Plants can create an exciting underwater world for goldfish tanks, but it is crucial to get the right kinds. Goldfish are notorious for eating almost anything, including attractive greenery.
There are multiple approaches you can take to avoid this, like getting fast-growing plants instead of slow-growing ones. Some plants also have unattractive leaves that goldfish will mostly leave alone.
The fish are also known to forage around the substrate and uproot plants, and you can, therefore, look for plants that can grow from driftwood or rocks. Some plants that you can keep together with goldfish include:
Anubias ranks as one of the best plants that you can keep with goldfish. It is impressively hardy, and it can be cultivated in an aquarium that is not necessarily focused on growing plants.
It needs just a moderate amount of light, and it will thrive whether it is partly or fully submerged.
Your goldfish will not be able to uproot Anubias because you can easily tie it to driftwood, rocks, and bogwood. The plant will thrive in a PH range of 6.5 to 7.5, making it appropriate for a goldfish tank.
Both the goldfish and Anubias will appreciate similar water parameters and care regimens, which makes them perfect for a healthy tank.
Anubias is, however, quite vulnerable to algal growth on its leaves, which is mostly caused by insufficient CO2 levels. You should provide a CO2 for the plant to be healthy, reduce the light or add other fast growing plants to the tank.
2. Java Fern
The Java fern comes in multiple varieties, and it is regarded as a rhizome plant. The aquatic plant stands out for its ability to live in low light conditions. Its leaves are rugged and thick, and their bitter taste discourages fish from feeding on them.
The Java Fern grows slowly, and it creates a continually evolving jungle in aquariums for goldfish to swim through.
The plant will rot if it is rooted in the substrate, and it is better off tied to rocks or driftwood for support. The Java fern will particularly suit substrate-free tanks. As long as you are giving the plant a reasonable amount of light, it will begin reproducing.
You can spot tiny plants forming at the edge of the leaves, after which they mature and fall off the plant and attach themselves to the objects they land on.
Crypts complement a goldfish exceptionally well. They thrive in an enriched substrate like gravel or sand, and there is always a risk of getting uprooted by your goldfish.
The plant must get iron and nitrogen in sufficient amounts. As the plant develops, however, it develops an elaborate root system that will withstand tugging by the fish.
The best thing about crypts is that they do not need a lot of light. They will grow in shaded areas if you have floating plants, although they will form tall jungles in low lighting.
It is common for the leaves of a new crypt plant to appear to be “melting.” Although it may seem that the leaves are dying, they will typically return looking lush and healthy.
You can keep some Vallisneria varieties with your goldfish. Also called Tape Grass or Eel Grass, the plant is characterized by long and narrow spiraling leaves that can reach two feet high.
The plant makes an ideal snack for goldfish, but it is fast-growing and will, therefore, keep growing. Vallisneria can quickly overrun your tank, and so it is favorable that it is continuously fed on by your pets.
Since it grows quite high, Vallisneria suits taller aquariums, and it is primarily a background plant. Planting is as easy as fixing its root systems into the substrate. The plant can easily get uprooted in the first few days, although you can place some rocks around it to lock down the roots.
Vallisneria does not require a lot of light or CO2, making it easy maintenance. It appreciates alkaline water and additional iron. A Vallisneria plant propagates by sending runners off in different directions, which soon develop leaves and root systems.
5. Amazon Sword
The Amazon Sword is popular for its large leaves, which will add some beautiful greenery to any aquarium. Its name comes from its natural habitat, which is the diverse Amazon River Basin.
The Amazon Sword can tolerate a variety of temperatures, and it thrives even in aquariums that are not focused on aquatic plants. It can either be full or partly submerged in water, and it typically grows to 24 inches.
Goldfish will nibble at the leaves of the Amazon Sword, but the plant continually produces new leaves to keep up with the harassment. As long as your fish are well-fed, they will not cause significant damage to the plants.
You can buy a well-developed Amazon Sword to add to your tank. It needs a substrate that is at least 2.5 inches thick, and it should ideally be planted at the center of the tank. The Amazon Sword will soon grow into a bushy forest that provides hiding spots for your aquatic pets.
The plant tolerates a PH of between 6.5 to 7.5. To maintain it, you can cut unwanted shoots when it starts to spread across your aquarium or during propagation. The plant also needs frequent water changes as it is sensitive to poor water quality.
6. Marimo Mossball
The Marimo Mossball, informally called moss ball, is another good candidate for goldfish tanks. Moss balls are quite interesting as they appear as squishy balls of algae that resemble moss.
Their round shape is an adaptation of rolling long the bottoms of lakes in their natural habitats. Since they can live for up to 200 years, they are often kept as family heirlooms in Japan.
They are regarded as symbolizing the close bonds that develop between families and close friends and are viewed as good luck charms.
While your moss balls stand to be torn to shreds by your goldfish, your aquarium will reap numerous benefits when they are alive. Moss balls serve as small filters since they suck up small amounts of nitrates, ammonia, and fish waste.
Since the plants use similar nutrients as algae, your tank will be kept free of invasive algal growth. Moss plants also harbor a good number of beneficial bacteria that support the nitrogen cycle.
The only things that moss balls require waste to sustain itself are some level of lighting and freshwater. You will, however, need to squeeze out the debris out of the balls once in a while.
7. Water Sprite
In the wild, the water sprite typically establishes roots in muddy areas at the bottom of ponds and lakes. Its many fronds provide the necessary cover for small fish and fry.
While goldfish will nibble at this plant, it grows at an incredibly high rate.
Water sprites can be planted or left floating in an aquarium. If you decide to plant it, invest in a nutrient-rich substrate, and cover the roots and a small part of the stem’s base.
The plant can brighten up the surface of your tank with its vibrant green color. The roots will depend on the nutrients in the tank’s water to grow.
Water spite will thrive in medium to high light levels, while its delicate leaves prefer a soft current. Its ideal PH and temperature ranges are 6.0 to 7.5 and 68-82 °F, respectively.
Most of the maintenance that you will be doing on the water sprite is preventing it from growing too big. Pruning involves trimming the outer stems from time to time. Ensure that you do not cut the main stem as the water sprite will die.
The plant is also nutrient-hungry, and it may take too much nutrients and leave just a little for your aquatic pets.
8. Water Lily
Water lilies are among the floating plants that can be kept in a goldfish tank. There are about 60 species of water lilies sourced from different locations in the world. Their beautiful and fragrant flowers have made the plants quite popular among aquarists.
You get to choose between various colors and sizes, depending on the layout of your aquarium. The flat leaves of the plant sit on top of the surface and provide shade for the tank’s inhabitants.
You will require a planter to root your water lily in a pond as well as a soil substrate with a low organic matter content.
Most aquarists will also include a slow-release fertilizer ball to deliver vital nutrients to the water lily. Since it is a fast-growing species, position it in the middle of your aquarium.
It is quite easy for the leaves and stems of the plant to overcrowd one another and overrun your setup. Once this happens, the stems and leaves die, decompose and release nitrates into the water.
What follows is an algal bloom that can be hard to contain. Regular trimming should, however, prevent this from happening.
9. Peace Lily
Peace lilies are not true lilies as they are classified in the Araceae family. Their flowers have a hoodlike sheath that looks like a white flag of surrender, hence their name.
Peace lilies that grow in water have developed multiple small roots that sustain the plant. It is advisable to buy a plant that has already formed the root system necessary to thrive in water.
Plating a peace lily requires diligent care to ensure they are planted in the tank. You will need to carve out a lid from the plastic plant tray to support your plant. Cut a hole through the middle of the lid that will accommodate the size of the root mass.
You should also remove soil sediments from the roots of your peace lily by swishing them in a bucket filled with water. Go ahead and trim the roots neatly to ensure that they do not extend to the bottom of your aquarium.
Once you have fed the roots through the hole on the lid, your plant should sit neatly on the surface of the water while the root system is left suspended in the water. The plant should be exposed to low light to thrive.
10. Pothos Plant
While Pothos is not a true aquatic species, it will boost the water quality of your aquarium. Only the roots of the plant should be kept in water as they help to get rid of waste.
The Pothos plant absorbs nitrates at a higher rate than other aquatic plants. By eliminating nitrites from your aquarium, the plant also discourages algae from growing in your setup.
The roots also offer hiding spots for fry and eggs, which comes in handy when you are breeding your pets.
Do Goldfish Need Live Plants?
While it is tempting to skip on the live plants with goldfish due to their destructive behavior, your fish will benefit from being kept with the plants.
Live plants release oxygen for any aquarium, which is necessary for the health of goldfish.
Live plants also provide additional filtration and extra surface for beneficial bacteria to grow. Species like the Marimo Mossball and Pothos will suck up fish waste and elements like ammonia and nitrites, which are harmful to fish.
An aquarium with live plants instead of fake ones will, however, need a higher level of maintenance, which you can work into your regular aquarium maintenance.
Do Goldfish Eat Duckweed and Frogbit plants?
Duckweed is known for its incredibly fast growth rate, and it can easily overrun a tank.
Goldfish like to graze on it, and they get some essential nutrients along the way.
The fish will also tame the plant so that it does not grow out of control.
Goldfish will also happily feed on any frogbit plants you have in your aquarium.
How to Secure Plants in a Goldfish Tank?
You will need to anchor plants that do not need a substrate like Anubias to rocks, driftwood, and other decorations. Aquarists can use a fishing line or thread to attach the plants.
Some pet stores will also have aquarium glue to attach the rhizomes and anchor the plant. You can then place the rocks in the middle or the background of your aquarium.
Goldfish are active grazers, and they will target almost any greenery that you add to your aquarium. To combat this aggression, you can source for fast-growing plants that do not require a lot of care.
The fish also seem to mainly stay away from plants with bitter leaves like the Java Fern.