Plants for a Guppy Tank - Planted Tank Mates

Plants for a Guppy Tank


There are many choices when it comes to selecting plants for a guppy tank.  Having live plants helps improve the water quality, offers hiding spots for fry, and creates a more natural environment.  While you can add almost any plant to an aquarium, not all are low maintenance and easy to maintain like guppies.  Guppies are popular fish because they’re hardy and don’t require a whole lot of attention.  A similar plant selection keeps things simple and improves the success of the aquarium.  Below is a selection of easy plants for a guppy tank that are low maintenance and don’t require CO2.

Foreground Plants

Anubias Nana are slow-growing and do well with low to moderate lighting.  You don’t need to bury these plants in soil as it can lead to root rot.  Instead, tie them to rocks and driftwood, or place it lightly in a substrate and weigh it down with hardscape.   They’re easy to maintain and their broad leaves provide some relief and hiding spots for guppies.

Anubias Nana
Anubias Nana – available on Amazon

Java Moss, Christmas and Marimo moss are extremely easy to keep.  They’re a hardy and undemanding plant that can be attached to driftwood, rocks, or left floating in the aquarium. All three help filter the water by absorbing excess nutrients.  Java and Christmas moss have the added bonus of providing excellent cover for guppy fry.  


Java Moss Aquarium Plant
Java Moss – available on Amazon


christmas moss planted tank
Christmas Moss – available on Amazon
marimo moss ball planted tank
Marimo Moss Ball – available on Amazon

Pygmy Chain Swords can create a grass like appearance in your aquarium.  They grow dense and compact with medium to high lighting.  They are root feeders, so good soil or root tabs will aid in their success.  These are often confused with Dwarf Sagittaria (another great plant for guppies) but are shorter in appearance and with narrower leaves.

Pygmy Chain Sward vs. Dwarf Sagittaria – photo credit Aquarium Co-op
Midground Plants

Hornwort is another easy plant for a guppy tank.  They’re versatile in an aquarium as they can be used in the midground, background or left floating.  Although they can be planted in the soil, they’re actually column feeders with really small roots that don’t anchor well.  It’s a great option for providing cover for guppy fry and aiding in water filtration.

Hornwort – available on Amazon

Anubias Barteri is the larger version of Anubias Nana.  Their stems are larger and their leaves can get up to 3” long.  They feed off the water column, so a little liquid fertilizer goes a long way.  Propagating is as simple as cutting off the end of a stem and planting or tying it in a new location.

Anubias Barteri - on driftwood
Anubias Barteri – available on Amazon

Moneywort is a great midground plant for low-tech setups.  They’re adaptable, easy to maintain and grow at a steady rate. Good lighting will help it grow faster, but it’ll still do fine with moderate lighting. This one is a root feeder, so plant them in nutrient rich soil.   

moneywort planted tank
Moneywort – available on Amazon
Background Plants

Java Fern is a hardy and easy background plant.  They can grow up to 12” tall and provide good shelter for guppy fry.  Many like to plant this in the spoil, but it’s a column feeding plant so occasionally supplement with liquid fertilizers.  Compared to Amazon Sword, Java Ferns have long and slender leaves with wrinkled edges.

Amazon Swords can grow up to 20” in height.  They’re fast growing with taller stems with broader leaves than Java Ferns.  Plant them in nutrient rich substrate or feed them with root tabs if planting in gravel.

Java Fern vs. Amazon Sword – available on Amazon

Vallisneria is a tall, grass-like plant.  Guppies love to swim between their blades and when it reaches the surface, it provides a good hiding space for fry.  This is another root feeding plant, so provide a good substrate.  Taller tanks are recommended as these tend to grow tall and fast. 

Vallisneria – available on Amazon
Floating Plants

Frogbits are great floating plants.  They provide shade and cover for guppy fry and their extended roots help absorb excess nutrients in the water.  These tend to grow out of control, so maintain a good schedule and pull out any brown or decaying leaves.

frogbit planted tank
Frogbits – available on Amazon

We can’t talk about plants for a guppy tank without mentioning Guppy Grass.  It got its name from being so popular with beginner guppy tanks.  Fast growing, low to medium light, no co2 or fertilizer requirement; you couldn’t ask for an easier plant.  To propagate, you simply cut a piece and stick it back into the substrate or leave it floating.  They grow fast and wild, absorbing excess nutrients and aiding in water quality.  Guppies and most live bearers love swimming between the stems and its messy structure makes great hiding places for fry.  

guppy grass planted tank

guppy grass planted tank
Guppy Grass – available on Amazon

All Things Considered

The plant options are endless when it comes to guppy tanks.  The selection noted above represent easy, low-maintenance plants that parallel the beginner requirements for sustaining guppies.  Starting off with easy plants increases the level of success and satisfaction.  Be sure to identify the root feeding vs. column feeding plants and observe their health regularly to create a routine maintenance program.

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