BestForPets is reader-supported. Your purchases via our links may earn us an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Our Affiliate Disclaimer

The 11 Best Aquarium Plants To Reduce Nitrates

Nitrates can build up quickly in an aquarium from sources such as fish leftovers, decaying plant matter, and your aquatic pets' waste. What is the fix? Enhance vegetation! 

Some aquatic plants are especially good at removing nitrates from water and replacing them with oxygen.

This is great for the health of your aquarium inhabitants and will promote cleaner water. But how can you tell which plants will thrive in your aquarium? 

Some ornamental plants are difficult to grow and care for, while others are extremely easy to maintain and practical.

Here are reviews comparing some of BestForPets' (bestforpets.org) best aquarium plants to reduce nitrates so you can see what you can predict.

How to Decrease Nitrates in an Aquarium: A Buyer's Guide

Right, now is the time to harvest your plant and begin making stuff! You still haven’t decided which one will serve you best? We’ve been in your shoes, which is why we put up this brief advice for first-time buyers.

Our goal was to assist you narrow down your options and settle on the best course of action so you can get out there and start planting!

What Types of Plants Work Best in Aquariums

Considering all the possibilities, making a decision may seem daunting. What criteria should you use? The most attractive one?

I guess that may work. However, we believe it is more prudent to first determine the most important characteristics to focus on and then select a plant that best embodies those characteristics.

The good news is that we have already determined what those characteristics are, so read on to find out what they are.

Facilitation of Expansion

To what extent do you consider yourself a genuine green thumb? If that’s the case, you probably aren’t very concerned with how quickly something expands. In fact, you may enjoy the difficulty of tending to a difficult plant more.

It’s crucial for the rest of us to choose a plant that’s suitable for our degree of expertise. If you’ve never tried growing aquatic plants before, you might want to start with something simple.

What Sort of Upkeep Is Needed?

This correlates directly with how simple it is to cultivate the plant. If the plant requires a lot of care, it might not be the best option for someone just starting out in aquarium gardening.

Some plants may be simple to cultivate at first, but they may quickly overrun your aquarium if you don’t prune them periodically. Since pruning and care can take a considerable amount of time, this is something to think about.

Aesthetics and Outward Appearance

Selecting plants that are suitable for your degree of green-thumb expertise can help you restrict your options, and then you can further refine your selection based on how the plants look.

Is the appearance of a certain plant more appealing to you than that of others? A no-brainer. As you will be staring at these plants on a daily basis for the foreseeable future, it is important to select ones that you find aesthetically pleasing and engaging.

Germs, critters, and sicknesses

It’s important to keep in mind that the risk of contamination is significant when obtaining live plants online. It’s likely too late to save your fish and other animals from the effects of pollution by the time obvious symptoms appear.

When it comes to preparing plants for transportation, some businesses do a better job than others of treating and cleaning them.

After going through this procedure, your plant will be free of parasites and other pests and ready to be placed in your aquarium.

However, not all businesses are so careful to eliminate these potentially fatal toxins. It’s possible that the plants in your home are harboring parasites or illnesses that might harm your animals.

The likes of snails and other pests may also be clinging to it. In spite of snails’ reputation for helping maintain sanitary conditions in fish tanks, pest snails pose a serious threat to the health of your aquarium inhabitants.


You can choose to grow any of the aquatic plants available to reduce nitrate levels. However, if you read the reviews of BestForPets (bestforpets.org), you will find the best aquarium plants to reduce nitrates

To the best of our knowledge, live wormwood is the best option available. It is great for both beginners and seasoned aquarists because of its fast growth rate, resilience, and no need for roots.

You’ll have five plants to start with, and you can replant the cuttings to keep them alive and well. 

Aquatic Arts For the price, Marimo Moss Balls are the best option for you. There are a total of six balls included, in four different sizes.

They are effective in reducing nitrates and also make your aquarium look great. Plus, it’s simple to grow and goes through three stages of quality control to get rid of unwanted organisms. 

Greenpro Anubias is another first-class alternative worth your consideration. This has been fastened to some lava rock, so it can sit firmly on the base of your aquarium.

It is low maintenance, can be grown above or below the surface of the water, and can even shield bottom-dwelling fish from the sun.


The Best Hornwort Plant Is a Living One

Growing aquatic plants may seem like a difficult task if you’ve never attempted it before. However, the Hornwort plant is among the simplest aquatic plants to cultivate. This naturally makes it a great option for your first aquarium plant.

Due to its ease of cultivation, this plant has successfully colonized every continent save Antarctica. And to think it all started with a North American plant! In addition, this is encouraging news for the future of your plant cultivation efforts.

A single misstep is less likely to result in its extinction since it can adapt to a wide range of water conditions.

The substrate will remain untroubled by the Hornwort plant because it does not root. And because of how rapidly it expands, you can tell very quickly if your efforts are paying off.

There are five individual stems in this cluster of Hornwort, giving you more room to spread out or more options for where to plant them in your aquarium.

However, snails can be dangerous. They may have hitched a ride on your plants, but if they ended up in your fish’s natural environment, they could be disastrous.


  • Definitely not a plant that needs rooting
  • With five individual roots
  • Extremely rapid development


  • Your plant life may attract snails.


Marimo Moss Ball for Water Activities: The Best Deal

Marimo moss balls get their name from the fact that they resemble moss balls but are actually a hardy aquatic plant. Contrary to popular belief, they are not a kind of moss. In reality, they’re just tiny globules of algae.

And they absorb nitrates quite well. To the point that they can outcompete and ultimately eliminate any other algae in the area.

The difficulty level of caring for this plant in an aquarium is low. It’s hard to make a mistake here. They may help oxygenate your tank without the need of loud air stones, require very little light, and require nearly no maintenance.

Gymnastics, Swimming, and Other Water Activities There are three stages of inspection for quality assurance when making Marimo Moss Balls.

This will help you get rid of any parasites or other unwanted guests in your aquarium. So, it was believed that they would arrive having taken some hygiene precautions.

On the other hand, they were quite filthy. Before we could put them in the tank, we had to give them a thorough cleaning.

Aquarium-friendly Marimo moss balls are not only an excellent nitrate-filtering and oxygen-generating plant, but also a fun ornament for your fish tank.

As a result of their vibrant green color, they are a terrific way to add some holiday cheer. We believe these to be the most attractive, hardy, and reasonably priced aquarium plants for nitrate reduction.


  • There are six balls included, and they come in four sizes.
  • Pests and parasites are exterminated by a rigorous three-stage quality control process.
  • Needs nothing extraordinary in order to flourish
  • Sprucing up an aquarium with vibrant color.


  • They should be washed well before use since they are shipped in a very unclean condition.


The Best Available Alternative to Greenpro Anubias

Under rocks and bigger plants, where it’s shaded, the Anubias plant thrives. This makes it ideal for less-than-brightly-lit aquariums. This resilient plant thrives in a variety of soil and water conditions.

Changes in temperature, pH, and general hardness that would be fatal to other aquatic plants won’t hurt Anubias nearly as much. It’s quite easy to cultivate, even for individuals who don’t have a green thumb.

Depending on the design of your aquarium, this plant may be cultivated either fully or partially submerged. It multiplies rapidly and may attain considerable size.

It requires little maintenance and offers welcome shelter to ground-dwelling creatures.

The Greenpro Anubias is fastened to a lava rock, so it won’t float away if you place it at the tank’s base. It’s a little specimen, but it has to be treated for parasites or else your fish might be in danger.

However, the Greenpro Anubias is a premium alternative that we can confidently suggest due to its ease of growth and great nitrate absorption.


  • Prompt in growth and capable of reaching impressive dimensions
  • Capable of being fully or partially submerged in cultivation
  • A cinch to maintain
  • Offers beneficial cover for scavengers


  • Parasite treatment is a need.
  • Small in size


Narrow-leaved Mainam Hairgrass

Mainam Dwarf Hairgrass may serve numerous purposes in an aquarium. It’s best for creating a lush, grassy look when planted in dense clusters. It may also be used as a decorative accent if planted in small groups.

Interestingly, if you trim this plant down before planting, it will keep its shorter stature. If you let it grow very long, it will take on the look of seaweed, swaying back and forth with the current.

Although planting hairgrass might be a challenge, growing it is a breeze. Due to its malleability, it may be developed by novices with little effort. And it does a great job of purifying water by exchanging the noxious compounds for oxygen.

Although we did find a snail in one batch of Mainam Dwarf Hairgrass, the grass is otherwise pest- and disease-free. You have three days to get it planted, since it will arrive alive and stay alive.

There isn’t much you need to do to care for it, although it does require more light than the other aquatic plants we’ve produced.


  • Pest- and disease-free
  • Assured safe arrival in one piece
  • Has little maintenance needs


  • It requires more light than other plants.
  • There are periodic shipments of snails.


Seeds for Artificial Grass that Grows in Direct Sunlight for Aquariums

Grow some Aquarium Grass from SunGrow’s seeds if you fancy yourself a green thumb and are looking for a new challenge.

This plant will spread to cover the whole aquarium floor, forming what is effectively a carpet of aquatic grass, and you receive a lot of seeds for a cheap price, possibly more than your tank will require.

The ideal height for this type of grass is half an inch or less. Our observations show that it continued expanding much beyond that point.

As a matter of fact, we had to regularly mow the grass or else it would have taken over the entire aquarium! Compared to the other plants we researched for this article, this one required the most maintenance.

One of the best things about aquarium grass is that it can be used as a natural food source for a wide variety of fish and other aquatic animals.

However, the roots would have to be exposed to the fish in order to get the full benefits of growing this on the surface.

Once, we even saw grass float on the water’s surface. Even when it was taken away, more appeared. They started coming loose from the substrate very quickly, creating a never-ending slop that had to be cleaned up every day.


  • Is still lacking
  • Extremely straightforward to cultivate
  • Embraces the substrate of an aquarium
  • Offering a healthy and sustainable food option


  • It’s large enough to encase the whole floor of an aquarium
  • Frequent care and pruning are essential
  • Simple to remove from their base

Author Image

Dr. Barry Buttler

Dr. Barry Buttler, DVM, MS, DACVIM, is an experienced veterinarian who specializes in the care of small animals, specifically dogs. Dr. Barry K. Buttler is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and holds multiple certifications in small animal emergency medicine and geriatric pet health.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Barry Buttler


Rated 0 out of 5
0 out of 5 stars (based on 0 reviews)
Very good0%

There are no reviews yet. Be the first one to write one.

Related articles