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Do Water Plants Produce Oxygen for Fish? The Full Answer

Water plants are an excellent and aesthetically pleasing addition to any aquarium, but did you know they could be beneficial to your tank’s ecosystem as well? 

Your aquatic plants can provide shelter for aquarium life, they can help algae from forming, but can they also produce oxygen for your fish? 

Water plants will produce oxygen for fish. The type and number of plants that you have in your tank determines if they will be able to generate enough oxygen for your fish. You may have to find other methods to push oxygen into your tank, such as an air pump. 

Are you still curious about how your aquarium plants will be able to produce oxygen for the fish in your tank? 

I’m going to take a look further into this topic by explaining how these plants can oxygenate your fish tank, which plants produce the most oxygen for your aquarium, and alternative methods to increase oxygen levels in your tank. 

Whether you’re skeptical about your plants providing enough oxygen for your fish or you want to know more ways to oxygenate your tank, all of your questions will be answered! 

Aquatic Plants Can Oxygenate Your Fish Tank

Have you ever stood in a forest surrounded by trees, ferns, and other vegetation and felt like you could breathe better? Technically, you could. Trees and plants absorb pollutants to our lungs, like carbon dioxide, and produce oxygen for us to breathe. 

Before I go on about how we need to #savethetrees, I’ll come to my point: just as you need trees and plants to produce oxygen for you on land, your aquatic friends also need oxygen below the surface.

Plants that grow underwater can produce oxygen just like their land-loving counterparts and can be very beneficial to your aquarium ecosystem. 

They absorb carbon dioxide and ammonia produced by the fish in your tank to help keep a healthy balance. If you have artificial water plants, you won’t get the same results that you would with live plants.  

In order for your water plants to thrive in your fish tank and continue to produce oxygen, it’s essential to make sure you know what nutrients the plants need to survive and also to make sure they are the correct type of plant that can be grown underwater; if you try to plant a sunflower in your tank, it probably won’t go so well.

The more plants you have, the more oxygen will be produced. If you have a large tank with many fish, you’ll need to include a fair amount of live plants if you want to oxygenate your aquarium. 

If plants aren’t your style, you may have to compromise with installing an air pump or air stone to increase oxygen levels in your tank.   

What Aquatic Plants Produce the Most Oxygen?

Suppose you’ve decided to decorate your fish habitat with vibrant live plants to help produce a pleasant, oxygenated environment for your scaly friends. In that case, you’ll need to know which type of plants are the best quality and will produce the most oxygen. 

Aquatic plants that produce the most oxygen include strong, hardy plants that grow easily and can withstand a range of temperatures. Anacharis and eelgrass are two notable aquatic plants that produce oxygen for fish. 

While most plants will work for your tank and produce an adequate amount of oxygen, I’ll go over a few of the types of water plants that will work best for the fish in your tank.  

You’ll need a lot of light for your plants; the light will help them grow taller and more robust and help them produce more oxygen.  

Anacharis is a noteworthy oxygen-producing plant that can either be free-floating in your tank or planted in substrate. 

It is very easy to grow, it will produce high levels of oxygen in your tank and can withstand colder temperatures; it will need a lot of light to grow, so make sure your tank is in an area with a lot of natural or artificial light.  

Another great plant to up your oxygen levels and is extremely easy to grow is eelgrass. It easily thrives in many environments and will spread out if you let it; but, you must make sure to keep it in control, or it could overtake your tank and decrease the oxygen level it pushes out.  

If you don’t know which plants to choose, or you’re not much of a botanist, there are alternatives to using water plants to produce oxygen in your tank.

Other Ways to Increase Oxygen in a Fish Tank

Maybe you like the look of artificial plants and rocks and care for the natural look in your tank, or maybe you like the minimalist approach and don’t want to clutter up your tank with plants, then you might need to have an alternative to increasing oxygen in your fish tank. 

Here are a few methods you can try:

  • Change Your Water. This is a quick fix if you want to increase your oxygen levels. Switch out your aquarium water with fresh water. 
  • Air Pumps. This HIRALIY Aquarium Air Pump Set will make sure there’s a continual flow of oxygen into your tank and help keep a healthy balance in your tank’s ecosystem.


Now that you’ve learned how water plants can oxygenate your tank, which plants produce the most oxygen, and alternatives to using plants for oxygenation, you can now go forth and set your tank up for success.

No matter how you choose to increase oxygen levels in your tank for your fish, remember that you need to choose at least one of the methods listed in this article to oxygenate your tank. 

Just like you, your fish need oxygen to survive, and aquatic plants are a great way to supply your fish to ensure they are happy and healthy.


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