What are The Best Live Plants For A Goldfish Tank

By Eddie Waithaka @aquariawise

Can You Put Live Plants in A Goldfish Tank

You can have live plants in your goldfish, but your fish will eat or (and) uproot them. So, you must have plenty of them and species that will grow faster than your goldfish can feed on.

Ensure you choose the right plants for a goldfish tank, as some may be too delicate. Java fern, Anubias, and Amazon swords are the best. Frogbit is an ideal floating species or java moss if you want a carpet plant for your goldfish tank.

Can You Put Live Plants in Goldfish Tank—Best Choices

When selecting plants for a goldfish tank, get hardy species that will grow faster than your fish can eat them. You also want heavy feeders to remove the excess nitrates your goldfish produce from their waste.

Java fern and anubius are some of the best plants for goldfish tanks, but more than a dozen others will thrive with proper care.

See the list below:

1— Anubius

Anubias works well in a goldfish tank. The plants don’t taste all that great goldies, and most will nibble at the roots instead of the leaves.

Anubias also have tough and leathery leaves that are not easily digestible, and goldfish are primarily herbivorous and prefer softer vegetation.

The plant is hardy (but slow-growing) and often recommended for beginners. It can be attached to driftwood or rocks and tolerate low to moderate lighting conditions.

Note that goldfish are notorious for uprooting and nibbling on plants, and they may damage Anubias and other rooted plants. Consider planting your plant in a container to protect it from being eaten.

2— Java Fern

Java fern is another hardy plant great for beginners and goldfish tanks. The plant can tolerate varying water conditions and grow on sand or attached to rocks or driftwood.

Consider attaching the Java fern to a rock or driftwood to keep it in place and reduce the chances of the goldfish uprooting it. If you must grow your plants on sand or gravel, hold them down with weights.

Additionally, providing your goldfish with plenty of food and enrichment can help reduce their interest in nibbling your Java fern.

3— Vallisneria

Vallisneria is an aquatic plant that can thrive in varying water parameters and temperatures, making it an ideal option for a goldfish tank. Vallisneria is not typically the preferred food for goldfish, but they may occasionally nibble on the plant.

It is also a rooting plant, and your goldfish may uproot it, so you may need to anchor your plants to the substrate or use heavier substrates that prevent your goldfish from uprooting plants.

Alternatively, attach your Vallisneria to a heavy anchor, which cannot be dug up, like metal plant weights.

4— Anacharis

Anacharis is a favorite snack for goldfish fish will often nibble its foliage. However, anacharis has fast growth and will likely replenish faster than your goldfish can devour it.

Your goldfish will eat your anacharis less often when you offer them enough food with flakes and vegetables for a varied diet.

Try to keep the fish away from tiny anacharis growths in your tank. Protect the plants until they are sizable before you let your goldfish feed on the foliage.

Please note that anacharis are rooting plants, so attach them to weights to keep your goldfish from digging them up from the substrate.

5— Water Lettuce

Water lettuce is a floating aquatic plant that can be an ideal addition to a goldfish tank. It provides shade, shelter, and a natural food source for your goldfish.

Water lettuce will grow under proper conditions faster than your goldfish can eat it, but be careful because it can also take over your fish tank if left unchecked.

Remove any excess plant material that may accumulate in the tank. Overgrown plants will overcrowd your tank and stress your fish.

6— Frogbit

Frogbit is a type of aquatic plant that belongs to the family Hydrocharitaceae. The plant will grow free-floating hence a perfect option for goldfish.

Frogbit does not have any roots that anchor it to the ground. Instead, it floats at the water’s surface, with its roots dangling beneath it, so your goldfish has nothing to uproot while digging the substrate.

However, goldfish have an appetite for frogbit, so you may want plenty of it growing in your fish tank.

7— Water Wisteria

Water wisteria is a stem plant with leaves arranged in an alternate pattern along the stem. Your goldfish will feed on the foliage, but the plant is hardy enough to sustain minimal damage from your goldie.

Water wisteria is relatively easy to care for and is tolerant of a wide range of water conditions. It can thrive in high and low light conditions but may require some nutrients to grow properly.

You can trim and shape it to create different looks even after your goldfish feeds on it, as long as the conditions in your fish tank are perfect for plant growth.

Your water wisteria will perform better in a goldfish tank when you supplement it with fertilizer, C02, and proper lighting because this helps the plant grow faster than your fish can feed on it.

8— Amazon Swords

Amazon sword plants have long, green leaves that can reach 20 inches and grow up to 12 inches tall. They are known to purify water in aquariums by absorbing harmful toxins and waste products hence a perfect choice for goldfish tanks.

They will remove the excess nitrates caused by your goldies’ high bio load and also helps limit algae growth in your fish tank.

Goldfish have a taste for Amazon swords and will nibble on the long leaves. However, they are not likely to cause any substantial damage to healthy swords because of their plant’s size.

You only need to make sure you plants remain healthy, with proper lighting, fertilization, and C02 to sustain the damage.

Amazon swords are rooting plants, so you will need to anchor them in the substrate with plant weights.

8— Hygrophila

Hygrophila, like Amazon sword, is an excellent aquarium water purifier.

The plant will absorb harmful toxins and waste products and grow floating in a fish tank. Goldfish do not have an appetite for this aquatic plant, which adds to its suitability for goldie aquariums.

However, a shortage of nutrients causes pale, weak leaves, which are susceptible to damage by goldfish, so ensure you add C02 and fertilizer (micro, macros) for healthy and sturdy hygro plants.

Blue, red, and Hygrophila Difformis are all ideal options for your goldfish tank.

9— Java Moss

Java moss is arguably the best carpet plant for a goldfish tank. It’s easy to start and maintain and is hardy enough to sustain occasional bites from your fish.

To keep your goldfish from eating your Java moss carpets, feed and stimulate them adequately because they damage plants more when hungry or bored.

Attach your Java moss on rocks or driftwood if your goldfish (is) are heavy plant eaters.

Note that Java moss grows in low-tech settings and will not consume all the nutrients from your goldfish waste. So, add them with heavy feeders, such as Hygrophila, to keep the levels down and stop algae from developing in your fish tank.

How to Grow Plants in Your Goldfish Tank

Goldfish eat everything and will even tear up plants they don’t like. So, to ensure your plants thrive, grow species that goldfish do not enjoy and some that grow faster than your fish can eat.

Weight down all your plants, especially rooting species, like Amazon swords, to keep your goldfish from uprooting them. You may also want more of the species you can attach to rocks, driftwood, and scapes or grow floating on the water column.

Use fast-growing or sturdy plants, like water lettuce, anacharis, and Vallisneria, interspaced with a bunch of anubius and Java fern. At the bottom, use goldfish-resistant carpets, such as Java Moss, and leaves spaces on the sand or gravel for your goldfish to dig.

Are Live (Real) Plants Better for Goldfish

Live (real) plants are beneficial in goldfish tanks as they help improve water quality and provide a natural environment for your fish. Live plants absorb nitrates, ammonia, and other waste products, helping to reduce the build-up of harmful toxins in the water.

Live plants can also provide hiding places for your goldfish, reduce stress, and make your tank more visually appealing than fake plants.

However, you must pick the appropriate plants for your goldfish tank. You do not want plant species that your fish can uproot or readily damage.

Goldfish are notorious plant-eaters, so you’ll also want live-real plants that grow faster than your fish can eat or destroy them.

Some recommended live plant species for goldfish tanks include Java fern, Anubias, Hornwort, and Wisteria. These plants are hardy and can tolerate varying water conditions, making them ideal for beginner aquarists.

Provide adequate lighting and ensure the plants are well-rooted in the substrate to prevent uprooting. You may also need to supplement the plants with additional nutrients or fertilizers to help them develop and thrive rapidly, incase you get (or have) a destructive goldfish.

Here are a few goldfish safe fake aquarium plant options.

Silk Plants: Silk plants are a popular choice for aquariums because they look very similar to real plants and have a soft, natural feel. They are also very safe for fish and will not harm them if ingested.

Smooth-edge plastic plants: Many aquarium hobbyists also use plastic plants with smooth edges in their goldfish tanks. However, select plants labeled as safe for aquarium use, as some may leach chemicals into the water, which are harmful to fish.

Foam Plants: Another option is to use foam-based plants, which are lightweight and easy to move around in the water. They are also very safe for fish.

You can shape and trim them to fit your aquarium.

That’s all for this post!

Happy fish keeping🐠!

← All articles

The Aquarium Club ↓

Join the 37k+ strong aquarium community

The AquariaWise Newsletter is known for cutting through the noisy world of pet fish keeping showcasing stunningly breathtaking aquarium fish and superbly insightful aquarium plants to help you bring out the peace and serenity you seek with your aquariums. And it doesn't stop there... think aquarium fish care, plant care, building fish tanks, everything aquariums... you'll be right at home.