How To Choose The Right Aquarium Plants?

There are many types of aquarium plants, and they all need proper care to thrive and give benefits to your tank. Here’s how to choose aquarium plants for a fish tank:

Benefits of Live Plants

Live plants provide the following benefits for an aquarium:

  • They convert carbon dioxide into oxygen for your fish.
  • Live plants remove harmful chemical waste products like nitrates from the water column.
  • Oxygen produced by live aquatic plants helps aerate the tank.
  • Adds a natural look to the aquarium.
  • They act as shelter and protection for fish.
  • They break up sight lines—a benefit for territorial fish.
  • When you add live plants to your fish tank, you are improving the quality of the tank water and the health of your fish.

Types of Aquarium Plants

The three main types of aquarium plants are:

  • Foreground plants
  • Mid-ground plants
  • Background plants

When choosing the right type of plant for your aquarium, you have to consider where in the tank you are going to place the plant. The size of the aquarium also influences the type and number of plants. For example, nano fish tanks need smaller plants.


Live plants need certain nutrients to flourish. Aquatic plants absorb some nutrients from the water column but absorb most of the nutrition through their roots. Thus, they need a proper substrate.

The substrate is the stuff that lines the bottom of your tank—for example, sand, soil, or gravel. For planted tanks with rooted plants, soil is best as sand and gravel provide no nutrients.

Other plants, for example, floating aquarium plants, don’t depend on the substrate for nutrients. Instead, they get most of their nutrients via the water column.


Plants also need adequate light to thrive. They need light to carry out photosynthesis, which converts carbon dioxide into energy for the plants.

Some aquatic plants need little light, others need moderate lighting, and others need lots of light.
There are many different options for aquarium lighting, but not all are ideal for live plants.

An LED aquarium light is a good investment for your fish tanks. You can also depend on natural light, but do not expose your aquarium to too much natural light as it can lead to increased algae growth. Although, if you have any of these algae-eating fish, shrimp, or snails, it might not be such a bad thing.