used in both freshwater and saltwater tanks, Smarlin’s aquarium plants are made with non-toxic and soft plastic, making them great additions to your betta’s tank. 

For starters, the leaves are of different sizes and heights. It doesn’t only give an impression of depth but provide a comfortable and more natural setting for your bettas. Your bettas can safely sleep beneath them or on top of them. The leaves also sway very naturally in the water, which gives them a realistic vibe. 

The sand base effectively holds the plant in its place and prevents it from floating around. 

There’s a 45-day money-back guarantee and 18-month warranty on the plants. Hence, you can be reassured about the quality of this product. 

Before you go, here are some important pieces of information on keeping plants for betta fish. 

Do Bettas Like Plants?

Yes, bettas like, in fact, love, plants! Here are a few reasons why:

Plants give your tank a more natural setting 

Bettas are native to Asia and live in the shallow water of ponds, streams, and marshes. So, in nature, a betta’s habitat often has plants on the surface and in water. The plants give shade from the sun’s heat. 

Hence, plants’ addition will help create a natural setting for your betta, which will help them feel more relaxed. 

Plants help Bettas sleep through the Night

Bettas are diurnal creatures, which means that they are active in the daytime and sleep throughout the night. 

As diurnals, bettas need darkness for a good night’s sleep. Plants will not only provide a good hideout for sleeping but also effectively block out the external light coming from your room or the aquarium’s lighting system. 

Plants are the perfect hideout space for your Betta

Bettas aren’t the most social fish out there. They can be territorial and aggressive. After all, they aren’t named Siamese fighting fish for nothing. 

If your betta is sharing the tank with other fish, plants can be an excellent hideout place for this aloof pet. What you can do is densely plant one side of the tank to make it dense and dark enough for your betta to charge its batteries. 

Plants will entertain and amuse your Betta

The more engaging your tank is, the more entertained your betta will be. And what better way to spice up things than add some greens?

The swimming experience will be more joyful for your betta as it wades through different plants in the tank. Likewise, there’ll be more options to explore and keep your betta entertained. 

Should I Use Live or Fake Plants for My Betta’s Tank?

Live plants help mimic the natural scenery in a much more realistic fashion than fake ones. On the other hand, fake plants are more comfortable to look after. 

However, both kinds come with their own sets of banes and boons. Let’s find out. 

Advantages of Live Plants for Betta Fish Tank

  1. At daytime, plants absorb more co2 and produce oxygen. The bacteria that break down ammonia into nitrate requires oxygen. The higher the oxygen percentage in the tank, the faster and more efficient the process will be. 
  2. Live plants will make bettas feel more at home than fake plans ever can, as you’ll be able to successfully recreate the natural habitat.
  3. Algae thrive when there’s too much nitrate in the tank. When plants use up the nitrate, there will be less of it left for algae to live off. 

Disadvantages of Live Plants for Betta Fish Tank

  1. Live plants are continually growing, and you’ll constantly have to trim them down. They can even hinder your betta’s ability to swim freely. Thus, you’ll always have to be mindful. 
  2. Live plants will add more decaying matter into the tank, and they will eventually perish after some time. If you don’t follow the cleaning regime regularly, bacteria will flourish in the tank. 

You can counter it by regularly vacuuming the gravel and removing weary plants. 

  1. Since plants use up a lot more oxygen at night, having too many live plants can reduce the water’s oxygen level. 

You can solve this problem by adding air stones into the tank at night.

Advantages of Fake Plants for Betta Fish Tank

  1. The most significant benefit of using fake plants is that they require little to no maintenance at all. You don’t have to worry about things like trimming, lighting, bacteria, and so on. 
  2. Fake plants won’t fall tatter and decay after a few months. It’ll be a long, long time before you’ll have to replace them. 
  3. Fake plants are very easy to clean. If there’s algae or grime buildup, you can simply take out the plant, scrub them, and put them back. 

Disadvantages of Fake Plants for Betta Fish Tank

  1. Fake plants with sharp edges and rough texture can mess with your betta’s fins and even cause injuries. 
  2. With fake plants, it’s hard to achieve the natural look for aquariums that real plants quickly offer. 
  3. Fake plants won’t regulate oxygen and co2 levels like real plants do. You’ll have to make sure that the filter generates enough surface on the current or uses an air bubbler. 

Conclusion

Your betta was probably born in a commercial setting and has never been to a real water body. 

But that doesn’t mean it should be deprived of the experiences I would have been a part of in a natural setting. The least we can do is try, right? 

Especially so when you can choose from an array of best plants for betta fish.

rohit gurung author at urbanfishkeeping

About Rohit Gurung

My never-ending love and fascination with Aquascaping started when I received a red-eared turtle for my 10th birthday.

Apart from researching and writing, I spend hours gazing at my 3 turtles. And yeah, I bask alongside them too.