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Best Plants for a Freshwater Shrimp Tank

Best Plants for a Freshwater Shrimp Tank

Written by: Gabe (


If you’re interested in freshwater aquariums or becoming an aquarist, it is important to recognize the benefits of freshwater aquarium plants and what they can do for the inside of your tank. Not only will plants add greenery and aesthetics to your tank, but they can help keep it clean, oxygenate the water, and regulate a proper pH balance. In the end, aquarium plants are a good idea when keeping dwarf shrimp.

The ideal environment for freshwater shrimp includes plants and greenery that provide them with a good source of food and nutrition while also giving them a place to play or hide, which they love to do. Plants will bring properties into the tank that will benefit the shrimp’s health, helping them live longer in your aquarium. 

cherry shrimp

Whether you are new to freshwater aquariums or you just want to learn more about caring for shrimp, plants are a must. To discover some great plants that you can include in your aquarium at home, check out these 8 freshwater plant options that shrimp are sure to enjoy! 

  • Note: In order to comply with USDA requirements regarding agricultural pests, many distributors may use pesticides on plants. Unfortunately, even trace amounts of pesticides can harm shrimp or other invertebrates. If you do not want to risk this, please consider purchasing tissue culture plants instead OR cleaning and quarantining new plants very thoroughly prior to placing them in your shrimp aquarium. 


1. Moss 

christmas moss

Aquatic mosses, such as Christmas Moss or Java Moss, are arguably the best plants for a shrimp tank. When used in freshwater aquariums, moss provides shrimp with the perfect place to play or hide if they’re feeling shy. This plant option is great for any size tank with its versatility. Most moss can float freely in your tank or you can train it to latch onto a rock or ornament to keep it secure in one place. You attach moss to hardscape by tying or gluing it to a rock in order to help it take root so that it can thrive without any extra help over time. 

In general, aquarium mosses are a great place for baby shrimp to grow safely and offer a great food source for shrimp of all ages. Under the right conditions, especially with the aid of CO2 injection, they can grow very dense and give your shrimp a place to hide, play, or explore.


2. Water Wisteria 
water wisteria

Water Wisteria, also known as Water Sprite or Hygrophila Difformis, is typically found in shrimp owner’s tanks due to the benefits they provide. This plant will easily root into the substrate of your tank and quickly begin to grow, giving shrimp a fun place to play or hide. Water Wisteria is also a favorite because of the eye-catching shape of its leaves, bringing a unique aesthetic to your tank. 

The low-maintenance nature of this plant means it will always be looking its best no matter how much light you provide or CO2 that's pumped into your aquarium! Although, CO2 injection is necessary for this plant to display its "forked" appearance. To propagate, simply trim the stem and bury it in the substrate, letting it take root and grow on its own. 


3. Java Fern

java fern

The Java Fern species is perfect for shrimp tanks. Its large leaves grow beautifully and provide a great hiding spot for these finicky animals! And because Java ferns are so adaptive, it’ll readily adjust to any water conditions in your tank- which means less work on your end of things too.

With the Java Fern, it is best to tie their rhizome to a rock or ornament in the tank which will help promote their growth. With a larger-sized fern, you may bury its roots underneath the gravel while keeping its rhizomes exposed. After growing at a successful rate, it will eventually release spores, spread, and regrow in your tank. 


4. Anubias

anubias barteri nana

The Anubias species is one of the most common freshwater aquatic plants. They are easy to care for, affordable, and comes in a large range of sizes, making this species the perfect option for your shrimp tank. This species will thrive in a wide range of water parameters. Anubias is similar to the Java Fern, with similar planting methods. The main difference with the Anubias is that you can take cuttings from the rhizome when they begin to propagate. 

This species grows large, rubber-like leaves that will stay strong and sturdy regardless of what creatures inhabit your aquarium. This will ensure the Anubias lives longer, thriving in your tank. 


5. Pearl Weed 

pearl weed

Pearl Weed is a low-maintenance carpet plant option that requires little upkeep, making this the perfect option for beginners to keep in their tank. It is ideal for shrimp too, providing them with a great spot to hide during the day. To promote maximum growth, it is recommended that you utilize a nutrient-dense substrate, like UNS Controsoil, to help your Pearl Weed roots get the nutrition needed to thrive and be healthy in your tank. 

Keep in mind, they require different lighting conditions depending on your desired look. High lighting creates a more carpet-like look, while low light and trimming will create straight vertical growths. Consider this when planting!


6. Floating Plants 

red root floaters

Floating plants are some of the best filters in a shrimp aquarium as they can help keep nitrates and ammonia levels down. Their fast growth rate helps them absorb harmful bioload than slower-growing species, like Java Moss or Anubias. Great examples of floating plants are Red Root Floaters, Salvinia Natans, and Azolla Filiculoides.

Although, if you are looking for a floating plant for your shrimp aquarium, Water Lettuce is arguably the best option. While it is a little bit harder to care for since it requires specific humidity conditions, it is a great addition for shrimp to enjoy. The shade that it provides will give any shy shrimps the extra courage to explore your tank. In addition, the long roots of Water Lettuce give them a place to hide and reduce stress, making them more comfortable the aquarium. 


7. Dwarf Lily or Tiger Lotus
tiger lotus

The Dwarf Lily (Nymphaea Stellata) is a slow-growing flora plant, which grows in a variety of shades and can produce flowers if kept in the right conditions. This is also a great option for shrimp, who will love to explore and play in the colorful leaves. Dwarf Lilies have a unique look, with their leaves resembling arrowheads, making this plant a favorite for freshwater aquarists everywhere. 

The Tiger Lotus (Nymphaea Tiger Lotus) has bright red, purple, and green leaves that, like the Dwarf Lily, grow from the water and reach to new heights are awe-inspiring. Under high light they can turn deep red with speckles of orange and brown while if grown under lower lights it turns bronze colored instead - still beautiful though!

Both do require a little more upkeep and care, especially when you first plant them in your tank. To begin, you want to make sure you do not bury the bulb of the Nymphaea, or else it will not grow, but rot instead. To avoid this outcome it is important to gently place the roots into a substrate, letting the Nymphaea take root on its own. 


8. Hornwort 


This is another great plant option for your freshwater tank, with easy-to-care-for qualities and conditions to maintain. Just make sure you keep up with trimming this fast growing plant, as it can easily take over your tank. Because it grows fast, this plant will absorb excess waste and nutrients from the water column while also providing plenty of hiding spots for shrimplets. 

Hornwort is a great option for beginners because it has the versatility to survive in a variety of conditions. It can be planted, left floating, or attach to hardscape.


Finding Plants for Your Shrimp Tank 

As a freshwater aquarium owner, it is essential to keep the right plants with your beloved shrimp. The right plants will give your shrimp the perfect place to hide or play, provide a food source, they can regulate the pH of the water and help to oxygenate the tank properly. 

Depending on the plants you want to include in your tank, there will be a variety of benefits that each plant will pose. The addition of proper plants will provide your shrimp with the right conditions to thrive and live a long life. 

To get started, check out our large selection of fresh aquarium plants HERE

You can also check out other shrimp related blogs below:


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Christina - October 12, 2022

Another great one that I’ve found my shrimp love is subwassertang. It’s super easy to grow and they love hiding out or scrounging about in there.

Tina - August 25, 2022

Great information, and I already have most of the plants they like. I see a shrimp nursery in my future, and the thought excites me.

Tina - August 31, 2022

Great information, and I already have most of the plants they like. I see a shrimp nursery in my future, and the thought excites me.

Vicki - September 16, 2021

These articles are so helpful. Better than that fancy book I purchased. I really enjoyed them.

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