Toxic Plants For Betta Fish That You Need To Avoid

By Harry RamosLast update: 2024-07-12
Toxic Plants For Betta Fish That You Need To Avoid

You might have heard about toxic plants for Koi, Dollar Fish, and Tetras. But how about betta fish? Are there toxic plants for betta fish that you need to avoid? In this article, I am going to tell you about it. Keep reading!

MUST-READ - Truth About Betta Fish

Betta fish actually loves hiding and sleeping around plants, so adding some appropriate plants to your tank will make it more like a home to bettas.

Toxic Plants For Betta Fish That You Need To Avoid

Bettas DON’T eat plants (whether leaves, roots, or stems), which means there’s no way for plants to poison your fish through digestion. In other words, even if you add those aquatic plants that contain chemicals to a betta tank, they won’t cause harm to your fish.

There is only one way to poison a betta fish - through the water. Below are all the cases that a plant becomes toxic to betta fish:

Non-Aquatic Plants

When it comes to plants for aquarium, there are three types:

  • non-aquatic plants
  • Semi-aquatic plants
  • Aquatic plants

The common point of aquatic plants and semi-aquatic plants is once they’ve acclimatized themselves to the change in conditions (for example, from being grown and being introduced into a tank), they will keep thriving. But non-aquatic plants CANNOT.

Toxic Plants For Betta Fish That You Need To Avoid

It’s impossible for a terrestrial plant to grow underwater, which means if it’s forced to, it will just continue to die off and this is the thing causing danger for bettas.

Once they die, they will decompose and increase not only ammonia rate but also the pH levels of the water. The changes in water quality make your fish sick then die.

Research thoroughly prior to going out and buying a plant for your betta aquarium. The easiest-to-recognize strait of a terrestrial plant is that it’s grown in a pot.

I don’t think many true aquatic plants are variegated either so just pass on anything that looks like what I’ve just described above.

Or, these plants should only be grown with their roots in your betta tank. For example, dracaenas and pothos.

Toxic Plants For Betta Fish That You Need To Avoid

The biggest advantage of these plants is that they remove ammonia over nitrate, which comes in handy for your tank if it has water quality problems or isn’t cycled regularly.

Semi-Aquatic Plants

Similar to non-aquatic plants, the way you use them is the decisive element in whether they’re harmful to bettas or not.

One of the most common cases about semi-aquatic plants that are toxic to bettas is peace lilies. Many people keep their fish in a vase of peace lilies and the fish dies. In fact, peace lilies aren’t the cause.

Toxic Plants For Betta Fish That You Need To Avoid

The thing that causes their bettas to die is the lack of an opening water surface for fish to breathe.

We know that only the roots of peace lilies are submersible in the water while their stem, flowers, and leaves can’t. Plus, they feature root clusters.

In a tight, narrow environment like vases, with the fast growth of peace lily roots, it is hard for bettas to swim around or breathe. Same with other semi-aquatic plants like water cabbage, water spinach, and mangroves.

Remember that a vase is NOT an ideal living condition for betta fish.

On the contrary, if your tank is a good size and you control the growth of these semi-aquatic plants, it is 100% safe for bettas.


Dead plants rot and decompose in the water, resulting in spikes in ammonia as well as pH levels, which is poisonous to betta fish. Any plant, even the ones that are considered safe for bettas, might become unsafe for them once they die.

To avoid that, remember to remove all the dead leaves, branches, or plants in your betta tank.

Things To Consider When Looking For Plants For Betta Fish

Don’t blindly trust the sellers!

Because not all of them are 100% honest to you when selling a plant for an aquarium.

In fact, there are some terrestrial plants looking like aquatic plants, and many aquatic plants are grown out of the water. For example, Anubias, Java ferns, Crypts, and Amazon swords.

Toxic Plants For Betta Fish That You Need To Avoid

The best thing you can do to avoid buying the wrong one is getting better education on what grows underwater and what doesn't. Besides, here are some extra tips to identify aquatic plants over house plants:

  • If leaves on a plant feel waxy or shiny and they come to a sharp point, it might be a houseplant (that sharp point is to channel away rainwater)
  • If a plant can stand up in a pot unassisted, it might be a houseplant. Aquatic plants commonly can’t do that. When out of the water, they will droop.
  • Most plants with a variegated leaf, like green and red or green and white are houseplants


I hope that with the information pieces provided above, along with tips and tricks to distinguish between houseplants and aquatic plants, you’ll get a better idea when choosing the right one for your betta tank.

This is the end of my article about “Topic plants for betta fish that you need to avoid”, thanks for reading.

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