Toxic Plants For Betta Fish That You Must Avoid

Betta fish, referred to as Siamese fighting fish, is of vivid color, rainbowlike ranges, and log fins are just one of the most eye-pleasing fish. So it’s actually tempting to purchase and house them in a betta fish tank in your home.

People love them in their aquariums, and sometimes Betta fish are kept with plants. But are all plants suitable to keep in a Betta fish tan? No! Unfortunately, there are some toxic plants for Betta fish that you should avoid.

Most of these plants are just harmful if they are ingested by your Betta. However, some plants can launch hazardous chemicals right into the surrounding water.

Must-Read Truth About Betta Fish

Must-Read Truth About Betta Fish

Betta or Siamese fighting fish belong to the Mekong basin of East Asia. They are small fish, and a mature Betta can be 3 inches in size. Betta’s expected life span is 2-3 years in the wild, reaching 4 years in captivity.

They are carnivorous and feed on zooplankton, small crustaceans, and the larvae of insects in the wild. In fish tanks, they take ready pellet foods or frozen foods.

Betta fish really enjoys hiding and sleeping around plants, so including some good plants in your tank will make it much more like a natural residence for bettas.

Bettas are primarily predators and don’t eat plants (whether leaves, roots, or stems), which means there’s very little for plants to poison your fish with food digestion.

So, to put it simply, even if you include those aquarium plants with potentially harmful chemicals for Betta, they may not cause damage to your fish until they are ingested.

So, primarily there is one method to toxin a betta fish – via the water.

5 Commonly Used Toxic Plants For Betta Fish

I have listed 5 toxic plants here that are sometimes kept with Betta.

Peace Lily

Peace Lily plants are commonly paired with Betta fish marketed in a vase. This combination alone is not suitable for several reasons. However, it’s likewise a lousy plant choice considering that the juice and sap of peace lilies include a high level of calcium oxalate crystals.

Peace Lily - Toxic Plants For Betta Fish

So keeping your Betta fish in a Peace Lily vase can expose them to the toxic calcium oxalate crystals, which will trigger severe digestive problems for those tiny creatures. 

When kept in a flower holder, numerous individuals are misguided to think that Betta fish will certainly live off the roots of a peace lily. This isn’t true since Betta fish are primarily predators and will not survive long, consuming greenery alone. However, if they are kept in a tank without food, they may start to eat the roots of a peace lily plant for nutrients as they begin to starve.

Another reason that triggers Bettas to die in a Peace Lily vase is the lack of an opening water surface for fish to take a breath.

Because just the roots Peace Lilies are submersible in the water while their stem, blossoms, and leaves can’t.

With the rapid growth of Peace Lily plants in a limited, narrow setting like vases, it is difficult for bettas to swim around or breathe.


Pothos are tough to kill and will make it grow even in shallow light, nearly in darkness. You commonly see Pothos made use of not only in fish tanks but also in hydroponic systems and bioactive terrariums

Pothos - Toxic Plants For Betta Fish

Though Pothos are not aquatic plants, they are found in aquariums. Because aquarists believe Pothos is an excellent all-natural filtering alternative for fish aquariums.

Nevertheless, Pothos does have calcium oxalate crystals, which can be poisonous also when consumed. So, if your Betta fish nibbles Photos roots, then a Pothos plant might not be the safest plant in a Betta fish tank.

Hygrophila balsamica

Hygrophila balsamica is a swampland plant that belongs to the Indian subcontinent. It has been known to keep in aquariums for a long time but has recently become less popular among hobbyists. Why? If its emerged shoots are placed straight into an aquarium with fish or invertebrates, they may be poisoned. 

Hygrophila balsamica - Toxic Plants For Betta Fish

This plant is dangerous to fish and invertebrates and releases poisonous chemicals into the water from its roots, leaves, and stems. So, you should consider Hygrophila balsamica as one of the toxic plants for Betta fish and avoid keeping them in Betta aquariums. 

However, Hygrophila balsamica will be stopped becoming toxic once submerged for a prolonged period. So they might be used without issue once submersed development is obtained.

But most aquatic plant nurseries grow their plants as emersed, and you never know if your newly bought Hygrophila balsamica would be toxic for your fish or not.

Water Lettuce

Water Lettuce is a prevalent larger floating plant with large square leaves. These plants are visually gorgeous and also nicely decorate an aquarium. However, people keep them in their fish tanks to minimize nitrates too.

Water Lettuce - Toxic Plants For Betta Fish

But these plants can be toxic for your Betta fish. Because Water Lettuce consists of dangerous calcium oxalate crystals, which can bring about severe health and wellness effects when consumed.

Most of the time, a Betta fish will not be interested in eating water lettuce. Yet, they could nibble at the plant’s roots, which likewise consist of a considerable quantity of calcium oxalate.

Water Lettuce is additionally an extremely fast-growing plant that will rapidly spread over the water’s surface, reducing the dissolved oxygen level in the water. So, this one is another way by which Water Lettuce can kill your Betta!

Related Post: Can Betta Fish Live Without An Air Pump [Know The Answer]

Water Hemlock

Water Hemlock isn’t typically used for decorative purposes in aquariums or ponds. This plant should be avoided at all expenses considering that it is highly toxic, as well as it will promptly eliminate fish, family pets, and livestock. However, this plant overgrows in the wild.

Water Hemlock - Toxic Plants For Betta Fish

Water Hemlock is one of the most harmful plants in The United States and Canada, and it grows near bodies of water throughout the country. This plant contains cicutoxin which works as an energizer that harms the central nervous system of living pets (and humans also).

The highest concentrations of cicutoxin are found in the roots of the water hemlock plant. When the stems or roots of water hemlock are damaged or cut, they release the toxin into the surroundings, suggesting they are a danger to even touch.

Can Non-Aquatic Plants Be Kept With Betta Fish?

Non-aquatic plants cannot acclimatize to a condition like a fish tank. It is almost impossible for terrestrial plants to grow underwater. So if you force them to stay in a Betta tank, they will continue to die off!

Dead plant parts can rot and decompose to form toxic ammonia in the water, which can be deadly for your Betta fish. So, it is crucial to recognize a non-aquatic plant and avoid it keeping in a Betta tank.

Things To Consider When Looking For Plants For Betta Fish

Some aquatic plants are particularly beneficial to bettas. The Amazon frogbit is a popular plant because of its long, thick roots. Its leaves are broad, which is good for hiding. It is also suitable for breeding as its deep, leafy roots provide an excellent place for a betta to hide and lay eggs. 

Another good live plant for Betta fish is a Cryptocoryne wendtii. This plant needs little to no lighting and is the perfect choice if you have no lighting in your tank. This plant’s large leaves and short stems provide plenty of shade for Betta fish and allow them to move beneath it. They can even be planted in a shallow tank to provide passageways.

Some species require anchors or are anchored to rocks. A small plant like an Anubias will survive in a 2-gallon tank. If you have a larger tank, you risk crowding the fish and starving them of nutrients. Some species are more challenging to keep than others.

The best thing you can do to prevent buying the wrong one is better to understand what grows in aquariums and what does not. You can read my articles to know about some fantastic aquatic plants:

Besides, here are some added ideas to determine the right aquatic plants:

  • If leaves on a plant really feel waxy or shiny and have a sharp point, it could be a houseplant and not suitable for aquariums.
  • Water plants generally can not stand alone out of the water; they will undoubtedly droop if unassisted. If a plant can do that, it may be a houseplant. 
  • Most plants with multicolored leaves, like green, red, or white, are possibly houseplants.

Do not blindly trust the vendors! Because not all of them are 100% truthful to you when offering a plant for a fish tank.

Know More…


The bottom line is – you have to select a safe aquatic plant for your Betta fish tank. 

As Bettas are kept in small tanks, it is better to avoid fast-growing plants as they can quickly cover the water surface and reduce the tank water’s oxygen level.

Do not select non-aquatic house plants for Betta fish tanks! 

I hope all the above information will be helpful for Betta owners. If you have any further questions, please ask me in the below comment box.

Sujit Modak

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