7 Best Column Feeding Aquarium Plants You Should Have For Your Home Tank

Not only do aquarium plants provide plenty of shade and hiding spots for your fish, but they are also extremely beautiful and decorative. That said, not all tanks have enough substrate to sustain aquatic plants. And this is when column-feeding aquarium plants come in handy.

If you have never heard of this term before, be prepared to have your mind blown! Scroll down and see what our top picks are!

What Are Column Feeding Plants?

Column-feeding plants do not rely on their roots to take in nutrients and oxygen like other plants. Instead, they have a spreading set of rhizomes that suck in what they need to grow.

Given this particular anatomy, column-feeding plants are not reliant on the substrate. There is no need to invest in rich, nutritious substrate since these plants are more flexible as far as feeding is concerned.

7 Best Choices of Column Feeding Aquarium Plants

Rotala Indica

Rotala Indica is best known for its needle-like leaves. With bottom leaves covered in green and top leaves covered in red and yellow, rotala indica adds a layer of color to your tank.

While the bush-like appearance of rotala indica makes it a perfect choice, both aesthetically and functionally, rotala indica is not the most beginner-friendly plant. They require specific conditions to thrive, including both temperatures and lighting.

Furthermore, rotala indica is rather delicate. They can easily be damaged if aquarists are reckless or if the fish are too aggressive. Hence, only experienced aquarists are advised to keep these plants.

Rotala Indica aquatic plant

Rotala rotundifolia

At first glance, rotala rotundifolia catches your attention with its vibrant and lively shades. All covered in pink, rotala rotundifolia come with small, elongated leaves that grow towards the water’s surface.

If cared for the right way, rotala rotundifolia can grow almost indefinitely, since there is no cap on its length.

The advantages of rotala rotundifolia lie in their hardiness and compatibility. Rotala rotundifolia can withstand even the most difficult environments while being compatible with most water conditions.

That said, taking care of rotala rotundifolia is no easy feat, considering how these plants require extensive trimming. Furthermore, for the plants to reach their potential beauty, aquarists need to be careful when monitoring the lighting conditions and level of nitrate.

Java fern

if you want to have some long, green leaves that stick out of the substrate, the java fern might live up to your expectations. These plants are known for their accessibility and low cost, which make them even more popular among beginners.

Moreover, java ferns are not picky when it comes to maintenance. They are easy to care for and will survive in most conditions, despite fluctuations in lighting conditions and temperatures.

The best thing about java ferns is that they can change how they look depending on the amount of light received. If you place them somewhere brightly lit, the leaves will turn into a darker shade. Vice versa, being exposed to little light means the java fern will turn bright green.

Java moss

Another beginner-friendly plant that you may want to have at your home tank is the java moss. Java moss is mostly used to blanket the tank’s bottom, which also helps create a green background for your aquarium.

As far as maintenance is concerned, java moss call for almost nothing. Feel free to leave the column-feeding plants on driftwood, substrate, or rocks using their rhizomes. Once the plants have taken root, they will start growing almost immediately.

If you want to speed up the growth of java moss, adding a bit of light is recommended. Otherwise, just leave java moss on its own and wait for them to cover your tank.

If java moss proves to be a bit overwhelming for the fish, you can trim them occasionally to lessen the impact.


Bacopa pride themselves on having rounded leaves covered in green and brown, giving them a unique look inside your aquarium. They grow rather slowly and it will take some time before bacopa reaches their full height. But precisely thanks to this reason, bacopa requires little care.

It is highly tolerant of low light conditions and can grow substantially even if left with little attention. Furthermore, aquarists can control how high bacopa can be by frequent trimming. Feel free to adjust how these plants look depending on how tall and large your tank is!


In case you wish to add more movements to your tank’s water, pelia will be your best bet. Their appearance is accentuated with elongated, flowy leaves that spread all over the place.

While pelia can be a bit too delicate and easy to be damaged during the transition, they are quite hardy and low-maintenance once they have been established inside the tank. As long as they have a minimal amount of lighting and nutrients, pelia will survive.

American waterweed

American waterweed

If you intend to house shy fish that do not enjoy socializing with others, planting American waterweed inside your tank is highly recommended. With their large leaves and closed structure, these plants are perfect when it comes to hiding places.

Small fish and fry shall have a good time lurking around and seeking refuge whenever these waterweeds grow.

Another reason why American waterweed is highly popular is that it can produce lots of oxygen in one go. This way, you might not need to install air stones or have oxygen pumped directly inside the tank.

Rest assured that American waterweed will take care of your fish’s supply of oxygen.


Once you find the right column-feeding aquarium plants, you would soon realize their advantages of them over root feeders. Make sure to consult with the seller beforehand and see which plants are best designed for your tank!