11 Best Plants for Axolotl Tanks

The best plants for axolotl tanks may include java fern, anubias, java moss, and elodea. If you choose inappropriate plants, they may decompose and cause a spike in levels of chemicals such as ammonia. Exposing your amphibian pet to toxic elements may burn it and even cause its death.

Can you put fake plants in axolotl tanks?

safe plants for axolotl tanks

You can put fake or artificial plants in axolotl tanks since they often appear real and are not costly to purchase and maintain. You simply put the fake plants into the tank and leave them there.

However, artificial plants will not blend into your aquarium’s biological filtering system and oxygenate the water for your pet. 

11 safe plants for axolotl tanks

The 11 plants for axolotls provided below can prosper in a cold, low-light watery environment. Also, the plants do not require dozed fertilizer and or injection of carbon dioxide.

1.    Java Fern

Java Fern for axolotl tanks

The plant leaves, which are long, thin, soft, and green, provide a perfect spot for axolotl hiding without causing any injury. Aquariums or tanks having a rough surface like driftwood can benefit the leaves since attachment is possible. That helps discourage the digging out of the plant by your amphibian pet.

Although Java Fern prefers growing in the wild, it can also grow, albeit laggardly, with the conditions of an axolotl tank.

Java Fern, as a low-light and chilly water plant, can be diminutive or reach a height of 16 inches. A popular variant of Java Fern among experienced and beginning aquarists is the Malaysian red java fern.


  • Easy to grow
  • Prospers in cold conditions
  • Requires low to moderate temperature and lighting
  • Have smooth leaves not posing any danger to axolotls

Size and varieties

  •  Java Fern (12 to 14 inches)
  • Narrow-leaf plant (10 to 12 inches)
  • Java Fern Trident (8 to 10 inches)
  • Java Fern Petite ( 3 to 4 inches)

2.    Java Moss

Java Moss for axolotl tanks

As cold water plants for axolotls, the plants are extremely durable, capable of performing well in different aquatic conditions. You can easily attach the plant to aquarium or tank rocks and or driftwood to mature without an axolotl interference via excavation.

Allowing the plant to float without any interference may cause chaotic entanglements. Use either glue or string or a combination of both to force an attachment with surfaces provided, to form an elegant forest/swamp in your tank.

Java Moss is excellent for absorption of the toxic ammonia, a by-product of the normal body processes of an axolotl.


  • Easy maintenance
  • Great for low-light and chilly water conditions
  • Promotes water oxygenation and walking surface formation for your axolotls

Size and varieties

  • Has an average size of 3 to 10 inches

3.    Anubias

Anubias for axolotl tanks

Anubias are exceptionally dependable, they can perform in almost any substrate or tank condition. Providing the most appropriate environment will not hasten the often slow growth of the anubias.

Since the plants find low-lights conducive to their growth, always fasten them with hard surfaces such as rocks in the tank. 

Anubias Nana is the most preferred species for axolotl tanks. The plants help with oxygenation and filtration of water and come with extensive, dark green, circular leaves to provide the best hiding spot for your aquatic pet. 


  • Easy to take care of the plants
  • Capable of growing in hardy surfaces
  • Requires low to moderate light
  • Assists in water oxygenation

Sizes and varieties

  • Anubias afzelii and Anubias barteri (over 12 inches)
  • Anubias barteri var. Nana (under 5 inches)
  • Petite Anubias (under 2.5 inches)

4.    Water Lettuce

Water Lettuce for axolotl tanks

This floating plant tank flourishes in humidity. With the provision of the right environment, this axolotl plant can grow expeditiously.

Beginner aquarists may find it challenging to maintain the appropriate tank humidity. Water Lettuce also has draping roots that when maintained appropriately can establish an entanglement of roots. As a result, your tank’s appearance can be distinctive and fascinating. 

Taking care of the plants is stress-free. However, limit the reproduction of the plant so that there is not plenty of it on an axolotl tank.


  • Moderate light requirement
  • Cannot be uprooted by an axolotl as it floats
  • Consumes decomposition by-products such as nitrites

Sizes and varieties

  • Maximum size of 10 inches

READ ALSO: Axolotl Salt Bath Guide – Benefits, Safety + Procedure

5.     Amazon Frogbit

Amazon Frogbit for axolotl tanks

Fittingly nicknamed a sponge plant due to its numerous sponge-like leaves, the Amazon Frogbit is a floating tank plant. The uprooting of the plant by your axolotl is nearly impossible.

The plant is not difficult to maintain, great for amateur axolotl keepers. Furthermore, it can do just fine under low-light and cooler temperatures. Limnobium laevigatum limits the penetration of excess sunlight into the axolotl tank. That is great for your amphibian pets as they are bottom dwellers, prefer poorly lit aquatic environments.


  • Unlike a Red Root Floater, it has a neat look
  • Prevents excess penetration of sunlight
  • Easy to maintain

Sizes and varieties

  • 4 to 6 inches long

6.     Elodea

Elodea for axolotl tanks

Also called waterweed, Elodea is an interesting axolotl tank plant option. It exists almost completely below the water surface, in low-light condition, except for its flowers which flourish during warmer periods.

Although the plants need plenty of nutrients for survival, their care and maintenance are not too taxing. You may need to trim your elodea plants frequently as they are prone to grow larger than other aquarium plants.


  • Beginner-friendly plant
  • Capable of growing in different environmental conditions, particularly low light, and chilly waters.
  • Removes contaminants from the water faster due to rapid growth

Size and varieties

  • Can reach 9 to 15 feet.

7.     Hornwort

Hornwort for axolotl tanks

The free-floating plant is highly resistant to cold and can grow up to a foot high. Still, the thickness of its stems does not promote axolotl climbing.

Hornwort can also grow as a rooted plant, making it create a bushy aquatic environment, providing sufficient cover for your axolotls. You can use a tank substrate to securely hold the plant.

With the right conditions, expect your axolotl tank plant to experience rapid growth. Nonetheless, Hornwort has a chaotic tank appearance and can shed for around a month as it adapts to a new habitat.


  • Can grow as a rooted or floating aquatic plant
  • Provides a nice, bushy appearance
  • Grows faster

Size and varieties

  • Can grow up to 6 feet

8.     Duckweed

Duckweed for axolotl tanks

The plant forms a layer of greenish, small plants on the surface of an axolotl tank. That discourages the growth of algae and excess exposure of your pet to sunlight by creating a cool temperature at the tank’s bottom. Duckweed can also assist in the purification of the watery habitat by absorbing and using carbon dioxide.

Since the plant accumulates faster, it makes its removal almost impossible, without damaging your tank. So, before you choose the plant, ensure you really want it.


  • Low to a high light requirement
  • Fast growth rate
  • It is a floating plant, does not require fastening with a substrate
  • Traps food for your pet

 Sizes and varieties

  • Every pod is about 0.8 inches long

READ ALSO: Can Axolotls Live Together? How Many Tank Mates?

9.     Pothos plant

Pothos Plants for axolotl tanks

As a tough floating plant, it can survive in varying axolotl tank environments. It is stress-free to keep. To prevent its uprooting by your pet, simply put its roots inside the tank and keep out its leaves. No need to use a substrate to hold the plant.

The plant delivers quality water via a natural purification mechanism. Pothos can expel dangerous toxins and chemicals such as ammonia from the axolotl tank. In high levels, ammonia and other chemicals may endanger your pet and erode the biofilter. A spike in ammonia level in the tank or aquarium will make axolotls suffer from ammonia burns and it can be an invisible killer within only a few days


  • Easy to care for
  • Low to a high light requirement
  • Relies on toxic ammonia for its growth

Sizes and varieties

  • 6-30 feet long

10.   Dracaena Variegatus

Dracaena Variegatus for axolotl tanks

The plant is unique since it is not a pure aquatic plant. It is more of a land plant. Natural habitats of the plants are areas experiencing frequent floodings, such as bogs and marshes.

Dracaena Variegatus may adapt to survive below water such as in a tank. But, if you keep the plant underwater over a lengthy duration, it may decompose and necessitate its replacement.

Only use the plant in a tank with an open top, to discourage full submersion and ensure proper growth. Alternatively, frequently remove the plants from the tank and leave them exposed to air before returning them.


  • Can adapt and thrive in a tank

Size and varieties

  • 12-18 inches

11.   Marimo Moss Ball

Marimo Moss Ball for axolotl tanks

Your amphibian friend and Marimo Moss Ball prefer chilly conditions, particularly in the lakes found in the North of Europe. The sinking plant is not actually a moss, rather, it is a rare round development of chilly water algae.

Marimo Moss Ball grows with no hurry, and thus when the environmental conditions allow, they may be attacked on the surface by nuisance bacteria.


  • Great for providing dense hiding spots for an axolotl
  • Requires less light
  • Has a unique, beautiful appearance

Size and varieties

  • Can achieve a 2-6 inches diameter

In conclusion, remember that real and fake plants can bring plenty of benefits to your tank by resembling the natural habitat of axolotls. That is as long as your aquatic pet is in a perfect watery environment.

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