Houseplants in Fish tanks!!

Houseplants in Fish tanks!!


If you love fish tanks as much as me, use some houseplants and let your water be clean!! (I mean I guess you don't have to use houseplants...but still :) )
Hi, everyone! Today I'm going to be teaching you on why you should have Houseplants in aquariums. I'll be going over the possible Pros and Cons of having these plants in your aquarium.

(NOTE: "in your aquarium" does not mean putting the entire plant in your tank, it only means putting the roots in the tank, the leaves should never be in the tank!)

The benefits of having Houseplants in your tank:

There are many benefits to having house plants in your aquarium. In aquariums we have fish and those fish create waste. Not only this, but uneaten food and decaying aquatic plant matter will also create waste. That waste turns into Ammonia (a toxic nitrogen compound that is lethal to fish). Luckily for us we have beneficial bacteria (Nitrosomona and Nitrobacter). This bacteria turns the ammonia into less toxic nitrites, then turns it into nitrates. Nitrates are also a nitrogen compound, however is much less toxic the ammonia and nitrite.

These Nitrates are safe, however if they get too high can start to become toxic. More fish=More Nitrates which build up over time. Typically what happens is, is that these Nitrates start becoming nutrients for algae. If you anything like don't like algae.

What houseplants do is that their roots suck up all the nutrients [Nitrates and unwanted nutrients like Phosphates (since too many phosphates are bad)] The houseplants remove the excess Nitrates which makes the tank cleaner for your fish.

This can allow you to stock the tank with more fish (However you should always stay very cautious). More houseplants= Better water Quality.

Another Pro is, is that you get to simply see beautiful green plants around your aquarium which is very pleasurable to look at. In my opinion (and many others) it helps complete a tank scape and gives more depth to the Aquarium.

Houseplants also give you an opportunity to overstock your tank, however you MUST still be cautious since house plants won't fully save you.

Cons of Houseplants and how to avoid them:

There are not true cons to houseplants because these are fairly easy to avoid but it might end up happening for you. The first con is that the roots of these plants may get fairly large and can look mucky and unpleasurable for your tank (but sometimes it look great). This can be easily avoided by two options. Trimming the roots, or adding a clear cup in the back of the tank where you hold the roots, and have small slits and/or holes in the cups to let the water in.

The second con is that sometimes a stem or a leaf may start to decay in your tank which can cause lots of waste and can spike your nitrogen amounts. This is easily avoidable since if you simply catch it before it rots then you will be fine.

The third con is is that it may be hard to place around your tank. To fix this simply use the cup method as stated above, or simply wedge it between things.

Types of Houseplants:

In the gardening hobby there are many different types of house plants that range from big to small. In your fish tank some of the more common ones, are Pothos, Peace Lilly, Lucky Bamboo, Wandering Jew, Monstera, Aquatic Palm, Ferns, Sweet Potato and many type of stem based vegetable or fruit plants.

Pros and Cons of each type of house plant:

Pros: Easy to place, Sucks up tons of nutrients, grows fast when established, vine effect is very naturistic and compelling, Filters Air
Cons: Can grow long roots

Peace Lilly:
Pros: Sucks up tons of nutrients, bushy plant with white flowers which is very naturistic and compelling, Filters Air
Cons: Slightly harder to place (but not to difficult), Slower growth

Wandering Jew:
Pros: Easy to place, Sucks up tons of nutrients, grows fast when established, vine effect is very naturistic and compelling, Filters Air, Smaller roots, Nice red vivid color
Cons: Is known to suck almost too much nutrients

Lucky Bamboo:
Pros: Easy to place, Sucks up tons of nutrients, Long bamboo affect is very appealing, filters air, medium sized roots
Cons: Make sure to get Lucky Bamboo and not true bamboo since True bamboo will release tons of Ammonia in the tank.

Pros: Sucks up a lot of nutrients, Nice big leaves that look very natural, Medium sized roots
Cons: May be hard to place, Takes time to adjust to water life, slow growing

Basil, Tomato, Bell Pepper etc.:
Pros: Sucks up a lot of nutrients, easy to place, love warm water so will love your tank, small roots, fresh veggies or fruits!
Cons: Getting it the adequate amount of sunlight may be difficult but is usually not an issue

Who Should use Houseplants for their tanks?

Anyone can use houseplants in their tanks! However people with Walstad tanks and overstocked tanks will benefit the most from using houseplants as they will lower the Nitrogen Compounds! People with Mbuna Cichlids, African Cichlids, and Goldfish will get the opportunity to have the benefits of live plants without them getting eaten!

Houseplants and balancing your tank:

When it comes to balancing the amount of nutrients in your water, house plants are really just an eliminator of them. In order to make sure you don't loose nutrients that is necessary for live aquatic plants, use Root tabs or liquid Fertilizer!


Thank you so much for making it to the end of the article!! I really hope you were able to learn about houseplants and why they could be the secret to keeping a clean aquarium. If you have any questions or concerns, please reply below!


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really great info thank you for posting!
Great Idea! I also use spider plants with great luck. I love how clearly you wrote this so I can send it to friends.
Really enjoyed this! Time to add a Peace Lily to the tank.
  • Gagep
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Very useful, and good details.
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