Artificial plants made of silk and plastic have emerged as great options for aquarium lovers who want to add some green elements into their tanks. Whether you plan on adding these plants to your goldfish tank or saltwater aquarium, they can certainly come up with striking results.
Although real plants are commonly touted as the best options because of their ability to control algae growth and improve water quality, they do have their challenges. For instance, they would require regular maintenance to keep nutrient deficiencies at bay, and are even responsible for suffocating smaller fish at times.
So what can you possibly use as an alternative to plants with these requirements? Let’s take a look at some of the best artificial and silk aquarium plants that look real, and we’ll give you the reasons why they’re a better choice.
Best Artificial and Silk Plants For Your Aquarium
Now that you have a good grasp on what makes a quality faux plant, it’s time you check out some of the best ones on the market. Here are some great suggestions to help you get started:
1. CNZ Aquarium Green Lifelike Underwater Plastic Plant
If you have a soft spot for something that closely resembles real-world plants, then you’ll love CNZ’s artificial aquarium plants. What’s great about this product is that its leaves come in various shades of green and brown, which makes it look very natural and almost like they’re real.
It also looks great in most aquarium setups because of its big size (approximately 10 inches tall) and the way it’s designed. One cool feature about this product is that you can remove parts of its leaves without affecting the overall appearance of your tank. This may not be an extra-large plant, but the ability to customize it is definitely a plus.
Price-wise, these plants are slightly more expensive than most in the market. However, since you can use them for various aquarium setups and they last for quite some time, the price shouldn’t be much of an issue.
2. QUMY Large Aquarium Plants
Want a large plant that’s realistic-looking, safe for your fish, and easy to maintain? QUMY’s large aquarium plant is exactly what you’re looking for! It may look like a miniature tree, but this plant is actually made from a soft plastic material. Its leaves and stems are tightly gathered together, which helps it maintain its structure without going limp even during water changes or when playing with it.
It’s large enough to fit most aquariums without any problems, and it also comes with a ceramic base that prevents it from floating during water changes. You can easily attach this plant onto stones or rocks of any size, or simply bury it in the gravel for a more natural look. You can’t go wrong as long as you place it so that it doesn’t get in the way of your fish.
With such a large plant, you may be wondering how you could possibly find the time to clean it. It’s certainly not an easy task! Fortunately, QUMY has thought of that and designed this plant in such a way that all you need to do is use warm water and your hands to remove algae and debris without damaging its structure. No need for any additional tools – simply give it a nice scrub and let the water do its work!
3. MyLifeUNIT Artificial Seaweed Water Plants for Aquarium
Artificial seaweed plants are a fantastic way to add a touch of nature to your tank without expecting too much from it! Got a very large aquarium that you want to fill with something? These plants are great for larger setups since they’re made from plastic and artificial materials.
These plants come with faux rock bases that will help prevent them from floating and sinking within the tank. They’re very easy to clean and maintain, which is always a major plus. With 10 plants per package, you get quite a lot of bang for your buck!
MyLifeUNIT’s seaweed also comes in various colors. Of course, the standard green is always there, but they also have pink and purple if you want to add some color to your tank. It’s perfect for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums!
4. Penn-Plax Betta Multi-Color Aquarium Plants
First on our list is something that’s fun, colorful, and easy on your wallet. The Penn-Plax Betta Multi-Color Aquarium Plants include a mix of green, pink, and purple silk plants that add some flair to any freshwater tank. Each package comes with three fake plant varieties that are sold at the price of one, so you get multiple looks for the price of one.
Measuring approximately 4 inches in height, these plants are a great choice for small aquariums, such as those housing betta fish. They may not look as real as the other plants listed, but they do a pretty decent job in brightening up their space and creating a more peaceful environment for your fishy friends.
The best part of these Penn-Plax plants is that they are non-toxic, fade-resistant, and very easy to clean, which is perfect for those who have fish that like to nibble on their plants. You can clean these faux plants using a toothbrush dipped in household soap, making them practically germ-free.
5. GloFish Aquarium Plant (Various Colors)
GloFish isn’t just known for their fish, they also have a line of plants to go with their tanks! Whether you’re looking for a purple plant to go with your purple fish or you want a little bit of green to make the tank look more natural, they have something for everyone!
GloFish recommends using a blue LED light to highlight the bright colors of their plants. These unique plants come in two parts, a plant base and lightweight plastic leaves that sway and move with the water current. Those days of boring, fake plants are over! We guarantee you’ll have a fishy friend or two checking out your GloFish plants and rejoicing over the new look.
6. Otterly Pets Aquarium Plants
Now, if you’re looking for something that is rather unusual but still fits the bill when it comes to good-looking plants, then Otterly Pets’ aquarium plants may be for you. These fake aquarium plants embrace their wild side, with their stunning array of blue, purple, and green hues.
Not only do they look great on their own, but they also make a nice accent to any tank with their bright color and lively appearance. Each plastic aquarium plant measures between 4 to 12 inches in height, so it’s perfect for both small and larger aquarium setups. It also helps to keep the tank safe, as these plants are non-toxic and do not contain any chemicals that may harm your fishy friends.
Since they’re made from plastic, these plants are extremely easy to clean and maintain. So if you want something that will give your aquarium a different look without the hassle, then these plants are definitely for you.
7. 8-inch Marina Ecoscaper Silk Plant
Looking for a realistic silk plant that’s not too expensive? Marina’s Ecoscaper silk plant may be for you!
This beautiful plant looks nothing like your typical fake plants, with its realistic texture and neutral color. Even when the light is off, it still manages to look great because of its subtle coloring. The leaves are also curved in a way that makes them look alive, so your fish won’t have any trouble pretending they’re in an actual environment.
The best part about this plant is its price. For only 24 dollars, you get a large plant that measures around 8 inches tall. You can also use it for larger setups, as long as the tank has enough height to accommodate it. Trust us – your fish will definitely thank you for this purchase!
8. Current USA Weighted Base Bayou Manzanita Branch Aquarium Plant
If you’re looking for something with an abstract, minimalist design, then Current USA’s Weighted Base Bayou Manzanita Branch Aquarium Plant may be for you. Unlike most aquarium plants that are greenish or have light colors, this plant features branches as its sole design feature. It’s designed to look like a manzanita branch, with its brown color and twisted form.
It’s also weighted, so it can sink into the tank without any hassle. There’s no need to use rocks or pebbles to secure this plant since its weight is sufficient for it not to float during water changes. It may look fragile, but each branch contains a strong yet flexible plastic inside them that allows you to move around the branches without breaking them.
Seahorse keepers tend to be especially fond of this plant, as these branches are perfect for seahorses to latch onto. It’s a great way to add a touch of wildness to the tank, while also keeping your pets safe. Though it’s more expensive than other aquarium plants on the list, its unique design keeps things interesting while also guaranteeing cleanliness and convenience. For many, this plant is totally worth it!
9. Zoo Med Betta Bed Leaf Fish Hammock
We’re not kidding when we say this is the cutest, most ingenious aquarium plant we’ve ever seen! While not a traditional aquarium plant, this stylish leaf hammock is perfect for bettas and other fish that prefer to rest on leaves. The suction cup can be easily attached to the walls of your tank to create a cozy little spot for your fish to rest on.
Not only does this hammock look gorgeous, but it’s also made from a soft and comfortable material that won’t irritate your betta or any other fish that likes resting on leaves. There’s a natural texture and feel to it that bettas absolutely love – in fact, you might find your fish sleeping on this leaf rather than in its usual castle or cave! As an added bonus, the bright green color works perfectly as a natural and easy-to-spot refuge in your fish’s tank.
Use this leaf hammock in your betta’s habitat to add a touch of style and comfort without sacrificing convenience or cleanliness! We’re sure you’ll find that it’s the perfect addition to any betta aquarium out there.
10. GloFish Aquarium Anemone Ornament
If you’re looking for a plant that’s both unique and affordable, this is the perfect choice for you. Made from soft yet durable plastic, this yellow anemone will add a pop of color to your tank while serving as the perfect home for your favorite invertebrates.
By providing a comfortable and safe place for small shrimp or crabs to hide, this anemone adds a touch of fun and a pop of color to your tank. It doesn’t get in the way of your tank’s filtration system, and it’s small enough to fit virtually anywhere you want it to go. This anemone also comes with a built-in weighted base to ensure that it doesn’t float away during water changes or when playing with it.
Arguably the best part about this anemone is its price. It’s also significantly smaller than most other aquarium plants, which makes it ideal for smaller tanks or multi-tank setups where you can’t afford to give each tank its own large plant. Our pro tip? Use a blue LED light to create a glowing, luminescent effect that makes your anemone look even more remarkable!
Choosing The Right Artificial Plant
Before going into the best options, it is important to note that choosing the right artificial plant depends on several factors. These factors will have a significant impact on the overall look and feel of your fish tank, so you need to carefully consider them before making your purchase.
Here are some things to think about:
Compatibility With Fish Species
The first thing to consider is compatibility. Ensure that you’re choosing a plant that doesn’t pose any danger to your tank’s inhabitants. If you have delicate fish or long-finned fish, go for something with silk leaves that are more flexible and pliable for easier navigation. This will protect your fish from cuts and injuries as they swim through the tank.
Fish owners with aggressive fish should also look for something with denser and more rigid leaves. A particularly determined fish is capable of cutting through silk and plastic, so it is best to opt for a sturdy plant that can withstand these attacks. The same principle applies if your tank is home to herbivorous fish species that may want to eat the plant. You don’t want the leaves to detach too easily, so choose something that can stay intact.
The final aspect of compatibility lies in your artificial plant’s ability to provide cover for fish that need it. For example, dwarf shrimp are very shy creatures that are intimidated by humans, so they would need fuller plants that can double as a shelter for fish and invertebrates. Taking advantage of this is a great way to give them the privacy they deserve.
Size of Fish Tank
Yet another important consideration to make is the size and dimensions of your tank. It might seem a little obvious, but larger tanks require taller plants to produce a striking visual impact. We’re not urging you to head out and buy a 36-inch-tall fake plant, but think of the way aquatic plants flourish in the wild. You want your tank to have that same impression, don’t you?
On the other hand, smaller tanks require shorter artificial plants, but this doesn’t mean that they can’t look striking. For instance, tall plants that resemble the Amazon Sword (Echinodorus bleheri) will look great in 10-gallon tanks because of their bushy manes. Plants with feathery or threadlike leaves are also a good idea, so you might want to take a closer look at them too.
Of course, you also don’t want to complicate things and buy a plant that is too tall for your tank. Whatever you do, always ensure that the fake plant’s height and width balance each other out, so you don’t end up with a lopsided-looking tank. The goal is to achieve a rustic but elegant aquarium that will look stunning at any time of the day.
Quality of Faux Plant Material
One of the greatest differences between faux plants vs. real plants is that the former has a shelf life. False plants, especially those made of silk and plastic, will eventually wear down over time. Something that originally resembled a green water plant may take on a white or yellowish hue after two to three years. This is why you should always buy a quality artificial plant whenever possible.
Cheap plants are likely to experience degradation soon after you buy them. They might even warp or melt if they are exposed to high temperatures for too long – those who have opted for a cheaper centerpiece plant only to have it melt in the heat should know what we’re talking about.
If you’ve got the budget for it, buy quality artificial plants that can last for years even if they are exposed to water daily. You will need to maintain them, but top-quality materials require very little effort to look great again. For instance, check out this easy guide on how to clean silk aquarium plants! It’s so easy that you can do it without any extra expenditure.
Faux Plant Design
This next aspect has a lot to do with individual preferences and taste, so remember to let your preferences drive your selection. The look and feel of a faux plant directly affects how your tank looks in a visual sense, so make sure you opt for plants with a design that you will love – whether that’s a large, multi-colored plant or a small, lifelike plant.
Although many aquarists gravitate towards natural-looking plants placed among natural rocks, an increasing number of hobbyists are becoming fans of boldly-colored plants that stand out from the usual green of live plants. Bright, unconventional plant colors lend a certain touch of joie de vivre to the tank that may be lacking in more natural-looking plants.
You can also opt for something like a blue silk plant placed in between bushier, grass-like fake plants if you’re looking for the best of both worlds. Many manufacturers have started producing plant sets that include a mix of real and fake-looking plants. This way, you get to experiment to your heart’s content to see what best compliments your tastes and preferences.
Stability of Plant Base
Last but not least, stability is a vital aspect of an artificial plant, no matter what it looks like. You want your tank to look perfect at all times, so the last thing you want are plastic plants with weak bases that will topple over if the weight of the water causes too much pressure on it, or if your fish decides to play with it.
Choose a faux plant equipped with a weighted base that can stand upright on its own, even if you put a powerful filter inside the tank. You can test the stability of fake plant bases by filling the tank with water, then placing the plant inside it to see whether or not it wobbles under pressure. Another quick tip is to check the product description of the item you’re thinking of buying – most manufacturers will provide important information about base stability on their website.
If you find that a particular faux plant isn’t stable enough – perhaps its base is too lightweight to counterbalance the weight and design of the plant. For instance, narrower plants tend to be more stable than wide ones because the weight of the water can be more evenly distributed in a vertical column. So you can also opt for a wider plant base to balance the merits of both types.
We hope our list has helped you find the perfect aquarium plant for your tank! There are plenty of options out there, so be sure to try different types of plants and see which one works best with your fish.
What’s your favorite kind of aquarium plant? Let us know in the comments section below! And if you’re looking for more awesome stuff to do with your tank, check out our article on the best types of community fish to keep in your aquarium!