10 Best Plants for Axolotls

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If you’re planning your axolotl tank, then you’re probably considering what plants you’ll be putting into the aquarium. It’s an important issue, as axolotls will prefer to have plants in the tank, and it’s also a good way to liven up your tank.

But not all substrates are appropriate for every type of plants. There’s some things you need to know when choosing the plants for an axolotl aquarium. First, axolotls don’t like to have too much light in their tank, which certainly limits the choice we have when it comes to plants.

Secondly, it’s not recommended to use plants that need to be planted into the substrate as the axolotls will dig them up, which will make the plants practically useless. You’ll also need to choose the plants that will survive the slightly lower temperatures that axolotls love.

So the choices have already narrowed down a bit, but there’s another twist. It’s better to use plants that float or plants that can be tied to rocks or wood, or use non-aquatic plants; these plants are able to grow their roots in water.

With everything considered, we have put together a list of the 10 best plants for axolotl tanks. Take a look and make your pick (but don’t overplant.)


Anubias are probably the best choice for axolotls, as they are very hard and resistant, and won’t get destroyed that easily. Actually, they’re not great just for axolotls, but also for other aquarium set ups.

There’s more species, or subspecies of Anubias that you can choose from. Anubias nana are the most common type of Anubias, and these are the hardiest and require arguably the least attention.

Then there’s Anubia Isabelle, which is also very tough but a bit taller than nanas. Lastly, there’s Anubia Barteri, which is also similar to nanas but have rounder leaves and are bigger.

These plants are aquatic, which means their roots will grow in the water. Tie them down to a rock or a piece of wood, which is your best bet with axolotls.

Java Fern

Java fern is a classic aquarium plant that’s often seen in aquariums all over the world. With its long, thin leaves, it puts on a show for the spectators when they move around, and it’s a great hiding spot.

It grows in the jungle, but it will be able to sustain the temperatures and the conditions of an axolotl tank.

You can tie it down to a piece of wood to prevent it from getting dug out by the axie. The plant has rhizomes, which is a type of root that will enable to plant to grow even if it’s not planted into the substrate.

The growth will be slow, but enough to make your tank interesting. It’s one of the easiest plants to care for, as well.

Amazon Frogbits

Amazon Frogbits, or Limnobium laevigatum, are floating plants, meaning they’re perfect to provide some variety in an axolotl tank.

In addition to that, they will ensure that not too much sunlight gets into the tank, which is perfect for the axolotls, as they don’t like the sunlight. They prefer a dimmer environment.

They’re extremely easy to maintain. The only thing you’ll need to worry about is that the top part of the plant doesn’t get wet constantly; it must be dry, as when it gets wet, they will start rotting.

Additionally, snails can eat them, but it’s unlikely that snails will be able to reach them, as they will be floating on the surface of the water. It’s a great decorative choice for an axolotl tank.

Water Lettuce

Water lettuce is a great choice for axolotls. They are floating plants with hanging roots, and if you can maintain the roots properly, you’ll create a maze of roots that will keep your aquarium looking unique and interesting.

Besides, water lettuce is also a classic choice for aquarium keepers, as it’s an easy plant to take care of. You’ll need to remove dead leaves, which will appear yellow in color.

Also, make sure that the plant doesn’t reproduce too much, or you’ll have way too much of this lettuce on your water surface. Overall, it’s a great choice for axolotls.

Water Hyacinth

The water hyacinth is one of the most beautiful plants that you can choose for your axolotl tank. It’s a floating plant that has a flower of a purple color once it blossoms.

They’re a good choice for axolotl tanks because they represent an easy-to-care-for choice with floating leaves, which makes sure that the axolotl won’t dig it out or remove it.

The only thing to keep in mind with this type of plant is that they can be very invasive and aggressive towards other plants in the tank, and they will spread quite quickly.

You’ll actively need to control the population of these plants, as they will grow and spread at crazy rates, at times. Other plants that you might have, especially floating ones, might get pushed out.

Elodea (Water Weeds)

The water weeds, or the elodea, is an interesting plant; it is almost completely underwater, but for the flower that blossoms in the summer.

The white flowers will blossom once it’s warmer. These plants require quite a lot of nutrients to survive, but they’ll not be too demanding on you.

It’s a great type of cover for your axolotl, as it will protect it from getting too much sunlight. That’s something that axolotls hate; instead, they prefer low-light conditions.

It’s a beautiful plant, and fairly easy to keep. The way this plant spreads is by leaves; leafy stalks will detach in the autumn, and form new plants.

Java Moss

Java moss is known as perhaps the easiest plant to grow in an aquarium, and also one that will sustain different types of conditions.

It will grow on rocks and wooden branches, which is perfect for your axolotl tank, as they won’t get excavated. In addition to all those practical features of the plant, it has a very interesting appearance.

It’s thick and very dense, and it has very small, thin leaves. It’s almost like regular moss, but just a bit different in terms of the structure.

Not only is it a hardy plant, but it will make your aquarium instantly more interesting, and it’s extremely easy to care for.

Marimo Moss Ball

Speaking of moss, we should also mention the Marimo moss ball as being a great choice for axolotl tanks. It’s a slightly bizarre plant, but very interesting to look at and beautiful.

It’s a moss ball, as the name tells us, and it’s a type of algae that grows from the center of the ball.

But what makes them perfect for axolotl tanks is the fact that they don’t require, or rather, don’t prefer tanks with plenty of light.

Instead, keep your moss ball in a low-light position, which is how the axolotl tank should be set up anyway.

Pothos Plant

The Pothos plant is a vine-like plant that usually requires a lot of light, but not necessarily so. In truth, it can survive in low-light conditions very easily.

Ideally, the Pothos plant will find itself planted above the tank with roots outside of the water, and the leaves extending into the tank. It’s an interesting set up that requires some tinkering, but once you get it right, it looks stunning.

The best thing about the Pothos plant is its water purifying quality. It acts as a sort of a natural filter for the water, getting rid of some of the unwanted chemicals in the water.

It’s a hardy enough plant to survive the conditions of the axolotl tank, as well.

English Ivy Plant

The English ivy plant can also be considered for axolotl tanks, although the set up would have to be slightly different here.

To start with, let’s mention that it’s a vine plant that can have its roots in the water, and can hang outside the water. But you’ll have to be careful when you put this plant into the aquarium.

Firstly, the leaves can be aggressive towards other plants, and might outgrow them. This will result in other plants suffering as a consequence. But worry not; as long as you control it properly, the plants should be fine.

It’s an interesting plant that some people argue it’s great for the water quality, while some argue strongly against it, saying it’s harmful to some animals and can outgrow other plants.

The truth is somewhere in between; you’ll need to control the plant, but it won’t hurt axolotls, especially if the roots are in the water and the leaves are outside of it.


So there you have it, these are the 10 best plants for an axolotl aquarium. It’s not easy to choose the right one, as the conditions of the axolotl tanks are specific.

First, the light is low usually in the tank, and the temperatures are also somewhat lower than in other fish tanks.

Updated: September 1, 2022

Questions & Answers

  1. Maggie Sleep

    I want to make my axi tank a fully planted environment, and hoped to make a java moss carpet…is this possible? Do I need to put down a substrate? I currently have my axolotl in a glass bottom tank. Thank you

    1. avatar
      Axolotl Nerd

      If you want a carpet of java moss, you should tie java moss to a plastic mesh and secure the mesh to the bottom of the tank with rocks or with suction cups. Please be aware, that a lot of muck will build up under the java moss carpet, so you will need to vacuum it regularly to keep the aquarium clean.

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