7 Land Plants That Can Grow In Aquarium [Beginner Friendly]

Many people like to keep fish in their homes. While it is possible to grow aquatic plants inside an aquarium, some people prefer the look of land plants instead. 

If you are one of these people, there are many different types of land plants that can be grown in an aquarium! 

In this article, we will discuss 7 land plants that can grow in a tank and what requirements they need for optimal growth.

Can Land Plants Grow In Water?

In our fish-keeping experience, we found that land plants can grow in water although it will be difficult to do so. 

Plus, they would not last for long as they tend to rot or even die when submerged in water over time. 

These are the reasons why most aquatic plant owners prefer live aquatic plants instead of real ones. 

Live aquatic plants can be bought from local aquarium stores or even online.

Land plants are tough plants that can survive in water as long as they are taken care of properly. 

In fact, there are plants that grow well both on land and underwater such as the Water Hyacinth. 

These plants look beautiful especially when grown below the surface of the water.

As mentioned earlier, it will be very difficult for real plants to grow in a fish tank full of water. 

In the next section, we will be discussing the 7 best land plants that can grow in aquariums. Read on!

7 Land Plants That Can Grow In Aquarium

There are a variety of different types of plants that you can put in an aquarium. 

If done properly, they can be quite beautiful and create a very relaxing environment for both yourself and your fish.

The 7 plants that can grow in aquariums are:

1. Java Moss

Java moss is one of the easiest houseplants to grow in an aquarium because it does not require any water currents to survive since it’s a vascular plant, but rather thrives on being wet and humid. 

This plant is also referred to as “Japanese moss” or “Christmas moss.”

The Java fern is a good compliment to the Java moss when trying to create a complete ecosystem.

When planting this land plant make sure to tie it to something (rope, driftwood, etc.) so that the plant does not float away.

2. Anubias Nana

The anubias nana is one of the more delicate plants on this list, but if you’re willing to put in a bit of extra work it can be quite rewarding in the end. 

The only things that it requires are low to medium water flow and high humidity, making it the perfect plant for betta tanks.

It is necessary to keep an eye on this plant when planted in aquariums, as it’s a very slow grower and can get overgrown rather quickly.

It requires low water flow, and high humidity conditions, and is sensitive to transition changes. 

However, if you’re able to provide this plant with the perfect conditions it can bring a lovely new dimension to your aquarium.

3. Java Fern

The java fern is a relatively easy to care for plant that only requires vegetation, not substrate, to grow on. 

This makes it ideal for placing on rocks, driftwood, or even tying it onto something yourself.

This land plant can be kept in any freshwater community aquarium.

Java fern is a low-maintenance plant, so it’s unlikely to be difficult for you or your fish.

It also helps provide oxygen and remove wastes from the water.

It doesn’t require bright light, making it great for lower-light spots in your tank.

4. Water Wisteria

Water wisteria is another wonderful vascular plant that does very well with both medium and high water flow, making it suitable for both betta tanks and larger aquariums alike. 

The only thing you need to worry about is keeping the growth under control since this is an invasive plant that will overtake your tank if you let it.

It is a type of land plant that can grow in aquariums but be warned that it can quickly take over your tank if you’re not careful.

5. Water Lettuce

The water lettuce is one of the more delicate plants on this list, once again requiring low to medium water flow and high humidity. 

As with most aquatic vegetation it also requires full sunlight, so make sure your aquarium gets at least 6 hours of light a day before adding this plant to your tank.

This is the only land plant that can be used as a natural filter, as it grows quickly and absorbs nitrates from the water.

This plant can grow up to 5 inches in height and will flower when given the correct conditions.

In an aquarium, this plant should only be introduced to non-aggressive fish as it can quickly become covered in tiny parasites which will harm your fish.

6. Hornwort

Hornwort is considered to be the most durable of all aquatic plants, which makes it quite popular amongst fish and plant enthusiasts alike. 

One of the only things that hornwort requires is high water flow and nutrients, so if you’re planning on keeping a betta tank this would be an ideal plant to put in there.

It is a kind of land plant which can be applicable to fish tanks if you have good water conditions.

7. Giant Ambulia

The giant ambulia plant is one of the more unique plants on this list, also requiring high water flow and nutrients just like the hornwort does. 

There are some specific requirements that need to be met before you’ll have any luck growing these plants, but if you’re up for the challenge it can be quite rewarding.

This land plant does well when you have a wider tank with lots of surface agitation and flow. 

This means that if you’re looking for plants to put in your goldfish aquarium, they might not be the best option.

Land plants make the aquarium look great. They provide shade for fish and make the aquarium look more natural. 

Some lower light plants need only low lighting while higher light plants may also require CO2 injection or liquid fertilizers (fish emulsion or diluted fish fertilizer) to really thrive in the tank.

If you want to go for this look, make sure you install CO2 injection into your aquarium. 

This will ensure that your plants grow at an accelerated rate and provide your fish with a beautiful environment.

For a better guide jump to our section: How to care for land plants when planted in a fish tank!

What Kind Of Plants Can I Put In My Fish Tank?

The kinds of aquarium plants that can be used are nonaquatic plants. If they are aquatic, then the roots will rot if kept in water for too long.

Nonaquatic plants are great for use in aquariums, especially if you have fish or other aquarium creatures that enjoy a nice pond or river environment. 

Aquarium moss and ferns make a great addition to any tank and most fish will be drawn toward them and enjoy having an additional cover and hiding spots.

Can You Put Real Plants In a Fish Tank?

Real plants cannot survive in a fish tank. 

Some plants can be grown with plants, but these plants are not real plants and do not have roots or use soil as a medium to grow. 

In order for real plants to grow, they need soil, air, and sunlight. 

Fish tanks provide water as the medium of growth, light from fluorescent lighting, and some solids from gravel.

In your fish tank, you can grow mosses and some algae. However, real plants can only survive outside a fish tank.

Are Nonaquatic Plants Food For Aquariums?

Yes, nonaquatic plants are good for aquariums. 

These types of plants can be used in various ways to make your fish tank look more attractive and colourful. 

Nonaquatic plants come in an assortment of species, which you can choose from according to the kind of fish you have or according to your personal preference.

Before adding nonaquatic plants to an aquarium, you need to know the basics and the difference between genuine aquatic plants and nonaquatic plants.

Is It Okay To Put Land Grass In An Aquarium?

Land grass in aquariums can make your fish tank look great. 

However, it is not a good idea to add land grass to your aquarium without carefully planning and preparing for the health of the plant. 

A common mistake beginners make with land grasses in an aquarium is planting them in soil. 

While it might be helpful for some aquatic plants that need a bit more weight to stay underwater, land grass in aquariums does not require soil and will do better planted directly into the substrate.

 [ TIP: Avoid planting your land grass in the soil if you’re just starting out.] 

Jump to: Suitable substrates for land plants in the aquarium

Is Keeping Money Plant In Aquarium Good?

Money plants may be a good choice for aquariums. It is an easy-to-grow plant with high humidity requirements.

Money Plant (Lobelia erinus) is one of the most popular indoor flowering plants. 

It’s originally from South Africa but now it’s widely cultivated in most tropical and sub-tropical regions as well as in the United States.

It’s not a demanding plant and it can grow in most conditions, including low light. 

Can I Put River Plants In My Aquarium?

River plants are not the best choice for aquariums. 

However, if you’re interested in adding some of your local plant life to your tank, you might want to consider keeping duckweed instead.

Not only is it easy to get started, but the aquatic environment tends to be more forgiving when it comes to water changes and fertilizing needs. 

By starting with duckweed, you’ll have a very low-maintenance tank that produces oxygen and has some living greenery.

Is Soil Necessary For Land Plants In Aquarium?

You can grow land plants in an aquarium without soil. 

You just use gravel or sand to hold the plant in place and allow enough space for the plant roots to absorb nutrients. 

If you want to make things look more natural, you can also provide a mix of aquatic plants.

It is also okay to use soil but it is not necessary.

When using soil as substrate in your fish tank, make sure the sand is coarse, otherwise, it will compact and it will be hard for plant roots to grow in. 

You will also need an aquarium with a low water level in order for the soil not to get in contact with water.

What Substrate Should I Use For Land Plants In Aquariums?

The right substrate you must use for land plants in aquariums is one that will allow the roots to spread and grow down into it. 

The best choices would be sand, pebbles, or gravel depending on what kind of look you want.


 This is a good choice if you want to give your aquarium that beachy look. 

The sand must be rinsed thoroughly before placing into the aquarium; otherwise, it will cloud up the water for quite some time.


These can sometimes work well in an aquarium but they do not allow the roots to grow down as sand does. 


This is a good choice if you want to give your aquarium that natural look. Make sure it is a small size for the best results. 


Soil can work well in keeping the roots down; however, it does not allow the water to flow freely into and out of the substrate. 

If you plan on keeping plants with extensive roots, then this is a good choice for you.

Also, read this: Can I put river plants in my aquarium?

Best House Plants For Aquarium

They say that home is where the heart is. What better way to fill your house with love than by filling it with plants? 

Aquarium plants make a great addition to any home, adding a splash of color and life wherever they exist. 

But there are some requirements you’ll need to meet if you hope for them to thrive inside your fish tank.

Houseplants for aquariums need to be hardy and able to withstand frequent watering without rotting or wilting.

If you decide to go with live plants then it would be best if they are undemanding species that can readily adapt to their environment.

Here are some plants that are suitable for your fish tank:

  1. Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  2. Heart-Leafed Philodendron (Philodendron scandens)
  3. Hanging Basket
  4. Arrowhead plant (Syngonium podophyllum)
  5. Prayer Plant (Maranta leucoreura)
  6. Money Plant (Lunaria annua)
  7. Moss Balls
  8. Cissus (Cissus Antarctica)
  9. Cherry Baby Tears (Soleirolia soleirolii)

House Plants That Grow Underwater?

Growing plants underwater is an amazing phenomenon. 

House plants are already pretty great since they beautify our homes and infuse our lives with fresh oxygen. 

But knowing that there are certain types of house plants that actually grow underwater is nothing less than magical. 

And, even better news? You can obtain these types of underwater house plants fairly easily.

They can be used as decoration for your home, and even your fish tank! 

Let’s take a look at some of the best options:

  • Duckweed (Lemna minor)
  • Parrot’s Feather (Myriophyllum Aquaticum)
  • Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium Laevigatum)
  • Banana Plant (Nymphoides Aquatic)
  • Water Spangles (Hydrocotyle Sibthorpioides)
  • Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia Crassipes)
  • Water Lettuce (Pistia Stratiotes)
  • Chinese Water Fern (Aglaonema Modestum)
  • Algae Plant (Chara Hispida or Nitella Flexilis)

How To Care For Land Plants When Planted In Aquariums?

There are several factors we need to consider when keeping land plants in aquariums. This is important because the water in aquariums can affect the growth of plants.

The factors are:

1. The Type of Plants

There are two types of plants that you can plant in your aquarium – submerged and emerged types.

SUBMERGED TYPES – Submerged land plants grow below water level, just like the roots of lotus flowers. 

This type is attached to substrate or rock with their roots. You have to remove the plants from time to time and only allow the leaves to stay above water level. 

This is good for aquariums containing fish because fishes will often eat a part of a plant instead of eating the whole thing.

EMERGED TYPES – Emerged plants are those types of plants that grow above water level, but below air level. 

They are best for aquariums with fish species that love to eat a plant whole.

2. The Substrate / Soil

This is very important because most land plants need substrates or soils in order to grow properly. 

You have to make sure the substrate is small enough so it won’t block air or light penetration inside the substrate.

3. Light Penetration

The light penetration also affects plant growth, as most plants need sunlight to grow well. 

You have to make sure there is enough lighting inside the aquarium so that it can penetrate through the water and substrates deeply enough.

4. Water Quality

If you want to plant emerged types of plants, make sure the water is aerated properly. 

If many leaves are shed off your land-planted aquariums, it means that there isn’t enough oxygen inside the substrate and the fish species therein are breathing too much. 

This will affect their health as well as growth because they have to exert more energy to breathe.

5. Proper Planting

If you choose to plant emerged types of plants, make sure the substrate is not too high so it won’t block light penetration. 

Also, make sure it has enough space for root growth and aeration between layers of soil or substrates. 

Land plants are usually planted in small clusters with their roots intertwined with others for better stability.

All these factors will surely affect the health of your plants and animals inside the aquariums. Follow these measures and you will surely have healthy aquariums!


Land plants can be the perfect decoration for your fish tank.

They can provide a nice backdrop and be largely maintenance-free. 

If you do not want to maintain your water parameters, the article above will help you choose what kind of plants and substrate to use in your aquarium.  

Just remember to choose plants that can grow in your fish tank and substrate that does not change the water parameters. 

If you follow the recommendations, your land plants should thrive while requiring little maintenance.

Land plants can be a beautiful addition to any aquarium and add life and color to it. 

They will help keep the water clean and provide a nice contrast to your aquarium fish and decor. 

Let us know do you have any of the plants listed above or other land plants that grow in aquariums? Comment below.

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to comment if you have any questions or concerns about the article above. I’d love to hear what you think!

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