10 Best Cold Water Aquarium Plants – Which is Best for Your Tank?

Aquarium plants are essential for adding stability to any aquarium. These plants are part of the natural bio network and help in maintaining a balance in the ecosystem of aquariums. 

Plants generate positivity and provide a calm environment for your fish. They’re easy to look after too. Your fish will love being around plants. This way they’ll suffer less stress because they can hide when they choose. 

Goldfish aquarium

A planted aquarium is living art. Setting up a planted aquarium is a wonderful way to bring a piece of nature into your home or workplace. With excellent planning and consistent maintenance, the benefits can last a lifetime! 

Before we start, let’s talk briefly about cold water aquariums. 

What is a cold water aquarium?

If you love the tranquility of a gorgeous fish tank, then a cold water aquarium is the perfect choice for you.  Cold water fish look lovely. The tank and plants are easy to care for. You’ll get a peaceful world of enjoyment for you and the fish. 

A cold water aquarium is an aquarium kept at room temperature without a heater. 

It can be freshwater or marine. Most cold water fish, like the goldfish and koi, are comfortable around 58°F to 65°F (14°C-18°C). At a maximum, they can tolerate a temperature of 75°F(24°C). 

We recommend you customize the tank according to the species of fish you wish to keep, as each type of fish has different requirements.  

10 Best Coldwater Aquarium Plants  

Let us show you the best plants for your next cold water tank.  

  • Java Fern
  • Anacharis
  • Java moss 
  • Anubias
  • Hornwort
  • Marimo moss
  • Christmas Moss
  • Salvinia Natans
  • Amazon Sword
  • Ludwigia Repens

These gorgeous greens, browns, and reds are easy to care for and will enhance the beauty and life in your aquarium. 

1-Marimo Moss 

Marimo moss carpet and ball in shrimp tank

Marimo Moss Balls are famous for their special round shape. They require very little maintenance. They can improve water quality by generating oxygen and removing nitrates. 

They are best in cooler temperatures – below 77°F. A pH of 6.0 to 8.0 is fine. They do not require special or high intensity lighting. Just some sunlight for photosynthesis would be sufficient. 

However, a few types of fish and invertebrates may eat or damage the Marimo balls, including Goldfish, Plecostomus and Crayfish. It’s the perfect plant for Betta Fish. 

2-Java Fern 

Java fern on driftwood

Java fern is a durable and elegant-looking aquarium plant. It makes a good addition to tanks with energetic fish like cichlids. 

It can grow up to 8 inches tall, with edgy, green rhizomes. This fern makes a perfect mid or background plant. Also, Java fern is amphibious, meaning it can grow either partially or fully submerged in the water. 

Java fern will thrive in an aquarium with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5 and low to moderate lighting. 

Java fern plants can do well in a wide range of water temperature, which is between 60°F to 82°F. It can easily get along with a destructive fish. Hence it is a pleasant choice for cold water tanks. 


Anacharis is an attractive aquarium plant. It has a long stem with small green leaves covering the entire plant. 

The plant prefers soft to moderately hard water with a pH of 5.0 to 7.5 and medium lighting. 

It is easy to grow and propagate with no substrate, hence is ideal for beginners. 

It can also thrive under a variety of conditions. It is particularly known for its ability to handle a wide range of water temperatures, between 50°F to 82°F. 


Anubias nana petite ‘tree’

Anubias plants are a fantastic choice for cold water aquariums. They are hardy, don’t require any special treatment, and can be reproduced from cuttings. These nice plants grace the bottoms of many stylish tanks. 

Anubias is a survivor. They can tolerate and even thrive in a wide variety of tank conditions. Temperatures can be as low as 72° and as high as 82° and the Anubias will carry on. pH changes and moderate lighting will not trouble this sturdy little plant. 

Anubias can also be used as a different kind of cover plant. The broad leaves can be placed to spread and cover the bottom of your tank. Once the plant has grown, you can carefully split the rhizome and use both parts to continue to expand this plant in your tank. 

5-Java moss 

Java moss carpet in shrimp tank

Java moss provides a natural look and it can give life to a bare and plain tank. This type of moss is relatively easy to install, grow and maintain. 

It will attach itself to many surfaces including gravel, driftwood and rocks. It’s a delicate moss with irregular small branched stems. The stems grow tiny, 2mm long oval-shaped leaves. 

It can dwell in a wide range of temperature between 59°F – 86°F. Similarly, it can adapt to a pH level range of 5.0 to 8.0. 

It has many other benefits such as providing shelter for eggs and fry, improving tank health and providing food for breeding fish. 


Hornwort, again, is an amphibious aquarium plant. The plant is also easy to start and care for. It has no particular demands of water conditions. 

Many aquarists find it useful for soaking up nitrates in breeding tanks. It provides hiding spaces for fry and shrimp in aquariums. 

Hornwort plants will thrive in an aquarium with soft to very hard water and a pH anywhere between 6 and 7.5. The plant is quite comfortable in a range of temperature between 59°F – 86°F. It is well off in low to high lighting. 

7-Christmas Moss 

Christmas moss tree in betta tank

Christmas moss is another gorgeous moss species you can easily incorporate into your planted tank. Its green, branching stems and tiny leaves shaped like miniature Christmas trees provide a huge amount of visual interest. There aren’t any special requirements for helping this little beauty to flourish. 

This moss species does well between 65-75°. It doesn’t need super bright light but can do better if fertilized with plant nutrient feed. Trimming the moss is easy as well. Try to trim it for aesthetics without cutting off too much.

In the right conditions, it is hardy and grows quickly so a mistake isn’t likely to be catastrophic. 

8-Salvinia Natans 


It is an unusual fern, good for decoration and gives a natural look. It can do well with no fertilizers. 

Salvinia natans thrive in temperatures between 54°F – 86°F. Its pH tolerance range is 6.0 to 8.0. It does well in moderate to high lighting conditions. The lights should be kept as close to the water surface as possible so  it can get strong lighting.

Once it adapts to the tank, it just needs a regular trim to remove extra pieces. 

9-Amazon Sword 

Amazon sword in neon tank

Amazon sword is one of the most popular plants among aquarists. 

It does not require much light. It can grow very tall in all directions with its wide and long leaves. The ideal temperature for an Amazon sword is between 60°F – 82°F. Its pH tolerance range is 6.5 to 7.5. 

Amazon sword is a very hardy plant and it can do well with no fertilizers. For faster and better growth of Amazon Swords you can supplement it with some iron-rich fertilizers. 

10-Ludwigia Repens 

Ludwigia repens in planted tank

Ludwigia repens is a very popular coloring plant. It has an attractive leaf color range from green, brown to deep red. 

Ludwigia repens can do well under moderate to high lighting conditions. It can tolerate a wide temperature range of 60°F – 86°F. Its pH tolerance range is 5.0 – 8.0. You can keep it in any water condition from very soft to very hard water. 

Ludwigia repens is a very hardy plant and can do well with no fertilizers. It might get a red coloration. This shows it needs a supplement with some additional CO2 fertilizers. 

If provided with an ideal environment and nutrition, it can grow quick and beautiful. 

Why should you put plants in a cold water aquarium? 

Keeping plants in your cold water aquarium can provide you with the following benefits: 

  • Plants enhance water quality and help prevent algae growth by using nutrients produced by fish waste, uneaten food and organic debris. 
  • They produce oxygen during daylight hours. Fish use the oxygen and it also stabilizes the pH. Fish transform the oxygen back into CO2, which the plants then use for their growth. 
  • Fish feel safer with more plants in their home. They can easily get to a hiding place, eventually reducing stress and helping fish to develop more vivid colors. 
  • Plants can encourage fish spawning and provide shelter for new fish fry to hide and grow. 
  • Plants can be gorgeous scenery and radiate positivity. 

Related questions 

What kind of animals can live in a cold water aquarium? 

  • Goldfish: The most familiar cold water fish. 
  • Snails: They are not sensitive to temperature and adapt to cold water. 
  • White Cloud Mountain Minnows: It is a hardy species of cold water fish.  
  • Rosy Barbs: The rosy barb is an active and peaceful species of cold water fish. 
  • Shrimps: They are fun to observe and there are many beautiful species to choose from. 

What are suitable cold water plants for goldfish? 

Here are some plants suitable for goldfish:- 

  • Vallisneria 
  • Java Fern 
  • Amazon Sword 
  • Java Moss 

What are suitable cold water plants for axolotl? 

  • Hornwort 
  • Vallisneria 
  • Java Fern 
  • Java Moss