Do Betta Fish Need Live Plants?

Do Betta Fish Need Live Plants

Live plants are a wonderful addition to any type of fish tank. However, plants come with their own requirement. For this, many betta keepers often wonder if it is absolutely necessary to keep live plants in their betta tank.

Betta fish do not absolutely need live plants. However, live plants imitate the natural environment of betta which keeps betta happy & live longer.

If you want to know the advantages of live plants, I’ll discuss them in the next section. Also, if you decide to get live plants, read the rest of the article as I’ll be suggesting my top 10 live plant choices for a betta tank.

Why Betta Prefers Live Plants?

Do you know from where bettas originally come from? It’s Thailand. Most of us know that another name for betta is Siamese Fighting Fish. The word Siamese means from Thailand.

Now, in Thailand, Plakats (Ancestor of today’s fancy betta) generally live in shallow water paddy fields. As they are surrounded with Paddy, their natural environment is full of real plants and vegetation.

That’s why, Bettas prefer it when there is some live plants in their habitat. It is engrained in their DNA. Now of course, if you don’t want the hassle of live plants, you can get some fake plants.

However, I don’ think fake plants can give you the same vibe and naturalistic effect as a real plant. At least, that’s my opinion.

Also, if you choose low demanding plants, then practically you’ll have to do almost nothing for the plants. There are plants that don’t require any substrate, can thrive in low light, doesn’t need additional Co2 injection or fertilizer.

So, what’s stopping you from getting some healthy live plants for your betta?

Things You Need To Know Before Buying Live Plants For Betta

If you decide to get some live plants for your betta, Congratulations! However, don’t get the plants right away. You need to know somethings before buying any live aquatic plants.

Soil Based Substrate

Most of the aquatic plants in this hobby need substrate to survive. There are many clay based substrate in the fish stores that is specifically made for this purpose. Some famous substrate for plants are ADA Amazonia soil, Fluval Shrimp Stratum, Tropica substrate, etc.

If you want a thriving planted tank, it is better if you can invest on a good substrate. However, don’t get discouraged if the substrate doesn’t fit within your current budget. You can choose plants that are epiphytic, meaning they don’t need substrate.

Lighting

According to the lighting requirements, aquarium plants are divided into three categories:

  • Low light plants
  • Medium light plants
  • High light plants

Low light plants will thrive under normal aquarium lights or CFL lights. You don’t need anything special for them. However, medium light and high light plants require special attention.

They thrive will under LED lighting or lighting fixtures that are made specifically for aquarium plants.

Co2 Requirement

Like light, the Co2 requirement can also be divided into three types: Low, Medium and High. Every plant will do better if you can additionally inject Co2 in the tank.

However, the low demanding plants will survive without any additional Co2 injection. If you choose plants that are Medium or High demanding, then you’ll need to think about injecting Co2.

There are mainly 2 ways to inject Co2 in the aquarium:

  • Pressurized Co2 (The Ideal Option. However, can be costly)
  • DIY Co2 (Needs regular maintenance. Not ideal. Much cheaper than pressurized system)

Fertilizer

Dosing fertilizer depends on a lot of things. If you have a low tech aquarium, meaning the plants are low demanding, the light is low and there is no additional Co2 injection, then there is no need for dosing fertilizer.

However, if the tank has high light and additional Co2, then you’ll need to dose fertilizer to the tank too. Otherwise, the balance of the tank will get ruined and you may face algae issue.

10 Best Live Plants For Betta & Where To Buy Them

I am guessing most of the readers of this article don’t know much about aquarium plants. So, I’ll not suggest high-demanding plants to you. I’ll only suggest the ones that are very forgiving, require minimum maintenance and care.

Here are my top 10 easy live plants for a betta tank:

Plant NameRequirements
(Soil, Lighting,
CO2)
Why Good For Betta Tank?Price
AnubiasDoesn’t Need Substrate.
Can grow in low light.
Co2 injection is preferable but not necessary.
Very low maintenance. Perfect for beginners.Check Price
Java FernDoesn’t Need Substrate.
Can grow in low light.
Co2 injection is preferable but not necessary.
Very low maintenance. Perfect for beginners.Check Price
Any Type of MossDoesn’t Need Substrate.
Can grow in low light.
Co2 injection is preferable but not necessary.
Very low maintenance. Perfect for beginners.Check Price
Marimo Moss BallDoesn’t Need Substrate.
Can grow in low light.
Co2 injection is preferable but not necessary.
Very low maintenance. Perfect for beginners.Check Price
Amazon SwordGrows well in substrate.
Low light requirement.
Does well in Co2 but not necessary.
Very low maintenance. Perfect for beginners. Only choose if you have a large tank. Check Price
AnacharisDoesn’t Need Substrate.
Can grow in low light.
Co2 injection is preferable but not necessary.
You can keep them floating on the tank. Or else, you can tie them on an anchor. Check Price
HornwortGrows well in substrate.
Low light requirement.
Does well in Co2 but not necessary.
Awesome at absorbing nitrate from the water. However, this plant can create a mess in the tank. Check Price
WisteriaGrows well in substrate.
Low light requirement.
Does well in Co2 but not necessary.
One interesting fact about Wisteria is, its leaves can take on different shapes and forms depending on the environment and temperature of the tank. Check Price
VallisneriaGrows well in substrate.
Low light requirement.
Does well in Co2 but not necessary.
Vallisneria comes in different types and sizes. Almost all of them have the same requirement. They are very low demanding. Check Price
CryptocoryneGrows well in substrate.
Low light requirement.
Does well in Co2 but not necessary.
There are many types of Cryptocoryne in the aquarium hobby. Choose the type that is less demanding if you are a beginner i.e. Cryptocoryne PetchiiCheck Price

Floating Plants For Betta Fish

All of these floating plants have very low requirement. They won’t need additional co2 injection, don’t need fertilizer. If you want the simplest of live plants for your betta tank, just choose one or two floating plants from the list:

Plant NameMy CommentsPrice
DuckweedThe leaves are very small. I personally don’t like them as they are very difficult to maintain and go everywhere (inside the filter, decorations, etc.)Check Price
Amazon FrogbitComes with long roots and beautiful rosettes. One of the most popular floating plants in the hobby. Check Price
Water LettuceComparatively bigger than other floating plants. I personally prefer them as they are much easier to deal with and control. Check Price
Water SpanglesGood for absorbing additional nutrient from the water column and preventing algae bloom. Check Price
Riccia FluitansVery easy to grow. Just leave them floating on the tank. Great for betta breeder tank. You can also tie it on driftwood, stone, etc. to give moss like appearance.Check Price
AzollaComes in red and green hues. They need regular maintenance, otherwise can take over your tank within no time.Check Price

Toxic Plants For Betta Fish

There is actually no aquatic plant that is toxic for a betta. However, a safe plant can become toxic. Let me explain:

  • If a plant starts to rot, then it will gradually become toxic for the betta. When a plant starts rotting, it will increase the ammonia content in the water. We all know ammonia is lethal for fish. That’s why, if you don’t take out the rotten plant, it can become toxic for the betta.
  • If you are using a semi-aquatic plant in an aquatic environment, it can die and start rotting. In that case, the plant will soon become a source of toxins for the betta.

Muntaseer Rahman

I have been keeping shrimps as a pet for many years now. I’ve fallen in love with these cute pets from the moment I saw them. That’s why I am writing articles to share my shrimp keeping knowledge with you.

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