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Aquarium Plants For Shrimp Tanks

New to the freshwater aquarium hobby? In this article, we’ll share a few great aquarium plants for shrimp tanks. We’ll share a few plants like; floating plants, low light plants, high light plants and other great options for a shrimp planted tank.

Before we get too far here are our top plants for shrimp tank.

Top 8 Shrimp Tank Plants

Below we’ll get into more detail about each aquatic plant below.

Plant Care Essentials

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What Aquarium Plants Are Good For Shrimp?

Shrimp can be a beautiful addition to a planted aquarium. They add bright spots of color to an otherwise primarily green tank, but they also happen to be their clean-up crew. Shrimp are bottom feeders, which means they will eat leftover food as well as algae buildup. In this way, shrimp have enormous value in a tank, improving water quality and helping keep the workload down on your end.

However, to ensure you have a thriving ecosystem, you need to make sure that the shrimp have a hospitable environment, and a lot of that includes providing them with the proper plants.

Below you can find a list of 8 live aquarium plants that are great for shrimp.

Java Moss

Part of the Hypnaceae family, Java Moss, is very easy to grow. It’s prevalent in freshwater aquariums because it does not require a high quality of water nor lighting, making it hardy and suitable for beginners. It’s been stated as being practically impossible to kill.

It’s also excellent for shrimp, who love to hide amongst the soft, fluffy green. It provides lots of surface for biofilm to develop, which the shrimp snack on. The plant will attach itself to most things and is best grown on ornaments or rocks in the tank. Java Moss is often the number one choice for shrimp tanks.

Java Fern

Like Java Moss, Java Fern is also easy to grow and an excellent plant for shrimp. It prefers low lighting and does best when attached to ornaments in the water like driftwood or rocks. Their rhizome (the green stems where the leaves grow from) can be tied to the decoration at first to encourage it to attach, where it will then grow.

Anubias

Anubias belongs to the family Araceae. It likes low to moderate light and is relatively easy to grow. However, the growth rate is slow compared to that of Java Moss and Java Fern. Shrimps love the cover it provides them.

Anubias can also survive with higher lighting, though that causes more algae to grow. However, because there will be shrimp present, this is advantageous and can provide them with a little extra food.

Water lettuce

Water Lettuce is a beautiful live plant to add to your aquarium for your shrimp. It’s a floating plant, unlike the previous three, which must attach themselves somewhere to grow.

Water Lettuce does the critical job of helping to suck nitrates and ammonia from the water. Nitrate and ammonia are both very toxic to shrimp, so this can be an excellent choice for helping keep the water optimal (although it shouldn’t be your only method for removing those toxicities from the tank).

The roots of Water Lettuce also work well with powdered shrimp food. The baby shrimp can be seen grazing among these long roots and encourages them to be more active.

Subwassertang

This is a slow-growing plant that grows densely, making it ideal for shrimp to hide and giving them an excellent feeding ground. It has an appearance of what you might think of as typical seaweed. It does well in low to moderate light and is easy to grow. Because of these factors, Subwassertang is excellent for nano shrimp tanks.

Like Anubias, Subwassertang helps to purify the water, remove toxins and heavy metals, and oxygenate it.

Hornwort

Hornwort, or Anthocerotophyta, is a plant that contributes to a favorable environment for shrimp. It is a stem plant that’s fast-growing and grows more rapidly the more light it receives. It can either be anchored down or left floating in the tank. Whichever way, it provides excellent coverage for shrimp and can grow up to 10 feet tall.

, you can use the leaves to keep it pinned down because it does not have any real roots. Or you can leave it floating in the tank, where it will be able to absorb more light.

Water Wisteria

Water Wisteria is known as a “bunch plant” because it grows up from one rooted spot. These can easily anchor in the gravel of your tank and give shrimp many places to hide and explore.

Water Wisteria is not difficult to grow and can thrive in most lighting conditions, as long as it is well-rooted and has enough oxygen. It’s also effortless to fertilize and spread if you wish, as all you need to do is cut off a long stem and bury it deep into the gravel. The plant will quickly take root and begin to grow.

Cryptocoryne

This plant is beloved by shrimps. It comes in many different varieties and can display different colors, but shrimp seem to like them all. However, this plant is not recommended for aquarists without a bit of prior experience. They can be picky and need certain conditions to thrive, requiring a bit more care.

Their roots need to be placed 2 inches under the gravel, and the crown needs to be well above the gravel. They can also experience something called “crypt melt,” which is when they lose their leaves when they are first introduced to a new tank because of shock. However, this is rarely ever fatal to the plant.

Any of the plants above will make beautiful additions to your aquarium, contributing to a shrimp-pampering environment—Cherry shrimp in particular love Java Moss, Java Fern, Anubias, and Water Wisteria. Choose the plants that will go best in your aquarium.

What Benefits Do Aquarium Plants Provide For Your Shrimp Tank?

There are many benefits to having live plants in your aquarium that stretch far beyond oxygen and carbon dioxide needs.

If you’re considering live plants, take a look at these benefits.

Improve Water Parameters & Filtration

Plants act as a natural filter in your aquarium. Unlike filters that hang on the back of your tank, plants are in the trenches of your tank which allows them to absorb waste and other debris within the tank, thus keeping it healthier for your fish.

Besides absorbing waste, plants also create additional surfaces for beneficial bacteria to grow on. This biological filtration is a benefit that no routine filter can provide. And ultimately requires you to complete fewer water changes.

Algae deterrent.

No one wants algae in their aquarium. The more plants you have in the aquarium, the fewer algae you’re likely to have.

This is because plants can out-compete algae for nutrients thus allowing for fewer algae to grow.

A Better Home For Shrimp.

Since plants provide shelter within the tank, they allow different types of fish & shrimp to co-exist much better.

Shrimp can hide from other fish in the tank if they need to. Shrimps are also known to breed and leave eggs on the plants.

When there are more plants in the tank the ratio of fish per gallon is generally increased.

Another Food Source.

Don’t worry most shrimp won’t devour your plants. But, in the event they need another food source (or you forget to feed them) the plants are there as another source of nutrition.

Plants Encourage Natural Behaviour.

Think about where fish thrive. It’s not typically in a glass tank with plastic decor.

Fish are used to being around plants.

When you add plants you’re providing fish with a little taste of home. When fish are comfortable in their surroundings they are more likely to thrive, much like us!

Tips For Planting In Aquarium

Planting aquarium plants is far different than planting in your garden.

For starters, your plants are surrounded by water. This is a different element than when they are in the soil outside.

Because of this, you have to take into consideration things like the pH level, CO2 level, and levels of other nutrients in the water.

When done properly and maintained regularly, you’ll see your plants flourish. Let’s take a look at some common maintenance tips to keep your aquarium in top shape.

How to clean aquarium plants before planting

It’s often recommended to clean aquarium plants before planting to eliminate any snails or bacteria that could cause problems in the tank.

If your plants were in enclosed tanks when you bought them you may want to rinse them under tap water and prune any dead leaves before putting them in the tank.

If the plants were in a tank you may want to soak them for about an hour in a mild bleach solution and then rinse them with tap water.

Some people go to extremes and quarantine their plants for about a week before putting them in a tank by first putting them in a copper-based parasite killer.

Learn more from our friends over at Expert Aquarist who made a great guide about how to quarantine plans before adding them to your tank.

How to acclimate plants to the aquarium

Many people suggest getting your plants in the aquarium soon after buying them. This is to prevent any contamination or other bacteria from growing.

If you clean your plants before planting them there shouldn’t be much you need to do to acclimate them.

Some plants may acclimate better than others when it comes to water and pH levels so you may need to keep an eye on that situation.

How to plant aquarium plants

When you’re planning on planting you should keep the following things in mind:

  • Plants need 8-12 hours of sunlight daily to grow properly
  • Don’t plant too many plants because you want to leave enough room for the fish to swim around freely

Once you’ve got this down, follow these planting steps:

  • Add fertilizer according to instructions on the package
  • Fill the aquarium half-way with water
  • Put plants in the gravel up to the base of their stems. For bulbs and tubers, cover the bulb with gravel up to the growing tip

After all of those steps are complete you’ll want to add any decorations and then finish filling the tank with water.

How to anchor aquarium plants

If you’re looking to anchor down the aquarium plants, there are many different options.

Check these out so you can find the one that works best for you.

Use heavier rocks around the plant’s base. This will help to weight them down.

Keep them in their pots. If they came in one. Or, you can also buy a small clay pot to use. If you don’t mind the tank permanently in your tank this is an option.

Buy plant anchors. These are soft, bendable lead strips that you can wrap around the plant to hold them down.

Use Nylon Mesh. This is a good choice for mosses and small carpeting plants. Cover them with the mesh that will hold them down while giving them something to attach themselves to.

Tie to Driftwood. If none of these works you may want to try attaching your aquarium plants to a piece of driftwood.

You can string the entire plant under a piece of driftwood. The wood will hold the center of the plant down while letting the rest of it float.

How to grow plants on top of the aquarium

Some people like to grow plants on top of an aquarium. This is referred to as a hydroponic growing aquarium.

The best way to do this is to set up a tank under a light.

You can choose to plant seeds in Rockwool or oasis cubes. Once the seedlings start to grow, you can put them in holes on a polystyrene board.

You can insert the board on top of the tank so it floats on top of the water. If you cut 1-inch square holes in the board about six inches apart you can grow six different plants in the aquarium at once.

Plant Care & Maintenance

Growing plants is only part of the process. You need to take care of them in order to keep them healthy and thriving.

Here are some basic tips.

How to clean aquarium plants

One way to clean aquarium plants is to bleach them. Make a solution of 10% bleach (4 tablespoons) to one gallon of water.

Remove the plant from the aquarium and place it in your solution for about five minutes. After the five minutes is up, take the plant out and soak it in regular water.

Be sure to let them air dry before putting them back in the tank.

How to remove algae from aquarium plants

The process of removing algae from aquarium plants is much the same as just cleaning them. You want to use the same concentration of bleach solution, but when you remove the plant you’ll want to rub the leaves gently to remove any algae.

If you spot the algae quickly you may even be able to rub it off while the plant is still in the tank without removing it.

How to remove snails from aquarium plants

If you want to remove snails from aquarium plants you can make a Potassium Permanganate solution.

Mix enough of it in a bucket of water that it turns the water a dark pink color. Soak the plants for about 10-20 minutes before rinsing the plant in fresh dechlorinated water.

Be careful with the Potassium Permanganate because it is a strong oxidizer.

You can also try aquarium salt to get snails off. Use this or Kosher salt to make a solution of one cup per gallon of water.

Rinse the plants in the solution by holding the roots above water. When you’re done, rinse the plants in dechlorinated freshwater before putting them back in the aquarium.

How to trim aquarium plants

You want to trim your aquarium plants so that they don’t take up much space in the aquarium.

Be sure to use a long aquascaping tool so that you don’t get too wet. You can use tweezers, scissors, or a razor to trim the plants. The process of trimming will depend on the type of aquarium plant you have.

This guide provides all the tips you need for each type of popular aquarium plant.

Planted Tanks For Shrimp: What to Look For?

It may seem difficult to pick out freshwater plants as a beginner, but there are some key things to look out for. They are:

  • Good packaging: Since aquatic plants are sensitive things to transport, this is important. The quality of the plants doesn’t matter if they don’t make it to your home in one piece.
  • Reviews: Pay attention to user reviews. If there’s going to be any issues with the packaging, the reviews will likely bring attention to it.
  • Fast shipping: The longer these plants spend in transit, the worse shape they’re going to be in when they arrive. The sooner you can get them to your door and into the aquarium, the better.
  • Quantity: When searching for the best deal, make sure you take into account the amount of plant you’re going to get. Don’t just go for the cheapest listings, as these could contain significantly less of the plant you want.

Do Shrimps In Aquarium Help Plants?

Yes, Shrimp provide a mutual benefit for the plants in your aquarium. Shrimp will eat and keep clean the small leaves of your plants by removing things like wast, algae, and detritus.

Ultimately, this relations ship helps the plants absorb the light and nutrients they need better.

Do You Need Live Aquatic Plants For Shrimp In Aquarium?

Just like fish, your shrimp will thrive when they are in an aquarium with live plants. It’s also best to keep shrimp in a tank that only has other species of shrimp and snails. If you do plan on keeping small fish in the same tank plants become even more important as your shrimp will like to hide amongst the plant leaves.

Best Live Aquarium Plants For Shrimp Tanks Easy Plants & Care Tips