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Snazzy Floating Plants for Your Nano Aquarium

Nano aquariums are all the rage in the aquascaping world right now. They're small, stylish, and easy to maintain, making them perfect for anyone tight on space or just looking for a fun new hobby.

If you're diving into the nano aquarium scene, you'll quickly learn that the right plants can make or break your underwater paradise.

That's where freshwater floating plants come in!

It can be easy for small tanks to get overwhelmed with floating plants, but in this laid-back guide, we'll go over some of the best floating plants for your nano aquarium.

Why Go with Freshwater Floaters?

Before we jump into plant selections, let's talk about why floating plants are the bomb:

  1. They Look Awesome: Floating plants give your tank a natural, pond-like vibe that's just plain cool.

  2. Fish-Friendly Shade: They provide shade and hiding spots for your fish, keeping them comfy and stress-free. This is especially important for many nano fish like rasboras and tiny tetras. Your Betta will appreciate the cover too!

  3. Water Quality: Because they have all the co2 access they need above water, floaters typically grow super fast-- using up excess nutrients in the water that can lead to nasty algae blooms and bad water quality.

  4. Oxygen Boost: Quick growers means more o2 circulation, which means healthier, happier fish.

  5. Built-In Filtration: Their roots provide a cozy home for beneficial bacteria, helping to filter your water and keep it clean.

  6. Algae Reduction: This isn't just because of the nutrient- absorbing ability that quick- growing floaters posess... they also physically block a lot of the extra light that would have created algae blooms on your plants below.

Now that you know the WHY, let's get down to the WHO and talk about some top contenders for your nano aquarium:

  • Yes duckweed is #1; it's tiny and grows super fast, leading to all the benefits listed above... faster.
  • It's your best bud for battling algae by hogging up all the nutrients.
  • Just be ready to scoop some out regularly; this much- maligned plant is a bit of an overachiever.
  • Goldfish and turtles eat this floater fresh. If you dry it out and blend it up with some fish flake and agar, you can make perpetual sinking fish food pellets. Your bottom feeders like corydoras, Plecos, shrimp and snails will go nuts for this stuff







  • Salvinia's got these adorable fuzzy little round leaves that looks like a cat's tongue.
  • It's easy to keep in check - just scoop it out as needed.
  • Your fish will love the dense shady hangout spots it creates.

  • Frogbit is a handsome addition, with smooth, heart-shaped leaves. Some even come tiger- triped!
  • Chill when it comes to growth; you won't be overrun as quickly as other floaters.
  • Perfect for giving your nano aquarium inhabitants some privacy.

      • Water lettuce can grow big, bold fuzzy green leaves. Stick to the Dwarf variety, and remove larger plants as they develop.
      • It's a nutrient sucker and grows very long roots the bigger it gets... also grows fast!
      • Just remember to do some pruning to avoid a lettuce takeover. If left unchecked, it can block out light completely to anything below it.


      Red Root Floater





      • Have strong light and need some color? Check out the red root floater!
      • Even when it's grown in lower light, the short roots will stay red, even if the leaves turn green.
      • Nutrient-rich water is needed for best results.
      • This plant is among the slower- growing floaters, and produces little white flowers when happy.

      • Riccia isn't a traditional floater, but it sure does love the surface!
      • It forms cozy mats that your tiniest fish and shrimp will adore.
      • It doesn't need high light, but a direct beam will make it 'pearl' oxygen!

        • Azolla is among the tiniest nano floaters.
        • Also called 'Fairy Moss', it can be finicky, and needs calm water to thrive.
        • It can take a while to get going, but really takes off once it does!

        Keeping It Tidy:

        To keep your floating plants happy and your nano tank looking fresh, here are some simple maintenance tips:

        1. Lighting: Give your plants the light they need, but don't stress too much about it; these suggestions will probably grow for you no matter what.

        2. Nutrient Balance: Don't bother with dedicated ferts... most of these floaters will grow just off of the background nutrients in fish poop..

        3. Water Flow: Floaters do appreciate low or no- flow. Try a floating corral for them if the curent and filter turbulence gets to be too much.

        4. Scoop Extras: Remember to scoop and snip out extras. You don't want to block out light to any other plants you may have growing below!

        5. Watch for Algae: Although having floaters usually deters algae growth, floaters' long roots can be an attractant for string and hair algae to collect. Keep an eye out for any algae sneak attacks, and take action if needed.


        Floating plants can take your nano aquarium to the next level. Whether you're into speedy duckweed, fancy frogbit, or stylish red root floaters, pick the one that vibes with your nano setup's size and style.


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