When you buy through my links, I may earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

10 Easy Aquarium Plants for Angelfish

Aquarium plants do a lot to transform the appearance of your tank. The dark green of the leaves contrasts nicely with the bright colors of tropical fish. And there are lots of plant species to choose from for all aquarium sizes. Bushy plants, tall-growing plants, and even exotic-looking plants that grow flowers. The possibilities are endless!

It’s understandable to want to combine fishkeeping with a little bit of aqua-scaping. But what if you’re keeping Angelfish? Are aquarium plants a good idea? Do Angelfish like or require plants? And if so, which are the best choices? I’m going to cover all these topics in this article! So, if you’re into aquarium gardening, keep reading. Your Angelfish will thank you!

Do Angelfish Like Aquarium Plants?

Absolutely! Angelfish enjoy the green scenery as much as you do! The plants help the fish feel at home in the aquarium. They create a more natural look, which is exactly what you’re looking for when providing enrichment for your pets.

Including lots of plants in the aquarium helps keep the Angelfish entertained. The slow movement of the leaves creates interest for the fish. The plants also provide additional opportunities for the fish to play and explore.

Aquarium plants also divide the space visually. This helps fish establish territories if you have feisty species that need lots of room. Most importantly, plants provide hiding spaces. Your Angelfish need hiding spaces to rest and protect themselves from intimidating fish in the tank. Clearly, there are many pros from your Angelfish’s perspective!

10 Best Aquarium Plants for Angelfish

You love plants, Angelfish love plants; all is good! But what plants should you choose exactly? It’s best to pick the ones that provide the most enrichment. Remember that Angelfish mostly occupy the middle and top layers of the tank.

It’s best to pick plants that reach these parts of the tank. Short-growing carpet species are also good, but the Angelfish won’t get maximal enjoyment out of them.

Your Angelfish use plants for hiding, as well as breeding. Plants with tall stems and/or wide leaves provide the best support and protection for the fish’s eggs. So, your aquarium Angelfish will naturally be attracted to such species. Some plants to consider include:

Anubias

  • Growth rate: Slow
  • Temperature: 72-82°F
  • pH: 6.0-8.0
  • GH: 2-15
  • Lighting: Low or medium
  • CO2: Low

These plants are small, but they offer lots of versatility. Some species grow taller than others. You can also find Anubias with small, or wide leaves. And the best part? You can place them wherever you want in the tank; no planting is required.

They’re perfect if you have a small aquarium and don’t want to do lots of trimming. Attach Anubias to the tallest points like caves and rock arrangements, or use it to adorn driftwood and other decorations.

Java Fern

  • Growth rate: Slow
  • Temperature: 68–80°F
  • pH: 6.0–7.5
  • GH: 3–8
  • Lighting: Low
  • CO2: Low

The Java Fern is perfect for tall aquariums. This bright-green plant grows up to 14 inches long. It has elongated, sword-shaped leaves with a leathery texture. This is exactly what you want for your Angelfish. And the best part is that this plant is slow-growing. Java Ferns grow up to one inch per month.

You won’t have to trim this tall grass very frequently. You can use Java Fern in many different ways. You’re not supposed to plant the rhizome. But it will grow roots to stabilize itself on driftwood and other decorations. So, you can choose virtually any location in the aquarium; no substrate needed!

Amazon Sword

  • Growth rate: Medium
  • Temperature: 60–82°F
  • pH: 6.5–7.5
  • GH: 8–15
  • Lighting: Low to medium
  • CO2: Low

The Amazon Sword is hardy but requires some extra prep before planting. You’ll need a thick substrate to anchor it down. If your substrate isn’t already 2.5 inches deep or more, I suggest adding some more soil before introducing the Amazon Sword into the aquarium.

This plant grows up to 16 inches tall. It also sprouts many stems, so it tends to spread pretty wide. It has light green, wide, and thin leaves. Thanks to its light and flexible stems and leaves, the Amazon Sword creates a graceful, relaxing movement when the fish swim close by.

Water Wisteria

  • Growth rate: High
  • Temperature: 70–82°F
  • pH: 6.5–7.5
  • GH: 2–8
  • Lighting: Medium to high
  • CO2: Low

Water Wisteria is one of the most popular aquarium plants. And for many good reasons! This plant is low-maintenance, has an insane growth rate, and looks cool. From planting to full-size growth, the entire journey should take no more than a month. And by the way, a Water Wisteria will grow up to 20 inches total.

It’s not the best choice to encourage egg-laying in Angelfish. This plant has soft, flexible stems and very narrow and pointy leaves. If I were to describe its appearance, I’d say it looks very similar to parsley. Still, the Water Wisteria is excellent as a decorative piece and as a potential hiding space for fish.

Cryptocoryne

  • Growth rate: Slow
  • Temperature: 70–82°F
  • pH: 6.5–7.5
  • GH: 4–8
  • Lighting: Low
  • CO2: Low

Cryptocoryne plants, or “Crypts” for short, don’t represent one single species. This is actually a genus that contains around 50 different types of plants. There’s a lot of variety to choose from. You can find Crypts in colors ranging from pale green, all the way to bright pink.

Commonly-available Crypts can also reach a maximum size of 2-30 inches, again, depending on the species. Your Angelfish will enjoy tall-growing species like Cryptocoryne usteriana, Cryptocoryne wentii, or Cryptocoryne balansae. These provide the best hiding and play opportunities.

Vallisneria

  • Growth rate: Medium to high
  • Temperature: 68–82°F
  • pH: 6.5–8.0
  • GH: 4–18
  • Lighting: Medium to high
  • CO2: Low

Vallisneria is a genus of 14 tall-growing aquatic plants. These plants are colloquially known as “eelgrass”. You can probably imagine why that is. These plants grow very long and narrow leaves, similar to an eel’s body shape.

These plants are bright green and flexible. They create a gentle movement whenever the water flow or swimming fish come into contact with the leaves.

There are three common species in the aquarium hobby. Vallisneria tortifoli is among the smallest, growing up to 8 inches at most. Vallisneria spiralis, a medium-sized species, can grow up to 23 inches high. Vallisneria gigantea is the largest, growing up to 40 inches or more.

Whichever you choose will depend on the size of your aquarium and how often you’re willing to trim your plants.

Waterweed

  • Growth rate: High
  • Temperature: 72-78°F
  • pH: 6.5-7.5
  • GH: 3–8
  • Lighting: Medium
  • CO2: Low

It’s not called water “weed” for no reason. This species is considered invasive when growing in the wild. So, if you’re looking for a fast-growing plant to transform your aquarium, look no further! Besides its insane growth rate, Waterweed is also not very demanding. Other than moderate light exposure, you don’t need CO2 injections or fertilizer.

Most species grow between 3-12 inches tall. Waterweed has long, thin, and bushy stems covered in tiny, bright-green leaves. The leaves are grouped in whorls of three, surrounding the stem from different directions. The size and distribution of the leaves give this plant a light, feathery appearance.

Hornwort

  • Growth rate: High
  • Temperature: 59-86°F
  • pH: 6.0-7.5
  • GH: 5–15
  • Lighting: Medium
  • CO2: Low

We’ve got the Water Wisteria, which looks like parsley. Prepare for Hornwort— an aquatic species which I can only describe as a bushy dill-like plant. This plant sprouts multiple thin, tall-growing stems. It’s estimated this plant can reach a maximum height of 120 inches! Combined with the high growth rate, this means you’ll have to be on top of the maintenance trimming.

The stem is covered in whorls of 6-12 needle-like leaves. These have a length of up to one inch and grow at an equal distance from one another. The thin and numerous leaves give this plant a fuzzy appearance, similar to a Waterweed.

Salvinia

  • Growth rate: High
  • Temperature: 65-80°F
  • pH: 6.5-7.5
  • GH: 4–13
  • Lighting: Medium
  • CO2: Low

Salvinia, also known as Watermoss, is a genus of 12 plant species. Despite its colloquial name, this isn’t a type of Moss. Rather, this plant is a floating fern. It has no true roots, so it doesn’t require planting. It’s very easy to introduce into the aquarium, and it has low requirements and a high growth rate. It’s a perfect plant for beginners.

Salvinia grows up to 4 inches in length. Not a tall species, but because it’s a floating plant, it still works well for Angelfish. If you want to add some green to the upper layers of the aquarium, this is a decent choice. Salvinia has two small, rounded, floating leaves, and one root-like submerged leaf.

Amazon Frogbits

  • Growth rate: High
  • Temperature: 64-80°F
  • pH: 6.0-7.5
  • GH: 4–20
  • Lighting: Low to medium
  • CO2: Low

The Amazon Frogbit is another free-floating aquarium plant. However, unlike Watermoss, this plant has very tall stems. The submerged part can grow up to 20 inches long, creating a type of dense, suspended curtain in the upper layers of the aquarium. Top-swimming Angelfish will love this plant for playing and hiding.

The floating part is made up of smooth, rounded, lily-pad-looking leaves. These can give your aquarium a more natural or “wild” appearance. But beware! You mustn’t let the leaves spread too much. If they completely cover the water surface, this can reduce the amount of oxygen in the tank. Like other fast-growing plants, Frogbit requires trimming.

Do Angelfish Need Aquarium Plants?

Angelfish can live without aquarium plants, so they’re not an absolute must. However, including them is still wise. Not only do they enhance the appearance of the aquarium, but they also bring significant benefits to your fish:

– Aquarium plants improve water quality

Plants are a natural option if you need extra chemical filtration. They use waste and by-products such as nitrates and CO2 to fuel their growth. Not only that, but they also put out oxygen in return.

If your fish produce a lot of waste, live plants will balance out some of that, keeping a stable water pH and oxygen level. Of course, plants won’t replace an aquarium filter. But they can contribute something extra on top of the mechanical and biological filtration you already use.

– Live plants keep algae growth in check

Algae and aquarium plants must compete for resources to grow and proliferate. Unless you add fertilizer, there’s only so much iron, potassium, and other trace minerals to go around. Eventually, one of the species has to give.

If you add fast-growing plants to the aquarium, you’ll effectively starve off these pesky algae. Notice that I said fast-growing plants, though. You’ll need to look for large and “hungry” species. This ensures that the algae won’t keep up with the competition.

– They provide enrichment and reduce stress levels in fish

This one we’ve already covered. Fish like living in environments that closely resemble their natural habitat. For most species, Angelfish included, this means plenty of plants. Just seeing some green in the scenery is enough to spark the fish’s interest.

Besides visual appeal, plants also provide new entertainment opportunities for fish. The Angelfish have more to explore and new places to play and hide in. Hiding spots are particularly important if you keep multiple specimens in the tank.

With semi-aggressive species like Angelfish, a pecking order is inevitable. The weaker fish need hiding spots to protect themselves from bullies. This reduces stress, aggression, and territorial behavior.

– Aquatic plants encourage successful spawning in Angelfish

Angelfish are egg-layers. When spawning, they need to lay their eggs someplace safe, most commonly on broad-leaf plants. There, the eggs are well-hidden and unlikely to be eaten by other fish. Also, because plants are flexible, the eggs won’t get damaged when fish bump against them.

Upon hatching, the Angelfish fry have higher survival chances because they can stay hidden among the plants. If you’ve tried breeding your Angelfish with mixed results, just add some plants to the aquarium. You can save a lot more eggs and fry this way!

Do Angelfish Eat Aquarium Plants?

For the most part, they don’t. Angelfish aren’t big plant-eaters and this is not common behavior for them. However, this can still happen. Usually, it’s for two main reasons:

– Your Angelfish have a poor diet

Angelfish will start nibbling on plants when their diet is insufficient. This happens when their feeding schedule is off. Maybe you’re feeding them too seldom, or at irregular times of the day. You should feed Angelfish 2-3 times a day, preferably on a set schedule.

This can also happen when the diet is unbalanced. While Angelfish are big meat eaters, they still need some plants to get enough vitamins and fiber. You should include things like algae wafers and vegetables in their diet. If you fail to do so, your Angelfish will get their greens someplace else— by nibbling on the aquarium plants.

– The fish are bored

Sometimes, the Angelfish just lack something better to do. Who knew that fish also practice boredom eating? Boredom can arise when the Angelfish are alone or in small groups. Even if you have a community tank, Angelfish still need the company of conspecifics.

It’s recommended that you keep Angelfish in schools of at least six fish. This should give them more opportunities to interact and play. The more fish in the tank, the easier it is for them to stay entertained.

Conclusion

Angelfish like aquarium plants for a variety of reasons. These provide enrichment and create opportunities for the fish to play, hide, and lay eggs. Live aquarium plants also bring health benefits for fish through different means. They help reduce stress levels, maintain water quality through chemical filtration, and keep algae growth in check.

If you want to add some plants to your Angelfish aquarium, the ten species I’ve included in this article are perfect choices for beginners. These plants are hardy and non-demanding. Some of the species are free-floating (Salvinia, Anubias, and Amazon Frogbits); you don’t even need to plant them.

avatar I’m Julia, and I used to work in a fish store for over 5 years. On this blog I help beginners care for their cichlids and share my experience and research on various fishkeeping related topics.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.