Best Aquarium Fish For Planted Tanks & Aquascaping

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Best Aquarium Fish For Planted Tanks And Aquascaping

Planted tanks are a widely held and rapidly growing segment of the aquarium hobby. This segment allows hobbyists to combine the beauty of nature with the benefits of a balanced ecosystem. In contrast to a traditional aquarium, live plants are the primary focus, with fish being a compliment to the overall effect.

Planning A Planted Aquarium:

Planted aquarium fish tanks require less maintenance than conventional aquariums, but they require proper planning. Extraordinary attention should be paid to tank dimensions, lighting, substrate, fertilizers and choice of plant and fish species. A well-planned and maintained planted aquarium will deliver years of enjoyment and relaxation. Let’s get into it!

Benefits of Live Plants in an Aquarium:

  • They improve water quality and help prevent algae growth by using nutrients produced by fish waste, uneaten food and organic rubbles.
  • They produce oxygen during daylight hours, which is taken up by fish and helps even out ph. Fish, in turn, release CO₂, which in return used by plants as a food source.
  • Fish tend to feel safe which inspires them to stay out in the open and develop more vivid colors.
  • Plants buoy up many types of fish to spawn and give newly-hatched fry a place to hide while they grow.

Plant-Friendly Fish For Planted Aquariums

Cardinal Tetras

A common schooling fish is the cardinal tetra, and these fish are ideal for planted tanks. The colorful Cardinal Tetra is pretty timid, but in a group it shows courage to swim through the plants. Their color adds so much beauty to your aquarium. Bright LED lights are visible in the blue. If you add a group of 10 or more cardinal tetras to your planted tank, you will not be disappointed.

Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus are effective algae eaters. This helps keep the tank clean. In my opinion, these fish have a fascinating personality and demonstrate overwhelming behavior. They’re cute and busy all the time.

Otocinclus prefer to live in a cluster of at least 5 fish. Make sure to get several of them to make them feel secure. You can feed them with sinking algae wafers, but they’ll also happily eat cucumber, zucchini or blanched lettuce.

Ember Tetra

Ember tetras have become one of the most popular additions to aquascaping. This is due to their distinct bright orange color and their remarkably small size. This blend works in two ways. The aquarium will seem much larger with small fish such as the Ember Tetra inhabiting the empty space.  

Their unique name ‘Ember’ is reflected in their bright blood-orange pattern. Ember Tetras will often swim in groups, leaving a bright trail of color through the aquascape. They are suitable to a lower pH often found in planted aquascapes and overall are an excellent choice for the planted aquarium.


Rainbows are becoming more and more common in aquariums. This is due to their natural bright colors that reflect light in the aquarium. The scales of rainbow fish are reflected and add radiance and movement to a then static aquascape. They have a lower pH, which is usually associated with planted aquariums.

Smaller rainbows are more popular in aquariums due to their ability to add depth and color to the aquarium. These include the Spotted Blue eye, the Dwarf Neon Rainbow fish & the Threadfin rainbow fish. They are a strong species, come at a favorable price point but can be stimulating to locate in large numbers.


Since the beginning of aquariums, guppys have been the star of the show. As a result of the aquarium’s hot heaters, a variety of species could be kept, including guppys, which were among the brightest and hardiest. The males carry a bright, large tail that signals eminence and attracts females. Guppys have deep coloration that exists in almost every possible shade. This makes them an brilliant choice for an aquarist

Guppys do not like high flow and are attracted to slower moving environments. They are also prone to other species nipping their fins and should be kept with their own species. Guppies will also not school in the aquarium. This is mainly due to the lack of pillagers in nature, where they grow well in warm ponds and pools.


Till now all the fish on the list have been somewhat small. If you want to keep some large and splendid fish that do well in a planted tank, angels might be for you. These fish can grow to be very large, especially when it comes to height. For specific sizes you’ll have to do some research, because just the info will not be enough.

Fish like this are gorgeous and are known to be beautiful flagship species in large planted tanks. Plants like vallisneria, amazon swords, and java fern will make them happy. 

While planted tanks can seem challenging at first, they offer many benefits to fish and invertebrates. Some of the featured species can fill up empty space in these tanks and are large enough to be used as aquascaping fish.

You won’t want nibbled-on leaves if a species is not 100% plant-friendly.

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