Best Aquarium Plants To Reduce Nitrates

Using nitrate reducing plants can help improve your overall water quality, help oxygenate your tank, and as a nice bonus, will keep your fish happy.

Here are my best aquarium plants to reduce nitrates

Overview: Aquarium Plants That Reduce Nitrates

Preview Product
Greenpro | Water Wisteria Green 3-Bundle Live Aquarium Plants Package Freshwater Fish Tank Greenpro | Water Wisteria Green 3-Bundle Live Aquarium Plants Package Freshwater Fish Tank
The Sun Ave Bacopa Monnieri Moneywort Freshwater Live Aquarium Plants Stems with Roots (1 Pack) The Sun Ave Bacopa Monnieri Moneywort Freshwater Live Aquarium Plants Stems with Roots (1 Pack)
1000 Live Duckweed Plants LEMNA Minor 1000 Live Duckweed Plants LEMNA Minor
Greenpro Brazilian Pennywort | Hydrocotyle Leucocephala Potted Live Aquarium Plants for Freshwater Fish Tank Greenpro Brazilian Pennywort | Hydrocotyle Leucocephala Potted Live Aquarium Plants for Freshwater...
12 Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium Laevigatum), Live Aquarium/Aquatic Floating Plant by G&Z 12 Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium Laevigatum), Live Aquarium/Aquatic Floating Plant by G&Z
Dwarf Sagittaria Subulata 3-Bunch Freshwater Live Aquarium Plants Carpet Tank Greenpro Dwarf Sagittaria Subulata 3-Bunch Freshwater Live Aquarium Plants Carpet Tank Greenpro

Last update on 2020-11-26 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How do plants reduce nitrates?

Nitrate is actually one of the major nutrients that plants need in order to grow. 

Plants absorb nitrate through their roots, leaves and/or stems and use it as food.

What makes a good nitrate eating plant?

The best nitrate reducing plants have a fast growth rate. Plants use nitrate for leaf growth, so the faster the plant puts out leaves, the more nitrate it uses up.

It’s also best to go with stem plants versus root feeding plants. Stem plants feed directly from the water column while root feeding plants mostly absorb nutrients from the substrate.

Drawing nitrate straight out of the water will have a bigger impact.

Best Aquarium plants To Reduce Nitrates Reviewed

Water Wisteria (Hygrophila difformis)

  • Growth rate: fast
  • Max height: grows to water’s surface
  • Light demands: low
  • CO2: not required
  • Difficulty: easy

Water wisteria is probably my number one pick when it comes to nitrate reducing plants. It is a thick, bushy plant that puts out lots and lots of gorgeous palmate leaves. 

It’s so easy to grow that it’s pretty much ridiculous.

You just bury the stems in the substrate, and they’ll start to form roots and take off from there,  it’s literally that easy. 

This is a stem plant, meaning it feeds directly from the water column through its stems and leaves. It has roots, but they’re more for anchoring the plant in place, not feeding.

Once the wisteria has reached the surface of the water, you can just cut off the tops and root them in the substrate to make new plants. It’s easy to quickly have a jungle in your tank with this species.

Water wisteria does not require CO2 supplementation, but it does benefit greatly from a comprehensive liquid fertilizer, like Seachem Flourish. 

It can be grown immersed (fully under the water) or emersed (just above the surface of the water). 

If you get cuttings with flat, paddle-like leaves, chances are that it was grown emersed. Some of the leaves may die back while the plant gets used to growing underwater, but it will quickly put out new leaves to replace them.

I recommend that you place this plant in the background as it grows very tall and bushy.

Pros:

  • Super easy to grow

Cons

  • Can require frequent trimming
Greenpro | Water Wisteria Green 3-Bundle Live Aquarium Plants Package Freshwater Fish Tank
Greenpro | Water Wisteria Green 3-Bundle Live Aquarium Plants Package Freshwater Fish Tank

    Last update on 2020-11-26 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Moneywort (Bacopa monnieri)

    • Growth rate: medium
    • Max height: 30+ inches
    • Light demands: medium to high
    • CO2: not required
    • Difficulty: easy

    Moneywort, also known as water hyssop, is a creeping plant most often found growing in wetlands around the world. It’s native to every continent except Antarctica.

    It puts out small, round leaves that spiral around its fleshy, bright green stems.

    Moneywort can take some time to get established when it’s put into a new tank. Until then, you may get little to no growth. 

    But once it has adjusted to your tank, it will grow steadily until it has reached the water’s surface.

    Just like other stem plants, you can cut off the top half of the plant and root the cuttings if it grows too tall. I recommend that you place this plant in the background.

    Pros:

    • Attractive plant
    • Puts out small flowers

    Cons

    • Slower growth
    The Sun Ave Bacopa Monnieri Moneywort Freshwater Live Aquarium Plants Stems with Roots (1 Pack)
    The Sun Ave Bacopa Monnieri Moneywort Freshwater Live Aquarium Plants Stems with Roots (1 Pack)

      Last update on 2020-11-26 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

      Duckweed (Lemnoideae sp.)

      • Growth rate: fast
      • Max height: 0.5 inches
      • Light demands: low
      • CO2: not required
      • Difficulty: easy

      There are several different species known by the common name duckweed. All of them are free floating plants that kind of look like a layer of small green leaves have fallen and covered the surface of the pond.

      The leaves of some species are as much as an inch across, others are only a few millimeters. They might look like they’re all connected to each other, but each “leaf” is actually an individual plant.

      Duckweed can be helpful in tanks with algae problems. 

      It grows very quickly and can outcompete algae for nutrients. It also blankets the surface of the water and shades what lies down, denying algae the excess light it thrives on.

      There are some downsides to this species. It can and will quickly take over a tank, spreading over the entire surface. While this is good for slowing algae growth, it can also deprive other plants of light as well.

      It also commonly jumps from tank to tank through cross contamination. All it takes is one little piece of a leaf to ride from one tank to another, on cleaning equipment or nets, for it to spring up where it might not be wanted.

      Pros:

      • Super easy to grow
      • Can provide shade that blocks algae growth
      • Great food source for some fish species

      Cons

      • Can take over a tank 
      • Easily jumps from tank to tank
      • Can block light from other plants
      Sale
      1000 Live Duckweed Plants LEMNA Minor
      1000 Live Duckweed Plants LEMNA Minor

        Last update on 2020-11-26 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

        Brazilian Pennywort (Hydrocotyle leucocephala)

        • Growth rate: fast
        • Max height: N/A will keep growing until trimmed
        • Light demands: low to medium
        • CO2: not required
        • Difficulty: easy

        Brazilian pennywort is one of my most favorite aquarium plants, I’ve been keeping it in my tanks for years.

        It grows long, thin stems, and every few inches, it puts out round leaves that resemble a tiny lilypad. A cluster of roots emerges from underneath each leaf; these feed directly from the water column, sucking up nitrate and other excess nutrients.

        You can grow Brazilian pennywort either rooted in the substrate, or as a floating plant.

        If rooted, it will grow towards the surface, turning its leaves to the light. When floating, its leaves will sit right at the surface, just like tiny lily pads. 

        This plant is great for helping with algae growth. It sucks up nutrients and shades lower parts of the tank.

        It really is an easy plant to grow since it is so undemanding.

        You definitely want to place this at the back of the tank if you plan to grow this rooted in the substrate. It will grow to the water’s surface quickly.

        Pros:

        • Easy to grow
        • Can be grown rooted or floating
        • Provides shade to reduce algae

        Cons

        • May require frequent trimming
        Greenpro Brazilian Pennywort | Hydrocotyle Leucocephala Potted Live Aquarium Plants for Freshwater Fish Tank
        Greenpro Brazilian Pennywort | Hydrocotyle Leucocephala Potted Live Aquarium Plants for Freshwater Fish Tank

          Last update on 2020-11-26 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

          Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum)

          • Growth rate: fast
          • Max height: 0.5 inches
          • Light demands: medium to high
          • CO2: not required
          • Difficulty: medium

          Frogbit is a beautiful floating plant native to the Amazon. It looks kind of like duckweed, but the leaves are much bigger. Also, each frogbit plant has several leaves coming off of it, duckweed is just a single leaf.

          When the plant is young, the leaves will hug the surface. But, as the plant gets older, it will start to put out leaves that poke above the water. The leaves will eventually cover the entire surface of the aquarium.

          This species needs calm water. If the tops stay wet for a prolonged period of time, they will rot. So it does best in tanks in low flow tanks.

          Pros:

          • Beautiful floating plant
          • Shades other plants

          Cons

          • Needs still water
          12 Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium Laevigatum), Live Aquarium/Aquatic Floating Plant by G&Z
          12 Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium Laevigatum), Live Aquarium/Aquatic Floating Plant by G&Z

            Last update on 2020-11-26 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

            Dwarf Sag (Sagittaria subulata)

            • Growth rate: fast
            • Max height: 5 inches
            • Light demands: medium
            • CO2: not required
            • Difficulty: easy

            Dwarf sag is a super easy carpeting plant. It will quickly take over the bottom of the tank.

            It looks like thick grass, kind of similar to St. Augustine grass that some people grow as a lawn. It spreads by shooting out runners that will put down roots in the substrate.

            This plant makes a really great hiding place for baby shrimp or fry. They can easily duck in and out of this miniature jungle to avoid any hungry mouths in the tank.

            I love the look of this plant. The messy lawn look just really appeals to me. It helps make tanks look more natural. And all that vegetation can seriously eat up some nitrate.

            The one downside to this plant is that it sometimes starts to shoot up towards the water’s surface when it gets older. Some people report trying to move it to the background and then new growth went back to being short.

            Pros:

            • Low maintenance carpet plant
            • Great cover for shrimp and fry

            Cons

            • Sometimes starts growing much taller as the plant ages
            Dwarf Sagittaria Subulata 3-Bunch Freshwater Live Aquarium Plants Carpet Tank Greenpro
            Dwarf Sagittaria Subulata 3-Bunch Freshwater Live Aquarium Plants Carpet Tank Greenpro

              Last update on 2020-11-26 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

              Conclusions

              Adding any one of these plant species (or better yet, more than one!) can really help to reduce nitrates in your tank.

              This can help improve your overall water quality in between water changes, since plants will eat up some of the excess nutrients from the water column.

              They’ll also help oxygenate your tank, a nice bonus that will help keep your fish happy.

              Plus, a tank full of thriving plants is one of the most beautiful things in the world, in my opinion.

              I wish you and your fish the very best!

              Preview Product
              Greenpro | Water Wisteria Green 3-Bundle Live Aquarium Plants Package Freshwater Fish Tank Greenpro | Water Wisteria Green 3-Bundle Live Aquarium Plants Package Freshwater Fish Tank
              The Sun Ave Bacopa Monnieri Moneywort Freshwater Live Aquarium Plants Stems with Roots (1 Pack) The Sun Ave Bacopa Monnieri Moneywort Freshwater Live Aquarium Plants Stems with Roots (1 Pack)
              1000 Live Duckweed Plants LEMNA Minor 1000 Live Duckweed Plants LEMNA Minor
              Greenpro Brazilian Pennywort | Hydrocotyle Leucocephala Potted Live Aquarium Plants for Freshwater Fish Tank Greenpro Brazilian Pennywort | Hydrocotyle Leucocephala Potted Live Aquarium Plants for Freshwater...
              12 Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium Laevigatum), Live Aquarium/Aquatic Floating Plant by G&Z 12 Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium Laevigatum), Live Aquarium/Aquatic Floating Plant by G&Z
              Dwarf Sagittaria Subulata 3-Bunch Freshwater Live Aquarium Plants Carpet Tank Greenpro Dwarf Sagittaria Subulata 3-Bunch Freshwater Live Aquarium Plants Carpet Tank Greenpro

              Last update on 2020-11-26 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

              Leave a Comment

              This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.