Best Aquarium Plants For Plecos: 5 Safe Picks | Aquascape Addiction

Best Aquarium Plants For Plecos: 5 Safe Picks

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A helpful guide on the 5 best aquarium plants for Plecos, these guys love plants for hiding places and also snacks but it's important to use the right and safe ones.

Best Aquarium Plants For Plecos: 5 Safe Picks

Plecos are definitely some really cool and peaceful fish that won’t cause much trouble in a community tank. With that being said, to make a plecos home suitable for it, there are some steps you need to take.

One of these steps is to ensure that your pleco tank has tons of vegetation, because they like to hide a lot and they enjoy nibbling on plants too. This is what we are here for today, to help you find the best aquarium plants for plecos (Amazon sword is our top pick).

Amazon Sword Our top pick 9.3/10
Java Fern Great hiding spot plant 8.8/10
Jungle Vallisneria Fast growth rate 8.5/10

Can Plecos Live With Live Plants?

Yes indeed, plecos can live with plants no problem, and in fact, in the wild, plecos come from heavily vegetated waters, and yes, they like the same in their home aquariums.

Plecos absolutely love in heavily planted aquariums and they will really thrive in them too. Plecos love to have a lot of plants around because they are shy and enjoy their privacy, and lots of plants means lots of hiding spots.

They do also on occasion like to rest on larger leaves to sleep, kind of like a bed. Furthermore, plecos love to nibble on all sorts of plants and they enjoy eating vegetation quite a bit. So, adding some plants to your pleco tank that the little guys can nibble and eat is a great idea as well.

5 Safe Aquarium Plants For Plecos

Here are our favorite 5 plants for Plecos, ones they can hide under, nibble on, and more.

1. Amazon sword

One great plant to have in your fish tank with your plecos is the Amazon sword plant. The reason why this plant is so ideal for plecos, for one, is because it has a moderate growth rate and features very larger, green, and sword-like leaves.

Plecos love to rest on leaves to sleep, they like to hide under leaves during the day, and they even like to nibble on Amazon sword plants as well. Due to its moderate growth rate, if you only have a couple of plecos, chances are they won’t be able to eat it faster than it grows.

The leaves of the Amazon sword plant can grow up to 16 inches in height, making the leaves perfect hiding spots and sleeping grounds for the plecos. Amazon sword plants are fairly easy to take care of, which is another bonus.

These plants just need to be planted in some simple gravel substrate so their roots can take hold and properly develop. In terms of lighting needs, mild to moderate is fine, or in other words, a normal aquarium light should do just fine to sustain growth.

The water temperature for the Amazon sword plant needs to be between 60 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5, and a water hardness level between 8 and 15 dGH. In terms of the best plants for plecos, the Amazon sword is definitely at the top of the list.

You can buy this plant on Amazon here

2. Anubias

Anubias is another aquarium plant that is ideal to have in a pleco tank. One of the reasons why it is ideal for a pleco tank is because this is a kind of plant that can be planted in gravel substrate as well as attached to a rock or driftwood.

As you should know, plecos do really like driftwood, whether for hiding in or nibbling on, so having Anubias growing directly on some driftwood is definitely ideal. Anubias themselves do not grow very fast, nor do they get very large, but they do have really broad and green leaves, leaves which are ideal for plecos to sleep on and to hide under.

Now, the slow growth rate of this plant does mean that it is quite easy to care for in terms of trimming and maintenance. This plant will grow to around 7.5 inches in height, making it ideal for smaller aquariums.

At the same time, while you might be worried about your pleco eating Anubias, plecos don’t seem to enjoy eating it all that much. When it comes to caring for Anubias plants, they are quite simple, as they only need low to moderate lighting, and they do just fine without added CO2 injections.

Anubias require the water temperature to be between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pH level between 6 and 7.5, and a water hardness level between 3 and 8 dGH.

You can buy this plant on Amazon here

3. Java fern

This plant is specifically a rhizome divider, which means that it usually does best when tied to some driftwood or a to rock, which is just fine for a pleco tank, because plecos enjoy their driftwood a whole lot, so if you attach a java fern to some driftwood, you are effectively killing two birds with one stone.

The java fern features fairly long and slender green leaves, and it does form quite a thick bush, with the leaves being able to grow to nearly 14 inches tall. The growth rate of this plant is moderate.

This therefore means that the java fern provides your plecos with great hiding spots, as well as some larger leaves to rest on, plus due to its moderate growth rate, it’s not the end of the world if your plecos nibble on it.

When it comes to care, the java fern requires low to moderate lighting, which you can achieve with most basic aquarium lights, plus it does just fine without CO2 injections. The water temperature for the java fern needs to be between 68 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pH level between 6 and 7.5, with a water hardness level between 3 and 8 dGH.

You can buy this plant on Amazon here

4. Jungle Vallisneria

Now, the main reason why Jungle Vallisneria is so awesome for plecos is because it features a pretty fast growth rate, it can grow up to over 6 feet in height, and it creates a really thick forest of really thin, long, and green leaves. It more or less resembles normal grass, very tall and dense grass with fairly thick blades.

The advantage here for plecos is that it provides them with plenty of privacy and hiding spaces within the grass, plus because it grows so fast and tall, it makes for an ideal plant to nibble on without fear of the whole plant being eaten.

Now, because this plant grows so fast, it is recommended for larger tanks, or if you have a smaller tank, you will need to maintain Jungle Vallisneria properly, or in other words, trim it. However, it does make for a great background plant.

In terms of care, Jungle Vallisneria is very hardy, resilient, and fairly easy to care for. Now, this stuff does do best with a whole lot of light, but it can survive in lower light conditions too, but it just won’t grow quite as fast.

Moreover, you don’t need to inject CO2 into the water either. When it comes to water temperature, anywhere between 64 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit will do just fine, with a pH level anywhere between 6.0 and 9.0

You can buy this plant on Amazon here

5. Java Moss

Plecos do really like soft surfaces which they can sleep on, as well as some thick vegetation to hide under, and they of course also like to nibble on many live aquarium plants.

Well, this makes java moss perfect for the pleco. Java moss does not grow all that tall, a few inches at the most, but it does quickly form quite a wide carpet of very small stems and what looks like miniature ferns.

Java moss does like to be attached to driftwood, other pieces of wood, and rocks. As long as the rhizomes can grab hold, it will grow pretty much everywhere, so it makes for a good option for plecos because you can attach it to soft driftwood, let it form somewhat of a carpet, and thus give the pleco a good hiding and resting spot.

Moreover, this stuff does grow pretty fast, so if your pleco wants to eat it, it won’t even be able to eat java moss faster than it can grow back, which is of course a bonus. When it comes to care, java moss is very easy to look after.

The water temperature needs to be between 59 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pH level between 5.0 and 8.0, and with moderate lighting. Java moss tends to be one of the favorite plant based snacks of the pleco.

You can buy this plant on Amazon here

Why Driftwood Is Also Very Important For Plecos

Something else you also want to remember to add into your pleco tank is a couple pieces of driftwood, preferably some fairly large driftwood with holes in it.

Plecos really do like their privacy, they are shy, and they love to hide from the outside world, which makes hollow driftwood an ideal choice for any pleco tank.

Moreover, plecos are known to nibble on driftwood. Yes, eventually you may need to replace old driftwood because it has been nibbled down to the point of barely existing, but this is just the way it is with pleco fish.


When all is said and done, there are lot of aquarium plants that are ideal for plecos. Really anything that can provide them with lots of cover, and some food to nibble on, will do just fine in a pleco tank. Remember to make your pleco tank heavily vegetated and don’t forget the driftwood!