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11 Best Plants for Turtle Tanks

Turtles are very cute and non-fussy, and this makes them a desirable pet for most. However, this does not mean they do not require enough care.

In fact, if you do not give them the attention that they need, they can fall sick and even die.

Among the things that need to be added in their tank, for their well-being, are a source of heat, basking platforms, substrate, and more.

These things help you create a conducive atmosphere that is quite like what they are used to live in when in the wild.

Apart from these, you must also add plants to their tank. This will make them feel more comfortable and happier.

Naturally, now you must be keen on learning what will be the best plants for turtle tank. So, let us discover the top most choices without delay.


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Hornwort is an aquatic plant and has a yellowish and green color. It never reaches the surface and is a beautiful addition for any turtle aquarium.

This plant is very resilient and resistant and can easily survive various water conditions. As long as the water temperature is not excessively cold or hot, there should be no problems at all.

They do need a little light, and if you have used the turtle lights, then there should be no issues. Hornwort is quite hardy and survives in many different conditions. This includes even a turtle tank where it is likely to get eaten.

These plants also grow very quickly, and this can prove to be very beneficial, keeping in mind the fact that your turtles may eat it pretty rapidly. What also needs to be mentioned is that Hornwort help create a natural habitat in the tank and they are pretty good at filtering the aquarium water.

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Video: “Hornwort: A Hardy Aquarium Plant”

Dwarf Hairgrass

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One of the best plants for turtle tank is Dwarf Hairgrass. It is quite like the normal grass that you see growing on your lawn, but the sole difference is that the grass growing on your lawn is not aquatic. The Dwarf Hairgrass, on the other hand, can survive perfectly well when submerged in water.

Turtles are very fond of Dwarf Hairgrass as it covers the substrate in their tank. It thus makes them very soft for your pet to walk or lay on.

Also, it gives the look of an underwater lawn and thus makes your tank look very attractive. Turtles might eat a little of this grass, but they do not like its taste much, and thus they are not going to finish it off completely.

Furthermore, Dwarf Hairgrass does not need too much CO2 or lighting. It does not even grow too fast, so you will not have to worry about them invading much space in your aquarium.

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Video: “Dwarf Hairgrass: Carpeting King!”

Moneywort (Creeping Jenny)

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Moneywort is yet another amazing option when you are looking for plants for your turtle aquarium. They look beautiful and thus also make your tank look attractive.

This is a kind of straight growing plant, in the sense that it has taller and longer shoots with small leaves stemming off them. Also, they are pretty thin.

One thing you need to remember is to not add too many of this plant in your tank. As they grow quite tall, they may take too much space in your tank water if you add too many.

Not only do these plants look attractive, but they also are very tasty and thus serve as treats for your pet turtles. Though the turtles will eat them, you need not worry as they grow pretty fast.

Furthermore, it is true that Moneywort likes lots of CO2 and light, but it is not too demanding so it will be completely fine in your tank along with your turtles.

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Video: “Aquarium Plants: Creeping Jenny”

Water Hyacinth

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If you love floating plants, then Water Hyacinth can prove to be one of the best plants for turtle tank.

The reason behind this is that it is a versatile plant that you will find sitting on the surface of the water. Thus, it easily gets all the sun and light it requires.

This is a thick, glossy, and broad plant and its leaves measure nearly 4-8 inches across. Its stalks are bulbous and spongy and have free-hanging roots, and are a perfect choice for any turtle tank.

Also, Water Hyacinth is quite a hardy and resilient plant so you will not have to bother much to keep it alive. Your turtles are going to love it too and find it to be a delicious treat.

Furthermore, as these are flowering plants, this will make your turtle tank look very beautiful.

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Video: “FASTEST growing pond plant- Water hyacinth”

Java Moss

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Java Moss is one of the easiest to grow and hardy tank plants that you will ever come across. It is highly durable and will prove to be a perfect addition to your turtle tank.

What is best about this plant is that it does not have any strict lighting or air needs. Also, it can grow pretty well in dim lighted and murky environments.

So, no matter what kind of aquarium you choose to keep them in, you can be sure they will grow just fine.

You definitely are going to love the amazing filtration that it will offer to your tank water. You obviously understand the importance of such filtration. It will help keep your tank healthy and clean for your pet turtles.

Java Moss does not require much attention, and it is easy to take care of and grows pretty fast. Thus, there is nothing for you to worry about even if your turtles enjoy eating them.

This plant grows on substrates and also other aquarium items and makes the tank look quite attractive. If you choose this as a part of your tank, your turtles will be super happy as it will give them a feeling of being at home.

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Video: “Java Moss Aquarium Plant Profile”

Moss Balls

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If you are in search of one of the most unique and best plants for turtle tank, then you surely are going to love the Moss Balls. These are aquatic Moss Balls that beautifully rests at the bottom of an aquarium.

You might find your turtles nibbling on them, but they will not eat them as they are not really delicious. One amazing thing about them is that they do completely fine even in low light tanks.

Furthermore, they will serve as a fun object in your aquarium, and your turtles will love pushing them around and playing with them.

Last but not least, Moss Balls even work as natural underwater filters. They will take the undesired compounds and wastes from the tank water and thus help keep them completely clear.

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Video: “How To Care For Marimo Moss Balls (And Keep Them From Turning Brown)”


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Frogbit is yet another amazing plant for your turtle tank. It looks fantastic, has a smooth texture, has broad leaves, and is durable. Also, what is worth mentioning is that it multiplies very fast and can bear a lot.

Runners shoot out from the base of this plant, and it is a great choice to introduce this plant to your turtle aquarium. It is quite popular among beginners as a floating plant, so you too may give this one a thought.

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Video: “Amazon Frogbit”


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Duckweed may not be as popular as the other plants in this list. Nonetheless, it makes a great choice for any turtle tank.

If your aquarium is overstocked or there is a nutrient problem, and there is no fish in your aquarium like Goldfish to consume it, then Duckweed will prove to be immensely beneficial.

It will destroy the nitrates present in your tank and thus make the water very clean.

Many people have problems with the presence of too many nitrates in their tap water. To handle this issue, floating plants are perfect for their tank. Duckweed is the best option in such situations as it does the task very efficiently and also because it grows very fast.

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Video: “BEST/WORST Live Plants for Tropical Aquariums | DUCKWEED”

Java Fern

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One of the best plants for turtle tank, without a doubt, is Java Fern. It is cheap, hardy, and you can easily get it from most pet supply shops. You can grow it partially or fully submerged in tank water.

In nature, it remains attached to rocks, driftwood, and other submerged objects. However, this plant does not have extremely strong roots, so if you just stick it to the substrate, it will not work.

It will come out loose and then drift around in your tank. So, make sure you attach it properly to something.

The best way you can use Java Fern in a turtle tank will be to wedge it between some driftwood or a between a few rocks. You can tie it using a thread. Or, you may first tie it to a suction cup and then stick it to the base of your tank.

Make sure to keep a little substrate around the base of the plant. You may use a string or dental floss to tie the plant.

Java Ferns just need a little lighting and your turtle lights will be good enough for it. What is impressive about this plant is that it takes out waste from the tank water in a significant way, and thus serves as a natural filter.

Since this plant is not very delicious, your turtles might take a bite or two but will never eat the complete plant.

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Video: “Growing Dense Java Fern”

Water Lettuce

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Water Lettuce is yet another excellent option for your turtle tank. It rests on the surface of the water, looks beautiful, and thus makes your tank look gorgeous as well. Since they remain on the surface of the water, their light requirements are easily met.

What is also great is that turtles completely love Water Lettuce and they will thoroughly enjoy eating it. Also, it will serve as a fantastic cover for your turtle aquarium.

What even needs to be mentioned is that this plant is hardy and durable, so you will not have to worry about it thriving in your turtle tank at all.

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Video: “Water Lettuce Care & Info Pistia”

Red Ludwigia

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One of the reasons why Red Ludwigia is so popular is because it is very low maintenance. It does not require any special lighting, nutrients, or even aeration. It will survive perfectly well on its own and from the nutrients that it derives from the tank water.

Since it is so easy to take care of, it certainly is one of the best plants for turtle tank.

Remember, this is a tall plant so you ideally should add only a few bushes. If you add too many, then it will overstuff the swimming space, so just a few is enough. Also, this plant grows quite fast, and turtles enjoy eating it as well.

Here again, you need not worry, as though your turtles will eat them, they will also grow quickly and replenish itself swiftly.

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What Types Of Plants Are Good For Turtle Tank?

As far as a turtle tank is concerned, there are many plant options and we have already shared the top few with you. But, there are a few things you need to keep in mind while making your selection.

One of the important things to remember is to only add such plants that your turtle can eat.

It will not be wise to add plants that are way too tasty, as your turtles will finish them off even before they can fully grow.

But, at the same time, you must be careful and not add any such plants that contain toxic compounds and can be harmful to your tank pets. As turtles enjoy eating plants, adding those that are edible will be great.

Furthermore, it will be good if you choose those plants that root in the substrate easily. You naturally want your plants to remain firmly rooted in your tank substrate. So, those plants that have a good root system are perfect for every turtle tank.

Moreover, in turtle tanks there usually is not much oxygen present in the water and nor is there too much light. Thus, those plants that do not need too much oxygen and light make a good choice.

Floating plants are also good because they look nice, offer some cover, and are mostly edible.

Advantages of Keeping Plants in Turtle Tanks

There are many benefits of keeping plants in your turtle tank, and we shall learn about a few of them right away.


They offer backup filtration

One of the biggest advantages is that live plants can serve as a backup water filtration system for your tank. If you make the right choice, the plants may filter out nitrates, ammonia, and also any other undesired organic compounds present in the tank water.

They even make the aquarium water cleaner, and thus healthier for your turtles. As a bonus, they also share some load of your filter.


They provide more oxygen

Plants, you know, can oxygenate the water. Turtles require a fair amount of oxygen. And, if you also have fishes in your tank, they too require oxygen.

More the aquatic plants present in your tank, the more oxygen will your water have. This, of course, will prove to be great for the lives within.


They make the tank look attractive

Live plants in turtle aquariums help make it a lot more beautiful. If you do not have plants in your turtle tank, it looks unnatural and weird. So, if you want your aquarium to look natural and attractive, then adding plants will be great.

Furthermore, they are good for the health of your turtles as well.


Your turtles will be happy

Just like any other pet parent, you will want your turtles to be healthy, safe, and of course also happy. And, to ensure they are happy, one of the best things you can do is to add some live plants in your tank.

These plants will serve as a tasty treat for your pet, and they even will enjoy hiding among them. Good aquatic plants will actually help the turtles feel comfortable and give them a feeling of being at home.

Kind of Plants That Should Not Be Added To a Turtle Tank

Turtles eat most plants, but some are toxic. You need to avoid the toxic plants since they can prove to be fatal. Some such plants that strictly must be avoided are ivy, milkweed, and water hemlock.

Also, those plants that demand too much CO2 and light should not be selected. These plants will find it difficult to survive, and if you want them to, you will have to invest extra time and care.

You should go for those plants that have a nice root system. This will help prevent it from floating randomly in your aquarium.


Turtles make a very good pet, and they also have a good life span. They may not be expressive as a few other pets, but watching them move about in your tank definitely does make you feel good.

Just like other pets, turtles too need care and attention. And, apart from maintaining the right conditions in your tank, adding plants proves immensely beneficial. Your little pet will enjoy hiding among these plants and also will play with them.

Furthermore, they even love eating plants, and thus you need to be very careful while making your selection.

Anyhow, now that you are aware of what makes the right plant choice for your turtle tank you should have no problem at all. Select any among these, and your turtles will be very happy and your tank will look attractive as well.

Aaron Boyd
Aaron Boyd

Hello, I’m Aaron Boyd, the proud owner and author behind Aqua Movement. I hope my article was able to answer your questions. If you want to learn more about me, click the home icon above.

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