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The 6 Best Pond Plants To Keep Water Clear

Ponds are notoriously difficult to maintain, considerably more so than a typical aquarium. This is mostly due to the fact that they are often exposed to anything Mother Nature throws at the pond. How to clean pond water organically is a question we are frequently asked. The best remedy is to acquire some healthy plants.

If you didn't already know, plants are excellent at purifying water, feeding fish, providing habitats for animals, and so much more. In a pond or aquarium, plants serve several purposes beyond their aesthetic value.

Today, BestForPets (bestforpets.org) will identify the best pond plants to keep water clear. As you shall see, maintaining a crystal clean pond may be tough, but these plants will offer you an advantage.



Hornwort is perhaps one of the most effective pond water filtering choices. This plant has a rapid growth rate and a high metabolic rate, which are its greatest strengths.

In other words, in order to develop so rapidly, it absorbs a great deal of waste from the water. Due to its rapid development, it will require constant pruning and maintenance, but this is not a major issue so long as you perform these tasks once each month.

It is a fantastic plant for ponds since it requires no particular care. As long as you have a proper planting medium, a sufficient number of nutrients in the water, and adequate sunlight, this will grow quite nicely.

It is an excellent low-maintenance pond plant for novices. It has an attractive appearance, is an excellent foreground or midground plant, and is extraordinarily effective at purifying water.


Water Lettuce

Water Lettuce is another excellent alternative for a variety of reasons. Primarily, this is a huge and rapidly growing plant, which, once again, indicates that it takes a considerable amount of trash and pollutants from the water.

It has a rapid growth rate, making it suitable for water filtration and clarification. This item is a fascinating combination of a big flower, a Lily pad, and a head of lettuce. Indeed, this is a floating plant.

It is a somewhat large floating plant that may provide shade and protection for your fish. Just make sure to maintain it frequently so that it doesn’t overgrow the pond’s surface and cause an excessive amount of shadow. Being a floating plant is advantageous since it eliminates the need to care about the substrate.

Just ensure that the water contains sufficient nutrients to support the water lettuce. They are simple to care for, but they require a great deal of sunshine to thrive.


Water Hyancinth

You likely already know what a Hyacinth is. In contrast, the Water Hyancinth is a plant that floats. It resembles a hybrid of a Hyacinth and a Lilly pad. Especially when multicolored flowers bloom, it has a really attractive appearance.

This plant is favored by fish because it provides some protection from predators and also provides shade. The Water Hyancinth grows rapidly, making it a highly effective water filter.

It is one of the best pond plants for keeping water clean and clear since its filtering mechanism is quite effective. This plant prefers a warm environment, direct sunshine, and plenty of nutrients.

It is not difficult to maintain, but you will need to give it with the proper circumstances and trim it periodically to prevent it from taking over the pond. It is not the simplest plant to care for, but neither is it the most difficult.



Additionally, duckweed is fantastic at purifying water. Duckweed is a tiny, fast-growing plant with extensive branching potential. It resembles a collection of stalks with several tiny, green, spherical leaves. It resembles an assortment of small Lilly pads.

It is a cool-looking plant that may offer fish shelter and mild shade, and some fish also enjoy eating it. It is a fantastic alternative since it requires little upkeep.

As a floating plant, it has no need for the substrate. As long as there is an abundance of nutrients in the water column, duckweed will flourish. It prefers somewhat clean water and plenty of sunshine.

However, upkeep is modest overall. It is a fast-growing, invasive plant, so you will need to prune it frequently. However, this rapid growth is advantageous for your pond since it indicates that duckweed filters water quickly and effectively.



You may be familiar with watercress, as it is a plant that people occasionally consume. It is a prominent ingredient in South American cuisine. If you want to save money on fish food, the fact that certain fish will eat it is a major plus.

These are ideal for big ponds since they may reach a height of 24 inches and grow so rapidly. Due to its rapid growth and big size, Water Cress must be pruned and managed in order to prevent it from dominating a pond.

However, except that, watercress requires no effort. Since it is a floating plant, the substrate does not matter as long as the water contains abundant nutrients. It thrives in intense sunlight, but may also grow in lesser light settings.

Again, the rapid development of this plant helps to filter water. This plant is a very efficient water filtration plant that consumes a lot of water impurities that might cause murky pond water.


Water Lilies

You will have a difficult time finding a more gorgeous and intriguing plant for your pond. Water lilies may be found in a variety of hues, each of which is magnificent.

These plants bloom for several months, making them perfect for locations with mild temperatures. Fish enjoy water lilies because they give ample protection from the sun and aerial predators, both of which are advantageous.

Since water lilies are floating plants, you need not bother about the substrate, but you must sometimes give fertilizers to the water (if necessary). It is crucial that they be placed in a well-lit area, as they require a lot of sunshine.

Aside from that, they are often fairly resilient, so you won’t need to perform any maintenance. The water lily is an excellent plant for pond water filtration, particularly if there are several of them.

Buyer's Guide

Additionally, we are frequently asked, “What kind of plants filter water?” Actually, the answer is that they all do. Now, they don’t all do it in the same way or to the same amount, but practically all plants filter water.

There are several ways in which a healthy plant may aid in keeping your pond’s water clean and clear, although this may not be immediately apparent. Plants are a great deal more than blobs floating in the water, and they perform a great deal more than merely seem pretty.

Plants serve as filters in many capacities. Let’s discuss the primary ways in which plants contribute to the cleanliness and clarity of the water.


For starters, plants generate oxygen through photosynthesis. Afterward, this oxygen is released into the ocean. This is beneficial because it improves fish breathing.

Additionally, oxygen rises to the surface of the water and diffuses into the air above. This assists in lifting and releasing impurities from the water that may be causing cloudiness and discoloration.

Elimination Of Algae

One of the primary ways plants contribute to clean and clear water is by minimizing the likelihood of an algal bloom. Algae is unsightly, spreads throughout the water, and consumes nutrients, sunshine, space, oxygen, and more.

Simply put, you do not want it in your tank. The more sunshine and nutrients your pond plants produce, the less of these things are available for algae to consume.

Lessening Of Substances (FILTRATION)

In general, plants are excellent filters for many pollutants. Since ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are all hazardous substances that may and do harm fish, they have no place in ponds.

These elements can also create discoloration and foul odors in water. Furthermore, algae like feeding on ammonia. Pond plants consume and absorb these pollutants, hence preventing odors, discoloration, algae blooms, and fish mortality. Water-filtering plants for ponds are undeniably crucial.

Types Of Pond Vegetation

There are three primary categories of pond plants, each of which is represented by one of the 10 species mentioned above. Let’s briefly examine each of the three primary types so you know what you’re getting into.


Floating vegetation is typically abundant in ponds. They excel in water filtration, particularly the huge and rapidly growing species. Given that majority of the floating plant is above water, it may not perform as well as submerged plants, but it may certainly hold its own.

These plants require an abundance of nutrients in the water column and enough sunshine. Since they float, the substratum is unimportant. Floating plants are often favored by pond fish because they attract insects, can serve as food, offer protection from predators, and even give shade.


Shallow pond vegetation resembles a transition between floating and submerged vegetation. Because the roots of shallow pond plants are anchored in the substrate, they require a healthy, nutrient-rich substrate to live.

They often develop tall stems with leaves or blooms that extend much beyond the surface of the water. Placing them in a well-lit place is essential since they require a great deal of natural light.

These plants are favored by fish because they attract numerous animals that might be consumed. In addition, shallow-water plants provide shade from the sun and protection from predators. Due to the fact that most of the plant is above water, they perform a mediocre job of filtering water, but the roots still absorb a lot of undesirable elements.


Submerged pond plants are the most effective water-filtering plants. Since the plant’s roots and entire body are immersed, the plant is actively engaged in water filtering. These plants obtain nutrients from both the substrate and the water column; therefore, a combination of water-borne nutrients and a high-quality substrate is needed.

These plants often require less sunlight than the other two categories, but they still need plenty. These plants are preferred by fish for playing, hiding, providing cover, and shading. Numerous aquatic plants serve as food sources for fish.


Do ponds need oxygenating plants?

Yes, your pond’s health requires oxygenating plants. For starters, if you have a really big pond and don’t want to purchase numerous huge and costly air pumps, some oxygenating pond plants can assist give your fish with the oxygen they need to be healthy and breathe.

Furthermore, there are several natural pond filter plants, and indeed, oxygenating plants frequently serve as pond filters by consuming nutrients that would otherwise be consumed by algae.

Regarding effective pond-cleaning plants, we recommend:

  • Anacharis
  • Red Ludwigia
  • Hornwort
  • Mermaid Plant
  • Cabomba
  • Vallisneria
  • Moneywort
  • Lemon Bacopa
  • Rotala

Do aquatic plants provide oxygen to the water?

Unfortunately, floating plants are not at the top of the list when it comes to aquatic plants that filter water, at least in terms of oxygenation.

Okay, so floating pond plants are actually fantastic for a lot of reasons, like giving seclusion for your fish, shading them from the sun, and protecting them from predators.

However, the majority of oxygen produced by floating plants is discharged into the air, not the water.

Are Water Lilies beneficial to ponds?

In terms of plants that clean water, water lilies are rather effective, however, they do not contribute significantly to oxygenation.

However, the huge leaves of water lilies are excellent for shading and concealing your fish. In addition, water lilies consume a substantial amount of nutrients that would otherwise be available to algae, and they are very effective at hiding the sunlight algae require.

In addition to being simple to maintain, water lilies are also quite attractive.

What are the finest plants for oxygenating a small pond?

Obviously, certain plants are more effective at oxygenating ponds than others. Moreover, if you have a tiny pond, you want oxygenating plants that are as efficient as possible without requiring an excessive amount of area.

The following are some instances of organisms that thrive with oxygenation:

  • Arrowhead
  • Eel grass
  • Fanwort
  • Hornwort
  • Black Rotala
  • Water Weed
  • Water Sprite
  • Water Wisteria

How can I keep the plants in my pond alive?

To keep pond plants alive, certain conditions must be followed, as is the case with other plants.

First, the pond water must have the proper temperature, neither too hot nor too cold. The pH or acidity level of the water will also play a role in determining this.

Consider adding fertilizer and carbon dioxide (CO2) to the water if you want very healthy plants.

Furthermore, a filtering system that effectively removes particles is crucial. Additionally, it probably won’t harm to pick pond plants that fish won’t consume.

Do pond plants die in winter?

Yes, the majority of pond plants will freeze and die throughout the winter, with the exception of deeply submerged hardy pond plants.

If you wish for them to survive the winter, you must take them from the pond and store them indoors until April.

How do you trim a pond plant?

There is no easy solution to this question since various plants require distinct pruning techniques.

Certain plants must be trimmed in this manner, while others must be pruned in this manner.

If you want or need to trim your pond plants, you must conduct a study on the particular species.


BestForPets (bestforpets.org) hopes that our reviews of the best pond plants to keep water clear have assisted you in narrowing down your selections and identifying the ideal product for your needs.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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