Big Aquarium with Plants

12 Best Floating Aquarium Plants (2020 Buyer’s Guide)

When creating the perfect aquarium, it’s likely that you’ll want to include some plants in your setup. Not only can aquatic plants make your tank more aesthetically pleasing, but they can also keep your fish happy and healthy.

Floating aquarium plants are one of the most popular kinds of aquatic plants that you should consider for your tank.

After considering all the options our top picks were…

Results Summary

If you want to include floating plants in your aquarium, there are a lot of options to choose from. However, certain plants are better for different fish keepers based on their needs.

Best All-Rounder

Red Root floater

This is another small plant that floats at the surface. It comes with 6 plants that have 5-10 leaves on them, often with little white flowers. As the name implies, they grow long red roots beneath them that get longer over time.

Red Root floater

The best floating plant overall is the red root floater because it provides a unique, quality plant that grows quickly for a reasonable price.

Best on a Budget

Duckweed

Duckweed is a great choice for fish keepers that want to use it as a snack for their fish because it’s high in protein. These plants have moderate lighting requirements and they are easy to care for.

Duckweed

Duckweed is the best floating plant on a budget because it’s the cheapest option and it can multiply quickly.

Editor’s Choice

Water Wisteria

They can either float or be placed in the bottom of the tank. They grow quickly within about 1 or 2 weeks, almost doubling in size. They will also form roots whether they’re planted or free floating.

Water Wisteria

The editor’s choice is the Water Wisteria because it stands out from the other floating plants, but it’s still a healthy and natural look for your tank.

What to Know About Floating Plants

Floating aquarium plants are unique from other aquatic plants because they don’t need to be planted at the bottom of the tank. Instead, they usually hover toward the surface and their roots often dangle below them. They can provide unique decorations and hiding places for your fish.

Goofy Fish Near Red and Green Plant
Goofy Fish Near Red and Green Plant

Benefits of Floating Aquarium Plants

Not only are floating plants interesting to look at, but they provide lots of benefits for your aquarium as a whole.

Shade

Floating plants provide the perfect amount of shade for aquatic life. They can help slightly cover your other aquatic plants and provide an area for fish to hide in. As long as the floating plants don’t cover the entire surface of the tank, there will be a good balance between light and shade for the other living things in your aquarium.

Aeration

Having plants in your aquarium can also provide aeration for your tank. They can produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide to help your fish breathe.

Oftentimes, having plants in your aquarium is the key to keeping your fish healthy…

Oftentimes, having plants in your aquarium is the key to keeping your fish healthy. Floating plants are a good choice for this because they’re easy to maintain.

Filtration

Floating plants can also provide filtration for your aquarium. They use the nutrients in the water to act as a natural filtration system for your aquarium. However, they usually still need the help of a man-made filter to keep the tank as healthy as possible. Live plants in your aquarium can also manage algae growth in your aquarium.

Alternative Food

Some floating plants can even work as a food source for your fish. By eating the plants now and then along with their normal food, your fish will get all the nutrients they truly need. Floating plants are often healthy and high in protein for your fish.

Freshwater Fish Tank
Freshwater Fish Tank

Caring for Floating Aquarium Plants

Plants are living things just like your fish, so they must be properly cared for. Luckily, floating plants are low maintenance and easy to grow.

Growth

Floating aquarium plants will actually grow much faster than plants rooted at the bottom of the tank. This is because they have access to the atmosphere both above and below the water and they are closer to the light. So, they will grow at a faster rate than a plant that is fully submerged. Some floating plants will even multiply over time.

Living with Other Plants

Since floating plants provide more shade for your tank, this could be an issue for other plants. If you want to also keep plants on the bottom of your tank, make sure they’re plants that don’t need a ton of sunlight because the floating plants could block the light as they grow.

Maintenance

When it comes to growing your floating plants, not a lot of maintenance is required. They don’t typically have any special requirements. If they have a good amount of light and water, then that’s all they really need to grow. However, some floating plants will be healthier in certain temperatures or with special aquarium lights.

When it comes to growing your floating plants, not a lot of maintenance is required…

In fact, most floating plants reproduce so fast that the main maintenance you’ll need to deal with is removing some of the plants. You don’t want the plants to cover the whole surface, so you’ll want to remove some of the plants now and then to keep a good environment for your tank. If the floating plants cover the entire water surface, there won’t be any light for your fish and other plants.

Product Reviews

There is a wide variety of floating aquarium plants out there, each with their own appearances and requirements. Many of these plants can simply be purchased online, ready to grow as soon as you receive them.

Best on a Budget

Duckweed

Duckweed is a great choice for fish keepers that want to use it as a snack for their fish because it’s high in protein. These plants have moderate lighting requirements and they are easy to care for.

Duckweed

Duckweed is one of the most popular floating plants out there and it can be found worldwide. This product comes with 200 live duckweed plants, sealed in two plastic containers. You can also purchase packages of 500 and 1,000 duckweed plants if you want a larger quantity. They come with simple instructions on how to maintain the duckweed.

These plants have moderate lighting requirements and they are easy to care for…

Duckweed is a great choice for fish keepers that want to use it as a snack for their fish because it’s high in protein. These plants have moderate lighting requirements and they are easy to care for. The plants are supposed to arrive completely healthy and ready for your tank, however, there is a chance that the plants won’t be alive after shipping, so be sure to inspect your product carefully. 

NOTE

If the duckweed is mushy, if it has a foul smell, or if the leaves are small and shriveled, then that’s a sign that they’re unhealthy. If this happens, you should contact the company for a replacement because it’s unlikely that the plants will become healthy after that.

Pros

  • It’s easy to grow.
  • It comes with a large number of plants.
  • It’s reasonably priced.
  • It multiplies quickly.
  • It comes with easy instructions.

Cons

  • It could possibly arrive dead.
  • The packaging it comes in is not always consistent.

Amazon Frogbit

These plants need a more specific temperature, so they can only be shipped to you as long as the weather isn’t too hot or too cold. It’s also important to make sure that the top of these plants rest above the surface

Amazon Frogbit

This product comes with 12 plants that are a little bit larger than duckweed. These plants need a more specific temperature, so they can only be shipped to you as long as the weather isn’t too hot or too cold. It’s also important to make sure that the top of these plants rest above the surface because they could mold or die if they get too wet.

They’re low maintenance, so just wash them off and place them in your tank…


Each individual plant has about 3 leaves with small roots attached to them. They’re low maintenance, so just wash them off and place them in your tank. However, it’s possible for the plants to arrive unhealthy, but if you contact the company, they’re willing to send a free replacement.

TIP

If you receive a bunch of tiny, broken apart leaves or if they’re soggy and brown, then those are signs that the plants are dead. 

Pros

  • It’s low maintenance.
  • It’s great at keeping your tank healthy.

Cons

  • It could arrive dead, but the company will send a free replacement.
  • It’s a bit more expensive.

Water Spangles

These little plants come with 4 to 6 leaves each and they grow at an extremely fast rate with long, healthy roots. They can grow well with a special aquarium light or with normal lighting.

Water Spangles

This is another set of 12 plants that can only be shipped in proper weather conditions. These little plants come with 4 to 6 leaves each and they grow at an extremely fast rate with long, healthy roots. They can grow well with a special aquarium light or with normal lighting. 

They can grow well with a special aquarium light or with normal lighting… 

The main issue with this plant is that it’s possible for pests to hide among the leaves. So, snails could end up in your aquarium as a result. For the most part, they usually arrive healthy, so make sure to inspect it for snails before putting it in your aquarium. 

Pros

  • It grows very quickly.
  • It ends up having long, healthy roots.
  • It’s great at keeping your aquarium clean.
  • It’s easy to care for.

Cons

  • It could have snails in it.
  • It’s possible for it to arrive dead.

Hornwort

If they arrive healthy and pest-free, they will grow quickly in your tank with little maintenance. It doesn’t look appealing when it’s out of the water, but when you allow it some time to grow, it will become a beautiful bright green plant.

Hornwort

These long, feathery plants can either free-float in your tank or be tied to the bottom. They don’t root, so they absorb nutrients through their stem. They arrive as a bunch of about 6 separate plants. Unlike plants that float on the surface, this plant should be completely submerged in the water to grow properly.

TIP

It’s common for this particular plant to have snails with it. So, inspect your plants carefully.

However, if they arrive healthy and pest-free, they will grow quickly in your tank with little maintenance. It doesn’t look appealing when it’s out of the water, but when you allow it some time to grow, it will become a beautiful bright green plant.

Pros

  • It can help keep the tank clean.
  • You can choose if you want them to float or rest at the bottom.
  • It’s a larger floating plant option.

Cons

  • You need to be careful of potential pests.
  • It probably won’t look as expected until you place it in water.
  • It’s a bit pricey for the amount of plants you get.

Editor’s Choice

Water Wisteria

They can either float or be placed in the bottom of the tank. They grow quickly within about 1 or 2 weeks, almost doubling in size. They will also form roots whether they’re planted or free floating.

Water Wisteria

This is another larger floating plant that comes with a unique leaf shape. They arrive in bunches of 6 plants, all of which are 3 to 5 inches tall. They can either float or be placed in the bottom of the tank.

They grow quickly within about 1 or 2 weeks, almost doubling in size. They will also form roots whether they’re planted or free floating.

They arrive healthy and free of pests almost every time, but the seller will resend if any issues arise. They’re a great plant to add a unique look to your tank and to keep it healthy.

TIP

A special aquatic plant light can help the plants grow properly, but it’s not necessary.

Pros

  • It almost always arrives healthy and pest-free.
  • It grows quickly.
  • It has a unique appearance.
  • It can be placed in the bottom of the tank or it can float freely.

Cons

  • The price is more expensive than other floating plants.

Java Moss

It usually comes in a very bright green color and it grows very quickly. Unlike some of the other floating plant options, these plants can be shipped in any weather condition.

Java Moss

Java moss is a mossy plant that free floats, but it typically grows by resting on another object in the tank. It arrives in plastic container that’s tightly sealed. It usually comes in a very bright green color and it grows very quickly. Unlike some of the other floating plant options, these plants can be shipped in any weather condition.

NOTE

This is another plant that could be infested with pests. Not only snails, but there’s a potential for worms and mold. Look at your moss closely before putting it in your tank.

It’s also possible for it to arrive brown and dead, so contact the company for a replacement if this happens. If you want your moss to stay in one place or grow around an object, you’ll probably need to tie it down. 

Pros

  • It comes with a good amount of moss.
  • It grows quickly.
  • It’s a beautiful bright green color.
  • It can be shipped at any time of year.

Cons

  • It could be infested with pests.
  • It could arrive dead.

Water Lettuce

They grow and multiply very quickly in a healthy tank with proper lighting, which should be a bit higher than other floating plants.

Water Lettuce

This product contains 12 plants with over 3 leave each. They’re a smaller plant that floats on the surface of the water. They grow and multiply very quickly in a healthy tank with proper lighting, which should be a bit higher than other floating plants.

They grow and multiply very quickly in a healthy tank with proper lighting..

The way these plants arrive is a bit inconsistent. Sometimes, they only come in a ziplock bag, which causes them to get squished during shipping. For the majority of the time, they arrive healthy, but it’s possible for them to have pests. Also, they might not grow well in your tank if the water surface is not still.

Pros

  • It grows and multiplies quickly.
  • It’s easy to maintain.
  • It keeps your tank healthy.

Cons

  • When they arrive, they’re not always consistent.
  • You need to keep an eye out for pests.

Brazilian Pennywort

They don’t have any special requirements, so they will grow quickly with low maintenance. It does well in environments with lower amounts of light.

Brazilian Pennywort

This is another tall stemmed plant that can be planted or float freely in your tank. It comes with 4 to 8 large stems that are about 8 to 16 inches in length. They don’t have any special requirements, so they will grow quickly with low maintenance. It does well in environments with lower amounts of light.

They don’t have any special requirements, so they will grow quickly with low maintenance. It does well in environments with lower amounts of light…

It’s common for this plant to arrive dead or with multiple dead leaves. In some cases, it can grow to be healthy after looking dead, but in other cases, it just arrives faulty. Unfortunately, it seems like there’s no guarantee to what you’ll get. If they arrive healthy though, they grow quickly in no time. You should contact the company for a replacement if any of the plant is brown when it arrives.

Pros

  • It grows quickly.
  • It keeps your tank healthy.
  • It’s low maintenance.

Cons

  • The amount of plants you get is not consistent.
  • It could arrive dead.
  • It’s a more expensive option.

Best All-Rounder

Red Root Floater

This is another small plant that floats at the surface. It comes with 6 plants that have 5-10 leaves on them, often with little white flowers. As the name implies, they grow long red roots beneath them that get longer over time.

Red Root Floater

This is another small plant that floats at the surface. It comes with 6 plants that have 5-10 leaves on them, often with little white flowers. As the name implies, they grow long red roots beneath them that get longer over time.

…Once you place them into your tank, they grow and multiply in no time, keeping your tank healthy and clean 

There have been cases of worms and snails with this product, but the seller will send you a new set for free. The majority of the time, the plants arrive healthy because they only ship when the weather is ideal. Once you place them into your tank, they grow and multiply in no time, keeping your tank healthy and clean. 

Pros

  • It’s easy to maintain.
  • It has a unique appearance with the red roots.
  • It keeps your tank clean.
  • It has flowers on it.
  • It only ships during ideal weather to keep plants healthy.

Cons

  • There’s a possibility for worms and snails.
  • The packaging is inconsistent.

Cabomba

This feathery, stemmed plant comes with at least 4 plants. It’s ideal for larger aquariums and it can be planted or free-floating. As long as it has enough lighting, it will grow quickly.

Cabomba

This feathery, stemmed plant comes with at least 4 plants. It’s ideal for larger aquariums and it can be planted or free-floating. As long as it has enough lighting, it will grow quickly. Since it’s a floating plant, it’s not supposed to come with roots, but roots can grow over time to make it plant easier.

It’s ideal for larger aquariums and it can be planted or free-floating…

When they arrive, they might shed a lot at first, so rinse them off separately before putting them in your tank. They typically arrive green and healthy. Sometimes, they even send up to 8 plants instead of just 4. It could possibly come dead or with snails, but it’s not common.

Pros

  • It’s not likely to have pests in it.
  • They often ship more stems than needed.
  • It grows quickly.
  • It can float freely or be planted.

Cons

  • It might shed at first.

Moneywort

They can free float or be planted in the bottom of the tank. Since they are floating plants, they should not be expected to come with roots, but you can trim a piece of it and it will grow roots over time to make it easier to plant.

Moneywort

This moneywort bundle comes with about 6 stems that are 6 to 8 inches long. They can free float or be planted in the bottom of the tank. Since they are floating plants, they should not be expected to come with roots, but you can trim a piece of it and it will grow roots over time to make it easier to plant.

These plants always ship quickly, so the plants will usually arrive completely healthy. They’re easy to care for and it’s rare that they’ll arrive dead or with unwanted pests.

TIP

They need to have medium to high lighting to make sure that they don’t die over time.

Pros

  • It almost always arrives healthy with no pests.
  • It’s low maintenance.
  • It can float freely or be planted.
  • It’s a good quality for the price.

Cons

  • It can be difficult to plant if needed.

Floating Crystalwort

This is another moss-like plant that can either float or rest on an object in your tank. It’s ready to grow when it arrives. All you have to do is make sure it has moderate lighting.

Floating Crystalwort

This is another moss-like plant that can either float or rest on an object in your tank. It’s ready to grow when it arrives. All you have to do is make sure it has moderate lighting. It comes in a 2.5-inch cup that’s properly sealed to keep moisture in. This moss should be completely submerged in the water to grow properly.

All you have to do is make sure it has moderate lighting…

These plants aren’t always consistent when they arrive. They will often come in different sizes and they’ll sometimes come dead or unhealthy. If it arrives yellow, you might be able to get it green and healthy again by using CO2 and fertilizers to help it grow.

Pros

  • It can either float or grow on an object.
  • It’s easy to grow.

Cons

  • The orders are not always consistent.
  • The amount you get likely isn’t worth the price.

Conclusion

After considering all the options our top picks were…

There’s a wide variety of floating plants to choose from, so you need to think about which one will fit best in your aquarium. 

The best overall choice is the red root floaters because they are an interesting, high-quality plant that’s less likely to arrive unhealthy or infested. Duckweed is the best choice if you’re on a budget because it’s very cheap and it multiplies quickly. Finally, the editor’s choice is the water wisteria because it’s a beautiful stemmed floating plant that provides an elegant appearance to your aquarium.

All these plants are reasonable options for your aquarium, but it ultimately comes down to how you want the health and appearance of your tank to be. 

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