Best Live Plants for Turtle Tanks (2022) | Buying Guide and Reviews

Larry Mills
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Are you looking for a plant for your pet turtle?

You can get the best live plants for turtle tanks, because no tortoise can survive without some plants in the habitat.

Turtles are basically aquatic creatures which mean that you should keep a few live plants in their aquarium.

Live plants do more than just make your turtle happy. These live plants also add oxygen and purify the water in your tank.

Plus, these live plants also help to absorb the ammonia in the water. This is important, because ammonia is produced when animals like turtles defecate in the water.

So, without further ado, here are the best live plants for turtle tanks that I could find and recommend to you.

Here we go.

Greenpro Dwarf Hairgrass Live Aquarium Plants Tissue Culture Cup Freshwater Fish Tank DecorationsBest OverallGreenpro Dwarf Hairgrass Live Aquarium Plants Tissue Culture Cup Freshwater Fish Tank Decorations
Java Fern Bare RootBudget PickJava Fern Bare Root

1. Greenpro Dwarf Hairgrass Live Aquarium Plants Tissue Culture Cup Freshwater Fish Tank Decorations

Our rating: 9 / 10

Greenpro Dwarf Hairgrass Live Aquarium Plants Tissue Culture Cup Freshwater Fish Tank Decorations

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  • Live plants look real and add oxygen to water
  • The bottom wet area is important for anchoring plants
  • Can also be used for drainage
  • It is a good decoration for tropical fish tanks
  • It is sturdy; it depends on the type you choose
  • Can be used in fish tanks with a variety of water levels
  • Easy to maintain
  • Pick any color and type, to satisfy your preferences
  • It is a safe and healthy live decoration.


  • Live plants need to be replanted every once in a while
  • It cannot get along with everything
  • Not for all fish tanks; depends on the type/size or model of the tank
  • There is a higher risk of attack by fish or snails
  • It is real plant tissue; needs light and nutrients to survive

This is a real plant product, and it needs lots of light and nutrients in water to survive. It looks great, but some aquarists like me may want to choose fake live plants. As the name says, it is a dwarf hairgrass. Smaller than the normal plant, but indeed, it gets its share of compliments.

2. 12 Amazon Frogbit

Our rating: 7 / 10

12 Amazon Frogbit

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Pets, Pet Supplies & Cleaning Supplies, 4 Pieces.

Limnobium Laevigatum or Amazon Frogbit is actually a floating aquatic plant. Frogbit is a freshwater plant from the Brazilian water lily family. It is noted for its light color and amazing leaf markings (of which it is covered), with the leaves being fan-shaped and slightly drooping.

The lily pads come in a variety of bright colors and are as soft as velvet. It is a fairly slow-growing plant and, for this reason, can be a suitable addition to both small and medium-sized fish tanks.

3. Java Fern Bare Root

Our rating: 7 / 10

Java Fern Bare Root

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  • Java Fern do not require the same special conditions as other plants.
  • They are hardy and easy to grow.
  • These plants grow well both submerged and emersed.


  • Some can become leggy.
  • Does not like fast-moving water.
  • They will rot out if left in standing water for long.

Microsorum pteropus is an aquatic plant that is native to most of Asia, where it grows in the wetlands, swamps, and forests of Southeast Asia. This plant is one of the best for beginners because the conditions necessary for growing and maintaining it are so forgiving.

This plant should be kept in water above 73°F, preferably in an aquarium with other plants. Keeping with plant companions will be beneficial to your plants. It will provide the necessary shade and protection for the Java Fern to survive.

It should be kept in areas of medium to high lighting, as it does require a good amount of light. Sunlight is the best for it and just 40 watts of fluorescent lighting per gallon is adequate. It should not be in an area where the lighting is going to be changed frequently.

4. Java Moss Portion in 4 Oz Cup

Our rating: 7 / 10

Java Moss Portion in 4 Oz Cup

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  • Green color gives life to aquariums
  • Easy to keep and maintain
  • Brighten up aquariums
  • A great live plant for beginners
  • Easy to restore
  • Easy to grow


  • Low durability
  • Plants do not stay long

This live plant works well with wisteria and Mini NES. In addition to that, wide-leaved varieties make a lovely addition to tanks that have small-leaved varieties.

The plant is best suited for tanks that have a capacity of 20 gallons or higher.


Our rating: 6 / 10


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This aquatic plant grows in a clump from a center stem and can expand to cover aquarium walls and even conceal fish.

Duckweed plants can also be left to float around your aquarium or can be anchored at the bottom of the tank to provide a breeding ground for small fish. As they grow, these plants help to filter your aquarium water, removing nitrogen and nitrogen compounds.

These plants tend to attract shrimp and other tiny fish that feed upon the plant and algae in the tank, helping to maintain a clean environment.

6. Aquatic Arts Moneywort

Our rating: 5 / 10

Aquatic Arts Moneywort

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  • Maintains a healthy environment for your fish.
  • You will not have to worry about your goldfish getting eaten.
  • Easy to maintain, just use scissors to trim the plant while performing your weekly water changes.
  • The most economical way to maintain a healthy and beautiful aquarium. This is a great way for beginners to ensure an aquarium is well-maintained without investing in more expensive plants. These plants can be used for a variety of aquarium types. They are suitable for beginner aquariums, aquariums without CO2, and fish only aquariums.


  • The leaves are delicate and easily torn.
  • You may find a need to replace a few of the plants if they die or are uprooted.
  • You need to cut them when you have a water change.

The above list of the best items are the best you can ever find on the market today!

The time is now and the time is here, so what are you waiting for?

Pick one and hit the road with a charming feel of life. Do not waste your precious time, get on the road, and aim for the stars!

7. Aquatic Arts Live Hornwort Plant

Our rating: 5 / 10

Aquatic Arts Live Hornwort Plant

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  • An excellent beginner Betta plant
  • Before using it for Betta fish tanks you can try it out with your tropical fish tank for about a week
  • It appears to be very accommodating to most aquarium systems


  • May require pruning depending on the size of your turtle tank
  • Not really suitable for small turtle tanks
  • Also, they do not typically survive in turtle tanks because the turtles will crush or eat them.

This is a very hearty plant that will feed your turtles if they can catch it. This is not a suitable plant for small turtle tanks.

You may wish to try this plant on your small turtle tank for about a week and then transfer it to a larger tank, unless of course your turtles do not eat plants.

This is basically a live plant that is ready to go and does not require much effort at all to keep it alive.

8. Red Root Floater

Our rating: 4 / 10

Red Root Floater

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  • Attractive submerged plants which grow to the surface
  • Easy to maintain
  • Inexpensive


  • Fragile leaves can rot and decompose very easily
  • Needs frequent trimming to keep floating

Despite their delicate nature, the Red Root Floater boasts a striking red to purple leaves that will surely brighten up your turtle’s habitat. They’re relatively easy to maintain as you just need to trim their leaves once in a while so that they will not curl, which will make it easier for them to float on top of the water.

Make sure that when you pick a replacement, you don’t buy just any floating plants for your turtle because not all of them will be healthy for it to eat. While it is true that most floating plants are still edible, not all will provide turtles with proper nutrition. In fact, some are even toxic to turtles.

If your turtle just loves to munch on these, it’s perfectly fine if you remove the leaves and keep the roots floating. Although they’re not considered to be the ideal food for turtles, it’s very unlikely that they’ll develop an allergy against them.

9. Dwarf Water Lettuce

Our rating: 3 / 10

Dwarf Water Lettuce

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  • Most effective choice for both beginners and experienced aquarium owners
  • Perfect for turtles that are used to eating live aquatic plants
  • Looks natural in both fresh and saltwater tanks

Water lettuce is a popular aquatic plant among turtle owners because it is one of the few that the animal will eat. But dwarf water lettuce is also perfect for many other freshwater and saltwater aquariums for various reasons.

This plant is very easy to keep alive, it does not require a lot of light, it’s available in white and green varieties and does not have a lot of algae growths on its surface (that’s why it’s called a floating water lettuce – it floats on top of the aquarium water).

Bottom line: The reason this plant is at the top of this list is because it is an excellent choice for any pet turtle owner who is looking for a natural, low-maintenance option for their pet turtles. It will enable your turtle(s) to munch on a natural food that is easy to grow and maintain. As turtles and other aquatic animals eat these plants while they are still alive, you don’t have to worry about pollution or other issues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I put live plants in my turtle tank?

Live plants are not recommended for turtle tanks for the same reason that plastic plants are not recommended: turtles are omnivores who will eat live plants if given the opportunity.

However, that doesn’t mean that live plants aren’t possible. You can make a beautiful and thriving turtle tank with live plants and here is how:

  • Create a soil strata at the bottom of the tank that is reinforced with a fine-gravel layer.
  • Create a soil strata at the very bottom of the tank that is at least 6 inches thick. This will act as the turtle’s restroom.
  • Make sure that high-calorie and sustainable plants are placed in areas where your turtle cannot reach.
  • Place your plants in the tank in a way that will allow them to grow in a way that allows you easily to reach them.

What is the best tank for a turtle?

It is a common misconception that an aquarium is an amphibian-friendly habitat. In fact, watching a turtle in an aquarium is often akin to watching a fish in a fish bowl. If you are a pet owner of a reptile that requires high humidity levels and an enclosure that mimics their natural environment, then you likely have considered setting up a turtle tank.

A turtle tank must meet the specific needs of the reptile because they are highly sensitive to temperature and humidity changes. All too often, pet owners try to put their turtle in an aquarium and quickly realize that the turtle is not thriving. This leads to unhappy turtles and unsatisfied turtle owners. This guide will help you identify the characteristics that set up the best tanks for turtles.

What live plants are safe for red eared sliders?

If you’re a red eared slider turtle owner, you’ve probably asked yourself, "What types of live plants are safe for red ear sliders?"

The unfortunate truth is that, because turtles and ponds aren't optimal habitats for many of the world’s popular plants, most aren’t suitable for a turtle’s tank. And because you can't take your turtle outside, you may be tempted to buy alligators or other types of fish as tankmates. But these living imitations of food can lead to some dangerous attacks and may even kill your turtle. This is why finding a good combination of live, natural plants for your turtles is essential to keep them happy, healthy and safe.

There are a lot of questions to ask, but the basics apply to all turtles:

What plants are easy to take care of?

What plants can turtles eat?

Botanists working at turtle farms have determined the plants turtles can and cannot eat. This is the result of studying the plants that grow in ponds and marshes throughout the world.

There are 240 varieties of plants that are on the plant-eating list, but there are also about 200 that are not on the list of plants turtles can and cannot eat.

If you're going to provide your turtle with live plants, then the recommendation is to have a large majority of plant varieties that turtles can eat.

We are keen to changing this over the next few years, however, and will be working hard to try to find out what plants are ok for turtles, which are toxic, and which are not safe for turtles.


Many pet owners want to find the best live plants for their turtle tanks. It’s only natural, as you want your live plants to add to the overall look and feel of your pet’s living space. This buying guide was created to help you choose the best live plants for turtles for your aquarium. We’ll cover the best live plants for turtle tanks that have the best features, including color, maintenance, and more.

Our Recommendation

Greenpro Dwarf Hairgrass Live Aquarium Plants Tissue Culture Cup Freshwater Fish Tank DecorationsBest OverallGreenpro Dwarf Hairgrass Live Aquarium Plants Tissue Culture Cup Freshwater Fish Tank Decorations
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