Top 5 Goldfish Tank Plants That Will Blow Their Fins Away!

Are you wondering how to create a natural, healthy environment for your goldfish? Over 13.2 million adults in the US own aquariums, and many struggle with maintaining optimal habitats for their aquatic friends.

This guide will provide invaluable insights into the best goldfish tank plants, helping enhance water quality and overall fish happiness. Let’s dive into creating an underwater world that both you and your goldfish will love!

Key Takeaways

  • Live plants offer numerous benefits for your goldfish tank, including improved water quality and oxygenation, natural habitat simulation, and overall well-being of your aquatic friends.
  • Some of the best plants for your goldfish tank include Java Fern, Anubias, Hornwort, Amazon Sword, and Water Sprite.
  • To maintain and care for aquatic plants in a goldfish tank, provide appropriate lighting and temperature, use proper planting techniques, regularly fertilize and prune the plants, and address any algae issues that may arise.

Why Choose Live Goldfish Tank Plants

Live plants offer numerous benefits for your goldfish tank. They improve water quality and oxygenation, simulate a natural habitat, and enhance the overall well-being of your aquatic friends.

Benefits of live plants for goldfish

Live plants offer a multitude of benefits to your goldfish tank, aiding in more than just its visual appeal. They contribute significantly to the health and happiness of your aquatic friends by creating a naturalistic environment that mimics their wild habitat.

A planted aquarium can limit stress for goldfish, providing an array of hiding spots which offers them comfort and safety. Beyond this psychological boost, live plants also play a vital role in enhancing water quality.

They filter out harmful toxins, help prevent excessive algae growth by competing for nutrients, and release much-needed oxygen into the water during daylight hours – all factors that promote vibrant health and longevity in your swimming pets.

With suitable plant choices such as Java fern or Anubias from our list above, you’re not only creating an aesthetically pleasing aquascape but building a balanced ecosystem where every element works together for the wellbeing of your beloved goldfish.

Improved water quality and oxygenation

Adding live plants to your goldfish tank can greatly improve the water quality and oxygenation levels in the aquarium. Aquatic plants are known for their ability to absorb excess nutrients, such as ammonia and nitrates, from the water.

These harmful substances are produced by goldfish waste and uneaten food, which can lead to poor water conditions if not properly managed. By having live plants in the tank, they act as natural filters, helping to remove these toxins and maintain a healthier environment for your aquatic friends.

Not only do aquatic plants help with filtration, but they also play a crucial role in oxygenating the water. Through photosynthesis, plants utilize carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the surrounding area.

This process helps replenish oxygen levels that may become depleted due to fish respiration. Goldfish require adequate amounts of dissolved oxygen to thrive, so having thriving live plants in your tank ensures a steady supply of this vital element.

Natural habitat simulation

Creating a natural habitat for your goldfish is essential to their overall health and wellbeing. By incorporating live plants into your goldfish tank, you can simulate the environment they would encounter in the wild.

This not only provides them with a sense of security, but it also promotes natural behaviors and mental stimulation. Goldfish are known to explore and interact with their surroundings, and having live plants allows them to do so while feeling safe and comfortable.

Additionally, these plants offer hiding spots where they can retreat when they need a break from swimming or want to rest. With the right selection of aquatic plants, you can truly transform your goldfish tank into a mini underwater paradise that will keep your aquatic friends happy and thriving.

The Best Plants for Your Goldfish Tank

Java Fern, Anubias, Hornwort, Amazon Sword, and Water Sprite are some of the best plants for your goldfish tank.

Java Fern

Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) is a popular choice for goldfish tanks due to its hardy nature and ability to withstand the constant nibbling of goldfish. This aquatic plant has long, vibrant green leaves that add a touch of elegance to any tank.

It can be attached to driftwood or rocks using fishing line or simply placed in gravel. Java Fern thrives in low-light conditions, making it an ideal option for goldfish tanks where intense lighting may not be necessary.

Another great benefit of Java Fern is that it helps oxygenate the water, improving overall water quality and creating a healthier environment for your goldfish. With its easy care requirements and compatibility with goldfish, adding Java Fern to your tank will not only enhance the aesthetics but also provide a natural habitat for your aquatic friends.


Anubias is one of the best plants to keep in your goldfish tank. It is a hardy and versatile plant that can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, making it perfect for beginners and experienced aquarists alike.

Anubias is known for its dark green, broad leaves that provide ample hiding places for your goldfish.

One of the reasons why Anubias is highly recommended for goldfish tanks is because they are not easily uprooted or destroyed by these active swimmers. Goldfish tend to nibble on plants, but luckily, Anubias has tough leaves that make it unappealing as a snack option.

This means you won’t have to constantly replant or replace your vegetation.

Not only does Anubias add beauty and visual interest to your tank, but it also helps maintain good water quality. Like other aquatic plants, Anubias absorbs nitrates from the water through its roots, reducing nitrate levels and improving overall water conditions for your goldfish.

With its low maintenance requirements and fish-friendly characteristics, Anubias truly stands out as an excellent choice when it comes to selecting plants for your goldfish tank.


Hornwort is a popular choice for goldfish tanks due to its numerous benefits. This versatile plant requires minimal maintenance and can withstand the often rough behavior of goldfish.

Its long, feathery foliage provides excellent hiding spots for your aquatic friends while adding an attractive touch to your tank’s aesthetics. Hornwort also serves as a natural oxygenator, helping to improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients and releasing oxygen.

With its ability to thrive in a wide range of conditions, hornwort is an ideal choice for aquarists looking for an easy-to-care-for plant that will enhance their goldfish tank ecosystem.

Amazon Sword

The Amazon Sword is a popular choice for goldfish tanks due to its hardiness and beautiful appearance. This plant has long, green leaves that resemble large swords, hence its name.

It thrives in moderate to bright lighting conditions and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. The Amazon Sword is known for its ability to absorb excess nutrients from the water, helping to keep your goldfish tank clean and preventing the growth of harmful algae.

Additionally, this plant provides shelter and hiding spots for your goldfish, promoting their natural behaviors and reducing stress. With proper care and maintenance, the Amazon Sword can be an excellent addition to your goldfish tank ecosystem.

Water Sprite

Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides) is a fantastic plant choice for your goldfish tank. This versatile and undemanding aquatic plant is perfect for beginners and experienced aquarists alike.

With its feathery green leaves, Water Sprite adds a touch of beauty to any aquarium setup. Not only does it enhance the aesthetics, but it also benefits your goldfish in numerous ways.

Water Sprite helps in oxygenating the water, providing additional hiding spots for your fish, and reducing stress levels. Additionally, this plant helps maintain water quality by absorbing excess nutrients that can lead to algae growth.

How to Maintain and Care for Aquatic Plants in a Goldfish Tank

Maintain and care for aquatic plants in your goldfish tank by providing appropriate lighting and temperature, ensuring proper planting techniques, regular fertilization and pruning, and addressing any algae issues that may arise.

Lighting and temperature requirements

Proper lighting and temperature are essential for maintaining healthy aquatic plants in your goldfish tank. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Choose a lighting system that provides the right spectrum of light for plant growth. LED lights are energy-efficient and can be adjusted to mimic natural sunlight. Aim for 10-12 hours of light per day.
  • Avoid direct sunlight as it can cause excessive algae growth and temperature fluctuations.
  • Keep the water temperature between 68-74°F (20-23°C) for most goldfish tank plants. However, certain species may have specific temperature preferences, so research the requirements of each plant before adding them to your tank.
  • Use a reliable aquarium thermometer to monitor the water temperature regularly and make adjustments if necessary.
  • Consider using a heater or chiller if your home’s ambient temperature fluctuates significantly or falls outside the recommended range.
  • Remember that some plants, like Java Fern and Anubias, prefer lower lighting levels and can thrive even with lower-intensity lights. These are great options if you want to keep live plants but don’t want to invest in expensive lighting systems.

Proper planting techniques

Proper planting techniques are essential to ensure the success and health of aquatic plants in your goldfish tank. Here are some important tips to keep in mind:

  1. Choose the right substrate: Use a substrate that is suitable for aquatic plants, such as aquarium soil or gravel. Make sure it is deep enough to anchor the roots securely.
  2. Rinse the plants before planting: Gently rinse off any excess dirt or debris from the plant’s roots before placing them in the tank. This will help prevent any contamination in the water.
  3. Plant in groups: Instead of scattering individual plants around the tank, group them together in clusters. This not only creates a more natural and visually appealing look but also allows for easier maintenance.
  4. Plant at the right depth: Pay attention to each plant’s specific requirements regarding planting depth. Some plants prefer to have their roots buried in the substrate, while others should be left with their rhizomes exposed.
  5. Trim damaged leaves: If you notice any damaged or decaying leaves on your plants, trim them off using clean scissors or pruning shears. This will prevent further deterioration and encourage healthy growth.
  6. Provide proper lighting: Depending on the type of plants you have, provide adequate lighting for their photosynthesis needs. LED lights are a popular choice for planted tanks as they offer energy efficiency and customizable settings.
  7. Avoid overcrowding: It’s important not to overcrowd your goldfish tank with too many plants as this can lead to poor circulation and limited swimming space for your fish. Leave enough open areas for your goldfish to swim freely.
  8. Monitor water parameters: Regularly check and maintain appropriate water parameters such as pH levels, temperature, and nutrient levels to ensure optimal plant growth and overall tank health.

Fertilization and pruning

Fertilization and pruning are essential tasks to maintain healthy and vibrant live plants in your goldfish tank. Here are some important tips for fertilizing and pruning your aquatic plants:

  1. Use liquid fertilizers specifically designed for aquarium use. These fertilizers typically contain essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that can promote plant growth.
  2. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer bottle for the recommended dosage. Overfertilizing can lead to excessive algae growth, which can be harmful to your goldfish.
  3. Fertilize your plants once a week or as directed on the fertilizer label. This will provide a steady supply of nutrients to support their growth.
  4. When applying liquid fertilizer, aim for the base of the plants to ensure that they receive adequate nutrition.
  5. Pruning is necessary to prevent overgrowth and maintain the desired shape of your plants. Use sharp scissors or pruning shears to trim any dead or decaying leaves.
  6. Trim overgrown stems or foliage that may block light from reaching other parts of the plant or obstruct the view of your goldfish.
  7. Remove any yellowed or brown leaves promptly, as they can detract from the overall appearance of your tank.
  8. Regularly thin out densely grown areas by removing excess vegetation. This will allow for better water circulation and prevent overcrowding.
  9. Prune floating plants like Water Sprite to keep them from covering the entire surface of the water, which can limit oxygen exchange and create a stagnant environment.
  10. Pay attention to individual plant species’ specific care requirements when it comes to fertilization and pruning. Some plants may have different needs regarding nutrient levels or pruning techniques.

Dealing with algae

Algae can be a common problem in goldfish tanks, but there are several ways to effectively deal with it. Here are some tips for keeping algae at bay in your goldfish tank:

  1. Maintain proper lighting: Algae thrives in bright light, so make sure you have the right balance of light for your plants without providing excess light for algae growth. Consider using a timer to ensure consistent lighting.
  2. Control nutrient levels: Algae feeds on excess nutrients in the water, such as nitrates and phosphates. Regular water changes can help reduce these levels and prevent algae from taking over. Aim for weekly or bi-weekly water changes of 25-50% of the tank volume.
  3. Limit feeding: Overfeeding your goldfish can lead to excess waste and nutrient buildup in the tank, promoting algae growth. Feed your fish only what they can consume within a few minutes, removing any uneaten food afterwards.
  4. Regularly clean and maintain filters: A clogged or dirty filter can contribute to algae problems by reducing water circulation and oxygenation. Clean or replace filter media regularly as recommended by the manufacturer.
  5. Introduce algae-eating fish or invertebrates: Certain species like Siamese algae eaters, bristlenose plecos, amano shrimp, or nerite snails are known to consume algae and help keep it under control. However, be cautious when adding these species as some may not be compatible with goldfish.
  6. Add live plants: Aquatic plants compete with algae for nutrients, helping to naturally reduce its growth in the tank. Choose fast-growing plants like hornwort or water sprite that can absorb excess nutrients and shade out algae.
  7. Use an algaecide if necessary: If all else fails and your tank is overrun with stubborn algae, an algaecide specifically formulated for aquarium use may be necessary as a last resort. Follow the instructions carefully and consider removing your goldfish temporarily during treatment.

Tips for a Happy and Healthy Goldfish Tank

Provide hiding places for your goldfish by adding plants with broad leaves and dense foliage, such as Java fern or Anubias.

Avoiding toxic plants

When choosing plants for your goldfish tank, it is crucial to be mindful of potential toxins. Some plants can pose a danger to your aquatic friends if ingested or if their leaves and stems release harmful substances into the water.

To ensure the health and safety of your goldfish, avoid placing toxic plants such as lilies, daffodils, tulips, and ivy in their tank. Instead, opt for safe options like Java fern, Anubias, Marimo moss ball, Java moss, Water sprite, and Bolbitis fern.

These non-toxic plants will not only beautify your goldfish tank but also provide a natural environment that promotes happiness and well-being for your finned companions.

Providing hiding places

Hiding places are crucial for the well-being of your goldfish in a tank setting. Goldfish naturally seek shelter to feel secure and reduce stress, and adding plants to your aquarium can provide them with these essential hiding spots.

Live plants, such as Java fern, Anubias, and Bolbitis fern, offer the perfect cover for your aquatic friends while creating a beautiful underwater landscape. These plants not only enhance the aesthetics of your goldfish tank but also mimic their natural habitat by providing spaces for them to explore and retreat when needed.

By incorporating hiding places into your goldfish tank, you are promoting their overall health and happiness.

Regular water changes and filtration

Regular water changes and proper filtration are essential for maintaining a healthy goldfish tank. Here’s why:

  1. Water changes remove accumulated waste, excess nutrients, and toxins from the tank, ensuring clean water for your goldfish.
  2. By removing old water and replacing it with fresh, conditioned water, you can help dilute any harmful substances that may have built up over time.
  3. Regular water changes also help prevent the accumulation of ammonia and nitrites, which can be toxic to fish.
  4. Filtration systems play a crucial role in maintaining water quality by removing debris, uneaten food, and fish waste from the tank.
  5. A good filtration system will also provide mechanical and biological filtration to break down harmful substances such as ammonia and nitrites into less toxic forms.
  6. When performing water changes, make sure to match the temperature and pH of the new water to that of the existing tank water to avoid shocking your goldfish.
  7. Aim to change around 10 – 20% of the tank’s water every week or every two weeks, depending on the size of your tank and the number of goldfish you have.
  8. Vacuuming the substrate during water changes can help remove any debris that has settled there, preventing it from decomposing and affecting water quality.

Monitoring water parameters

Regular monitoring of water parameters is crucial to ensure a healthy and thriving goldfish tank. Here are the key water parameters that you should keep an eye on:

  1. Ammonia levels: Goldfish produce waste that breaks down into toxic ammonia. Test the ammonia levels regularly using a liquid test kit and aim for zero or very low levels. High ammonia can stress and harm your fish.
  2. Nitrite levels: As beneficial bacteria break down ammonia, it converts into nitrite, which is also toxic to goldfish. Regularly test for nitrite and aim for zero readings.
  3. Nitrate levels: Nitrates are the final product of the nitrogen cycle and are less harmful than ammonia and nitrite but still need monitoring. Keep nitrates below 40 parts per million (ppm) through regular water changes.
  4. pH level: Goldfish thrive in slightly alkaline water with a pH range of 7 to 8. Monitor pH levels weekly using a test kit and make adjustments if needed by adding appropriate buffering agents or using crushed coral as substrate.
  5. Temperature: Goldfish prefer cooler water temperatures between 65°F and 75°F (18°C to 24°C). Use a reliable aquarium thermometer to ensure the water stays within this range consistently.
  6. Dissolved oxygen: Adequate oxygen levels are crucial for the health of goldfish, especially in densely planted tanks where plants can consume oxygen at night. Ensure good surface agitation through an air pump, filter output, or aeration stone to maintain proper oxygenation.
  7. Hardness: Goldfish are adaptable to various water hardness levels but prefer moderately hard water with DH (degree hardness) around 10-12°dH. Test your water’s hardness regularly using test kits designed specifically for aquariums.

Fish compatibility considerations

Considering fish compatibility is crucial when choosing plants for your goldfish tank. Goldfish are known to be active and curious swimmers, which can sometimes result in them nibbling on or uprooting plants.

Therefore, it’s important to select sturdy and robust plants that can withstand the occasional intrusion from your finned friends. Additionally, some fish species may have a preference for certain types of plants or may exhibit aggressive behavior towards certain plant varieties.

Being aware of these considerations will help you create a harmonious environment where both your goldfish and the aquatic plants can thrive together.


In conclusion, adding live plants to your goldfish tank is a fantastic way to create a natural and healthy environment for your aquatic friends. Not only do these plants improve water quality and oxygenation, but they also provide a sense of security and stimulation for your goldfish.

Some top plant choices for goldfish tanks include Java Fern, Anubias, Hornwort, Amazon Sword, and Water Sprite. By properly maintaining and caring for these plants through proper lighting, temperature control, fertilization, and pruning techniques, you can ensure that both your goldfish and the overall aesthetic of your tank thrive.

So go ahead and enhance your goldfish’s habitat with some lush greenery – it’ll be sure to make their little fins wag with joy!


1. What are the benefits of having plants in a goldfish tank?

Having plants in a goldfish tank can provide several benefits, including oxygenating the water, absorbing harmful substances like nitrates and ammonia, providing hiding places for the fish, and adding visual appeal to the tank.

2. Which types of plants are best suited for a goldfish tank?

Some good plant options for a goldfish tank include Java fern, Anubias, Amazon swordplant, hornwort, and water sprite. These plants are hardy and can tolerate the conditions often found in goldfish tanks.

3. How do I properly care for aquatic plants in my goldfish tank?

To properly care for aquatic plants in your goldfish tank, it is important to provide adequate lighting (around 8-10 hours per day), use a substrate suitable for planted tanks, regularly fertilize with liquid or root tabs specifically formulated for aquarium plants, and trim any overgrown or decaying leaves as needed.

4. Can I keep live aquatic plants with artificial decorations in my goldfish tank?

Yes, you can keep live aquatic plants alongside artificial decorations in your goldfish tank. However, be sure to choose soft artificial decorations that won’t harm your fish or damage delicate plant leaves. It’s also essential to ensure there is enough space around the decorations for proper water circulation around the live plants.

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