Best Plants For A Flourishing Turtle Tank Reviewed 2021

No one likes their turtle’s tank to be barren, especially if you have only one turtle. However, if you’re a first-time turtle owner, you should probably wait when it comes to adding an assortment of plants to your turtle tank, as that means that you’ll have more things to learn all at once. 

Like all living beings, live plants need a special care regimen. In addition to that, you’ll need to know how they’ll affect the tank environment, concentration of chemicals, and the tanks’ overall visual beauty. 

Finding the best plants for your turtle tank might also be difficult due to your turtle’s temperament, especially those who like to munch on anything green they see in their way. To save you the time and effort of doing this research, we’ve reviewed a couple of the best plants for turtle tank. But first, take a look at our criteria for choosing these plants.

TLDR – Top Picks For Best Turtle Tank Plants

All of these plants are great in their own way. While they vary in hardiness, length, and requirements, they can all be great beginner or experienced options for your turtle tank.

Preview Product
Java Fern Bare Root | Microsorum Pteropus - Low Light Freshwater Aquarium Plant Java Fern Bare Root | Microsorum Pteropus - Low Light Freshwater Aquarium Plant
Greenpro Java Moss Live Freshwater Aquarium Plants Easy Ready to Grow Greenpro Java Moss Live Freshwater Aquarium Plants Easy Ready to Grow
Java Fern Microsorum Bundle - 4 Species (Trident, Windelov, Narrow Leaf, Philippine) Easy Low Light Aquarium Plants - Snail Free Guaranteed Java Fern Microsorum Bundle - 4 Species (Trident, Windelov, Narrow Leaf, Philippine) Easy Low Light...
Greenpro Anubias Nana Potted Live Aquarium Plant Easy 100% Snail Free Guanteed Greenpro Anubias Nana Potted Live Aquarium Plant Easy 100% Snail Free Guanteed
Anubias Bundle - 4 Species (Barteri, Wrinkle Leave, Cogensis, Hastifolia ) Easy Low Light Aquarium Plants - Snail Free Guaranteed Anubias Bundle - 4 Species (Barteri, Wrinkle Leave, Cogensis, Hastifolia ) Easy Low Light Aquarium...
Mainam - Brazilian Pennywort Bundle Live Aquarium Plants 3 Days Live Guaranteed for Freshwater Pond Fish Tank Mainam - Brazilian Pennywort Bundle Live Aquarium Plants 3 Days Live Guaranteed for Freshwater Pond...
3 Water Sprite (Ceratopteris Thalictroides) Live Aquarium Stem Plant by G&Z 3 Water Sprite (Ceratopteris Thalictroides) Live Aquarium Stem Plant by G&Z
Hygrophila Difformis Water Wisteria Potted Freshwater Live Aquarium Plant Fish Tank by Greenpro Hygrophila Difformis Water Wisteria Potted Freshwater Live Aquarium Plant Fish Tank by Greenpro

Last update on 2021-04-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How to Choose Plants For A Turtle Tank

Low Light

The first thing you should consider is getting plants that require minimal or low light. The reason for that is turtle tanks don’t have the best lighting usually, so if you get plants that require full sunlight, they would probably wither under the low light, die, and dirty up the tank, making it inhabitable for your turtles.

In short, look for plants that can thrive in warm, low-light environments. Examples of low-light plants are Java Moss, Java Fern, and Dwarf Hairgrass.

Hardy

Next, look for hardy plants. As mentioned earlier, turtles can claw, dig up, nibble on, and generally beat plants up; delicate plants won’t make it. In fact, they might not even last a few weeks in the tank if they satisfy your turtles’ appetite.

If the plants you add to the tank are sturdy enough, there won’t be any dislodging accidents, and, therefore, they’ll have enough time to grow to their fullest potential. Add to that their need to light, or lack thereof, and you’ll have the perfect plant for your tank! Some popular hardy plants are Hornworts and Java Fern.

Growth Rate

Naturally, it’d be best if you look for plants with high growth rates to get the desired results as soon as possible. A higher growth rate is better, but you don’t always get this with low light plants.

So, if you have limited options, opting for sturdy plants over high growth rate plants is always better since non-hardy plants can be damaged pretty quickly. Some of the best plants with high growth rates are Java Moss, Hornwort, and Moneywort.

Now that you know how to pick plants for your turtle tank, you can now read our reviews on the top picks.

Best Plants for Turtle Tank Buyer’s Guide

1. Java Fern – Microsorum Pteropus

  • Growth Rate: Slow
  • Max Heigh: 6-8 inches
  • Light Demand: Low 
  • CO2: Low 
  • Difficulty: Easy

Java Ferns are some of the best natural beauties you can add to your turtle tank. They’re resilient, hardy, and quite good at clearing contaminants out of the water, which is why some people use them as natural filters.

These plants need special care in terms of being anchored down to the floor of the tank, so make sure that you have driftwood, rocks, or any surface that can be used to attach plants to before buying them.

The good thing about Java Ferns is that they’re not very tasty for most turtles, so if you buy them, your turtles probably aren’t going to munch on them once they see them. Plus, they’re perfect for any tank of any size, so you won’t have any issues trying to fit them into your own turtle tank.

Additionally, these plants are pretty easy to take care of; all you’ll need is turtle tank lighting, but make sure that enough light reaches them, as these aren’t low-light plants.

Pros: 

  • Can be easily maintained
  • Beautiful addition to any tank
  • Easily attached to any surface in your tank.
  • Maximum height can reach up to 10 inches
  • Doesn’t high levels of CO2

Cons:

  • Low growth rate
  • Not hardy enough for freezing weather
  • Might not be suitable for turtle tanks with low lighting
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Java Fern Bare Root | Microsorum Pteropus - Low Light Freshwater Aquarium Plant
Java Fern Bare Root | Microsorum Pteropus - Low Light Freshwater Aquarium Plant

    Last update on 2021-04-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    2. Java Moss

    • Growth Rate: Fast
    • Max Heigh: 5 inches
    • Light Demand: Low-medium
    • CO2: Low-medium
    • Difficulty: Easy

    If you consider getting Java Moss for your turtle tank, you must consider getting the Greenpro Java Moss. What makes it so unique is the fact that it comes in a portion cup, which helps it spread in a carpet shape in your turtle tank.

    Generally speaking, Java Moss is relatively easy to take care of. Also, you can attach it to driftwoods, rocks, substrate, or even a background moss wall if you don’t like the portion cups. 

    In addition to that, Java Moss grows pretty fast, and even if your turtles feed on it, it’ll replenish pretty quickly and won’t dirty up your tank. On that note, it’s worth mentioning that Java Moss can also thrive in dim lighting. However, that doesn’t mean that it can thrive in poorly-lit areas of the tank. 

    You might think that this type of plant needs lots of CO2 to grow at a stable rate, but you’d be surprised to find that it doesn’t need CO2 supplementation that much.

    Overall, this is a pretty adaptable, edible plant with a maximum height of 5 inches, so it’ll make an excellent addition to your tank.

    Pros:

    • Fast growth rate
    • Low to medium light demands
    • Requires little CO2 levels
    • Relatively easy maintenance

    Cons:

    • It might not look as compelling as other turtle tank plants
    Greenpro Java Moss Live Freshwater Aquarium Plants Easy Ready to Grow
    Greenpro Java Moss Live Freshwater Aquarium Plants Easy Ready to Grow

      Last update on 2021-04-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

      3. Java Fern Microsorum Bundle

      • Growth Rate: Slow
      • Max Heigh: 6-8 inches
      • Light Demand: Low 
      • CO2: Low 
      • Difficulty: Easy

      This Java Fern bundle includes 4 of the best species of the Java Fern: Trident, Narrow Leaf, Philippine, and Windelov. In terms of variety, this bundle will most certainly add a refreshing look to your turtle tank. Plus, they’re all quite hardy; thus, they’ll probably last longer in your tank. 

      As you may have predicted, this bundle will need to be tied to an item in your turtle tank, like a rock or a piece of driftwood.

      Because Java Fern is well known to be a natural filter, it’ll enhance your tank’s ecosystem and prevent algae growth. This happens due to it using the nutrients used by algae.  In addition to that, the plants like low to medium light, so you won’t have to install special lighting or increase the light intensity. 

      Also, the plants have the same features as any Java Fern plant, except that the bundle is denser and sturdier. If that’s what you’re looking for, make sure to get one of these bundles. It’s excellent for 10-gallon tanks or more. Anything smaller than that might result in a crowded environment for your turtles.

      Pros:

      • Low light demands
      • Can be easily maintained
      • Low CO2 level requirements
      • 10-inch height

      Cons: 

      • Can’t survive in freezing weather
      • Slow growth rate
      Java Fern Microsorum Bundle - 4 Species (Trident, Windelov, Narrow Leaf, Philippine) Easy Low Light Aquarium Plants - Snail Free Guaranteed
      Java Fern Microsorum Bundle - 4 Species (Trident, Windelov, Narrow Leaf, Philippine) Easy Low Light Aquarium Plants - Snail Free Guaranteed

        Last update on 2021-04-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

        4. Greenpro Anubias Nana Potted

        • Growth Rate: Slow
        • Max Heigh: 5 inches
        • Light Demand: Low 
        • CO2: Low 
        • Difficulty: Very Easy

        If you don’t like your plant to be hanging onto nothing, then you might consider getting a potted one instead. Greenpro provides the Anubias Nana plant in pots, which will work wonders in reducing CO2 and increasing the tank’s oxygen level, making the aquatic environment a lot healthier!

        If you aren’t familiar with the Anubias Nana, this is one of the most durable aquatic plants out there. It’s also fairly easy to take care of it, which is why many experts recommend beginners to use them instead of other plants on this list. 

        Additionally, Greenpro provides them in pots, so there’s no work required from you aside from placing them in a good area on the tank floor. 

        These plants also don’t appeal to most turtles. They might seek shelter under their large leaves that can reach a height of 7.5 inches. However, this potted version will only reach 2-5 inches.

        Pros:

        • Easy to maintain
        • Don’t need special lighting
        • Suitable for beginners
        • Great CO2 cleaners

        Cons:

        • Slow growth rate
        • Can sometimes be covered in algae
        Greenpro Anubias Nana Potted Live Aquarium Plant Easy 100% Snail Free Guanteed
        Greenpro Anubias Nana Potted Live Aquarium Plant Easy 100% Snail Free Guanteed

          Last update on 2021-04-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

          5. Anubias Bundle

          • Growth Rate: Slow
          • Max Heigh: 7.7 inches
          • Light Demand: Low 
          • CO2: Low 
          • Difficulty: Easy

          Like always, one should seek variety to make their aquarium more eye-pleasing. With this Anubias bundle, you will certainly achieve that!

          This bundle contains 4 Anubias species: Barteri, Cogensis, Hastifolia, and Wrinkle Leave. They might look quite different when compared to each other, but there are similarities to their leaves that you can spot, like the size, length, and shape.

          Like the previous Anubias product, this one is an excellent choice for any beginner tank owner; it’s fairly easy to take care of these tiny plants. You also won’t have to worry about your turtles eating them up because they’ll taste bitter to them. 

          Naturally, they’ll create a healthier aquatic environment for your turtle by increasing water oxygen and reducing CO2 levels. But while they’re easy to maintain, they aren’t potted, so you’ll need to tie them down to the tank floor with rocks.

          Their sizes might vary, but they won’t go more than the standard 7.5 inches of Anubias species, making them great for smaller tanks (5-gallon tanks, for example.)

          Pros:

          • Low light demands
          • Easy maintenance
          • Excellent for tank decoration

          Cons:

          • Low growth rate
          • Might be covered in algae
          Anubias Bundle - 4 Species (Barteri, Wrinkle Leave, Cogensis, Hastifolia ) Easy Low Light Aquarium Plants - Snail Free Guaranteed
          Anubias Bundle - 4 Species (Barteri, Wrinkle Leave, Cogensis, Hastifolia ) Easy Low Light Aquarium Plants - Snail Free Guaranteed

            Last update on 2021-04-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

            6. Brazilian Pennywort Bundle

            • Growth Rate: Fast
            • Max Heigh: 8 inches
            • Light Demand: Low-medium
            • CO2: Low-medium
            • Difficulty: Easy

            This is yet another bundle for those looking for fast-to-grow plants for their turtle tanks. The Brazilian Pennywort bundle will make a magnificent addition to your tank due to its natural beauty and vibrant green color. 

            It’ll only take a few weeks for them to grow a couple of inches, provided that they’re supplied with a good source of lighting, plenty of nitrogen, and enough space to grow in. Thus, they’ll need large tanks with adequate lighting. 

            It should go without saying that low nutrient, CO2, and lighting will halt their growth, which amounts to eight inches and more. 

            This bundle can be either planted in the substrate or used as a floating plant. Make sure that it isn’t weighed down by rocks or driftwood, too. 

            Unfortunately, this isn’t a hardy plant, so your full-grown turtles might take a bite or two out of it. If you have a small turtle, this shouldn’t be a problem, but it might be once it grows up.

            Pros:

            • Fast growth rate
            • Low to medium light demands
            • A beautiful addition to any tank
            • Easy to maintain

            Cons:

            • Fragile
            • Not the best option for turtle tanks
            Mainam - Brazilian Pennywort Bundle Live Aquarium Plants 3 Days Live Guaranteed for Freshwater Pond Fish Tank
            Mainam - Brazilian Pennywort Bundle Live Aquarium Plants 3 Days Live Guaranteed for Freshwater Pond Fish Tank

              Last update on 2021-04-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

              7. Water Sprite Ceratopteris Thalictroides

              • Growth Rate: Very Fast
              • Max Heigh: 24 inches
              • Light Demand: Medium-High
              • CO2: High
              • Difficulty: Easy

              The Water Sprite (also known as Ceratopteris Thalictroides) is another entry-level plant you can get for your tank. Much like the Brazilian Pennywort, it can either be planted in the substrate or floated at the surface.

              This is a fast-growing plant, and it can grow up to 24 inches! Therefore, you’ll need to trim it every once in a while to prevent it from breaking the water’s surface. 

              The Water Sprite needs adequate lighting (from medium to high) to thrive. If it doesn’t get enough lighting, it’ll lose its lush green color pretty fast. It can also be placed practically anywhere, but make sure that you don’t add too much so as not to have a crowded space.

              Unfortunately, though, this is a delicate type of plant, and it isn’t exactly hardy enough to sustain the attacks of turtles. Plus, it’s incredibly appealing to turtles in general, so before long, they might eat it all up. Make sure only to get this plant whenever you have a small turtle.

              Pros:

              • Fast growth rate
              • Easy to maintain
              • Make a great addition to your tank

              Cons:

              • Turtles like to eat this type of plants
              • You might not be able to trim it on your own if you aren’t experienced
              • Requires a lot of lighting
              3 Water Sprite (Ceratopteris Thalictroides) Live Aquarium Stem Plant by G&Z
              3 Water Sprite (Ceratopteris Thalictroides) Live Aquarium Stem Plant by G&Z

                Last update on 2021-04-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

                8. Hygrophila Difformis Water Wisteria

                • Growth Rate: Very Fast
                • Max Heigh: 20 inches
                • Light Demand: Medium-high
                • CO2: Medium 
                • Difficulty: Easy

                This is another attractive plant that you can add to your turtle tank. Fortunately, it’s sturdier than the past two plants, so you’ll still be able to use it even when you have bigger turtles.

                The good thing about this plant is that you can cut a leaf from it, and it’ll grow to a new plant, so you can have as many Hygrophila Difformis in your turtle tank as you want! This plant needs intense lighting, time, and a good plantation area to grow to its fullest potential, which can be up to 20 inches. It might also grow outward to the point where it can reach a 10-inch width!

                Luckily, though, this plant doesn’t require much CO2 supplementation; however, when subjected to low lighting, it’ll sport a “forked” appearance, which might not look very compelling. 

                Be sure to provide this plant with enough nutrients, like Flourish Excel, nitrogen, and Seachem Flourish, so that it can grow at a faster rate. You might also want to check that your turtle tank is large enough to fit the proportions of this plant.

                Pros:

                • Fast growth rate
                • Easy to maintain
                • Maximum height of 20 inches
                • Very hardy

                Cons: 

                • Requires intense tank lighting
                Hygrophila Difformis Water Wisteria Potted Freshwater Live Aquarium Plant Fish Tank by Greenpro
                Hygrophila Difformis Water Wisteria Potted Freshwater Live Aquarium Plant Fish Tank by Greenpro

                Last update on 2021-04-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

                Which Plants Are Best For Turtle Tanks?

                We can confidently say that all of these plants are great in their own way. While they vary in hardiness, length, and requirements, they can all be great options for your turtle tank. They’re hardy and easy to grow, so this shouldn’t be something to worry about if you’re a first-time tank owner.

                For the folks with low lighting, you might not be able to get the Water Wisteria and Water Sprite to grow quickly. Conversely, If you have higher light, the water wisteria and water sprite grow very quickly and help keep tank water cleaner. So, make sure to get them for your tank.

                Furthermore, be sure to get the best nutrients for your plant tanks. Some manufacturers will tell you what type of nutrients plants need, but you can always check this information online if they don’t.

                Finally, be mindful of the essential maintenance steps for plants and the water tank. Skimping on maintenance can increase CO2 levels in the water and harm both the plants and your turtles.

                Preview Product
                Java Fern Bare Root | Microsorum Pteropus - Low Light Freshwater Aquarium Plant Java Fern Bare Root | Microsorum Pteropus - Low Light Freshwater Aquarium Plant
                Greenpro Java Moss Live Freshwater Aquarium Plants Easy Ready to Grow Greenpro Java Moss Live Freshwater Aquarium Plants Easy Ready to Grow
                Java Fern Microsorum Bundle - 4 Species (Trident, Windelov, Narrow Leaf, Philippine) Easy Low Light Aquarium Plants - Snail Free Guaranteed Java Fern Microsorum Bundle - 4 Species (Trident, Windelov, Narrow Leaf, Philippine) Easy Low Light...
                Greenpro Anubias Nana Potted Live Aquarium Plant Easy 100% Snail Free Guanteed Greenpro Anubias Nana Potted Live Aquarium Plant Easy 100% Snail Free Guanteed
                Anubias Bundle - 4 Species (Barteri, Wrinkle Leave, Cogensis, Hastifolia ) Easy Low Light Aquarium Plants - Snail Free Guaranteed Anubias Bundle - 4 Species (Barteri, Wrinkle Leave, Cogensis, Hastifolia ) Easy Low Light Aquarium...
                Mainam - Brazilian Pennywort Bundle Live Aquarium Plants 3 Days Live Guaranteed for Freshwater Pond Fish Tank Mainam - Brazilian Pennywort Bundle Live Aquarium Plants 3 Days Live Guaranteed for Freshwater Pond...
                3 Water Sprite (Ceratopteris Thalictroides) Live Aquarium Stem Plant by G&Z 3 Water Sprite (Ceratopteris Thalictroides) Live Aquarium Stem Plant by G&Z
                Hygrophila Difformis Water Wisteria Potted Freshwater Live Aquarium Plant Fish Tank by Greenpro Hygrophila Difformis Water Wisteria Potted Freshwater Live Aquarium Plant Fish Tank by Greenpro

                Last update on 2021-04-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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                Christopher Adams
                Hey there, my name is Christopher and I'm the creator and editor of this site. I've owned successful aquariums for the past 23 years. My mission is to educate, inform, and entertain on everything that's fish.

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