17 Best Plants For Goldfish – Tips And Top Picks

Every goldfish owner wants to provide the best possible care for their fish. While they’re not as high maintenance as, say, saltwater fish require, they do still benefit from having the right plant in their aquarium. The best plants for goldfish will provide cover and a relaxing place to rest while also helping to remove waste and excess nutrients that can build up over time and harm your fish.

In this article, we will discuss some of the benefits of keeping plants in a goldfish tank, what you should look for in an ideal plant, and 17 of the best plants for goldfish that you can choose from.

Why Do Goldfish Benefit From Having Plants In A Tank?

Focus of comet goldfish

Goldfish are naturally peaceful fish and do well when kept in groups. They will often rest among the plants in your tank, making it an essential part of their habitat. In addition to providing cover and security, plants also play an important role in the overall health of your goldfish.

Plants help to remove waste and excess nutrients from the water, improving aquarium water quality and reducing the amount of work you need to do keeping your tank clean. They do so via the root systems, which serve as a type of bio filter. As your goldfish perform their natural duty, they will also eventually deposit excess food into the gravel at the base of each plant. In time, this will decompose and help to keep the substrate healthy as well.

In addition, plants also provide a source of oxygen to the water, which is especially important if you have an air pump or filter running. Goldfish produce more waste than most other types of fish, and oxygen can become depleted quickly in a tank that is overcrowded or filtered with inadequate equipment. Plants can help to prevent this from happening.

What Should You Look For In A Plant For Goldfish?

When looking for a plant to add to your goldfish tank, you’ll want to consider the following:

Have An Appropriate Ratio of Plants to Fish

Goldfish produce a lot of waste and organic matter every day, which can lead to issues with water quality if not dealt with. Too many fish will result in the oxygen getting used up quickly, while carbon dioxide levels will start to rise.

Plants can help to reduce the amount of work you need to do, but only if you give them a chance. The right number of plants in your tank is going to vary depending on factors like filtration and room for swimming, but as a general rule, aim for around 1 plant per gallon of water.

Choose Suitable Plants For Your Tank Environment

The goldfish in the water, in the cabinet.

Tropical versus cold-water or temperate? What about roots or no roots? All of these are things you should consider when choosing what types of plants to use. Tropical goldfish require different lighting and temperature conditions than other fish, so make sure the plant you choose can handle that before adding it to your tank.

Stem plants and root plants have different requirements too. A stem plants would do better in tanks with higher water agitation and flow, while root plants work well in tanks that aren’t filtered or where the substrate is very shallow.

The Aesthetics Matter Too

While you shouldn’t prioritize the look and feel of your fish tank over your fish’s health, it can still play a role in your ultimate choice. A good way to look at it is that the plants you choose should enhance the look of your tank, rather than distract from it.

Stick to general rules of thumb, such as using a background plant to cover the back wall of your tank and a tall plant in the center to provide height. Artificial plants that look like real plants can also be a good option if you want to achieve a specific look in your tank. Bear in mind that no matter how convincing your fake plants may look, real plants remain a must-have because of the biological benefits they provide.

Protect Your Plants Against Goldfish Attacks

One of the most common problems with adding plants to your fish tank is how easily they can be destroyed. The last thing you want is for your new plant to end up as a tasty snack for goldfish, so you’ll need to take steps before adding anything to protect your investment.

Use rocks or driftwood pieces to weigh down the base of each plant and help it stay in place. You can also use an aquarium-safe adhesive like Instant Hide at the base of every plant if you’re worried about it falling over when your goldfish are hungry. A third option is plastic plant guards, which act as a barrier between your fish and the plant.

Some plants can also be damaged by goldfish nibbling on them, so you’ll need to be careful with those too. The easiest way to protect them is by using a plant cover, which will stop your fish from being able to get to the leaves or stems.

The 17 Best Plants For Goldfish Tanks

Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to take a look at some of the best plants for goldfish tanks.

1. Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus)

Java Fern Red (Microsorum pteropus)

As far as beginner plants go, the Java fern is one of the best. It is a hardy plant that is easy to care for, and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. Java ferns do well in both tropical and cold-water tanks and doesn’t require any special substrate or lighting. All you need to do is attach it to a sturdy surface (rocks or driftwood work well) with some aquarium-safe adhesive and then let it grow.

Though they are small, Java ferns can provide a lot of hiding places for your fish and can help to improve water quality. They also look great in any tank, with their bright green leaves and red rhizomes. Remember that Java ferns are slow-growing, so you should only replace it once the current one has grown too big for your tank.

In short, Java ferns are a great choice for any beginner fish tank and are perfect for goldfish. Give them an appropriate amount of love and care, and we guarantee they’ll become one of yuour favorite plants in no time!

2. Crypts (Cryptocoryne wendtii)

Cryptocoryne wendtii

Crypts make another excellent choice for beginners, and they can also be a good choice for your goldfish tank. They are a low-maintenance plant that only requires regular water changes in order to survive, though it does have a number of other requirements too.

Crypts prefer soft water with a pH level around 6.5, and they should be located in the front of your tank (near the top) so they get plenty of light. You’ll need to keep crypts well trimmed, as their leaves can grow up to 12 inches long! If you don’t trim them regularly then there is a risk they will block out your fish’s access to sunlight and oxygen – which isn’t good for anyone involved!

You may also want to attach crypts directly to rocks or driftwood rather than planting them in the substrate. Crypts are slow-growing plants that attach themselves firmly to rocks, so you can just pick up a few pieces at a time and add them to your goldfish tank. 

3. Anubias (Anubias barteri)

Anubias Barteri
Image Source : flickr.com

With their green leaves and broad leaves, anubias plants make a beautiful addition to any goldfish tank. They are perfect for fishkeepers who want a low-maintenance plant, as they can survive in a wide range of water conditions and don’t need to be trimmed often. They also provide plenty of hiding places for your fish and can help to improve water quality.

Anubias plants prefer to be located in the background of your tank, so they should be placed towards the back and away from the light. They can be attached directly to rocks or driftwood with some aquarium-safe adhesive, or you can plant them in the substrate. Anubias plants are slow-growing and can take a while to reach their full size, so don’t worry if they seem small at first.

In addition, this is an affordable plant that is easy to find at your local pet store. This means that if your goldfish happens to turn this plant into their new favorite snack, it won’t break the bank if you need to replace it.

4. Amazon Sword (Echinodorus bleheri)

Amazon Sword Paniculatus Potted Live Aquarium Plants

Anyone who is accustomed to keeping goldfish will already be familiar with the Amazon sword plant, as it’s one of the best plants for goldfish tanks on the market. The reason for this is simple – this plant is tough enough to survive both fin-nipping and uprooting, making it an excellent choice for your average goldfish tank.

Not only can amazon swords handle a bit of rough housing from your goldfish, but they are also a beautiful plant. It has broad, green leaves that really stand out against the tank’s backdrop. Make sure that your tank size is adequate, as amazon swords can grow up to 18 inches tall.

To ensure you get the best results – and to keep it safe from hungry goldfish! – remember to place your amazon sword plant in the middle or back of your tank. These types of plants won’t grow too fast if they are placed towards the back, but they will still require occasional trimming. Also make sure to only use aquarium-safe adhesive when attaching these plants to rocks or driftwood 

5. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum
Image Source: dustinsfishtanks.com

The Pothos plant is the furthest thing from sensitive species and can survive in a wide range of water conditions, making it ideal for the beginner fishkeeper. This flexible plant is also undemanding in the way of care regimens, making it a perfect low-maintenance plant addition to any aquarium.

Pothos plants come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all have heart-shaped leaves that are variegated with either green or white markings. They can be placed in the background or foreground of your tank, and can even be grown as a hanging plant. No wonder this is such a popular plant among fishkeepers!

Since pothos plants are so hardy, they make a great choice for goldfish tanks that are home to more aggressive fish. In fact, they are often used as sacrificial plants in these types of tanks since they can withstand a lot of abuse. If you’re looking for an attractive and low-maintenance plant for your tank, the pothos is a great option. Just make sure to keep an eye on it, as pothos plants can grow quickly!

6. Onion Plant (Crinum calamistratum)

Onion Plant

Native to Africa, the onion plant is a hardy aquatic plant that can adapt to a wide range of water conditions. It has long, strap-like leaves that can reach up to 2 feet in length, and produces fragrant white flowers. This rhizome plant can be easily propagated by dividing the tubers, making it a great choice for beginning aquarists.

Onion plants prefer to grow in shady areas of the tank, so make sure to place them in an area where they will receive some indirect light. The best way to do this is to place them near the back of the tank or in a corner. They can also be grown as a potted plant and placed on the aquarium’s edge.

As far was water parameters go, onion plants can tolerate a range of conditions. They prefer water with a pH level around 6.5-7.5, and can even survive in soft or brackish water. This makes onion plants an excellent choice for goldfish tanks that have slightly alkaline or softened water!

7. Anacharis (Elodea canadensis)

Anacharis
Image Source : flickr.com

Looking for a coldwater stem plant that is easy to care for? Anacharis, also known as waterweed, is a great choice. This plant is native to North America and can easily adapt to a range of water conditions. It has thin, green leaves that grow in clusters and produces small white flowers.

Anacharis can be easily propagated by cuttings, making it a great choice for beginning aquarists. Baby plants will grow quickly and can be harvested for replanting in other tanks. They will look right at home among other the beautiful aquarium plants in your goldfish tank, and will provide your fish with a comfortable place to hide and rest.

To help the anacharis plant thrive, make sure to provide it with cleaner water and plenty of light. It prefers water that is slightly acidic with a pH level of 6.5-7.0, so it is a good choice for tanks with soft water. Anacharis can also tolerate low-light levels, making it an excellent choice for tanks that don’t have a lot of natural light. For more info on how to care for anacharis, check out this care guide.

8. Java moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri)

Java Moss

If you have an aquarium without substrate, but need a hardy little plant to get rid of excess nitrates in your aquarium environment, the Java Moss is the plant for you! This easy-to-grow moss is key to any healthy aquarium environment, as it will produce oxygen and absorb nitrates. It is extremely hardy, too–it can survive in low light environments with temperatures between 68°F (20°C) and 86°F (30°C).

Java Moss has long green strands with small leaves that look like little mushrooms. Like most aquatic plants, it requires well-aerated water, but does well even without additional carbon dioxide supplements. This makes it a great choice for goldfish tanks that do not have very strong filtration systems or CO2 injection–just make sure not to overuse this plant since Java

Many aquarists appreciate that this plant makes their goldfish tanks look like a lush forest property. We promise that your goldfish will enjoy exploring this moss as much as you do! Since it is so versatile, your fish will have plenty of comfort and security among all those little stems and leaves.

9. Marimo Moss Ball

Unbekannte Alge
Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org

If you have a bare-bottom goldfish tank, you may be looking for a low-maintenance plant to help cover up the unattractive surface. Look no further than the Marimo Moss Ball! These little moss balls are native to Japan and can easily adapt to a range of environments. They are often found in cold, still bodies of water such as lakes and ponds.

Marimo Moss Balls have a round, spongy texture with dark green leaves. Each ball of fun grows very slowly, so you don’t have to worry about them overtaking your tank. In fact, they can do wonders for your water quality and your goldfish’s natural environment by cleaning impurities out of the water.

You can purchase these little guys at most pet stores, or alternatively you can grow your own by purchasing some moss from a garden supply store! Check out this guide to find out how to care for a Marimo Ball. You’ll be sure to fall in love with these cute, round balls! 

10. Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides)

3 Water Sprite (Ceratopteris Thalictroides) Live Aquarium Stem Plant

Water Sprite is a beautiful plant that grows into an impressive mass of soft, green leaves. It attaches itself to rocks and other surfaces with roots that hang down like ribbons, creating a gorgeous underwater landscape.

Water Sprite is an excellent plant for goldfish tanks because it thrives in sunny environments and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. Like most hardy plants, Water Sprite requires well-aerated water to thrive but does not require supplemental carbon dioxide. This makes it a great choice for goldfish tanks that do not have very strong filtration systems or CO2 injections.

Goldfish enjoy swimming among the long, trailing leaves of the Water Sprite plant. It is also a great hiding place for shy goldfish. However, if you have a lot of this plant in your tank, be sure to watch out for its sharp leaves–they can easily damage delicate fins. Your safest bet is to keep a moderate amount of this plant in your tank to enjoy its beauty without posing a danger to your fish.

11. Duckweed (Lemna minor)

Duckweed aquarium plant.

Known for its ease of care and extremely rapid growth rate, Duckweed is quickly becoming one of the most popular plants for goldfish tanks. This floating plant is native to North America and can be found in many bodies of water. Usually, it floats on top of the water’s surface, spreading out into a circular mat of green plant matter.

Duckweed is a great choice for goldfish tanks because it thrives in most water conditions and does not require supplemental carbon dioxide. It also grows very quickly, making it the perfect choice for busy aquarists. In fact, you may find that you have to remove some of this plant from your tank every few days to keep its population under control!

Goldfish enjoy swimming among the floating leaves of Duckweed. This plant also helps to oxygenate the water and reduce algae growth. It is a great choice for novice aquarists who are looking for an easy-to-maintain plant. As a bonus, Duckweed can be used as a nutritious treat for your goldfish. You are likely to spot them nibbling on the leaves from time to time! 

12. Bolbitis Fern

Bolbitis Difformis Baby Leaf Fern

Also known as the African water fern, the Bolbitis fern is a beautiful, lacy plant that makes a great addition to any goldfish tank. Its feathery leaves lend a touch of elegance to any underwater scene, while its ease of growth means you’ll have a lush green landscape in no time.

Bolbitis Fern is an excellent plant for goldfish tanks because it can tolerate light to moderate amounts of water flow. It will grow best in shaded areas with soft, acidic water between pH 5 and 7.5. This fern strives in very humid environments, so you may even find that you need to mist the tank occasionally so its soil does not dry out!

Goldfish enjoy grazing on the leaves of this beautiful fern as well as swimming around among its branches. As an added bonus, Bolbitis ferns help to reduce algae growth and improve water quality! Just be careful when planting or moving this fern- its delicate leaves can easily snap off.

13. Hornwort

Hornwort

Hornwort is one of the hardiest plants for goldfish tanks, making it a great choice for even beginner aquarists. This plant can tolerate almost any water conditions and does not require carbon dioxide injections. Its ability to withstand varying conditions makes it an excellent choice for goldfish who are sensitive to changes in their environment.

Hornwort thrives when planted at the bottom of the tank. Yes, they are heavy root feeders! This means that root tabs or liquid fertilizer should be added to the tank on a regular basis to ensure its healthy growth. In addition, Hornwort helps to oxygenate the water and reduce algae growth.

The leaves on this plant have pointy edges, so use caution when planting or moving it. Goldfish are known to snack on the leaves of this plant, so be sure to keep an eye on your fish during feeding times.

14. Aponogetonaceae

Aponogeton crispus
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Aponogetonaceae is colloquially known as the “water hawthorn.” It is a fairly small plant that thrives in shaded, nutrient-rich water. With its wide, spade-shaped leaves and crisp white blossoms, this plant is a beautiful addition to any goldfish tank.

Aponogetonaceae should be planted in submerged pots or root tabbed at the base of the tank. Under optimal conditions, this plant can grow up to 12 inches tall! As is the case with most fast-growing plants, you will need to make sure there are no obstructions above it because it will only stretch so high before running out of space.

Goldfish enjoy grazing on the leaves of this plant as well as swimming around among its branches. It is an excellent plant for goldfish tanks because it can tolerate light to moderate amounts of water flow and does not require carbon dioxide supplementation. 

15. Vallisneria

Vallisneria
Image Source : wikimedia.org

The Vallisneria plant is an excellent choice if you are looking for a strong, fast-growing plant that will help to turn your goldfish tank into an underwater garden. This plant can grow up to 6 inches per day under optimal conditions!

This hardy plant thrives in water with high nutrient content. It has a moderate care level, and can withstand various lighting conditions and tolerates fluctuating pH levels, making it the ideal underwater garden staple for both beginner and advanced aquarists alike.

Vallisneria also helps to oxygenate the water by releasing bubbles of oxygen through its roots (similar to how plants on land release oxygen). Don’t be deterred by the fact that each blade looks like a single leaf- this plant has tough leaves that can stand up to the abuse of even the most rambunctious goldfish.

16. Cabomba

Carolina fanwort
Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Cabomba is a vigorous underwater garden plant that thrives in nutrient-rich water. With its beautiful bright green leaves and pointy yellow flowers, it makes an excellent addition to any goldfish tank. Though this plant doesn’t require any special care, it does require proper fertilization, so be sure to keep it in a tank that is stocked with fish who will help to keep the nutrients in the water balanced.

Cabomba may look like one single leaf, but there are actually multiple leaves fanning out on each stem, similar to how some aquatic plants grow on land. This plant can also be pruned back if it starts impeding your goldfish’s path or gets too big for the tank. Under optimal conditions, this plant can grow up to 12 inches tall!

Just be sure to keep the leaves safe from the attacks of goldfish, as even though they are tough, goldfish will eat them. We love our feisty fishy friends, but we know they are prone to destructive behavior!

17. Brazilian Pennywort

Brazilian pennywort
Image Source: flickr.com

Last but not least, we have the Brazilian pennywort. This plant is a great choice if you want a plant with minimal care requirements. To add to its appeal as a beginner-friendly plant, it rewards aquarists with a rapid growth rate, sprouting beautiful, attractive leaves and delicate white flowers at an astonishing pace.

This plant can be kept in any type of tank, but prefers a shady spot with some current. Brazilian pennywort is also tolerant of a wide range of water conditions and does not require CO2 supplementation. It’s no wonder this plant is one of the most popular on the market!

Conclusion

We hope you’ve found this list helpful and that it has given you some ideas for plants to add to your goldfish tank. Remember, the key to a healthy and thriving tank is variety- so mix and match these plants to create an underwater garden that will be enjoyed by both you and your fish!

Did you find this article helpful?  If so, please take a minute to share it with your friends, or drop us a comment below with your thoughts. This helps us out tremendously, and we really appreciate your support!

Alison Page has been an avid fish keeper for over 35 years and has owned many different species of freshwater tropical fish including bettas. Currently Alison has two large freshwater tanks. The first tank has two huge fancy goldfish who are almost ten years old and still looking as good as ever. In the other, she has a happy community of tiger barbs, green tiger barbs, corydoras catfish, platys, and mollies.

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