8 Low-Maintenance & Cost-Effective Floating Aquarium Plants

Floating plants help filter harmful chemicals that build up in aquarium water. They also help lower the nitrogen levels in the fish tank. Floating plants in your tank also provide a source of food for herbivorous animals. These are the best floating aquarium plants for beginners:


Hornwroth is a suspended plant as, instead of floating on the surface, it drifts within the tank. The thick foliage of hornwort provides proper hiding places for small fish and fry. It is one of the most common plants for fish tanks that you’d find at pet stores.


For small aquariums, duckweed is the best choice. This plant has tiny leaves and short roots. Duckweed is fast-growing yet easy to maintain. It can act as the perfect food source for herbivorous fish and invertebrates. The only problem with duckweed is that it grows fast. So, you need to remove excess growth, transfer it to another tank, or throw the excess away. It can also get into and clog your filter if the flow pulls the floating leaves under the water.

1 Cup Live Duckweed (LEMNA Minor)

Water Lettuce

Water Lettuce is a fast-growing aquatic plant that has broad lettuce-like leaves. It grows rather fast, so you have to remove any excess and discard them in the bin or transfer them to another tank. Never drop the plant in a natural water system.

Amazon Frogbit

Amazon Frogbit has broadish leaves, large rosettes, and long branching roots. It can block much of the light that enters the aquarium and is excellent for fish that like murky water. You need to control its roots to prevent them from clogging up the filter.


Cabomba is a fast-growing aquatic weed that you plant or leave floating. Due to its thick growth, it can provide adequate hiding spots for shrimp and small fish.

Water Spangles

Water spangles usually grow on the surface of the water. It grows in both freshwater and saltwater (salinity of the water needs to be between 4 and 7 ppt). Water spangles are effective in reducing nitrogen waste. They are also ideal for backyard ponds or water gardens. For indoor use, you need a specialized light to support growth and health.

Java Moss

Java moss is a poplar floating aquarium plant. It’s easy to care for, low maintenance, and thrives in freshwater tanks.

Red Root Floater

The red root floater is a lesser-known floating aquatic plant. It requires lots of light to thrive and change colors (green to red). Additionally, iron is vital for the red foot floater to grow. Like other floating aquarium plants, it is a fast-growing plant and needs to discarded if it grows in excess.