Benefits of free-floating plants (pros and cons):

Free-floating plants float on the water surface & their roots are not buried in substrate. Free floating plants are very important for a successful tank. Floating plants are very cool & they are helpful for the health of water, & its inhabitants. They are recommended for beginners & in this post I have explained its benefits. But free-floating plants have shortcomings too, so I suggest you read the complete article.


Pros of free-floating plants in aquarium:


Stick in filter:

Floating plants may stick in the filter intake & can reduce its efficiency unless you pull it out.


Reduce Temperature:

Free-floating plants stop light from hitting water directly & keep your aquarium temperature low.



They are beautiful & different from normal aquatic plants


Easy to displace:

Free floating plants are not fixed & wind can blow them.


Low requirements:

Compared to ordinary plants, requirements of free-floating plants are low & they do not need high maintenance.


Easy to plant:

Just place a floating plant on top of the water surface. There is no need to plant it in a pot or fix it in substrate.

Benefits of Free-Floating Plants
Benefits of Free-Floating Plants
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Like ordinary plants:

Free floating plants grow like normal plants.


Can grow submerged:

Certain free-floating plants grow immersed too.

Natural filter:

Aquariums get dirty because fish produce waste & overtime leftover food accumulates along with other dirt & plant debris. They are harmful for water chemistry, because they release ammonia that are highly toxic to aquarium inhabitants. Free-floating plants can help in solving this problem as they absorb toxic chemicals. They have an added advantage of removing metals, & other toxic chemicals that are harmful for the life of fish. If you want a very cost-effective method of cleaning your aquarium then my advice is to add floating plants. If you want to know how efficiently waste will be removed from your aquarium then my suggestion is to do research about how fast your plants grow. If they are growing at a faster rate, then they will consume lots of nutrients & perhaps will clean your aquarium quickly. Slow growing plants do not need abundance of diet & will not be very helpful in cleaning. Floating plants will keep water clean. Nitrates are the end product of nitrogen cycle & the only way to remove them from water is by changing partial water regularly. Having floating plants in aquariums will save effort as they will absorb nitrates as fertilizers & will reduce the number of water changes.


Sell Reproduced Plants:

Overtime floating plants will reproduce & you can sell extra plants. Aquarists sell plants over the internet & fish stores may buy them from you or give you a discount.


Indicates water quality:

Certain floating plants will signal that there is abundance of nutrition in the water for example if you have duckweed in the tank then its color will turn bright green if it absorbs high nutrition. If duckweed color is dark green & its roots are longer, then it indicates that your aquarium water is clean.



Free-floating plants are very important for oxygenation of water. They can access carbon dioxide all the time that can be used for photosynthesis of leaves & cultivation of plants.

During photosynthesis, plants convert carbon dioxide produced by inhabitants into oxygen, which is required by the inhabitants.


Reduce Stress:

Fish & invertebrates feel more relaxed if something is above them. If fish feel more secure then they will come out of their hiding & swim freely.

Lower stress will encourage fish to spawn. Floating plants allow fish to hide underneath them.


Food for fries:

Free floating plants will stop debris at its roots which offer food for aquarium inhabitants. Roots of the plants help in the growth of biofilm, which is a very important food for newly born fish fries & baby shrimps.

Floating plants can trap every particle that floats freely. It is the best place for inhabitants to eat food.


Reduce algae:

Free-floating plants absorb all nutrition through its roots because they are not buried in substrate. They can help in reducing lots of algae by absorbing nutrition.



Free-floating plants will cover the water surface & will stop fish from jumping outside. If your aquarium or pond does not have a top cover then floating plants can stop fish from escaping.


Low Maintenance:

Submerged plants need regular pruning. However, floating plants do not need high maintenance. Take out the excess plants if they are more crowded & sell them.

Low Nutrition:

Free-floating plants have low light requirements because they will receive more light than other plants.

Free-floating plants do not need supplemented carbon dioxide because they can absorb unlimited carbon dioxide from the air.


Source of food:

Certain free-floating plants have tender leaves & they have an abundance of protein. Fish, snails, shrimps, & other inhabitants need a protein rich diet & they eat free-floating plant leaves.


Crayfish or crabs can’t mess:

The main problem of keeping crayfish or crabs is that they have the problem of uprooting & eating plants.

Crayfish or crabs will not be able to get floating plants.


Cons of free-floating plants:

Free-floating plants have their drawbacks too. Have a look at how floating plants can be problematic below:


Stick to arm:

Certain free-floating plants will stick to your full arm when you put it inside the aquarium. Such plants include Duckweed & Salvinia.


Hide food:

When you add floating food then it might stick in floating plants & fish might not see it.


Stop light:

Free floating plants can stop light from reaching the bottom plants.


Quick growth:

Floating plants grow very quickly in aquariums. They will quickly cover the whole aquarium.

Make a barrier to stop free-floating plants from spreading. Use a thread to keep floating plants in place.


Slow water current:

Free-floating plants do not like strong water currents. Fast moving water can hurt the tiny roots of the plants.

Reduce water flow to solve this problem.



If you have submersible plants in your aquarium then they will need light. Free-floating plants can stop light from reaching the bottom of an aquarium.

Dense free-floating plants need regular trimming so that light can reach the bottom of the aquarium.


Long roots:

Certain free-floating plants have long roots. They will have the problem of entangling with decorations, or other plants in the aquarium, or can clog aquarium filters.


Suppress passive plants:

Free-floating plants will absorb most of the nutrients. Passive plants will not get enough nutrition which can affect their health.

Addition of extra nutrition will solve this problem.

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