Setting up the ideal tank for your guppies takes more knowledge than many people would think. It’s not just about the number of fish, having a filtering system, or cleaning the tank regularly. It’s also about creating a thriving aquatic environment, including caves, rocks, and plants.
Today, we will discuss the various aquatic plants available for guppy tanks. What are the main options to consider, and what will each plant bring to the aquarium?
Let’s look at 10 of the most widespread aquarium plants that you can get for your guppies:
1. Guppy Grass
Guppy grass is probably the most common plant type thanks to its resilience and versatility. You can plant it or leave it afloat to fill up the tank.
Guppy grass thrives at temperatures between 50 to 86 degrees F, making it ideal for any tank setup. It is perfect for novice tank owners since it is easy to care for and requires minimal maintenance. Just remember that it’s a fast-growing plant, which requires some occasional trimming.
Guppy grass is especially beneficial due to its ability to cleanse the water of nitrates and ammonia.
2. Java Moss
This is another versatile plant with a fast growth rate and adaptable to all tank conditions. Just like guppy grass, this breed thrives in temperatures of up to 86 degrees F.
The lightning isn’t that important since Java Moss can handle any lighting conditions. However, better lighting will allow it to grow faster, greener, and denser, which could influence your decision one way or another.
Java Moss is also an excellent pick if you want an oxygen-producing plant to keep the water quality up.
Cryptocoryne is another beginner-friendly plant that requires minimal intervention and maintenance. It thrives in any environment, pretty much regardless of lightning.
Unlike the previous 2, you need to plant Cryptocoryne in the substrate. The plant will develop long and powerful roots, solidifying its position in the tank. This is a great option for a tank that contains bottom-dwelling fish species that tend to dig in the substrate.
You should consider the substrate nutrient content, however, since the plant feeds through its roots. If necessary, you may use fertilizers to boost the substrate’s nutritional value.
Anubias is one of the most resilient aquarium plants you can find. The plant can reach 6 inches or more in size and will grow in pretty much any environmental conditions. It adapts well to low-lighting environments, making it the ideal choice for poorly lit tanks.
This plant has large, wide leaves, covering fish species that don’t get along with the rest. With proper care, this plant can inhibit your aquarium for years to come.
5. Java Fern
Java Fern comes in a variety of species, each with their own looks. The leaves may change their shape and color depending on the species, providing you with a lot of diversity.
The plant consists of a rhizome and leaves and can reach 13-14 inches in height and around 8 inches in width. This makes it the ideal addition for larger tanks in need of a rich aquatic environment. It’s also worthy of mentioning that Java Fern has a low-to-moderate growth rate, requiring low maintenance in the long run.
Elodea belongs to the Hydrocharitaceae family, which includes 16 other genera. Unlike the previous plants we’ve mentioned so far, Elodea will produce flowers. These are white flowers with pink shades, providing the tank with a unique touch.
Elodea is so adaptable and resilient that it’s actually considered a pest plant in the wild. It’s a great addition to your tank, but don’t use it outdoors since it will take over fast.
On a similar note, certain Elodea species are known to produce specific chemicals that inhibit the development of certain photosynthetic organisms. This includes cyanobacteria, algae, and even other plants.
This is another invasive species that spreads fast in the wild and adapts to any environmental conditions. This, naturally, makes it ideal for enclosed environments like an aquarium.
The main thing to note is that hornwort can grow up to 120 inches in size and typically requires a minimum tanks size of 15 gallons. The plant will also grow fast and spread throughout the tank, requiring regular trimming to keep it in check.
On a more positive note, it’s durable and gorgeous-looking, creating the impression of an underwater forest. It’s definitely a great option for large tanks with a lot of water volume and several fish species.
This is one of the few plants with a tale-telling name. Frogbit is a floating plant that produces green, round leaves floating on the water’s surface. It can propagate fast, covering the entire surface of the water, which can be both good and bad.
It’s good because it looks pretty, especially when it starts producing flowers. The downside is that it can limit the amount of light reaching the water. This can affect other plants in the process.
The plant’s behavior will also limit the water’s oxygenation, affecting all life forms below the water’s surface. This is why most aquarium owners will not keep any live creatures in a Frogbit tank.
Nevertheless, Frogbit remains an ornamental plant with a lot of aesthetic potential. Just make sure you control its spread to prevent it from taking over the tank.
9. Water Sprite
This plant species is among the fluffiest you’ve seen, capable of filling up the tank fast. Water Sprite requires a steady temperature with little fluctuations, preferable between 70 to 82 degrees F.
Since it’s native to wetlands and swamps, it prefers little water movement, so potent filters are out of the question. A direct flow of water can damage the plant’s structure and make a mess in the tank.
The plant uses light to grow larger and faster than other plants, allowing it to take over the environment fast. Its growth rate and impressive size will keep algae at bay and provide your fish with shade and protection.
You have seen duckweed in outdoor ponds, generally in stale waters. This is a free-floating plant with small, green leaves covering the entire surface of the water. Is very much similar to Frogbit, except its leaves are smaller.
There are a few things to mention regarding duckweed. The plant is a great daytime addition since it produces oxygen, which is ideal for your fish population. The problem is that, during nighttime, duckweed consumes oxygen in larger quantities than those produced during the day.
It’s not uncommon for the plant to kill a lot of fish overnight after taking over the pond. The plant is great in small doses, so make sure you keep its spread under control.
Each plant comes with its own pros and cons. While most of them will provide your tank with a unique look, you should also consider the downsides. It is essential to trim the plant regularly and execute regular maintenance depending on its species and specifics.
- Consider plant-plant and plant-fish compatibility – Some plants may not be compatible with others. Some plants are also not compatible with certain aquatic creatures. Snails, for instance, and several fish species will eat duckweed if given the chance. At the same time, duckweed and Frogbit will inhibit the growth of other aquatic plants due to blocking light. You should always remember these aspects when choosing your preferred aquatic plant.
- The aesthetics aren’t everything – It doesn’t matter whether your plant looks great if it hurts the environment. Some plant species consume oxygen when photosynthesis isn’t possible, which can hurt your tank’s fauna. Choose your plant wisely to prevent such deadly scenarios.
- Regular trimming may be necessary – As you may have noticed, I have rated a lot of plants as beginner-friendly. This means that they require minimal maintenance. But they do require maintenance. Check for dead leaves, unearthed roots, or dead or decaying plants and remove them to prevent them from poisoning the water. You should also trim the plants regularly to keep their spread in check.
If you wish to learn more on tank maintenance and setup, comment below.