Best Plants for a Betta Fish

We share five low-maintenance plants that will help keep your betta fish happy and thriving. Plus, get tips on how to properly plant them in your aquarium.

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Photo by: Sarah Busby

Sarah Busby

Best Plants for a Betta Fish 05:26

We share tips on the best plants and perfect ecosystem for a betta fish.

Java Moss + Pebbles

Java moss helps betta fish relax. Use super glue to adhere the moss to some pebbles to help keep it at the bottom of your tank (Images 1 and 2). Make sure the glue is completely dry before you add it to your tank (The glue will not harm your fish or its ecosystem).

Anubias + Driftwood

Anubias is a great beginner plant. They're hardy, easy to care for and thrive in any type of lighting. Remove the insulation from the plant's roots (Image 1). Tie the plant to a piece of driftwood using fishing line (Images 2 and 3). Driftwood is a great addition because it contains natural tannins that lower the pH of your tank's water, helping your plants grow.

Java Fern

Photo by: Sarah Busby

Sarah Busby

Betta fish love java ferns because they can swim between the leaves, and they provide cover to help your fish feel safe.


Photo by: Sarah Busby

Sarah Busby

Anacharis is a stem plant and also makes your betta fish feel safe. You can plant it at the bottom, or let it float on top of the water.

Moss Balls

Photo by: Sarah Busby

Sarah Busby

Moss balls act as filters and do well in any type of lighting. Plus, betta fish love relaxing on top of them.

Choosing the Right Aquarium

Providing the right size tank for your betta fish is important for its health. A good rule of thumb is one gallon per inch of fish. We have a 3-inch betta fish, so we chose a five-gallon tank to provide room for growth.

Betta fish produce organic waste including nitrates, nitrites and ammonia. You will need a filter to harbor bacteria to convert the waste into nitrogen (Images 1-3). You'll also want to choose a tank that has a heater and thermometer. Betta fish love an environment that's between 72 and 80 degrees F.

Planting Your Aquarium

Just like your garden in your backyard, the plants need nutrients. Add enough potting soil to cover the bottom of your tank (Image 1). Add pebbles on top — this will create a substrate (Image 2).

First, add java moss to the bottom of your tank (Image 1). Next, add the anubias that's attached to the driftwood. Place it in the bottom of your tank, making sure none of the leaves and stems are buried underneath the soil (Image 2). Next, use long tweezers to plant the java fern into the substrate (Image 3). Use the long tweezers to also plant the anacharis into the substrate (Image 4), or you can choose to float them on top. Lastly, place your moss balls in the tank.

Add the heater and thermometer to the tank (Images 1 and 2). Finally, add water. Pro Tip: Place a cup inside tank and aim the water inside the cup, so the water doesn't splash and disturb the plants and soil (Image 3). Remove the cup using long tweezers.

Testing the Water

Use a kit to test for nitrates, nitrites, ammonia and pH (Images 1 and 2). Next, add a conditioner to your water to help your betta fish relieve stress, replace your fish's slime coat and get rid of chlorine and fluoride in the water (Image 3). Let the water sit for a couple days before you add your betta fish. After two days, you will want to acclimate your fish to the water by placing your fish in the water in its original packaging. Wait about 30 minutes to an hour before you add your fish directly to the tank water (Image 4). Your fish is now ready to live a happy, long life!

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