9 Best Plants For Axolotls

Are you thinking about adopting an axolotl or renewing your pet’s aquarium tanks with new plants? Not every type of plant is ideal for the axolotl.

The wrong plant can die, decompose, and increase ammonia in your pet’s tank. Allowing toxic elements into your axolotl’s take can burn your pet or in sufficient amounts prove to be lethal.

Are Fake Plants a Good Choice for Axolotls’ Tanks?

Artificial plants are a viable option. They are inexpensive, less work to maintain, and have a nice appearance. You just position artificial vegetation in the tank and leave there with nothing more to do.

The limitations associated with artificial plants is that they cannot oxygenate the tank’s water as live plants can, hence they do not aid the biological filtering system.

What Plants Are Best For Axolotls

What Should I Consider When Selecting Appropriate Plants for My Axolotl’s Tank?

To begin, consider the substrate you are using in the bottom of your tank as not all substrates are ideal for all plants.

Furthermore, you need to select plants that do not require being buried in substrate as axolotls love to dig and dig, they will. So, plants that require being planted in a substrate will be of no use in the end. 

Then remember that axolotls do not like a lot of light in their environments which will further limit your choices when choosing.

And axolotls live in cooler water temperatures (60° to 74°F.), so selected plants must be able to survive in cooler water.

Another aspect to factor in is that the best plants will be those that either float or that can be attached to a rock or piece of wood in the aquarium. You can also consider non-aquatic plants that successfully grow their roots in water.

There are three basic plant types to consider:

1.) Epiphytes:


Epiphytes have an advantage when selected for axolotls’ tanks. These are plants that attach to surfaces as opposed to rooting themselves in substrate. In natural habitats they tend to latch on to trees, rocks and other surfaces.

They are not parasitic, and your axolotl will not be able to dislodge an epiphyte with ease from its nesting place. They are slow growers and as such need less lighting , carbon dioxide or fertilizer than other plants.

2.) Floating Plants:


Floating plants are ideal for tanks and tend to be rapid growers as they receive unlimited carbon dioxide from the air and light as they float on the water’s surface.

They absorb lots of nitrites, ammonia, nitrates, and toxins for axolotls, using them as natural fertilizers. And because they sit on the water’s surface, they will not be disturbed, nor will they disturb your pet.

3.) Rooted Plants:

One problem for rooted plants is that they must be rooted in substrate. Axolotls need sand substrate. These amphibians have a tendency to dig up and eat or swallow anything they find in their path.

So rooted plants are not an ideal choice for an axolotl’s tank. If you feel the need for aìrooted plants opt for those that have very dense growth and dense root growth so that they are not easily dug up. Rooted plants require more in terms of nutrients from your tank’s water.

Our Favorite Plants for Axolotls’ Tanks

1.) Amazon Frogbit

Also known as Limnobium laevigatum or more popularly, the American Sponge plant. Its popular name stems from sponge-like leaves. These are floating aquarium plants that will add a bit of variety to tank décor. 

As they float, they also aid in creating the low light conditions that axolotls prefer. The Amazon frogbit does not require much in the way of care, but it does need protection from getting wet on the top of the plant.

Amazon Frogbit

A wet top can induce rotting in the plant, so better that plant tops remain dry as much as possible. It can do with some occasional liquid fertilizer.

If you have snails in your tank, they will eat this plant if given they chance, although it’s somewhat unlikely because as floaters, a snail will encounter difficulty in latching to it long enough to be able to eat.

2.) Anubias

This is a hardy, resilient epiphyte plant that is difficult to destroy! In fact, these are a great option for aquariums in general. There are quite a few varieties and subspecies to select among. 


Anubias do well in low light environments, do not require substrate planting, and are attachable to rocks or wood. They require very little attention. As aquatic plants, their roots do fine in the water.

3.) Elodea

Commonly referred to as Water Weeds, this is an interesting specimen as it is fundamentally an underwater plant in its natural habitat. The only moment when it peeks above the water is in the summer when it produces a white blossom.


This plant will require lots of nutrients for survival. It is dense in its growth, so it contributes to protecting your pet from sunlight and it is strikingly beautiful.

The plant also propagates with ease as in fall, the leaf stalks will detach from the mother plant and form new water weeds within the environment. It can be rooted or a floater.

4.) Java Fern

The Java Fern is an epiphyte and a classic when it comes to aquarium plants. They feature long slim green foliage that puts on quite a display within your aquarium décor and they provide lots of hiding places for axolotls. 

Java Fern

Java Ferns do very well in the low light tank conditions that axolotls love. They also do fine in cooler water. This plant can easily be tied to a rock or similar.

It is a slow-growing plant, easy to care for, does not require fertilization, and will add an interesting decorative element to your pet’s tank.

5.) Java Moss

Popular as one of the easiest, if not the easiest plant to grow in an aquarium tank, the Java Moss plant can manage in multiple aquarium conditions. It is both a floating plant and an epiphyte.


It will thrive on pieces of wood or on rocks found in the tank and will add nice texture and appearance to the aquarium environment. Thick and quite dense it features foliage that is small and thin.

It resembles typical moss but boasts a slightly different structure. Hardy as aquarium plants go, Java Moss does not require much light and thrives in cooler water temperatures. It needs no fertilization and can also be positioned on the substrate at the tank’s bottom.

6.) Marimo Moss

A Marimo moss ball is a striking choice for an axolotl’s tank. This plant is popular because of its unusual and somewhat bizarre appearance, but it makes an interesting tank decoration.

Marimo Moss

This plant has the form of a ball, and algae grow from the ball’s center. They are an exceptional choice because they love low light conditions, so they are perfect for living in harmony with your axolotl.

7.) Pothos Houseplant

The Pothos is a very popular vining houseplant that needs more than average light when compared to other plants that are specifically indicated for aquariums. It will adapt to lower light conditions, though. 

This is a hardy plant houseplant that is so popular because difficult to kill. Pothos roots are not to be placed in the tank but cultivated outside or above the tanks. The leaves can extend into the water, so you’ll need a bit of engineering to find the best position.


The Pothos is a great choice because it purifies tank water acting as a natural filtering system to remove undesirable chemicals and substances. It is phenomenal for the absorption of ammonia which is why it is so appreciated in the aquarium realm.

Some choose to do the opposite and submerge roots into the water with the rest of the plant tumbling outside the tank. Pothos are generally rooted but can grow as epiphytes.

8.) Water Hyacinth

This plant distinguishes itself in aquariums for its stunning beauty. A floating plant, it will flower with gorgeous violet-hued blooms.

Water Hyacinth

Foliage floats on the water’s surface, so your axolotl will not be tempted to dig it up, and it is incredibly easy to take care of. Beauty always comes with a drawback. In the case of the Water Hyacinth, it is the plant’s aggressivity in growth and expansion.

These plants spread very rapidly in an aquarium and can become aggressive toward other vegetation in the aquarium. When selecting one for your aquarium, they will require control as other floating plants may be forced out.

9.) Water Lettuce

This plant is a perfect choice for an axolotl’s tank. The water lettuce, like the Amazon Frogbit, is a floating plant with roots that hang. If the roots are well cared for, they add a nice decorative touch to your aquarium.

Water Lettuce

This is a very popular classic choice for tank décor. It does not need excessive care. If foliage dies and turns yellow, it should be removed. You may need to prune it occasionally as it will reproduce rather quickly.

Remove it as you deem fit, or you may find yourself with too much of this plant floating on the water’s surface. Water lettuce does not need very much light. It does not need feeding.

In Conclusion

The environmental conditions for an axolotl are quite specific, so live aquarium plants must be able to thrive in the same conditions as your axolotl. Lowlights and low temperatures are indicated for axolotl tanks.

Once you have determined which plants can thrive in an axolotl’s tank, it’s merely a question of decorating to your taste and providing your axolotl with various hiding places.

Susan R Elliston

I have over 11 years of experience as a vet working with a wonderful variety of species of innocent and lovely animals. Whilst I still work two days a week for a local practice, I realized that I could help more people by sharing my knowledge and experience with my readers.

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