Best Live, Floating Aquarium Plants with Long Roots

By Eddie Waithaka @aquariawise

Best Live Floating Aquarium Plants with Long Roots

Floating aquarium plants with long roots add interest in fish tanks and provide new areas for shrimp and fish to hide. Most of these floaters will also clean your water by removing excess nutrients from leftover fish food and waste in your water column.

So, if you’ve filled the bottom half of your aquarium but the top half empty, I recommend adding floating plants with long roots that hang down.

However, you’ll note that many floating aquarium plants only grow small roots hanging just below the water line!

If you are looking for aquarium floater plants that will develop longer roots, frogbit, dwarf water lettuce, red root floaters, leaf water sprite, Salvinia minima (and cucullate), water hyacinth, and pothos vine.

Get more insight below!

Which Aquarium Plants Float on Water and Have Long Roots

As mentioned above, only a handful of floating aquarium plants have long roots. From experience, I can come up with these 👇 seven, but I’m sure there are a few others!

1— Amazon Frog Bit (Limnobium spongia)

This plant has long, dangling roots that can reach several inches long. It absorbs excess nutrients from the water and provides natural hiding spots for fish. Frogbit and dwarf water lettuce are the two main long-root floaters in the hobby.

Amazon frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum) can grow roots that up to 20-30 centimeters (8-12 inches) long. Frogbit roots are thin and feathery and can provide a lot of surface area for beneficial bacteria to colonize, which helps improve water quality in an aquarium or pond.

Amazon frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum) is generally considered an easy beginner aquarium plant. It is a relatively hardy plant and can tolerate a range of water parameters. However, to ensure optimal growth and health, it is best to maintain the following water parameters:

However, note that Amazon frogbit is a fast grower that will quickly cover your entire fish tank if not contrilled, preventing light from penetrating to lower levels of the tank and inhibit growth of other plants in the aquarium.

2— Dwarf Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes)

This plant has long, feathery roots that can reach 10-20 centimeters (4-8 inches) in length. They’ll create a beautiful spectacle in your fish tank and provides natural hiding spots for fish. The plant grows fast and is easy to maintain, even for beginners.

Dwarf water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) is a relatively hardy plant and can tolerate a range of water parameters. However, to ensure optimal growth and health, it is best to maintain the following water parameters:

3— Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)

This plant perhaps has the longest floating roots of all the species mentioned in our list. Hyacinth grows long, thick roots that dangle beneath the water column, almost reaching the substrate when the conditions are right.

Please note that in some regions, water hyacinth is considered an invasive species, which is illegal to sell, transport, or possess but might be legal to use in aquariums in other areas.

4— Red Root Floater (Phyllanthus fluitans)

Red root floater is a plant with delicate, red-tinted leaves and long, trailing roots that can reach several inches long. Red rooters are best when you want more vibrance and contrast in your fish tank.

Red root floaters are moderatly hard to grow in a fish tank with the right conditions. They are a floating aquatic plant that can help absorb excess nutrients in the water and provide shelter and hiding places for fish and other aquarium inhabitants.

Bright, indirect lighting, moderate to high levels of light is best for red flooters, but direct sunlight can be too intense and can cause the plant to wilt or burn.

5— Leaf Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides)

A popular floating plant with long, feathery roots that can reach up to 10-20 centimeters (4-8 inches) long. It’s one of the most versatile aquarium plants because it can grow floating, in a substrate, or attached to driftwood or aquascapes without dying off.

To grow water sprite as a floating plant, allow the plant to float on the water surface. The plant will develop roots that hang down into the water, absorb nutrients and help to keep the plant anchored.

6— Salvinia (Minima, cuccallata)

Salvinia species are a priced floating aquarium plant that are easy to maintain and can develop stunning long roots with the right conditions. Salvinia minima and cuccallata are your safest bets.

When floating at the surface, Salvinia plants develop a system of fine, hair-like roots that are typically no longer than a few centimeters.

7—Pothos Vine

Not a floating plant or even strictly aquatic, but Pothos vine made this list because it grows in aquariums sending its extensive roots inside the water almost to the substrate. Pothos plants will grow beautifuly long roots and provide excellent biological filtration and new areas for your shrimp to hide.

They can also help to oxygenate the water, which impacts the health of your fish.

You can grow them in a planter or container placed on top of the aquarium and let the plant roots dangle down, allowing them to absorb nutrients and toxins from the water.

Do Floating Aquatic Plants Have Roots

Floating aquatic plants do not have traditional roots like those that grow on land or in soil. Instead, they have specialized root-like structures called adventitious roots that absorb nutrients directly from the water.

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