Choosing the Right Plants for Your Betta Fish

Betta fish kept in aquariums benefit from having foliage in which to hide. However, you want to make sure the plants you choose are safe for your betta.

Betta fish are brightly colored ornamental fish. Betta fish kept in aquariums benefit from having foliage in which to hide. Some species of betta are aggressive and you should not keep them with other fish. This is especially true for male betta splendens. If you keep two male betta splendens in the same tank without a divider, they will fight to death, regardless of whether they have foliage in which to hide.

Artificial Plants

Non-toxic artificial plants are safe for betta fish. It is best to choose plants with smooth edges, if you keep a betta species with long, flowing fins (as most of them have). Their fins are delicate and sharp edged plants could damage them. Silk plants are a good choice because they are soft. You will need to clean all artificial plants in the aquarium every time you change the water.

Java Fern

Java fern (microsorum pteropus) is an amphibious aquarium plant, meaning that you can keep it partially in and partially out of the water. These ferns will not grow more than 10 inches in height, so they work well for smaller betta aquariums. When you plant java fern in the tank, you should tie the base of the plant to a rock. The plant should eventually root there. Java fern does not need and should not have a lot of light.

Amazon Sword Plant

Amazon sword plant (echinodorus bleheri) can grow to be nearly 20 inches tall so it is best for taller aquariums. This plant produces a significant amount of oxygen, which is good for betta fish. Amazon sword plants need medium bright light to thrive. Flowers may bloom on healthy plants, but only if it is allowed to grow up out of the water.


Rosanervig (hygrophilia polysperma), otherwise known as tropical sunset has red and pink leaves with white veins running through them. However, this coloration will not appear unless you keep the plant in proper light and water with low nitrate levels. Medium lighting will keep the plant healthy and colorful. Rosanervig may be a nuisance if kept in heavily lighted aquariums because they grow faster under more intense light.

Rosanervig grows to be about 12 inches high and 3 inches wide. You should trim these plants weekly. You may need to trim them more often if you keep them under high intensity lights. On the other hand, they will not grow as fast under weak lights. They can survive under weak lighting, but they will stay green.

Some aquarium plants grow to be rather large, so unless you plan on keeping your betta in more than just a fishbowl, you may want to select your plants carefully. Also, be sure to choose only the healthiest looking plants for your fish's tank. You don't want a diseased plant ruining the water quality for your betta.