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15 Best Aquarium Plants to Prevent Algae In Your Tank

Adding live plants to your tank has numerous benefits for the fish in the tank and for the tank itself. One of the benefits of adding plants to your tank is preventing algae. As the plants grow they suck the nutrients out of the water causing the algae to starve.

To keep a tank algae-free, fast-growing and hardy plants are the best choice for preventing algae growth. 

Read to learn more about different plants to add to your tank to prevent algae growth!

1. Duckweed

Duckweed floating plants

Duckweed is a faster-growing plant as more floating plants are in a tank. However, their growth rate can be affected by the current. 

With a high current, they will not grow as quickly. It is also a very hardy plant that will thrive in a variety of environments.

Water parameters for Duckweed:

  • Water Temperature: 63°F to 89°F
  • pH Levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water Hardness: 2 to 15 GH for optimal growth, water can be hard or soft.

Maintenance for this plant requires constant pruning to prevent overgrowth. Due to the fast growth rate, it can quickly become invasive in the tank. 

This is a great option in plants for removing pollutants from the water. The fast growth rate is an excellent option for preventing algae growth. 

2. Bacopa Caroliniana

Bacopa Caroliniana aqua plant

Bacopa carolinian is one the plants that have been in the aquarium hobby the longest. It is known for being sturdy and easy to care for plants. 

Bacopa caroliniana is also known for being a hardy plant that adapts very well to different environments.

Water parameters for Bacopa Caroliniana:

  • Water Temperature: 68°F to 82°F
  • pH Levels: 6 to 8
  • Water Hardness: 2 to 15 GH

Bacopa caroliniana has a slower growth rate when compared to most aquarium plants. This makes it easier to maintain as it will not easily take over a tank. 

It is a suitable plant for any tank setup, however, it is exceptionally great for smaller tanks. This is due to the slower growth rate compared to other plants. 

In a smaller tank, it does very well in preventing algae growth.

3. Water Wisteria

Water wisteria

Water wisteria should be kept in the middle or back of your tank. This is because it is a tall growing plant and can grow up to 20 inches tall. 

Water wisteria should also be planted in a sand substrate as this will mimic its natural habitat.

Water wisteria is a great beginner plant to add to your tank. Not only is it easy to take care of but it also has a fast growth rate. 

It is also a very hardy plant and does well in different environments.

Water parameters for Water Wisteria:

  • Water Temperature: 70°F – 82°F
  • pH levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water hardness: 2 to 8 KH

Water wisteria is a great option in preventing algae, as it grows so fast. As it grows it absorbs available nutrients to keep up with this growth rate. 

As this plant grows there are no nutrients left in the aquarium for algae to grow. 

4. Ambulia

Limnophila sessiliflora ambulia

Ambulia is a great choice for beginners as it is easy to grow and care for. It is also a fast-growing plant that will greatly aid in preventing algae growth. 

It is a plant that needs to be planted into the substrate.

Water parameters for Ambulia:

  • Water Temperature: 59°F to 82°F
  • pH Levels: 5.5 to 8

Ambulia does grow rather fast and constant trimming would need to be done to prevent it from overtaking the tank.  As this plant grows it will grow vertically up to 16 inches. 

5. Ludwigia Repens

Ludwigia repens

Ludwigia repens is a popular choice for a stem plant. It can appear red when there is enough iron present in the water. It is also a popular choice as it is easy to care for and very sturdy. 

Water parameters for Ludwigia Repens:

  •  Water Temperature: 68°F to 82°F
  • pH levels: 6 to 8
  • Water hardness: 3 to 8 GH

With a fast growth rate, trimming and maintenance of the growth will need to be kept up. As the growth rate is faster it will absorb the excess nutrients from the water fairly quickly, preventing algae growth.

6. Amazon Frogbit

Floating plant amazon frogbit

Amazon frogbit is hardy as it can adapt to many different environments. It is a trendy floating plant for this reason. 

It has a faster growth rate that serves well in preventing algae growth in your tank. Floating plants are a great choice as they receive their CO2 from above the tank.

Water parameters for Amazon Frogbit:

  • Water Temperature: 64°F to 80°F
  • pH Levels: 6.0 to 7.5
  • Water Hardness: 0 to 12 GH

Due to this plant’s ability to grow smaller plants that will detach and grow on their own, maintenance is very important. 

This plant grows faster and can quickly overrun your tank. It is best to trim these plants when the roots grow too large as well as remove some to prevent overgrowth.

7. Brazilian Pennywort


Unlike some live plants that will stop growing once they hit the water surface, Brazilian pennywort does not. 

This plant will constantly continue to grow even above the water surface. With plenty of light and the addition of fertilization, this plant is fairly easy to grow and care for.

Brazilian pennywort can be used as a floating plant or planted in the substrate. 

Water parameters for Brazilian Pennywort:

  • Water Temperature: 68°F to 82°F
  • pH Level: 6 to 7.8

Another reason why this plant is popular amongst aquarists is it is also very useful in helping in keeping nitrate levels lower. 

For these reasons some may argue this is one the best plants to place inside your tank, for algae growth as well as helping nitrate levels.  

8. Water Spangles

Floating plants water spengles

Water spangles are great floating plants for smaller tanks. This is because the leaves are smaller, only about an inch in length. 

This fern has become popular amongst aquarists for its very fast growth rates. They are also easy to care for as well as hardy plants.

Water parameters for Water Spangles:

  • Water Temperature: 72°F to 79°F
  • pH Levels: 6 to 8
  • Water hardness: 3 to 18 dGH

This fern can become invasive in the tank as it grows very fast. Because of this constant maintenance will need to be done. 

Constant pruning is very important with this plant to avoid it taking over your tank. However, this means it will constantly absorb excess nutrients out of the water preventing algae. 

Water spangles will also very efficiently remove heavy metals from the water as well! This includes removing copper from the water. 

9. Pothos

Pothos plant

Pothos is considered to be a natural aquarium filter. This is because this plant can absorb nitrates and reduces algae growth. 

Because of this, it is a very popular choice for aquarists. This is a popular houseplant that is very hardy.

Water parameters for Pothos plants:

  • Water Temperature: 60°F to 80 °F

This plant will create a vine as it grows. However, this plant will grow in the water but does not grow well when fully submerged. 

The roots can be placed directly in the water, this way the vine and leaves will grow outward from the tank. 

With plant-eating fish, this should not be a problem as the roots are typically difficult to eat.

10. Vallisneria

Vallisneria gigantea

Vallisneria is another plant that grows rather quickly, making it a great option for preventing algae in your tank. 

It may grow too quickly and will need to be maintained to prevent it from taking over the tank. 

Although this very fast growth rate is great in preventing algae growth in your tank.

Water parameters for the Vallisneria plant:

  • Water Temperature: 59°F to 86°F
  • pH Levels: 6.5 to 8.5
  • Water Hardness: 

This is a very widespread plant and it is found growing on every continent in the world besides Antarctica. 

It is also one of the few plants that can be kept with plant eaters inside the tank. 

This is because the plant itself is very difficult to digest, meaning the plant-eating fish will tend to stay away.

11. Brazilian Water Weeds

Brazilian water weeds are known as being an easier plant to care for and grow in a tank. This makes it a great popular choice for beginners. 

It will adapt to a wide range of water conditions making it a hardy choice. 

Water parameters for Brazilian Water Weeds:

  • Water Temperatures: 60°F to 82 °F
  • pH Levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water Hardness: 3-8 KH

This plant is also a great choice for adding oxygen to the tank water. It is also an additional food source for goldfish and apple snails. 

The plant grows very well and it is easy to do so, this is a great option for preventing algae.

12. Moneywort

Baccopa monnieri

Moneywort is a very popular choice in aquariums, surprisingly it is a medicinal herb. This is also another plant that will continue to grow past the water surface. 

This is another plant that is popular for its ease of care making it a great choice for beginners. 

It is often referred to as a creeping plant, as it grows it will run along rocks and mud in the wild. 

Water parameters for Moneywort:

  • Water Temperature: 72°F to 82°F
  • pH Levels: 6 to 7.2
  • Water Hardness: 5 to 20 dKH

This plant offers a wide range of parameters that attributes to its popularity. It can be planted in the substrate as well as used as a floating plant. 

In certain water parameters, this plant may have a slower growth rate. Despite a slower growth rate, it is still a great choice for preventing algae in your tank.

13. Cabomba

Green Cabomba caroliniana plant stems

Cabomba is typically planted in the substrate, however, it can be used as a floating plant. It will grow faster as a floating plant rather than planted into the substrate. 

However, most choose to plant the Cabomba into the substrate for the sack of appearance.

Although cabomba is not a difficult plant to care for, it is not recommended for beginners. As they require special lighting to flourish as well as more demanding care. 

Cabomba plants may need additional fertilizers and supplements for them to receive all of the nutrients that it needs.

Water parameters for Cabomba:

  • Water Temperatures: 72°F to 82°F
  • pH levels: 6.8 to 7.5

Cabomba can be planted in the substrate as well as being used as a floating plant. The Combomba plant grows like a weed and the growth rate is quite rapid. 

Some have to manage the growth rate of the Cabomba as it has the potential to outgrow the tank itself. 

Because of its rapid growth rate, it will absorb nutrients out of the water fairly quickly leaving none for algae to grow. 

Because it can grow like a weed, it is hard to remove completely from a tank.

14. Rotala Indica

Rotala indica is a very popular plant due to it being very hardy and easy to care for in a tank. 

This is a plant best placed towards the back of the tank as it does grow vertically and fairly fast. 

Because of this faster growth rate, it is great for preventing algae growth.

Water parameters for Rotala Indica:

  • Water Temperature: 68°F to 82°F
  • pH levels: 6 to 7.5
  • Water Hardness: 2 to 12 dGH

This plant can be used as a floating plant or planted into the substrate. This is because the plant can absorb nutrients from the water column as well as the substrate. 

This is a plant that will still thrive without additional supplements when planted in a nutrient-rich substrate. 

15. Hornwort

hornwort aquarium plant in gravel substrate

Hornwort is another plant that grows quite rapidly. Because of this, it quickly absorbs the nutrients from the tank which starves off the algae. 

It is a very popular plant for aquarists as it is very hardy and very easy to grow making it great for beginners.

Water parameters for Hornwort:

  • Water Temperature: 59°F to 86°F
  • pH Levels: 6 to 7.5
  • Water Hardness: 5 to 15 dGH

Hornwort can be used as a planted plant or as a floating plant. This is because hornwort has no real roots. 

If you choose to plant it into a substrate you can use leaves to anchor it down there. 

Hornwort can also grow quite tall, up to 10 feet, and should be placed toward the back of the tank.