An aquarium without a plant is a pretty sad place indeed. We really hate seeing those goldfish bowls that are bare of any greenery or plant life. Plants belong in an aquarium. Fish need them to mock their natural habitat, for hiding places, and food sources too. From our point of view, plants simply make the place look better.
Now, you may be worried about all of the hassle that comes with real plants, such as planting, making sure they have enough light, keeping track of water conditions, and so on and so forth. Fake plants are a really good alternative to go with in this case. Let’s get on with it and take a look at some of the best fake plants for aquariums (This one is our top pick).
|biOrb Plant Pack||Our Top Pick||9.5/10|
|Amazon Sword||Great Fish Hiding Spot||9.3/10|
|Faux Wheat Grass||UV resistant||8.5/10|
|Marina Naturals Pennywort||For Salt & Freshwater||8.3/10|
What We Think Are The Best Fake Plants For Aquariums: Our Top Pick
Let’s take a good look at what we think is the best fake plant for fish tanks;
biOrb Easy Plant Sets
These are very simple and easy silk plants that you can add to any aquarium. They don’t require special lighting, water conditions, placement, or anything else.
Simply place them into the aquarium and you are good to go (you can buy them at Amazon here). They come with orb shaped “planter” that acts as the weight to hold them down in the water.
The plants themselves are very silky, colorful, and they move with the flow of the water. They definitely do a good job at looking like they are real.
There are over a dozen different plants you can choose from, plus you can choose from small, medium, and large plants too (you can see more info on Amazon here). Finally, you can use biOrb Easy Plants for saltwater and freshwater aquariums.
Fake Plants vs Real Plants?
Let’s take a quick look at the main differences between fake plants and real plants. This might help you decide which type of plant is better for you.
Let’s look at the pros and cons for real aquarium plants;
- They are much more natural.
- They help filter the water of contaminants.
- They help control CO2 levels.
- They help create beneficial biofilm.
- They give fish good hiding places.
- They grow and bloom.
- They require trimming.
- They need a particular substrate (more on substrate on this article).
- They need particular lighting and water conditions.
- They may die.
- They may get eaten.
- They can develop disease.
And now the pros and cons for fake aquarium plants;
- They cannot develop disease.
- They will not get eaten.
- They never need to be trimmed.
- They do not require specific lighting or water conditions.
- They still provide fish with hiding spots.
- They can still look pretty nice, there are many artificial aquarium plants that look real.
- They will never die.
- They never grow or bloom.
- They do not create any biofilm.
- They do not filter the water.
- Movement is limited.
- They do not help oxygenate the water.
9 Other Options We Also Like
In case you are not a huge fan of our number one pick for the best fake aquarium plant, you can always take a look at these 9 other options that are also pretty neat.
1. Amazon Sword
This fake plastic amazon sword plant is the perfect addition for any tropical or freshwater aquarium. It perfectly resembles an amazon sword plant, but it never grows, doesn’t need special light, or any of that stuff.
The plastic it is made of is fairly durable, so there is no problem with degradation. The leaves of this fake plant still flow with the water current, thus making it look pretty real, plus the leaves have a great color too.
Your fish will never know the difference. This thing also makes for a pretty good hiding spot for guppies and other fish that like to rest in cover. It comes with a weighted rock so you don’t have to do any planting. Simply place the amazon sword into the water and you are good to go.
2. Ecoscaper Hydrocotyle Silk Plant
This is an 8 inch tall plant, making it ideal for smaller and medium size aquariums. It is made of high quality silk and features awesome green coloring. The silk design of this fake plant makes it look extremely real as it undulates with the current of the water.
The color also looks really real, plus some of the leaves are partially translucent, making the Ecoscaper Hydrocotyle Silk Plant look extremely real. The colors won’t fade and the leaves themselves are fairly durable.
It comes with a weighted base so all you have to do is set it up wherever you see fit and you are ready to rock.
3. Rosewood Colourburst Floral
This is a really neat choice to go with, a really nice looking purple floral cluster, kind of like a mix between leaves and purple flowers. They definitely look really nice and lifelike. This particular option is made with hand dyed silk, which is fairly durable, won’t degrade in the water, and still looks very real.
The leaves move with the current of the water, plus their color won’t fade over time either. The weighted base keeps the Rosewood Colourburst Floral in place no matter where you set it.
It makes for a good mid ground or back ground addition to any aquarium (we have covered real background plants on this article). You can use this fake plant for saltwater and freshwater aquariums, plus you can use it for a terrarium too.
4. Faux Plastic Wheat Grass
If you want some wheat grass in your aquarium, but don’t want to take care of the real thing, this Faux Plastic Wheat Grass is the way to go.
This stuff is totally chemical and poison free, plus the colors don’t leach, making it the safe option to go with. This wheat grass is made of plastic, making it fairly durable too.
It comes with fake substrate ready to go, so you literally just place it in your aquarium and you are set. The color of this plant is made to be water and UV resistant, so the color won’t fade over time.
5. Elephant Leaf Betta Plant
The fake Elephant Leaf Betta Plant can be used in all types of aquariums and terrariums. It features large, wide, and fairly rounded leaves, and almost looks like an assortment of cabbage leaves.
It’s a really good looking plant to go with. The plastic design of it ensures that it won’t break down over time or get eaten.
It is color fast, it won’t fray, and it won’t leach any harmful chemicals into the water either. This is a fairly small plant, making it ideal for smaller and medium size aquariums. This plant is especially great for Betta fish as they will have some enjoyment and a place to hide too.
The resin rock base will keep the Elephant Leaf Betta Plant securely in place.Simply place the plant in the background, mid-ground, or foreground of the aquarium and you are set.
6. Naturals Pennywort Silk Plant
This particular plant is made out of silk, which is good if you want a plant that looks as real as possible, is nice and soft, and undulates nicely with the current of the water.
The silk design of this Pennywort plant makes it look extremely real. The purple and green coloring of this plant makes it look great in pretty much any aquarium.
This plant can be used for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums, making it quite a versatile choice. The weighted base makes sure that the Naturals Pennywort Silk Plant stays perfectly in place. This plant is 14 inches tall, making it ideal for larger aquariums.
7. Ecoscaper Lobelia Silk Plant
This is an 8 inch tall plant, making it ideal for most sizes of aquarium. It is best placed in the foreground or background, but can also be used as a centerpiece. The brown, red, green, and purple coloring of this plant makes it a fine and colorful addition to any style of aquarium. It can be used for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums.
It has a resin rock as a weighted base so it stays in place securely. Simply place it in the water and no more work is needed. The silk design of this rock makes it really soft and real looking.
It undulates in the water just like any other plant out there. It is also colorfast and will not leach any harmful chemicals into the water.
8. Aqueon Begonia Aquarium Plant
This is a really neat looking plant no doubt. It features long and thin stems with really small rounded leaves. It is a really tall plant, with the smaller option being 9 inches tall and the larger option being 16 inches tall.
You can choose the size which is appropriate for your aquarium. It provides your aquarium with a natural green look plus it gives your fish some cover too.
You can use the Aqueon Begonia Aquarium Plant in both saltwater and freshwater setups. The plastic build of this plant makes it very durable, it doesn’t need any special care, and will always be there.
The weighted base keeps the Aqueon Begonia Aquarium Plant in place at all times, plus it looks really nice too.
9. Naturals Foreground Silk Plant
This final option on our list is another neat one to go with. The vibrant pink flower petals look really nice in a bare aquarium or in a colorful one too.
The silk design of this plant makes it very soft, allowing it to undulate in the water with ease. It also makes the leaves partially translucent, which is pretty cool too.
The colors won’t fade, which is obviously a good thing, plus there are no harmful chemicals to leach into the water either. The weighted base on this plant will keep it securely in place no matter where you put it.
If you want a colorful and awesome looking fake plant, this one is a good choice to consider no doubt.
Plastic or Silk Plants?
Generally speaking, the preferred type of fake plant for aquariums is the plastic plant. Now, silk plants do look a little more real as they tend to move with the flow of the water, plus they can be more colorful too.
However, silk plants tend to get stained by algae, fish might actually nip at them, and they can get destroyed after a while. Silk plants usually end up looking like the frayed ends of a carpet after a prolonged stint in an aquarium.
On the other hand, plastic plants are much more durable easier to clean than silk plants. They also won’t get nip at by fish and won’t get all frayed either.That being said, plastic plants don’t look quite right in the water because they tend to be fairly stiff.
Hard plastic plants may actually injure a fish if the fish swims into it too fast. Some of the leaves can be pretty sharp. As you can see, there are certain tradeoffs to consider here.
Aquascaping Ideas With Artificial Plants: Our Tips
Let’s quickly go over some of the most important tips you can follow in regard to aquascaping with artificial plants.
- Always pay attention to the size of the plants. Unlike real plants which will keep growing and growing, fake plants won’t grow. With real plants, you can get smaller ones and have them grow into a space, but with fake plants, you need to get the size that suits the space right now.
- On that same note, do pay attention to the size of the plants. Small plants make for good carpet plants and foreground plants, small and medium plants are good for the midground, and large plants should be used exclusively for the background.
- Keep in mind that artificial aquarium plants do still need to be cleaned, and in fact, they need to be cleaned more often than normal plants do. Residue and substance can build up on them, and you need to make sure the buildup never gets too heavy.
- Something else to remember here is that you do want to choose artificial plants which look like the real plants which the specific fish you have like. You do still need to create a good and homely environment for the fish.
Commonly Asked Questions
What Are The Best Silk Aquarium Plants?
There are some really nice silk aquarium plants out there, ones that work great for any aquarium, we like the ones we have discussed in the review portion of this article. Some of our favorites are.
- biOrb Easy Plant Sets
- Ecoscaper Hydrocotyle Silk Plant
- Rosewood Colourburst Floral
- Naturals Pennywort Silk Plant
- Ecoscaper Lobelia Silk Plant
- Naturals Foreground Silk Plant
Do Fish Like Fake Plants?
This somewhat depends on the fish in question, It is safe to assume that fish are going to like real plants a lot more. It allows them to feel at home, and real plants, are, well, real.
They look real, they smell real, and for fish who like to eat aquarium plants, they taste real too. Other than that, most fish probably won’t notice the difference if you add realistic aquarium plants, at least not if they don’t try to eat them.
Although, that said, for fish who like to swim through thick plant coverage, rough plastic plants probably won’t feel very nice.
Are Artificial Plants Good For Aquariums?
No, not really, but they usually are not bad either. The best artificial aquarium plants will be created and treated in such a way that they do not negatively or positively impact aquarium water quality.
So, for the most part, artificial plants are not really bad for aquariums. However, do keep in mind that real plants provide many benefits for aquariums, mainly in terms of holding the substrate in place, oxygenating the water, and they help to filter the water too, all things which fake aquariums plants definitely cannot do.
Can Guppies Live With Fake Plants?
Technically speaking, yes, guppies can live with fake plants just fine, but there are some things you need to consider.
For one, fake plants, especially plastic ones, can be a bit rough, and they can from time to time cause injuries to small and fragile fish, such as guppies.
That being said, if you get high quality fake plants, there is no reason why guppies should not be able to live in unison with them.
Can Plastic Plants Hurt Fish?
Yes, from time to time, fake plastic plants can hurt fish. Now, if you get high quality and well made plastic plants, this should never be a problem.
However, cheaply and badly made plastic plants can be coarse, have rough edges, and sharp points too, all of which may hurt fish, so just be sure to go for the higher quality options.
Do Goldfish Need Fake Plants?
No, no fish in the world “needs” a fake plant. It’s generally agreed that while fake plants are easier to deal with than real plants, they also provide no benefits for aquarium inhabitants. It’s pretty clear that fish prefer real plants, and yes, this includes goldfish.
At the end of the day, whether silk or plastic, there are tons of good options for fake aquarium plants out there (these are our favorite ones). When it comes to the best fake plants for aquariums, the choice is yours to make. This is a fairly subjective topic, as the plant which you think looks the best is the best for you. There is no right or wrong choice here.