do live plants help aquarium?

Hello there, fellow aquarists! If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably pondered the idea of adding live plants to your aquarium. You might have heard about their benefits but wondered whether the effort is worthwhile. Well, today, I’m excited to share my experiences and insights into the world of live aquarium plants. Let’s embark on a journey to discover the myriad advantages they bring to your underwater paradise.

The Many Benefits of Live Aquarium Plants

Enhancing the Beauty and Health of Your Aquarium

The enchantment begins the moment you introduce live plants to your aquarium. They have the incredible power to transform your underwater world into a captivating piece of living art. Whether you opt for lush greenery, colorful accents, or delicate foliage, live plants breathe life and vibrancy into your tank. It’s like having a tiny piece of nature right in your home.

But the allure of live plants extends beyond aesthetics. They play a pivotal role in maintaining the overall health of your aquatic environment. From improving water quality to reducing pesky algae growth and providing shelter for your fish, these green wonders bring a multitude of benefits. Let’s dive deeper into the magic of live aquarium plants.

Live or Artificial Aquarium Plants

Choosing Between Live and Artificial

Before we delve into the advantages of live aquarium plants, it’s essential to address the choice between live and artificial plants. Both options have their merits and drawbacks, and your decision may hinge on personal preferences and the specific requirements of your tank.

  • Artificial Plants: Artificial plants are the low-maintenance option. They don’t require special care, lighting, or nutrient supplementation. This makes them an attractive choice for beginners or aquarists with busy schedules. Moreover, artificial plants won’t introduce live organisms or changes into your tank, making them a safe choice for certain setups.
  • Live Plants: Live aquarium plants, on the other hand, offer an array of benefits that can significantly enhance your aquarium’s environment. Despite requiring more care and attention, many aquarists find the rewards well worth the effort.

Now, let’s explore the specific advantages of live aquarium plants that might just sway your decision towards embracing the world of aquatic horticulture.

The Benefits of Live Aquarium Plants

1. Natural Filtration and Water Quality Improvement

Perhaps one of the most substantial benefits of live aquarium plants is their remarkable ability to act as natural filters. These green marvels absorb excess nutrients like ammonia and nitrate from the water, which can be detrimental to your fish when present in high concentrations. By reducing these nutrient levels, live plants contribute to creating a healthier and more stable aquatic environment.

2. Algae Control

The battle against algae growth is a common concern for aquarium enthusiasts. This is where live plants step in as valiant allies. They engage in a friendly competition for nutrients with algae and create shade on the aquarium’s surface, depriving algae of the light they need to thrive. With proper care, live plants can effectively keep algae growth in check, maintaining the aesthetic appeal of your tank.

3. Oxygen Production

As live plants engage in photosynthesis, they release oxygen into the water—a crucial element for your fish’s respiration. Elevated oxygen levels in your aquarium foster the well-being of your aquatic companions, contributing to their overall health and vitality.

4. Stress Reduction and Natural Habitat

Live plants offer your fish more than just shelter; they provide a sense of security and replicate a natural underwater habitat. This can significantly reduce stress and aggression among your fish, promoting harmonious coexistence. A well-planted tank immerses your fish in an environment that closely mimics their natural habitat, enhancing their overall quality of life.

5. Nutrient Absorption

Live aquarium plants absorb essential nutrients directly from the water column. Besides improving water quality, this nutrient absorption stimulates robust plant growth, resulting in lush greenery that not only enhances your aquarium’s beauty but also serves as a natural refuge for your fish.

Recommended Aquarium Plants

Now that we’ve uncovered the numerous benefits of live aquarium plants, you might be eager to introduce some into your tank. Here are a few recommended live aquarium plants that are beginner-friendly and can flourish with proper care:

  • Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus): Renowned for its resilience, Java Fern is an excellent choice for novice aquarists. It can be attached to driftwood or rocks and doesn’t necessitate a nutrient-rich substrate.
  • Anubias (Anubias barteri): Another robust plant, Anubias, can thrive in diverse conditions. It’s perfect for beginners and can be conveniently affixed to decorations within your tank.
  • Amazon Sword (Echinodorus species): Amazon Swords are widely favored and can attain substantial size, making them an eye-catching focal point for your aquarium. They thrive best in substrates rich in nutrients.
  • Java Moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri): Java Moss is incredibly versatile and can be affixed to surfaces or left to float. It serves as a haven for fry and shrimp and requires minimal maintenance.

These plants are relatively undemanding and can adapt to a range of aquarium setups. However, it’s crucial to remember that even low-maintenance plants require a measure of attention and care to thrive.

Is Reptile Sand Safe to Use with Live Plants in an Aquarium?

Using reptile sand in aquariums can pose risks to live plants. Reptile sand is typically coarse and lacks the necessary nutrients for plant growth. Furthermore, it can compact and hinder root development. Instead, opt for aquarium substrate specifically designed for plants to ensure their health and vitality in your aquatic environment.

What Are Some House Plants That Can Also Be Added to an Aquarium?

Looking to add a touch of greenery to your aquarium? Consider aquarium-friendly house plant options like Anubias, Java fern, and water wisteria. These plants not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your tank but also contribute to its overall health by providing oxygen and natural filtration. Remember to choose plants that can tolerate underwater conditions and promote a harmonious ecosystem in your aquarium.


In summary, live aquarium plants offer a multitude of benefits that can elevate the beauty, health, and overall enjoyment of your fish tank. From acting as natural filters to curbing algae growth, providing a stimulating habitat, and even enhancing the oxygen content, live plants contribute to the thriving ecosystem within your aquarium.

While artificial plants offer convenience, live aquarium plants bring a unique charm and functionality to your tank. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned aquarist, consider incorporating live plants into your aquatic world. With the right care and dedication, they can genuinely transform your aquarium into a living masterpiece.


Q1: Do live aquarium plants require a lot of maintenance?

Live aquarium plants do demand some level of maintenance, including regular pruning, nutrient supplementation, and monitoring. However, many beginner-friendly plants are relatively low-maintenance and can thrive with basic care.

Q2: Can live aquarium plants coexist with artificial plants in the same tank?

Yes, you can mix live and artificial plants in the same tank. This allows you to enjoy the benefits of live plants while maintaining the convenience of artificial ones.

Q3: Will live aquarium plants reduce the need for water changes?

While live plants can help maintain water quality, they do not eliminate the need for regular water changes. Water changes are still essential to remove accumulated pollutants and ensure a healthy aquarium environment.

Q4: Can live aquarium plants reduce ammonia levels in the tank?

Yes, live aquarium plants can absorb ammonia, which is produced by fish waste and decaying organic matter. This natural filtration process helps reduce ammonia levels and creates a healthier environment for your fish.

Q5: Do live aquarium plants require special lighting?

The lighting requirements for live aquarium plants vary depending on the species. Some plants thrive in low-light conditions, while others require more intense lighting. It’s essential to choose plants that match your aquarium’s lighting setup and provide the necessary light for their growth.

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