The 11 Best Aquarium Plants For Shrimp (With Pictures)

In this article, I’ll be talking about plants that can be added to your shrimp tank. Not all shrimp owners put plants in their aquariums, but I recommend doing this for your pet. It will give your shrimp a good place to hide and relax. Live aquarium plants also have many health benefits for shrimp. They filter your water and oxygenate your tank. Plants can even balance out pH to improve water conditions.

In general, though, aquarium plants are a must for any type of tank setup. Natural greenery helps maintain an ideal space for aquatic pets. It livens up and creates a more realistic habitat for shrimp to live in. This will help your shrimp and other pets live longer and stay healthy.

Still, it isn’t easy picking out the right plant for your shrimp. Underwater plants come in a ton of variety, but not all plants are right for your pet. This post will go over which greenery is right for shrimp. I’ll also discuss some basic plant care so you can keep your plants thriving in their environment.

Choosing Ideal Plants For Shrimp

Shrimp will do better with plants in your aquarium. Greenery adds additional properties to your tank that fake plants are unable to provide. For instance, some plants will create nice Algae growth in your tank or shed leaves frequently.

When choosing a plant, see which plants will provide this for your pet. Large plants that tend to shed a lot of matter, could be a nice snack for your pet. Shrimp like to eat a lot and plants can be an extra source of food. So also consider this.

In addition to eating a lot, Shrimp like to explore their tank area. You want to have plants with larger leaves or a thick carpet. Plants with plenty of foliage are ideal for shrimp and help keep them entertained.

So if you have other pets in your tank, you should definitely have larger plants. Shrimp will want to hide and create their own territory. And vegetation with plenty of coverage is a must for shrimp with or without other pet species though. Shrimp feel more secure and safe in their tank when they have space to conceal themselves.

1. Java Fern

Java Fern is an incredibly popular plant choice for shrimp tanks. Their large sprouting leaves are the perfect hideout for shrimp. And the best part is that it doesn’t take much to grow this plant in your aquarium. Ferns are adept at living in a multitude of water conditions. And in a shrimp tank, they will easily adjust to your pet’s water needs.

You can use higher intensity light on this plant, but this is not necessary for your plant to thrive. Java Fern generally has low lighting needs. But I recommend using fertilizer if you want larger Fern leaves. This is not strictly required, but you will get a healthier-looking plant from this product.

Just trim your plant if you decide to grow it bigger, and keep your water well filtered for favorable results. Also, make sure that you are planting your Fern the right way. The roots of the plant should not be submerged deeply within a substrate. You might even want to use driftwood to attach the roots instead.

2. Water Wisteria

Water Wisteria sprout beautiful wavy leaves that shrimp love to explore. This plant grows in clumps and thrives in lower intensity light setups. Planting the Wisteria is a simple affair, it can survive in any type of substrate. Potting this plant is also an option. Really there are many ways for you to put this lovely plant in your shrimp tank. Just make sure to add in some fertilizer to help it grow to the best of its abilities.

Water Wisteria is larger than a lot of other plants on this list. They do better in shrimp tanks that are at least ten gallons. So only get this plant if you have a big enough space to fit this plant. If you plan on caring for many shrimp this can be to your advantage though. The Wisteria has plenty of foliage for large amounts of shrimp.  

How you care for this plant will depend on how you plan on growing it though. Larger plants will need more light, if you want a more modest-sized Wisteria, less illumination can be used. These plants also like warmer waters between 74 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Cryptocoryne

The Cryptocoryne is a plant with a lot of range. Also known as Crypts, you can get these in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors. The different varieties of Crypt let you customize your shrimp tank to your needs.

You can choose from the wild-looking Wnedtii Crypt to the more delicate pink tone Petchiis Crypt. You can also get larger or smaller sized Crypts depending on your tank measurements. Overall, these plants are popular with shrimp pets and are not too hard to care for.

In fact, they are perfectly suited to smaller nano shrimp tanks. These aren’t as easy to care for as Java Fern or other more beginner-friendly plants. But this is not a difficult plant to cultivate. Just don’t oversaturate them with light and be careful of putting their roots in substrate.

Only bury the Crypt a few inches into your chosen substrate. I recommend using gravel, and be careful not to bury the crown of the plant. Additionally, be aware that your Crypt could experience Crypt Melt.

When this plant is introduced to new water conditions, it loses all its leaves. If you stick to low light conditions and have the right water temperature your plant will grow back. There is no need to panic if this happens, the plant just needs to adjust to living underwater.

This may sound strange for plants you just bought in a fish store, but most plants are grown emersed. This means the current leaves of your Crypt are not made to live underwater.

4. Dwarf Lillies

If you have a small shrimp tank with only a few pets, this next plant might be for you. The Dwarf Lily is a slow-growing flora with a unique look. They come in a few different colors and can flower in the right water conditions.

Shrimp enjoy being in the same water as these plants, but you want to be careful about how you plant these Lillies. They are hardy, but they need exact care to thrive properly. Firstly, don’t bury the bulb of the Lily all the way, otherwise, it will rot. Carefully place the roots in a substrate, and let your plant have time to root before putting your shrimp in.

Dwarf lilies have a pleasing look. Their leaves almost look like arrowheads. But make sure they are strong enough to go in your tank. An older specimen might be preferred as they will have had time to develop more before they are placed in your water.

5. Vallisneria

Vallisneria, are grass-like aquarium plants. This is another great option for large populations of shrimp. It’s best to purchase a whole bunch of these, so your pet has plenty of coverage and places to hide.

Also known as Vals, these plants look like onions. They sprout crowns and grow long green foliage from their tops, so trimming them might become necessary. You have to be careful about how you cut the appendages of your plant though. They can be a little sensitive.

If you have a nano shrimp tank, this is not the plant you want to put in your water. There is a smaller version of this plant you can buy though. They are more manageable, but they do take up space in a tank. Larger Vals can grow upwards of twenty inches in height, and they grow fast.

You’ll want to use fertilizer with this plant, and make sure not to bury the crown of your plant to deep or it won’t grow right.

6. Java Moss

Java Moss is a beginner-friendly plant that is well-loved by shrimp keepers. This freshwater aquarium plant is tall enough for your pet to hide in. But does not take up a ton of room in your tank. Instead, it creates a lovely carpet for your tank.

Java Moss can be planted in a substrate. But you can also attach them to other tank objects. These moss love to grow on driftwood or porous rocks. In addition, Java moss plants like lower levels of light. You can give them more intense light, but make sure that you don’t overdo it.

Too much light can actually stall the growth of your Java Moss. But it will cause algae to grow on it which your shrimp will like. On the whole, though, this is a pretty simple plant for shrimp that makes aquariums look amazing with minimal effort. 

7. Anubias

Anubias is another aquarium plant that is well suited for shrimp.  Anyone with an aquarium has likely heard of this plant. It’s nice to look at, creates large amounts of tank coverage, and is cheap to buy. There is also some variety to be found in this plant. You can get a bigger version of this or a smaller one depending on your aquarium setup.

In terms of care, you won’t have a hard time growing this plant. Just give it lower levels of light. If you have a bigger specimen more light will be needed though. You’ll need to trim your Anubias as well, but if you prune it regularly it will stay at a manageable size.  

In addition, Anubias have pretty flexible water condition requirements. They will adapt to the climate and conditions your shrimp prefer. Just ensure that you are planting you Anubias right. They don’t like to be buried deeply in a substrate. In fact, it’s usually better for their growth to root them on driftwood or other decorative objects.

8. Pearl Weed

Pearl Weed, also known as Baby Tears, is a versatile plant. This is a relatively undemanding species with a nice visual. The leaves of the Pearl are rounded and grow on short stems. They don’t grow rapidly, but the Pearl can be used in any area of your shrimp tank. And if you are looking for a carpet plant, it can be used for this purpose.

Pearl Weed, like other great shrimp tank plants, provides lots of coverage for your pet. It also has a larger climate range. It can be in waters anywhere from 60 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. You won’t have to put a ton of effort into this plant. But fertilizer and CO2 can be added to your tank for better growth.

Lighting also affects the growth of this plant. High lighting intensity creates more of a carpet look, while less lighting and trimming creates more straightforward vertical growth. Consider this if you are considering planting this species.

9. Christmas Moss

Moss type plants are great for shrimp tanks. Your pet will love roaming in the grassy carpet of a moss! I talked about Java Moss previously, but Christmas Moss is another good option for your aquarium. This plant is similarly easy to care for. It’s actually one of the best aquarium plants for beginners.

Christmas Moss is a dense plant. So, it provides your shrimp with an ideal place to live in. It can even be kept in a smaller sized tank. You just want to be sure to trim your plant often. Moderate light should also be given to this plant.

In terms of planting, there are plenty of options. In small tanks, you can let this moss float or attach it to decorations. If you want a bigger carpet-like plant use substrate to root the Moss down.

Temperature and pH have some of the widest ranges of any plant on the list. So you won’t have to worry about getting your tank to a specific setting. Just make the water right for your shrimp.

10. Subwassertang

Subwassertang is one of the best aquarium plants you can get for your shrimp. These free-floating plants create some of the best coverage for shrimp. They are also great at enriching your water column with oxygen.

Subwassertang is especially good for young shrimp. When you let the plant float it creates a nice maze-like environment for pets to swim through. This plant tends to like colder climates, but this shouldn’t be a problem for most shrimp.

Subwassertang grows slow, but if you put fertilizer in the water this will help with their growth greatly. Light can be set low, but I recommend going with a high volume of light if you want a lot of this plant to grow in your shrimp tank.

You can also attach this plant to other objects, but this isn’t strictly required to grow this plant well. It just depends on how you want your aquarium to look. Attached Subwassertang looks more orderly and neater.

11. Bucephalandra

Bucephalandra is the last plant on this list. It’s a newer type of flora, but it has similarities to the Anubias. This plant ranges in hue and shape, but it grows on the shorter side. It is not difficult to care for the Bucephalandra, but you’ll want to keep a few general tips in mind.

Colorful versions of this plant will need more light to maintain their color. Low light can be used, but this setting will result in green hued plants. Fertilizer is also needed for this plant. You don’t need to use a ton of it, but you’ll need enough to enrich your soil.

Like the Anubias, Bucephalandra grows slow and likes to be attached to objects to root. You can bury it in substrate though if this is your preference. Overall, this is a nice plant for shrimp. It does not require too much care and gives the bottom of your tank nice coverage for your small pets.

12. Honorable mention

Echinodorus plants are popular, and for shrimp I can highly recommend the foreground swords. The one on the picture above is called Echinodorus Tenellus or more commonly known as Pygmy chain sword.

These plants do well in low tech aquariums but require moderate to high lights. CO2 is not necessary, but adding root tabs or providing a nutritious soil is preferred.

Quick Care Tips for Aquarium Plants

Even the simplest aquarium plants require care. Not all plants are the same or course. Each species has specific requirements that need to be adhered to. However, in general, there are a few basic tips any shrimp tank owners should follow.

First, do research on any plant you plan to buy. Figure out what water conditions your plant needs to survive in a tank and provide it with the proper amount of light. Once you know how to care for your plant, make sure you have clean water for your greenery. The fastest way to fail at aquatic planting is by having poor quality water.

Fertilizer is something else to consider as well. Most plants need fertilizer to stay healthy and thrive underwater. You’ll also want to trim or prune your plant often. This will control the growth of your plant and keep it alive longer.

Bart Sprenkels

I have been keeping multiple aquariums since I was 18 years old. Just like many of you, I started with two goldfish but quickly learned they were not suitable for aquariums. Later, I switched to a tropical community tank and I also have two pet musk-turtles in a bigger aquarium. You can read more about me here.

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